I am many things but confused
I know myself in depth
But somehow have I lose grip
On issues that concern me
And even though I so much want to,
To take control,
I really can’t have it.
So for a start, you can call me helpless.
I have been speechless for decades.
I remember once at Ogoni
When I thought I should speak up.
How my tongue was hung on a noose
Along with eight others.
So, you can call me voiceless.
I am a richly endowed woman
With the breasts of a virgin maiden
That is pointing to high heaven
Like a cross breed of orange and papaya
Attracting them from north, south, east and west.
And when I say west, I mean West.
So call me beautiful.
They tumble on themselves
To suck at my breasts
To insert their huge long pipes
Into my fountain to drill for sweet richness.
They say my milky juice is rich.
It is painful the way the gag;
The way they drag and tear;
Leaving me with scars all over.
So in pity, you can call me mutilated.
The hairs of my head
And my beards beneath and below
Are thick and bloomy
Like the rain forests and mangrove swamps
Cross crossing the coasts and inlands
Of the deltas of the Niger River
So call me fertile, fruitful or rich.
My daughters are sharp and beautiful like
Grace Alele Williams and Agbani Darego;
My sons are intellectual giants and warriors like
The John Pepper Clarkes and the Tompolos
They cut across in greatness at every endeavor like
Blessing Okagbare, Clement Isong, Louis Edet…
So please call me proud and blessed.
My fountain flows endlessly
In spite of my turmoil, with thick black gold
Which smells rich and sweet.
So call me verdure, elegant or evergreen.
Nobody cares for me
They delight in raping me:
These oil companies
And my conniving governments.
They leave me wounded all over
Without treatment or care.
So call me degraded or exploited.
My only hope for freedom someday
Comes from the loud sounding canons
Fired by my aggrieved children
Every now and then.
So you can call me a dreamer.
When one day freedom eventually comes
Then you can call me emancipated.