we were not made to live like you
We are a generation of blind patriots,
Floating amidst a sea of culture clashes and contradicting tides.
Scattered across the corners of the globe,
We walk motionless, live lifeless and inhale; but we remain breathless.
We do not own the memories of our elders,
Nor share the scars that define our history
Yet the pain of loss lingers in our veins giving our blood a darker hue.
We relish our fluidity,
Our ability to assimilate and exist in these concrete jungles;
Though this was not our destiny.
We sought shade beneath square silhouettes,
Hung our heads in respect when passing celestial buildings
And bit our tongues during the winter months.
But we were not made to live like you;
To think like you;
To be like you.
Our skin is thinner than yours,
Our ribs bent further and spine’s curved into submission.
We cannot stomach food that comes in packages,
Fruits so filled with chemicals that they would make our throats itch
And water so metallic in its essence, its very scent could make us flinch.
Our feet stutter against concrete roads;
Limbs cower from gusts of wind that travel up our trouser legs and seep into our spine’s
And our skin is dull here; dark and dry
Beneath skies so grey, one would think the sun was shy.
This was not meant for us,
We come from a people who live to rove,
Drifting across the seething Serengeti, guided by the harmattan winds.
Our hearts beat a different rhythm and our souls dance in tribal motions.
We exist in English but come to life in our native tongues;
Ululating a lovers lullaby beneath a blistering sun.
No, we were not made to dance like you;
To dream like you;
To love like you.
And mama said, her accent thick as cement,
“Do not let them bury me in their coffins when I die. Shroud me in white sheets and bury me beneath red sands and saffron skies”.
I watched her then;
with her smooth chocolate skin,
Dark sunken eyes and brown trembling lips.
She sits tightly clenching prayer beads with henna covered finger tips as if, Silent prayers could take her back 20 years.
She ages quicker here,
Her skin curled inwards in an attempt to veil itself from the cold and the bite of their lies.
Yet in these coldest of climates she remains sun kissed.
We continue to survive and elevate
Because thinner skin does not define the texture of our blood,
Or its rummaged warmth, destined to be living;
And living we are.
Even though the souls of our feet are strangers to the soil of this land,
We continue to strive through perishing pains and out cried goodbyes.
And the native remains sewed onto our tongues,
So that we taste the sourness of England with the sweetness of Somali sentiments-
As if without each other they would no longer function,
And we would no longer breathe those tones that have heavy African inheritance
But stay soulful to the eardrums of anyone that lusts flavour.
We are the red wine to the meal,
Coloured and colourings are foamed through every spec that made us different. Missing our roots and dust
But again we are living;
And living we are.
Cultured in tokens of wishful seeds that you could never begin to suffice in.
Separated but succulent;
Our ancestors would be proud of the embedded warrior that lies in the depth of our coloured and colouring skins.
- Farah Gabdon (c) 2009