Monday, March 22, 2010

i wrote this for you

(on Sunday, March 21, 2010, a group of Queer Nigerians in New York City got together to have dinner and all be in the same room for the first time. this was written after that.)

I wanna be close to you

you and I who are from the same place, soil, laughter

I wanna be close to the places our souls overlap

this is where my smiles live

egusi and pounded yam and pepper soup

are all ways for me to be close to you

you cook in the kitchen

I come up behind you, hold you and lay my head on your back

I just want to be close to you

feel your breath

know you’re real

know there's more than one me

know someone else has the same rhythms in their blood

has the same blood

know someone else has this many vowels in their name

I want to know someone else whose name sounds like a poem when it’s spoken

round sound full with beats dips valleys drums and heartbeats vibrating in their name

I want to know someone who knows Nigeria this way

I want to look at you

you who looks at me and looks like me

smiles like me

you who I know already and don’t

and want to

and you who I love already

who is family

you who are who I’ve been looking for

you who are me

you who have taught me in one night more about home than I can put into this poem

I wanna be close to you

us sagging jeans, tight jeans, bright colors, dark colors, shy, outspoken, exactly the same, completely different, beautiful earrings, sexy boots, sneakers and barefoot

so much flava

Edo and Jos and Patani and Lagos and Yoruba and Igbo and Urhobo and Ijaw and Delta State gets the last word cuz she the one writing

I love us

I want to touch you

like how you want to touch a rainbow or a newborn or run through sprinklers in the summer

I want to be with you, be around you, call you by your full name, the whole thing, the long long name that everyone tries to find shortcuts to avoid, gives you nicknames you never asked for and American names and French names and English names but baby I only want to call you by your proper name, the whole thing, and I will say it twice everytime so you know how much I love it

I want you

I want to feel you breathe

have summer with you

always make you feel understood

when no one understands

or maybe they do, but not quite the way you need them to

I want you

I want to flirt with you


with no intention of anything but being playful with you

to tease you

and eat the crepes you make

(and plantain and yam and stew and goat and fish)

I want to listen to your stories and see my face painted in the words you say

when you’re saying words that describe you

and somehow me too

and I want you, in the purest sense, I want your stories and the things that hurt you and the things that lift you, build you, make you happy, to come to light,

I want you to bring all of you into the circle of all our arms

this is what I mean when I say I want you

I want your spirit in the building, in the room, in the circle, here

I want to hear about who you love and why

I want to know about your little brother

your sister

your mother

your father


your joys

your confusion


I want all of you to come here

sit here

be here

breathe here

it’s—it’s just wow.

to know you

to know you like this is wow

when you speak, I feel it in me because I’ve lived what I’ve lived

you are my family

and I wrote this for you

I came home and I can’t sleep and I can’t watch any movies or read anything

all I can do is think about all of us

all of us

all I can do is lay here and think

and feel all the magic you are

this is the poem that is too small to fit all of this

how many times and how many people and how many books have told all of us that we don’t exist?

and there we were, recreating the recipes our mamas, daddies, aunties taught us to make and bringing them to each other from all parts of the city

to look into the eyes

of the ones

that don’t exist

tell me what else is that but magic?

and that is why I can’t sleep tonight

that is why even though I walked through that door with a broken heart, something shifted and brought laughter into me when I saw you

I learned awhile ago that even when I am tired and hurting and unclear

the thought of our queer Nigerian stories

always brings me joy

I started writing tonight because I thought maybe I should put it all down somewhere

like I can bottle the laughter in that room and conjure it up when I need to

when I miss her

or when I’m lost

or when I can’t get out of bed

or when I’m overwhelmed

or or or or or

this poem is the attempt to bottle the magic

a little bit of it

so on a tough day

I can uncork it

and hear your breath.


Rhea Nekhebet said...

That was gorgeous!

THERishouldbeAPY said...

This was lovely! I especially liked it when you talked about loving someone like you! I'd love to find a Nigerian girl who had similar ideals and values as I do. How nice! Please invite me next time! I collect Nigerians.... ♥

iQWOC said...

That just made my ENTIRE day. Love you, sis. :)

splitsun said...

Wonderful. Your photos remind me of my home (Trinidad and Tobago). The clothes hanging on the line with the trees.

Olen said...

This was really beautiful. As a naija chick, I wish I got the same thing.

Kreativ said...

Where are they? Would be great to meet some. Is there a group floating around?

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