At first, I knew who I was
But as the times passed on, I became ashamed of who I am
My mother is Chinese, My father is a Nigerian
Who is a Chinese? Who is a Nigerian? And What am I?
I can sense you feel my predicament by now
I don’t know what to call myself

My parents met in the United States, and that is where I was born
Well, then, I hear you say I am an American, right?
But at the age of 2 (as I was told), my dad relocated to Nigeria, along with my mom and I
To add salt upon my painful injury, I looked 70% like my mom
I was able to speak my language, very fluently
Funny as it may sound, people paid me money

Just so they could see a “white boy” speak “their” language
At 15, something else happened that changed the course of my life
Dad kicked the bucket, One of the many things I will never understand
Why would He do that when we had soccer balls lying in the house?
His family waged war against us and called mom a “witch”
They made several kinds of racial slurs against mom and I
I guess it was too much that Mom had to leave
We went back to China, in her hometown of Ji’nan
I was fifteen at the time, so, I would have known
What it felt like to go back and not be able to speak Chinese
My Nigerian accent was so thick

Thick enough to sculpt the whole The Terracotta Army
This went on for years that I had to go to a special school

In order to learn the language of my motherland
Now, 10 years later, I have mastered the ways of my people
But wait a minute, who are my people?
I was born in America, and I still shuffle back and forth for business meetings
My father is Nigerian and so he gave me a Nigerian name
I also speak a Nigerian language and once in a while battle with a bowl of foufou
Ma is Chinese, Apart from the fact that I look like one,
I speak the language and currently represent The People’s Republic of China internationally
Now tell me, Who am I? Or What am I?

A Nigerian? An America? A Chinese?

21 thoughts on “Identity” by Ayokunle Falomo (@aryor)

  1. A chinigeriamerican, that’s who you are. Good one. Wonder why they didn’t just stay in America.

    1. I like that, chinigeriamerican! It’s hard to pronounce though, lol.

  2. Emotional.’Identity’ here becomes a metaphor for those things we seek and don’t find lost in Never Never land.The search for Identity is a primordial and atavistic urge the more reason I sympathise with the persona.Eheh they say DNA’s don’t lie abi,so take my cue.If it doesn’t work then I ditto Jaywritter.

    1. “The search for Identity is a primordial and atavistic urge” WOW, but it is true though.

  3. I don’t think your identity can ever be found in your nationality. Who you are is far more than your skin color, or language or country of birth or all those other things we erroneously use to define ourselves.
    Having said that – Good one! This is a poem with a difference.

    1. Right on! That’s actually my thesis for the poem. My argument was if those things were actually meant to define us as individuals, then this young man would definitely have a problem. Thanks for your input, Lade.

  4. You are the guy who was born in America to a Nigerian father and a Chinese mum. Does this help???

    1. It helps, thanks. But come to think of it, it’s Simple, yet complex. Sorta sounds weird explaining every time to everyone who asks who you are. You know?

  5. hm,this is different oh and I ditto Lade,who you are got nth to do with the skin or country or sth,you’re not successful or incapable coz ur a nigerian or american or chinese.
    I really love this.

    1. Hmm, our incapability or success has nothing to do with our nationalities, or tribes, or skins. A person is just incapable, well, because he is. I really love your comment. Thanks.



    1. I Guess that’s all that matters after all, lol.

  7. I ditto Lade oh! Tis Not about colour or Language na. :)
    Nice poem Ayo. I like.

    1. Thanks Remi. I’m glad you like it.

  8. All those ones na gepgraphical contraptions!!!….I ditto lade all the way.

    A beautiful one here.

    Well done!!!

  9. very nice
    you could as well be a citizen of the world.

    1. Then a citizen of the planet I’ll be. Thanks.

  10. @jaywriter, that’s am nice 1. @ayokunle, please forgive me for saying that you are 10 times better a poet than a novelist/short story writer. this one really tickled my fancy.. WELL DONE SIR

    1. Ahaha, don’t mind @jaywriter. Giving the character a name he can’t even pronounce. Adding to his problem, lol. Sir, you’re forgiven. Go and sin no more. Actually go and sin a hundred times more. I love the compliment, ahahaha. I think I know why you said that though, the risk of not outlining or thinking about what to write and all that can be taken with poetry, but not with stories OR at least I think so. In any case, glad I was able to tickle your fancy. Thanks.

  11. Mr. Falomo, this was actually posted on my birthday!! Don’t know how I missed it since. I like the theme. Really nice. In my experience, almost all mixed race people have identity issues. Fact.

    1. Just seeing this @guywriterer. Thanks for reading it. It is true, yeah. Confusion in what to call themselves is a real problem.

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