Category Archives: Poetry

All Linguere poems in one place.

For Little Girls Turned Women

I rise
In answer to the cries
Of the innocent, the fragile
Too young to understand
Yet never too young to know pain
Borne from the cuts of society
Masked in honour and servitude to God
Marked with the demands of a culture
That stands by and listens to these cries
Then beats the drums to celebrate this honour

I rise
For the little girl turned woman
Her only crime was being born female
Into a world where choice is masculine
Dignity is male
And pleasure is for her to give, never to receive
Her gift from God, stolen
Made a woman yet less of a woman
For how is she complete with a piece of her missing
While she watches the cycle grow
From her to her daughter, to her daughter
Missing pieces, vacuums of emotional trauma
Wherein dwell the loud echoes of pain indescribable

I rise
For an end to the cries
Healing for the cuts, the hearts, the minds
For the screams at childbirth, the passage too narrow
An end to the nightmares, the feeling of guilt
For the missing pieces, from woman to woman
I rise for the 70% and counting…
Against the culture that breeds it
The people who fight for it, defend it
For the little girl who needed one voice

I give my voice to her
I rise

#EndFGM #EndChildMarriage

11/11/2015

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Lost and Found

The wind kisses my tender skin
It’s my 7th autumn, the summer’s gone
Sun’s rays slowly nesting in the skies
Temperatures caress the ground; change.

I’ve seen winter storms and spring blossoms
Braved the chills in my copper coat
Found warmth in the hands of man, soft
Passed from one to the next, my journey.

I’ve got two faces
Equal value, minted for the same worth
Taking me through pockets and purses
Palm to palm, fingers touching briefly.

Brief. Like the life I’ve spent at each stop
Completing huge sums, part of a whole
No you without me; not much of me without you
Completing huge sums, part of a whole.

Then I fell.
My copper coat met the ground
Our embrace forced by passing feet
Soles of leather; soles of rubber
Oblivious to this new dance they create.

Is this love? Is this nature? Is this the end?
Part of a whole, now all alone. This turn
I see more soles; I see one good soul
He picks me up. One last chance?

The wind kisses my tender skin
It’s my 7th autumn, the summer’s gone
I’ve found a new home in his hands, her words
My life has come full circle.

 

Linguere
18/10/2016

When Dreams Drown And Die

We were seven, in the hundreds
Perhaps closer to thousands
But none will ever know
For our numbers have turned into food
For the fish in the sea and
The minds of reporters reaching for headlines
We have become breaking news.

 This is not the news that follows through
From the headlines that never were
Of the stories of our frustrations, our struggles
Not the stories of the big break…down that brought us here
The breaks in the system, in our hearts, in our hopes
In the looks of disappointment from parents and siblings
We were meant to succeed, to provide, to cater for
Pay forward what we never benefited from
But these stories don’t make it to the news
Because the images of our floating dreams always sell faster.

 This is the story of drowning dreams
Crafted from young skulls looking for a lifeline
Of dreams that will be suffocated by life jackets
With punch holes mirroring the gaps in society’s fabric
Whose threads should hold us together
But have been stringed into the loop that will draw our last breaths
Leaving an empty vessel, where hopes for success used to reside.

 They tell us to stay back, to try our hands at something…anything
They tell us we can make it here if we work harder
They tell us we are foolish, pursuing dreams across an ocean
Where the sounds of desperate screams haunt us
And they come from our brothers, our sisters, our children
Their ghosts coming up for single breaths in a pool of loss
Of lives, of money, of hopes, of dreams
They tell us we don’t deserve to walk off this stage that way
But they hardly listen to our stories, to what we have to say. 

So people hardly understand the reasons that push us
That dreams of being dinner for sea creatures haunt us even as we plot
Save up our pennies and track out our route to the promised land
That we look at photos of those who have made it across
And are convinced the odds will be in our favour
That we cross with hope of surviving, not capsizing
Bound by our unity in vision, our comfort in fear, our prayers when the sun sets
Nobody listens to our stories of trying, failing, trying once more and failing yet again
The frustrations of failure and the desperation from dismissals of our plight
These are the oars with which we row our boats.

