I fall at the feet of the tree.
Limp and in the trance of love, praising ancestors above
Tears dancing in my eyes an African tune along with
beating drums of my coronary to the point of return
there are no mo' "no mo's"
So I don't serenade the clouds solo
Grasping at the leaves and branches that share fallen fruit
of sisters in Selma and Brothers in Beirut
of play cousins in the Palestine and aunts in Angola
of history's treasures a-stolen over
They are too easy for me to pluck down
I frown at these discolored coloreds
Covered in bloated faces and swollen throats
and coated corpses and blood-drenched ropes
This isn't a lesson taught 101 or live and direct
This is where I wash my hands
with their souls swimming
At the roots!
They dive into my palms to bring clenched fists
Freedom songs and war psalms
I'm no longer a long no wailed
whipped like winds whistling through slave ship sails
I am the strongest of cries yelping out loud
Like orange colored tunics and dashikis splashed proud
I kneel, naked and torn and humble at the bark and stumps
For every road block, for every bruise and bump
I can't write a story so bold about saving face
On music awards shows when I can't uphold my race!
On home plates and hardwood courts where I stand not on grace
But in front of those who'd jeer my cultural taste...
If I didn't recognize my arbor...
My soul's arbor.
Growing through concretes on Mississippi days and Texas nights
Shading from Georgia sun and Carolinian stocks
Hiding my figure from Tennessee crops, and Virginia canines
My scent is on these rings, sprinkled in a spiral
Deep within these arbors harboring
Intellects as old as oaks and warriors with keen eyesight
And kinky hair like tangled moss.
I fall at the feet of the tree
At the point of Igbo and Yoruba roots
Branching through my dreams and truths
This arbor is my armor, protecting my love
For my people
Unpruned by predators
preserved and uncarved
I stay rooted, and unforgotten.
© 2009 Ifeanyi Okoro
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