(1965 / Abor, Volta Region, Ghana)

Hell Is Nobody’s Home

at home, we speak not of martyrdom
nor of men who must die to be remembered
with imperial drums in a Sunday service
the dreamer never dies and they don’t just die

so, if we must die in this Missouri hills
with half heels in half soled shoes
clomping up and down Harlem streets
let us die a Youngman’s death shaking rivers
and with these rich dark root fingers recall Home
the clan of the brave, gallant with stores of Dreams

let us breathe the breath of Agboklu
and the women mourn our wry-filled nights
let us be the Sun from Africa that tags the western sky
melting souls and voices to squat in the mud of shame

let us drown our hearts in floods of Hope
to keep our mothers’ wombs warm
even in chilly strange lands
let us be remembered on village lanes
as sweet, even in gust and sore storms

let us not die in the deep, deep waterlog
of Holy Water and Extreme Unction
speaking famous-last-words
that mown down our frames through dawns
and peacefully took Breath from our pleading Lungs

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