(A Quarterly International Peer-reviewed Refereed e-Journal
Devoted to English Language and Literature)
Ngozi Olivia Osuoha (b. 1965), a Nigerian graduate of Estate Management with experience in Banking and Broadcasting, has authored twenty three poetry books, and has featured in over one hundred and ten international anthologies. She has published over three hundred and twenty poems in over forty countries, and some of her pieces have been translated and published in Spanish, Polish, Russian, Romanian, Farsi, Arabic, Serbian, Scots, Chinese, Hindi, Assamese, Macedonian, among others. She has won several awards, and some of her works have been nominated for Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net Awards, and others. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Black Child
They call you coloured, as though they are colourless
And tag you awkward and still hinder your forward,
They compel you wayward and compact you untoward
Black child, the world is so wide, yet wants you wild!
The sea wants to drown you so be no fish,
for fish is edible and profitable
Rather be the tide, the current and the storm
Be the mermaid, and rule the sea!
Black child, the fire wants to raze you
So be not the coal for coal is combustible,
Instead be the flame, the hotness, and the degree
Be not inflammable!
The wind wants to uproot you
Be the earth, the land and the forces!
The world doesn't like your skin
So she can throw you into the bin
Just to get the tiniest tin
Or drink the harshest gin
And still label you a sin,
If that could make her win
Or puncture you with a pin.
Black child, you are not gold
Let no one have you sold,
Though you live in a nest
You can be the best.
You are never the worst
Let no one; your head burst!
Black child, you are not a monkey
Do not be laboured like a donkey
Though you live in a cave
You are not a slave,
And never you be a pest
Though they put you to test.
Your breastmilk is sweeter than honey
Let none syphon it with money,
Your balls are stronger than rocks
Let none crush them with blocks
Nor cage them with padlocks, for there is your life!
Black child, the world is dark
But you can make a mark!
Yes, your skin is black
But there is no nature you lack!
Your skin is beautiful and wonderful
Even the rainbow is not that colourful,
Black child, walk with your shoulders high
For no human is more human than you!
2. The African Girl
My flat soles don't flatten my soul
At least I am five feet' nine
My casual wears don't commonize my person
Sure, I am one worldwide,
My small breasts don't bottle my mind
I am a phenomenon!
Hear my rough face tell gorgeous a fortune
See my unkempt hair wave loudly to glory,
Hear my short nails call the worlds to order
See my black eyes so glitter like gold
Hear my cute nose breathe dazzling diamonds
See my long legs step proudly on thorns,
This African girl, O nature is you!
I need no knife to boost my beauty
Need I no chemical to change my skin,
Hey! see how cosmetics flatter me
But watch my bums rock and roll in harmony
Feel my straight arms flagging wonders untold
And my big ears spread wide apart,
This African girl, O nature is you!
Of nipples that are pointers, we wrap
Of breasts that are compasses, we guard
We neither ensnare nor anyone enslave
Because If nudity was a calling,
we would have you endangered!
I am slim, a model by nature
A perfect art of divinity
But if I got chubby in the future
Still wait for it, my audacity.
The orchestra is me, the melody is me
I am the chemistry; undiluted
I am the gallery, unadulterated
The exhibition is me, black and blunt!
You are the content and the container
You are contented and concentrated
You are the contest and the quest,
You are so pure and so raw
O The African Girl!
Don't feel inferior, dance pass the exterior
Draw from within and decorate your interior
Fly high above, nature abounds in you,
Phenomenal girl, the goddess of beauty.
Cameras take bribe, mirrors are corrupt
Shadows are dark, echoes distort
Yet I have a dream, a dream so clear
That someday the paparazzi shall arise,
With courage and effrontery to witness my beauty,
This girl shall set cameras ablaze
And burn mirrors into ashes!
Piercings are fierce, so they hurt me
Stories could be written not just tattoos
Scars could be stars even taboos,
So dear African girl, nature is you!
If nudity was a calling, I would intimidate Adam
If nudity was a calling, I would rubbish Eve,
A principality, a power
A force, a creator,
I rule my world!
Remember I am a poet, I don't pity words
This African girl is nature, beware!
3. Ends Of The Earth
I wake up and wail as I ponder
Crying to understand what life is all about
Yet I find little or no answer
As I get lost.
Under the shadow of trees, I am not free
Yonder the window of doubts I try to sprout
Beyond I reach to teach but within ditch.
Upon the ends of the earth, I run
I grab voices to shout aloud
I borrow noises to ring the alarm
hearken dear earth upon my homeward way.
From the ends of the earth I mourn
Seeking peace and love to live
consoling myself shamefully in pain,
Lo, here pegs the lungs of a child
a child buried amidst life and plenty because he was hated.
4. Dear World
I have watched with bitterness
what you have done to yourself
You have crushed your foundation
and laid bare your base,
You also have crashed your pillars
And buried your sight,
Now you fight with all your might.
Look, I am tired of praying for you
as you swell up in hate,
My prayers have piled up to the skies and heavens
I feel weak and numb to pray more
as you continue to prey on yourself,
See, how happy you feel wanting to die,
O how eager you run to kill yourself.
I am so ashamed of all you have done
You squashed unity and peace
You spoiled sanity and sense
Dear world, why are you so mean and cruel to yourself?
Do not say I never warned you
Never cry, I did not tell you
See, the dangers you were warned of have all happened,
yet you wouldn't learn,
The atrocities you have done now chase you,
yet you pride in them,
I have come to warn you again all over
I know you may never heed
Because your ears are deaf, and your eyes so blind.
Desist from evil, make haste to change
Stop the calamities you build
Refrain from the terrors you upload
Abstain from the horrors you upgrade
Contain the errors you download
Change, make the world a better place
No matter your pace, find a space
Show your face, and receive grace
Run, and win the race.
5. I Did Not Keep Mute
I am just a voice
With message not noise,
Listen, and hear.
I have come, I am here
I wail, weep and wait
I hope and watch and pray
I did not keep mute.
As a flute, I blow loud
As a trumpet, I play into the crowd
As a pipe, I sound into the cloud
Hear me loud and clear
I did not keep mute.
Let generations unborn, hear me
Let the living take note,
Let the dead, feel me
Let heaven and earth witness;
That I did not keep mute.
Let my light shine in darkness,
in this dark world
Let my echo sound in emptiness,
in this empty world
Let my nuance fly in sadness,
in this sad world
Let my aim search the wilderness,
in this wild world
Let my anger avenge ugliness,
in this ugly world
Because I cannot keep mute.
I cannot keep mute, I am a flute
I cannot be bound, I am a parachute,
Dance to this music, this song of bitterness
Align with the rhythm; this melody of restlessness
Know it, say it, I did not keep mute.
Bear me witness again; louder
I did not keep mute, never did I
To this world of recklessness and woeful-ness
Please tell them, I was never comfortable!