O THEY ARE ONLY BLACK PEOPLE – by Ojo Taiye

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After Upile Chisala

 

Poetry by Ojo Taiye

 

I am just a black child bruised from the

trade, with my mothers’ howling

somewhere in the  Atlantic across the

border. My only surviving  

 

grandfather feels betrayed but has no

language for it. Today I remember where

the wounds are— which slurs burn—what

the lie was. Sticky and  

 

hungry— their bodies broken, ugly with

use.  The sun high behind them as they go

up at a trot and return at a gallop —each

slave holding a  

 

basket filled with sugar canes for the mills. I

don’t know how to come close to their

suffering. It is still noon, and for an hour I

have watched another 

 

black body repeatedly stabbed six times; five

times in the upper chest. All my buddies are

dead. I say dead and mean more than the

sleepy slits through

 

which every abstract thing emerges. I don’t

remember the violence in the playground. But

that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Some

days it’s neighbour’s

  

autistic child. How do you enjoy your human

rights when you’re debased by history books?

 

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