Immigration brought America its first black president.
Sitting with this pen between my lips, as dad
Said not to, I'm twiddling and thinking of
Tigers looking into a mirror.
Do they see just the beastly muscle to rip flesh
Apart, or can they see the black, gold, silver, orange
Calligraphy of a meadow, plucked to glorious
Melody like a guzheng serenading the prey
Before Medusa's magic mars their future?
Do parrots notice the pale sparrow's envy at
Its militarily-decorated plumage which holds
Divine discourse with the sun rushing past
The leaves to caress a masterpiece chirping
Away under a pale green canopy craving its
Variety splash of colors upon itself?
Sitting and twiddling this ink, I'm thinking.
Are "precious" and "scarce" synonymous?
King Midas turned everything ordinary to something
Now ordinary, and by returning them to their
Ordinary state they became precious.
Could this be why I now miss the hair I hated to comb
In painful strokes? Or why I would prefer scrolling
My Twitter feed than feeding off my son's glorious
Imaginary worlds whence crazy stories spring,
But which I miss, because this is here, that is there?
Could this be why thrust from misery, to slavery,
Then to a land of freedom and opportunity whose
Prowess the paler countries of the world cast
Envy upon, wishing the variety splash of colors,
And music, and glory, and gold upon themselves,
The American from Africa focuses on the "African",
Missing the "American" in "African American"?
Could this be why other Africans come to America
And seeing the plumage, seize the Value in "American"
Live the American dream walking to Pennsylvania Avenue,
Saying "Yes we can!": but most Africans don't listen?
2 thoughts on “Immigrant President”
Wonderful, insightful poetry, as always, Nyonglema. It’s a fact that black immigrants are doing far better than ‘African American” on the economic scale in America.
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Thanks for stopping by Len. Indeed, it hit me the other night when listening to James Baldwin claim African Americans had been kept out of the system, and realising it’s a tragedy of self-limitation fuelled by self-pity. Legal immigrants are coming from hell and living the American dream, while Americans miss the boat complaining.
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