“Somalia: Nevermind”: Poem by Amir Sulaiman

Thanks to celebrated, HBO Def Jam poet Amir Sulaiman for letting me publish his brilliant poem on Somalia. May we all open our palms to pray for her and our wallets to feed her.


“Somalia: Nevermind”: Poem by Amir Sulaiman

black faces

white tongues

the smell of sea water

taunts with sarcasm

drink me

 

oh somalia

im sorry i couldnt be there for you

but while you were trying to to get your daughter

to drink her urine

a singer died

while your children

were falling from the tree of life

scattered bushels of rotten fruit

some whiter children were shot

 

oh somalia

only if your beautiful wasnt so black

only if you were

gaza or

libya or

bahrain or

egypt or

norway or

england or

japan or

america

or the moon

i would mention you in a poem

 

only if you had

oil or

poppy or

timber or

rubber or

gold or

white people

i would mention you in my prayers

 

oh somalia

only if your beautiful wasnt so black

the world has grown accustom to watching you die

since i was a child

somalia - synonymous with suffering

african meant adversity

an african struggling was like

a fish swimming

a dog barking

somalia meant starvation

 

nevermind the magic in your poetry

or

the glowing saints rising from your lands like a thousand moons

 

nevermind the beauty of your beaches

or

the utter perfection in the hips of your women

 

oh somalia

only if you didnt wear the resemblance of eve

like an ornate funeral shroud

we wouldnt see you as our sin

and avert our gazes

in shame

turn our faces

to blame

only if your lack of the worldy

didnt remind us

of our lack of the other-worldly

perhaps then we would mention you

 

oh somalia

only if your beautiful wasnt so black

 


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