When the headlines hit again, with stories of failed rescue efforts
Remember this is not a decision born from a place of privilege and comfort
For many of us, the chances at trial and error have run out
And we took the way with brighter promises through a tunnel littered with lost souls
You will scream and write us long eulogies, but we will be gone
You will sympathise with our families, but they can never heal from the loss
You will heap blame on us, while stifling the loud calls to action
For the many who can be saved from reaching the peak that pushes one on this path
And within a few days, you’ll move on with your lives… waiting for a new set of breaking news.

As we take our last breath of oxygen, the light in our eyes dimming, water filling our lungs
Our brains registering the loss in this battle and the uncertainty of what lies ahead
We remind you to stop cursing the fruits, to take hold of the roots
For when these are decayed, even the branches wouldn’t hold
And then, we wouldn’t even hope for dug-out canoes to take us across to our graves
We hoped and perished, lost the battle to our frustrations
But for many more, hope still lives and their fate still unknown
Listen to our voices this one time and maybe, just maybe
We can throw our dreams a lifeline
And cancel this sentence to death by drowning.

Jama Jack April 2015

Before I Die…

Here’s a poem I wrote last night for the Balafong Poetry Challenge. A mini-reflection on our relationships and taking advantage of life before death.

Appreciate me now, before I wither and die

Appreciate me now, before I wither and die

Treat me right…
Make me feel it before others do

I’m going to die a digital death
News on the internet even before my neighbour knows
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram beating Teletext
You’ll rush to change your profile pic
Before you let a tear fall
Making the world know how ‘shocked’ you are
How you’ll miss me and all the times we shared
I don’t blame you, won’t blame you
It’s the times we live in, I forgive you

For using my death to get more likes
More profile views, more retweets
Accepting messages of condolence
Responding to every ‘RIP’ with an ameen
Glad that you could remember me
Do that for me, even though I can’t see
I hope the prayers get answered
But now I hope for different

Treat me right
Make me feel your love while I’m still alive

Because it means more to me now
Than when I’m 6ft deep, a feast for worms
Can’t hear your wails, can’t feel your pain
Hug me now when we can share the pangs
Celebrate with me, let’s share a laugh
So when I’m gone and you write of missing me
There really would have been a reason to feel that way
So I ask that you

Treat me right
Celebrate me while I’m still here

For we never know what tomorrow holds
And regrets are the kisses death leaves when it’s done
Taking my soul, your soul, every man’s soul
Regrets for what could have been but wasn’t
Forgive my mistakes, I’ll forgive yours
For when I breathe my last, it would have been too late
All you’ll have is a picture of me, smiling
And memories that were never made
As you eulogize me on this online space

Treat me right
Before I die.

Homesickness

I wrote another poem for one of the topics in the Balafong Magazine Poetry Challenge. What better moment to write about homesickness than when it’s hitting the hardest? Yet, not every feeling can be translated into words; not every emotion can be transformed into rhymes to make up a poem. Apologies to my readers who’ll not understand the Wolof lines. They’re basically relaying the same message as the English lines. 

PicsArt_1391451986695

Olof yi neh ku tuki woul dor ham fi deka nekheh
Waayeh deka bu nekh wessu woul fima jogeh
Ndah fii ma neka, suma hol dufi seddeh
Door, daan, nyefeh, ngirr nyaaka peheh
Hol bu jeh, deka chi worr, di tumurankeh
Delor ma keur yaaye, fofa la deka neheh

It’s in the simple things that make home what it is
Ma diko fatehliku, diko nama, suma hol guene di tiis
It’s in Mother’s love, in her affection, her presence
Still reaching out across the miles to ease my absence
It’s in the news that come with every phone call
A birth, a death, seye bu tass , a birral

Olof dehlu neh ku tuki nyu rerr sa ganaww
Mu faateh che boleh ndeki, anj ak njogonal
Teranga yeup di nyow chi sa ganaww
Nyu di la tuda, di la nyaanal, yeup ngirr baahantal
Nga deka chi mugne, di jefo lila Yalla meye
Di jayme mu nuro ak linga baayi keur ndeye

You try to recreate tastes, sounds and feelings
Hopeless attempts at making yourself feel at home
You’re left in despair as each experiment falls short
Wishing for a benachin with a taste of gayja
The sound of mosquitoes, if only for one night
Even the constant electricity pisses you off

Ndah Olof dafa neh itam, roye du nurok piir
Nasaraan bi neh home is where the heart is
My heart stays yearning for the day I go back
Even though home is now full of pains to cause much unrest
It will always be where my life holds great meaning
Tuki tahut deka guenal ma fi ma jogeh

What Scares Me

Still on topics from the Challenge, I wrote this piece last night. Let’s see what you are scared of too. The comment box is open to you 🙂

Scared of My Fears

Life…
And all it is and brings
New days, new experiences
Expectations as the sun rises
Disappointments as it sets
Challenges in between
Uncertainties fill the hour
I’m told life happens but
I’m scared of the unknown.

