Titilope Sonuga

(1985 / Lagos)

From A Place (with music) - Poem by Titilope Sonuga

I come from a place
where mothers go to battle each day
with a baby strapped across their backs
another still clinging from their breast
childcare at its finest

A place of street business men
who don't need a white collar to makes deals
they sign contracts with handshakes
shirtless
sometimes shoeless
they'll show you how to make money
make money

You will find anything in these streets
from hub caps to toilet seats
and it's been said:

If you leave home naked
find yourself caught in the gridlock traffic
of Lagos roads
they will have you dressed
boardroom sharp
briefcase in hand
between the mainland and the island

I come from a place of jaw dropping mansions
and face me - I face you rooms
where a child hawks goods in the blazing sun
next to an air conditioned Mercedes Benz
there are dichotomies here
abject poverty chewing at the seams that bind us
but we are the same people who built a city
on water
who bent fire and metal to give you art
built empires before the world's first breath

Check your textbooks
better yet
check your encyclopedia
read between the lines
you will find us there

You will find us everywhere
every continent
every country
every climate
speaking
Portuguese
French
Italian
yet they call us uncivilized

We'll show you how to perfectly pair
your caviar and wine
and still get down
fingers deep in a plate pounded yam

I come from a place
where the worlds best storytellers first spoke
who told you:

You must set forth at dawn
be No Longer At Ease
with that
Thing Around Your Neck
before Things Fall Apart

So when you ask me where I'm from

There are things I want to tell you
that are louder than my bright green passport
things heavier than the failed explosive
cradled in Mutalab's underpants
things more colorful than a well crafted 419 email

and you will never understand who I am
until you know exactly
where I come from


Comments about From A Place (with music) by Titilope Sonuga

  • Taonga Banda (3/19/2018 3:14:00 AM)

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, June 13, 2017



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