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What I longed for

What I longed for

Plates of seasoned yellow plantains

and fat, fat nectarine colored shrimp


David Adjaye’s scarlet tower Alara—

A wondrous performance

The sumptuous chaos on a Lagos Street

The luxury of sudden rain on skin

Whiz Kid’s Ojuelegba

Making me swerve  and swing as if I had no power at all to hold myself still

Opening a book randomly to PJ Clarke’s “Ibadan”

The cornucopia of vinyl at Jazz Hole


Those plates of color splashing Mokola Market

Soft nights when I listened to the sea at Labadi roar

The sinewy girls

Weaving through the megapolis’ throng

Bundles on their heads

Burdened, bemusing and oh sooo beautiful

The eyes of men and women I didn’t know

Seeing me

My Great Uncle Simon

The kindest human I’ve ever met

—The quarters he gave us in an age when two cents was a fortune—

Raised from the dead.

Adare at Chief Nike’s

Osei Duro at Elle Lokko

Kente, of course


Andy Brown and the Storm

The scent of plumerias after heavy rains

Zebras crossing the highway, night wisdom emanating from their eyes

The smoke that thunders -Mosi Oa Tunya

Bathing us in a fantastical fog

Mysterious monkeys in a silent town, eating beans from your palm

Dark, dark, chocolate

Yes, before everyone realized dark chocolate is good for you

I knew

Your dark Chocolate skin

Your abs and your smile belied any indulgence in sugar…

Though sweetness was your milieu

The scent of Perfection soap, brewed Tatenda tea,

Royco Usabi packaged seasoning on fresh trout

In a hot kitchen


The shack that passed as a café

The gentle woman and her two children

Serving the best coffee in Cape Coast

instant Nescafe


Dreams burning in dungeons

Drums, drums, DRUMS

The Alchemy of weighted chained bodies

Into the sound of Thelonious, Miles, Coltrane, Mongo and Dizzy


A crimson ball in a turquoise sky

The sun seeping into my pores

Resurrecting those charred dreams of my ancestors

The delirium that is Africa

I longed for home.


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