photo represents Yoruba –Oba chief wearing beaded crown
Synopsis: I would like the readers to take away how much impact the past has on the present, both one’s own personal past & the human race’s collective past. This ties into black history because the inspiration for this poem was from a man who was very strongly into Yoruba & general African cosmology, so it’s to bridge the knowledge gap between “normal” people and ones on a spiritual journey like him.
شعر: وَنْ تاوني سترينجر
أودّ أن يتعرف القاريء على الثِقل الذي يحمله الماضي على كاهل الحاضر، الحياة الشخصية والعِرق البشري بماضيه المتراكم على حدّ السواء. للحديث صلة بالاحتفاء بتاريخ السود؛ فمُلهم الشعر هو رجل أسود يعتقد غاية الاعتقاد بـ “اليوروبا” الروحاني وعلم الكونيات الإفريقي. تُربَط الفجوة بين ما الشخص العادي وبين أمثال هذا الرحل الروحاني بجسر عبر هذا النص الشعري. ومن أبياته المختارة:
“تتوالد تجليات الأوريشا* كالبكتيريا في جهازه الهضمي تغذّي روحه حيث لا تقوى بطنه الممتلئ
“هو يتذكر آدم وحواء
“وكم من مرةٍ
عرّجا بين الأرض والجنة”
*أوريشا: تجليات الآلهة في معتقد اليوروبا الكوني
Only met once,
Can’t have been more than ten minutes
But he demolished and rebuilt
The sight in my 1st, 2nd and 3rd eye.
Inhuman in human form,
Perfume blazed off him like a comet tail,
Adinkra cloth sang prophecies of ancient blessings,
Skin clanged against sunlight,
As bronze as his colour and steady as the ground he glided on,
Dreads and parted beard quaked down my spine
‘Cause he smelt of the second coming!
Back to my senses.
Noticing my gawking he asked, “May I help you?”
I stepped to him big-man style and said
“Yeah. How come you look like that?”
Without opening his mouth
He ordered me to wake up,
Pull my pants up,
Walk upright like a human,
Talk after listening and thinking,
Then he replied he’s a psychic mutant.
Got none of Professor X’s telepathy or Jean Grey’s telekinesis
But his powers are real life.
His ori* shoots neural commands from his fingertips
That his brain is compelled to obey.
Orishas** reproduce in his digestive tract like bacteria
Nourishing his spirit when a full belly can’t.
He remembers being born.
No light but stars and moon,
No sound but rock being drummed by the ocean Mother was squatting in.
He remembers the taste of breast milk,
No imaginary friend ‘cause he had placenta to play with
Until umbilical cord dropped off naturally,
Being circumcised was a sin his parents forbade him to commit.
He remembers Dad –
Miracle enough for me –
As well as Mum, uncles, aunties, granddads and grandmums
Wanting nothing but the best for him.
He even remembers Eve and Adam
Speaking in click dialect with the dolphins,
Eating alongside gazelles and lions alike,
Learning wisdom from the snakes,
Arguing over how many times
They’d rock-climbed between Earth and Paradise.
I believed him but… he was too hard to believe.
He gave me his card and said,
“When your mind is ready
To drop the comfort of childhood trauma,
To admit ignorance isn’t bliss,
To mutate back to its primordial godliness,
Call me. I’ll be glad to teach you more.”
Then he was gone.
* Ori = lit. head, a spiritual gift that plans out individuals’ destinies in Yoruba cosmology.
** Orisha = manifestations of the Divinity in Yoruba cosmology.