A Deeper Shade of Black

some things can’t be given back

your father’s chin

your mother’s knees

the kiss of melanin

the fullness of your lips

the curl in your hair

somethings define you

whether you want them to or not

you can reject the burdens

packed for you before birth

they will weigh you down anyway

like wolves eat sheep

even if they don’t know

they are sheep

somethings are yours

you can lay them on the

sidewalk hoping someone picks

them up but they are yours

they will not go with the buyer

they are your song of self

even if you refuse to sing

I have hunkered down

in the pile of burdens

lifted them up

shook them off

followed the threads to find

the places they come from

I have smothered some to death

others I have breathed life into

painted them blue repacked

them into the bags that came with me

I am on the road singing the song of

me in the land of cotton

the mistress of midnight ink

rising after falling falling to rise again

still standing remembering

before the ships

the ships

the fields

how the bags of burdens are packed

where the ocean turns into a graveyard

& where the center of the whirlwind

touches down on desolate street corners

where Oya howls the possibility

of transformations to young warriors

off the path burning possible to survive

the night as Oshun whispers to broken hearted

mothers consoling them over spilled honey

promising the return of love the end of trauma

Ogun walks before me Shango got my back

I have become a deeper shade of black

singing loudly shining in the dark

black thoughts a full black heart

dreaming black dreams of oceans

rising after falling to rise again

black as a raven’s wing

black as crow song

black as night sky

black as the inside of the

thing & then some

growing blackness like

the precious fragile thing it is

like a place to stand in the storm

like being on your own front porch

somethings are yours

owned from within

inherited

like your mother’s knees

your fathers chin

where you start

the story of the genesis

the very all & all of it

not to be wished away

squandered

misunderstood

or frighten of

they are

the song

of

you

where you been

where you going & probably the why of

it there are things that even if you try

you can’t really forget so I embrace it

lean into it rest on it grow from it will always

default to it I am it wrapped steeped immersed

joyfully reverently bottom of the ocean with it

deeper in the deep than you can imagine with it

a deeper shade of black

than indigo shaded drum slapping

past midnight into the dawn

& back

Esu bless you

open the road for me

Olukun guards my legacy

Yemoja mothers me

Ogun walks before me

Shango got my back

I am a deeper shade of black

About Ayodele Nzinga, MFA, PhD

I create; therefore I am.
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One Response to A Deeper Shade of Black

  1. Judy L. Brekke says:

    Beautiful!!!

    Like

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