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Liberated Muse Arts Group

Obama in Kenya by Deidre CreativeSoul

First, unity:

our fathers' names

stretched into question marks,

every blank space

crowded with assumptions;

 

hearts that beat

for single moms,

senior citizens

and poor dreamers;

 

brown skin tones implying

connection to distant nations

we have never known

and no end of grief

in our so-called own

which not even the spirit of aloha

allowed you to ignore.

 

Does it really matter, then,

that your Kenyan big ma

can trace the family back

twelve generations?

 

A little.

 

You are Luo. I am… jealous.

My question marks are bolder,

my blank spaces, longer.

They throb like missing limbs.

 

Some days, I search the mirror

for traces of faces that predate

cotton, chains and crack cocaine.

I miss the music of their names.

 

Can you explain this rage to America?

 

Does it matter that your Kansan grandparents

resemble the bandits who robbed me

of an ancestry more specific than

kente stoles, Senegalese twists and

other scraps of Continental cultures

pieced together by people

with no remembered past

to glorify?

 

It seems almost too-convenient

that in the aftermath of Hurricane Bush,

white America has fallen in love

with you, who will not remind them

their ancestors were bandits

who crucified our sages

and scrubbed our mother's tongues.

 

With you, they can pretend

that all my scars are self-inflicted,

feed me Greco-Roman-British legends

through ever-present airwaves

yet insist that I am tragically obsessed

with Africa's inglorious past.

 

After all, one of “us” has made it to the White House:

isn't that enough to satisfy?

 

Not quite. You are Luo. I am…

homeless. I dare not hope

that you have come to bandage

open wounds or purge

planted images of flesh eaters

and headhunters, maniacal warlords

and fat-bellied skeletons.

 

If you could, they would nail you to a cross. 

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Deidre CreativeSoul

Deidre CreativeSoul is a poet, photographer and publisher. Her debut collection,
Border Crossing: a poetic memoir, was released at the end of 2015 and is set primarily
in the small neighborhoods where she was born and raised on the edge of Washington, DC
and Prince George's County, Maryland. A traveler at heart, she has worked, lived and
studied in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston and most recently, New Orleans. She has
performed in nearly every city she's called home, including Womanifest, a quarterly
showcase of women artists in New Orleans, Black Friday, a bimonthly arts event in
Atlanta, and Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC.

Deidre is a graduate of Emerson College's MFA program in Creative Writing and an
alumni of the Cave Canem Poetry Retreat. Her poems have appeared in several
publications including the anthologies Full Moon on K Street and Gathering Ground.
After teaching community writing workshops and college-level writing courses for
several years, Deidre led her first international poetry workshop in 2014 at Culture
and Development East Africa in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and gave her debut
performance in Ghana in February 2016.