Love…
Of finding and falling in
Of loving till I can love no more
Of seeing, living, breathing another
Of hurting from the distance that separates
Of the yearning, the praying, the hoping and wishing
Of the taste that lingers in my mouth
Of breaking down my walls, welcoming
Of this other person, of new beginnings.

The Tongue…
For it professes love by sunrise
Denounces it before sunset
Soft as its whispered promises
Unfulfilled, discarded, shelved for another
Speaks the truth, yet spreads the lie
Builds the rumour, then spits out in disgust
Sings my praises, yet capable of chastisement
I’m scared of this tongue of man.

Love…
Of dreams and promises
Of two hearts beating as one
Of visions for a rest-of-life together
Of two becoming one, bringing forth three
Of rising and falling, strong on all fours
Of sweet whispers and loud quarrels
Of days spent snubbing, nights of cuddling
Of making up, loving strong, before the next storm.

Death…
Or maybe that should have read dying
For the finality it presents, giving no options
Leaving pain, tears, nostalgia and prayer
Bringing an end to life, to love, to this fear
Of what lies beyond the Earth, the Day
Scales that weigh deeds, no details missed in the books
I’m scared of living and loving; living, loving and dying
I’m scared of what happens after I breathe my last.

Perfection

Balafong Magazine started a 30-Topic Poetry/Spoken Word Challenge on its Facebook Page sometime last week. Every two days, a new topic is released and the writers ‘in the house’ get to producing awesome poems. Due to time constraints and unpredictable spurts of writer’s block, I’m only writing when I can and on topics I have inspiration for. Topic 2 of the challenge was ‘Perfection’ and I share what I came up with below. Enjoy!

What If I Thought Myself Perfect

Bitstrips To The Rescue

From the corner of my eye, I saw him stop
Dead in his tracks, eyes transfixed on my racks
Mouth agape, pupils growing wider
Taking a slow vertical journey down all of my tall glory
And then…
‘You must be what perfection is’

Amusement claimed my lips, curved as if to kiss my eyes
Mirroring the glowing moon
The only light on this dark night
I scrutinised, this gentleman, hypnotised
By what he saw on the outside
A 5ft9 frame destined for a 6ft grave
Dark, smooth skin, tiny waist, killer smile
Donk lifting its cheeks up to the god of squats
Perfection seen through ‘superficial’ lenses
Oh snap! Lemme bring you back to your senses

I claim perfection and get shot by the moral army
Perfection belongs to the Supreme Being, they say
Then turn around and tell me I was created in His image
Makes me wonder, upon these questions I ponder
How is imperfection born from perfection
Is this image, like all photocopies, substandard
Replicas of a perfect original, tampered
With… by eyes that refuse to see, minds that refuse to understand
That I, created by the perfect one, am perfect

It’s in the beauty of my flaws, the rise after the falls
It’s in the scars I try to hide, a birthmark too visible
It’s in my tears, my smiles, my cries for help
It’s in my doubts, my fears, my insecurities
It’s in my confidence, my strengths, my so-called vanity
It’s in my humility, staying grounded, not an irony
It’s in my intelligence, my knowledge, my talents
It’s in my love, my loved, my loving
It’s in the essence of my being, my substance
It’s in this image of the Creator, this creation

I turned to brother man, still transfixed by this vision
Can’t blame him for wanting a piece of this perfection
He understands where it’s from, refuses to accept the status quo
Can’t tell him I’m not perfect, can’t make me believe same
You see, my perfection is in all that you deem imperfect
If humans were made to be fallible, then colour me perfect
A perfect human being, fashioned from perfect imperfections
Perfect
Imperfection
I’m perfection.