Couldn't find a picture with  a black girl...does it matter?

Couldn’t find a picture with a black girl…does it matter?

Hello guys!

I apologise for my absence and unsatisfactory answers to your ‘where-have-you-been’s. Consistency isn’t my forte right now, and guess whose phone decided to stop functioning. I wrote this piece last year and I just realised I haven’t shared it, though I recited it at an open mic event. Who said throwbacks have to be posted only on Thursdays? Enjoy, and kindly drop your comments. πŸ™‚




You pass your verdict
even before I plead my case,
Stormily spewing slander,
Like a volcano ejecting lava,
as you describe my features:
Lacklustre eyes,
brows the Creator carved in darkness,
a nose that struggles to breathe,
behemoth lips.
Your incandescent eyes bore into me with no sympathy,
glazing my eyes, inducing steam;
decreasing my grace with every glance you steal.
Crack. Shatter. Scatter.
That’s the sound of breaking self-esteem.

Mirror, Mirror on the wall.
You conceited, unfair judge of all.
You dissenter,
Disserving my head from the sky,
Bringing her down low to flirt with earth,
As tears from her eyes wet the ground.

Today, my tears flow a different course,
Unto your face this time.
I weep because you do not know you are blind.
How can you not see the beauty within me?
Come, let me save you from your misery.
Crack. Shatter. Scatter.
That’s the sound of breaking glass.


Who placed a crown upon your head
and adorned you with royal robes?
Is your blood thicker than the red in our veins?
Or is it different, is it of a purple shade?

Who put a gavel in your right hand,
the staff of justice in your left?
Are the laws of the land entrenched deeper in your psyche than in ours?
Is there a halo we cannot see, hovering around your holy head?

Hello there, Voice of the people.
Do you purloin words from our mouths and cram them into yours?
Or do you spew words from your mouth and label it ours?
Do you speak because you have a higher pitch?
Do you sing because you own a birdlike song?

Who bestowed upon you this authority?
God, you say?
Show us the certificate He wrote,
to defend your claim.
An angel delivered it to your doorstep, no?
Pray, tell us his name.

Our knees will kiss the floor in reverence,
as we spread our garments for your will to ride into our hearts,
only when you answer the question we ponder,
who made you ruler and judge over us?

Questions are, in my opinion, the most effective way to challenge people- their actions, thoughts and beliefs. This poem was written in the course of my meditation on a question Emmanuel Iduma posed to a group of people who were participating in a writing workshop, including me. We were discussing the politics of our writing and most of us stated that writers are the spokespersons, the voice of the people. He then said, “But who gave us the authority?”
I tried to form a conclusive answer, and I am still trying.
When we write on matters arising, offering our opinions, judgements and prescriptions (which is a good act in itself) we believe we are speaking on behalf of the general public, or an affected group of people, but where does the right to do that stem from? Is it just a part of our fundamental human rights? Does it emanate from a sense of God-given responsibility, self-imposed duty, or social obligation to the world we belong to? Or does it, like a friend of mine said, emanate from a sense of requital in appreciation to the heroes ahead of us who have helped us advocate for a cause?
Is the need to advocate for people simply innate?
I think these questions are necessary because it helps us understand ourselves and our world. It serves as a measure of the nobleness of our intentions in our use of words and actions.
When we can honestly identify the source of our authority, it will show forth in our words and work, empowering us to command the listening ears and approving hearts of people.
It enables your audience know why it is your voice that should be heeded amidst the other voices contending for attention.
Since I’ve already thrown a barrage of questions at you, I might as well end with one. What do you think about this ‘authority’ I (and Iduma) speak of?