When I was little, we would watch T.V.
and see people with pale skin
Their accents so polished we would try
to emulate them
Sitting and watching, smiling at the T.V.
even if we couldn’t hear a thing.
Tilting our lips to one side and moving
our mouths exactly how they did
Tapping into the vocal chords connected
to our noses, we spoke how we thought
We did fancy ourselves posh at the time,
superior to others just because we
Little did we know our nasal voiced
chats had a particular pitch which made
I grew up and it became a whole
different ball game
The country had adapted to their habits
In all corners, you could hear people
The old, the young, tall, short, fat or
skinny, age or size was not a barrier
Even the fat Yoruba women who sold
tomatoes would add a little flair so she
could sell better
puckered up her lips while stringing
some words with her thick Yoruba accent
And the tall Igbo man in my area
He always seemed to attract the finest
girls in the neighborhood with his accent
though he had no money to speak of
I grew up and my speaking habits grew
Speaking with confidence and people
look up to me in admiration
Without the nasal tones afflicted with my
childhood but with finesse
It is with this confidence I step into my
prepared to dazzle them
But my grandmother you see,
My grandmother looks at me in awe,
awe that anyone could be so stupid
She sits me down; she questions me
“nwam gini k’ineme?”
She questions me with a confused
expression as she asks me “gini k’iga
kwuziri umu gi?”
What will you teach your children?
Will the labor of your forefathers who
gave you your roots be in vain?
Will the values of your ethnicity
disappear because you are enamored?
Enamored with the culture of a people
who are proud of where they come form
How long before you realize that you
have your own culture
How long before you realize that your
people have their own way of life
How long before you can proudly say
I am not American
I am African
I am Nigerian
I am Igbo.
A brilliant poem by Chiemeka. This poem is taken from BLVCK Ink, a book I will be reviewing later today. This poem really hit me, I’m not Nigerian, but I understand it. So I spoke to the authors and they have let me share it. I hope you loved it too.
This book is not available yet but it will launch sometime today.