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The Ankh On Her Wrist
…seeped ink into blue blood
bleed red/black/green
soft pink of woman
she bald/faded/braided/relaxed
un-nerved woman
...child bearer
love giver/receiver
dreamer in Technicolor fantasies
on the move-stop and go!
Ankh on her wrist
Sankofa on her back
Dirt on her feet
No ring on her finger but one on her heart
She symbol of life
Raised fists and revolutions
Shouts and whispers of freedom
She scribe on paper in soul alphabets/dialects
Not speaking of action but doing
She community development
Power to the people!
She non-profits
Profits for the profit of the people
Good people to people be good
...poet her pain away
their pain away
a way to move forward
her story tells all stories
in brown/black/white/yellow/red
lilting accent on her words
she smiles comfort to the masses
...the ankh on her wrist

Untitled African
I imagined she wanted to be me
Every time she came into my view I imagined she wanted to why I was who I am
and yet I know I wanted to impress her...
Without ever speaking to her
and I wanted her skin-dark and smooth as a plum
Without knowing her I knew she was both sweet and sour
That she had experienced where I wanted to go and was learning where I now stood
She was Africa
I found myself comparing her features to mine
her gait to my walk
I wanted to find some connection
I did not want to be a watered down version of her
Her name is comprised of syllables my native tongue can’t pronounce without clumsiness and American twang
but it sounds like laughter coming from the mouths of those who know the secret language
I attempted to train my voice that sprang forth when she spoke
but all the came out was Ohio I mimicked her graceful stroll but tripped over the heavy steps I was raised with
In those fleeting moments she was in my view my mind ran wild
I tried to capture her essence in brightly colored headwraps
Circling my head in tight circles
concentric circles
spiraling in and in ‘til the target was her
I’ve never quite hit the bull’s eye and over time she began to change Those American characteristics I tried to rid myself of were now coloring my view
she was becoming what I was running from
I wanted to grab her and make her understand that our way was not the right way
I, if no one else wanted to learn her secrets, know the sun that had polished her skin
Those times she spoke to be became fewer and farther in between
She began to see me as an American who wasn’t American enough
Just another African American trying to recapture her threads
She cut those ties with fresh new eyes
Her smile faded and was no longer what I once found such beauty in
I wanted to weep for her
for the fact that she had been swept up in this vortex she chose to be educated in
That ships and boats and planes and trains that had brought her here by choice
now had the same impact as if she had been brought by force
and I figured the essence leaving her would somehow transfer to me
That I could catch the sunlight leaving her skin and the rhythm leaving her step
I was wrong
I am not changed from having known her in the way that I wanted
I am quieter
I know now that things change
that where I am is where others want to be
and where I want to leave
I saw her again today
She looked through me
Never saw me
Her eyes are glazed with apple pie she is bound in stars and stripes
Claiming urban struggles never experienced
She has exchanged Africa’s burdens for America’s trouble and lost all in the end
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