Dear…

I wanted to write 

To say I love you

But your name 

On my fingers

Felt like a million splinters

I couldn’t lie

Advertisements

Empty Suitcase

toss my tattered clothes

powder and lipstick
an old tangled wig
oft-mended shoes
and cheap perfume
into the suitcase
all in the suitcase

but that’d be all you
a bitter luggage
shoes that ran from you
cheap scent to impress you
the hair you pulled
and a made up face
to hide the stripes of your nails

no, they can stay
you can stay
all of me in this suitcase
all of me without a you

Home

when he leaves

even if for only half a day

there’s a feeling of a door left open

of windows wide

and the air freezing the curtains

the walls shiver

and fail to whisper to each other

the floors mourn

and the air is in a mood

there’s a thing about  him leaving

it reminds me of dried up grounds

where wells once swam

but the sun bids farewell

and i hear the tap of his shoes

the door shuts

and the windows clasp their hands

the rain sweeps into the soil

life re-enters the spaces within me

around me

he, mine, returns

and once again

wrapped in his warm breath

i’m home

Distorted Portrait (Taken from Poetically Ghetto)

I’m an unsightly beast

My sooty countenance is hideous

Features so obtrusively horrid

The mirror says I’m too repulsive

 

It’s been written in the ancient scrolls

Pale skin is the engraved custom

The colour that’s painted the accepted effigy

Our colour is but an unwanted stain

 

Hair as coarse as an ageing sheep

Appalling noses squatting on black faces

Bloated cushions of coal lips

The swarthy appeal’s no alluring indeed

 

How marvellous do their features pose?

Poking swords of pointed noses

Skin as milky and white as snow

Green and blue crystal eyeballs

 

Our thick thighs bulging and pouring

Bloated bellies deliberately protruding

Bulky bosoms tripping the knees

Bouncing bottoms wobbling like jelly

 

A spectacular frame so organized

Each slim attribute tenderly placed

Figures so gracefully emaciated

Nothing hefty and obese; all’s well-carried

 

To find beauty is to obey this creed

Our grisly dark skin will be blemished

This coal colour will be bleached

Under fake coiffures, our mops are hidden

 

Isn’t it how beauty’s always defined?

Pale faces and lean shapes

What a distorted image they’ve painted

Veiling our dark beauty we still submit

 

A Journey on a Slave Ship with The O’Jays

Title: Ship Ahoy

Artist: The O’Jays

Date: 10 November 1973

Label: Philadelphia International Records

Length: 9:41

The O’Jays are known for their smooth love songs, funky and groovy jams and soulful sounds. What some people don’t pay attention to are some of the songs that have at their core political and social relevance. This R&B group has been speaking to their audience and using music as a teaching vehicle through some of their hits. Ship Ahoy is one of these wheels that carried a heavy message and lesson on it.

The song begins with the crack of whips, a strong cold wind blowing and the sound of crashing waves. “…the motion of the ocean…” as they point out in the lyrics. There’s an eerie quality wrapped around the song but they did it so without leaving out the powerful and sweet voices of this remarkable trio. It’s dark and spine-chilling.

Ship Ahoy brings awareness to the Middle Passage of the Atlantic slave trade when Africans were captured and shipped to the New World. Some of the slaves died at sea while those who survived remained alive in unimaginably horrific conditions. Diseases and starvation accompanied them on the voyage to the so-called land of Liberty.

It’s quite a long song but with not as many lyrics, with the repetition of “Ship Ahoy” more than other lines. However, they didn’t need to write out a full, long sermon of lyrics to make a point. The combination of those few lyrics, the slavery theme sounds of the ship and the waves, and the honeyed vocals create a grim yet pleasing gem.

The song is the second track on the track-titled album. The album cover itself produces the clear image of slaves, including the members of the group in the slave hold. The artwork successfully registers with the listener and adds accuracy and support to the song and the title of the album.

This is what I love about music, the ability to speak beyond the written lyrics, to educate, to entertain, to reach out, to bring the hidden or unknown to the surface and to touch us in new and meaningful ways. R&B lovers, people with an interest and social and political consciousness, history lovers, those who die for golden oldies and just anyone who has an ear and a heart for smooth soul or fans of The O’Jays will definitely dig this.

Enjoy.