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From the Congo to the Ghetto

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Arising before Congo dawns,
to fresh air and gentle breezes,
the merchants, traders and artisans,
worked until daylight ceased.

They built homes carved from ogbegbe trees,
along tree lined avenues,
and wove silk sails, to sail the seas,
in hand crafted wooden canoes.

Talking drums, and braided hair,
and funerals bedecked in white,
drank palm wine, and played Oware,
our culture at its height.

Congo nights, of waning sun,
and dancing beneath the trees,
before the coming to Alkebulan
of the Portuguese.

Our language lost, we seek in vain,
and endlessly endeavor,
to secure passage rites, and regain,
our culture that was severed.

Although, we were content, whether,
our roots were Bantu, Ilebo, or Bushongo,
seems we can’t remember ever,
living in the Congo.

Arising now, before ghetto noons,
to pollution and an ozone layer,
unemployed December to jobless June,
surviving on a wing and a prayer.

Tenements and slums,
along littered avenues,
drunkards and illiterate bums,
and crack houses to abuse.

Processed hair and ghetto boxes,
blaring on the night,
synthetic drugs and narcotic toxins,
our culture in  its flight,

Ghetto nights of uzi’s exploding,
and brother’s  dying in the street,
a recurring sense of depression aboding,
but difficult to defeat.

Though our vision be blinded,
by our  oppresor’s hand
we seek to be reminded
of another land.

And though,  we are troubled yet,
from Watts to the townships of Soweto,
seems we can’t, ever seem to forget,
living in the ghetto.

victori~1996

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