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Nnorom Azuonye


Barnet, England, UK

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An African Tale


Nnorom Azuonye

I tell the story of a people now naked
In front of dusty mirrors, wondering,
"Who are we?"
"What have we become?"
Their faces hardened by many hard earth years
Contort in disorientation.

I tell the story of a people who became civilised
And trashed the gods of their fathers
Touching feet in spiritual dances with new ways
In theatres of other peoples' gods who wonder
'What the hell are these creatures?"

If a child lifts his father off the ground
Will his father's genital fumes not blind him?
If they were right to stop pouring libations
And offering kolanuts to their forebears,
How come the gods have forsaken them?
Why are their best brains forced to live by the gun
Their hardest-boiled patriots slave in foreign lands
And their youth diseased and dying?

I tell the story of a people brain-washed
Showing off political and social suits made by alien tailors
Forgetting that they who dance in borrowed loincloths
Do not dance with vigour - for if the cloths are torn
The dancing ceases, they lose their faces - even their minds,
And their children scatter ashamed into exile.
Where their dancing was described as 'Jungle'
They danced like ghosts.
Where their names were deemed unpronounceable
They chose the meaningless over the significant.
Tell me the name of a true African
I will tell you the circumstances of his birth.
Where their food was called cumbersome and boring
They ate grass like sheep.
And where their accents were tagged little funny
They aped the unfunny, sounding like empty cans
Dropped by trembling hands.

I tell the story of a people manacled
By external expectations.