elizabeth's daughter


i am heading to akwa ibom tomorrow for a few days. have been dragging my feet like a petulant child, only because i have a difficult time tearing myself away from the lagos-style enjoyment of life. while there i will not be conducting any further interviews toward my memoir project, elizabeth's daughter, although i have spent the past few days putting together quite a bit of writing from the past year.

i'm pleased with how it's progressing, and should be able to publish a few essays very soon and at least start the ball rolling with a publisher (wish me luck). tho it might take several years, i'm certain the linked essay approach is my best bet at moving steadily toward the goal. will workshop some of them here, if i feel so inclined.

heard tons of wonderful songs and poetry at bogobiri open mic yesterday, namely from the ever fabulous wana udobang. found myself wanting to share something, sang a couple of songs, but it would have been great to do a reading, too. in light of this, i felt compelled to repost a poem i wrote awhile back in response to seeing an old picture of my mother. enjoy. --AL.


on a hot day in
february 1964
a white buick waits on a
winding, dusty road
somewhere in akwa ibom

the parched shrubs and
sun-bleached road
communing their boredom, waiting
for your girlfriends to
get inside the car

while two, stylish young men in the front seat
rev the engine and
tune the radio to high life

there is another girl
clad in a white polka dot tank top
who has just handed off her camera and is
cutting a line back toward the car

(and a moment after this picture is taken she will turn and shout
"but i told you to wait!"

there is another girl, no more than twenty
standing behind the car
whom i cannot see so clearly

i think it is you, but
she appears like a
a lone head with a jet black afro
and the same
gap-toothed smile
dark amber-colored irises
that are my own

perhaps it is my own image, like a
reflected off the shiny Kodak paper;
your face,
burnished by the hot sun to a
deep bronze, and
your teeth shining bright

years after your father died, but
still before the war
you are all joy
eternal hope

i wonder whether
if i could have met you then
as a young woman
whether we might have been

(on the back of the photo you wrote:
Veronica, Alicia and their friends.
They took me on an evening ride in their mother's car

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  1. This is the second time you've posted this. More beautiful than the first time I read this.

  2. the poem reads like prose... beautiful that you'd come with all of that from an old picture of your mom. All the best with the entire bodyof work


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