remember to resist

by verse writer

 

powerful.raised fists.broken chains
that is my poetry
it is laced with truth
drenched in tears
soaked in sweat
filled with ink
that can make you think
of loving yourself over and over again
of unlearning and learning what you blindly accepted
of understanding and realizing that you are bold and brave enough to tell your story
so cheers to my creative writing teacher in year four who taught me to always tell mine

you have now reached the cover of of ivory and ink
let your small hands rub the rubber
i mean the paper
on which my first character wrote hers
she called hers have you ever been free?
because women like her cry out their pains but are silenced
women like her are never truly free
might never be able to exercise their agency
so please ensure you replace the personal pronouns you thought were hers
the ‘shes’ and ‘yous’ especially with…

oh wait.

she has none
so lanaire speak up ! with passion! with anger !
have you ever been free?
you, yes you
woman plaiting for cornrows for the little girl
in the candle lit room
silently wondering why wax melts
you were never taught science were you
no , your fathers and brothers mistook you for a bride
child not bride
seven hundred and twenty days
after the painful cut
remember to resist

nigerian history has a reputation of conveniently forgetting our women’s names and achievements
and so does your history and your history
do you still doubt me?

have you heard of nana asma’u ?
a poet and fighter for women’s education
please excuse my mispronounciation
but you’ve heard of her father
usman danfodio- a teacher and scholar
and don’t you just know funmilayo ransome-kuti
as just the first woman to drive a car?
but she was the leader of the egba market women
or are you aware that the aba women’s protest of 1929?
was an anti-colonial feminist protest made of women who fought and resisted patriarchy
disguised as a white man

you have now reached the end of ivory and ink
you must pay attention to the next poem
it is for men and women who place
western beauty standards on a high pedestal
for you, I have 2 simultaneous equations
equation 1 : whiteness + me = light
equation 2:. blackness me = darkness

remember to resist

Nigeria has one of the highest bleaching rates in the world

so Lanaire , perform this poem with anger , with passion, with might:

i sang my hymn like this
all women bright and beautiful
all women great and small
all women wise and wonderful
the Lord God made them all
slim thighs, no thick thighs and wise noses
arched brows that resembled the curves of girls and their mothers
clear in lace wrappers
but sometimes hidden in their covers
i learnt that beauty can be made of all shapes and sizes
can be light skinned or dark skinned
could have acne or freckles
could have rosy lips or big dark large ones too
which western media once viewed as taboo

powerful.raised fists.broken chains
that is my poetry
it is laced with truth
drenched in tears
soaked in sweat
filled with ink
that can make you think
of loving yourself over and over again
of unlearning and learning what you blindly accepted
of understanding and realizing that you are bold and brave enough to tell your story
so cheers to my creative writing teacher in year four who taught me to always tell mine

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