Friday, 8 February 2013

I'm Not “Back-to-Africa” Black

I’ve had this poem in mind for a few months now.  Recently, sis asked whether I’d yet penned it. So, in time for February’s first post – and, please don’t get me started on how I really feel about Black History Month – here is:

 I’m Not Back-to-Africa Black 

I'm not back-to-Africa Black 
Now and then I still hear talk of
“Black people going back to Africa
But, in that event,
Who would help me pack?
Moving is not an easy somet'ing
I should know.
I've moved to and lived in and worked in 
Three different countries now.

A whole heap of arrangements would need to be made 
And, quite frankly,
To call a spade a spade
I am way too comfortable
To go through all that hassle.

Remember “Seven Miles of Black Star Liner”? 
Who took into consideration the amount a wi who 'fraid o' water?
And would probably suffer from sea and other sickness
On the way to wi Modda
Then what?

Although things and times have changed
Maybe plenty still holding on to that dream.
More power to them. I mean that.
But, for me, that's not my scene.
If more of us were to be honest
When faced with the question?
From the comfort of our Diaspora homes
We would say no to repatriation.

Don’t it?

Some may argue that my not wanting to go back is backward
That's okay.
No point in trying to convince them it's my choice
It's not up for discussion, anyway.

But, let me pretend for a second
That I were at all up for the journey
That I were at a crossroads
And someone was there to usher me.
I take it we'd be flying in
With people at the airport to meet wi.

My preference 
For residence
Would be Kenya
Near my son, Thoya.
If not, then west, in Ghana
Some friends from there 
Used to say they know somebody 
Who I fava.
And then I met their friends and
After the pre-amble 
They too told me that they knew people I resemble.
My response was always, 
"I have that kinda face."
Apparently, I'd fit right in  if for nothing else but like-countenance.
I wouldn't necessarily feel outta place.

But, I'd jolly well have more than
Like-countenance going on
What exactly would I be doing on the continent in this year of our Lord?
Would I be expecting "Mama" Africa
To take me under her wings?
Would she owe me anything?
Or, would I be expected to "bring back” something?

Would she even recognize me 
The offspring of those that left?
Beyond my look-a-likeness and skin colour
Would I be too bereft
Of pertinent sensibilities and a certain sense of self
Having only an idea of Blackness
To which I am supposed to properly relate?
But, having not had the “appropriate” experiences –
African American and such –
Just can’t?
Africa of yesteryear is, in many ways, no longer.
And, not if, but when,
She realizes I don't quite fit in
Like her other children
What then?

For both our sakes I'd have to seriously consider
Back to the Diaspora.


(By the way, friends’ pictures of Ghana
Look like places in Jamaica
The… Step-Motherland?)

I’ve been influenced and shaped
By myriad frames of reference
Raised by parents – and the village
Standing on the shoulders of those strong enough to stand tall – 
And, even those whose backs bent a little –  
Under pressure.
To whom much has been given
Much is expected.
I don’t have to go back
To give back.

I am not back-to-Africa Black.
I am here
And, thanks to modern technology
Geography is now history.
Born in Jamaica
Living in Canada
Relating to my son in Kenya

Blessed by the Almighty. Jah.



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