Djoliba’s Worth

I was born in Kankan
Delivered on top of old German trucks
Full of djoula musos and the wares they peddle
Between Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Liberia, Sierra Leone…
Back to Kankan I came
After the guns knocked on our doors
And the grave diggers lost their shovels
But Guinea is a hard place to call home
When you are young and your French is… comme ci comme ca

A Kempu Mani in Conakry
Would get you ridiculed in not so funny ways
But I have my ways
Of staying away from Alakabons
In my shinning suit or fine basin
Paper works in hand
Mouth full of that sweet old African smile
In a hot bus, human beings
Packed like sardines
Headed to Taiqui reciting Ayatalkurusi
99 times and promising God:
Mmari Allah, if you give me this visa
I will do the Moriba Yassa
Down Route Niger from here to Madina
Back to pack my bags
Say my byes
America here I come!

America here we come
New graduates, doctors
Entrepreneurs, engineers,
Teachers and mothers
America here we come
The ones that survived the long embassy lines
Came with their cousins’ passport
And didn’t get stopped at the airports
The lucky ones!

But if this is winning the lottery,
There are days when I feel like screaming
I want my mille franc back!
Cos the thing about dreaming
When you wake up you find out
You’re still in bed

You don’t know cold
Until the winds off Michigan hit you
In the middle of December
It’s sunny under deep blue skies
But ahhh, like many things
On this side of the Atlantic
The sun is an optical illusion
It might as well be a picture in the sky

When I tell them I used to
Share bed and shower with three and four other boys
They say I was gay
When I say damn right I was happy
They look at me funny
Damn near made me look at me funny
America would mess with your head
Mispronounce your name
And make you feel wrong for saying it right

New in a new high school in a new country
From a misunderstood continent
When he said fuck you
I thought thank you
Cos nothing says welcome to America quite
Like fuck you motherfucker, you aint shit!
This America

Would ask you for your ID
Shoot you 41 times when you reach for your wallet
This America

Would rape you in a New York hotel room
And tell the world
You are less than honorable
This America

A de e dooya
Aban ka talon do e seyndou
Ka fou e yen ko ani e bouyeh lalay
This is not the America we lined up for
This is the America we wake up for
From 6am to 6am
Too busy picking up the pieces
To pick up our pieces
Loving America to love ourselves
When we find ourselves
We find out America never loved us at all

A ke koyuma
America has a short memory
And your life is long
The green card could save you from deportation
But if you don’t marry for love
You would never know joy
E ka na yena eyereko and lose your texture
Not for neon lights on graveyard boulevards
Not the dollar, not the Range
Parked in a two car garage off Mississippi Road
Kunorafeli le mo tola tunkana
Koni woo ma yeriyolun ke yumodendi
You are more than broken promises
Whispered by an exotic dancer whining between your legs
The tapestry sewn in your skin in those early morning rituals
Everything about you
Has been in the making million years to perfection
Be gold, be diamond
Nimba and Djoliba
If they cannot afford you
Be you anyway
Nbany, e wara e kunfe nyasisi can
Ally e bafo abeyla
Fani e mafo e yerila
E mafo fosi la!

Written by IBé in: Poems | Tags: , , , , ,


  • bebah

    this is avery nice poem, and true to it facts,
    I read ” Yaltakurusi 99 times” in your which i thouhgt should be corrected for ” Ayatalkurusi 99 times”
    Thanks for the good job.

    Comment | 10/09/2012
  • Bebah,
    Thank you! I will make the edit as soon as possible. It’s always a guesing game trying to transcribe one language in another.

    Comment | 10/09/2012

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