Monday, July 25, 2005

Oh! Africa, my Lionheart

I'm in your oil fields, fading fast in your arms.
The soldiers soften, the war is looming.
Europe's shelters are blooming clover.
Angry Americans fill the lanes--
in rain again.

Oh! Africa, my Lionheart!
H.I.V. steals the kids in Marakele Park.
Read me Soyinka on churning Niger--
That old river poet that never, ever ends.
Our thumping hearts hold the lions in,
Keep Goree castle from tumbling.


The most benign, helpful,
enlightened racism eviscerates.
painful - this spreading open
of ribs and soft private pouches -
revealing the tumbled brown
churned, gnashed bits of history,

legacy within. irreverent
sing-songs trilling
unity. they always teach
animals first. this is Africa
tourism, euros,
the weight

of pounds and
dollars pressing
human blood
out of textbooks.
But we always start with animals
asia, australia, americas


and europe too I presume?
the sad sorry story of romans
bringing their own brand of imperialism
to the mangy, unwashed, breast-thumping
tattooed celts? must be saved
for later. when they are ready.

when is this? the first time
they find themselves
in a non-white environment
chirping songs of peace and human
loving to their pharmaceutical company
denied cheap drugs for AIDS diagnosed

dying African peers; or advocating
nonsense about pussy and joy
to girlfriends with mutilated genitals
who just want a cook-stove,
three cows and clean water
to survive? we have to answer

this survival question first.
who are we really protecting?
it begins with a honest head nod
to this peculiar cellular combination

we have named human.

Oh! England, my Lionheart,
I'm in your garden, fading fast in your arms.
The soldiers soften, the war is over.
The air raid shelters are blooming clover.
Flapping umbrellas fill the lanes--
My London Bridge in rain again.

Oh! England, my Lionheart!
Peter Pan steals the kids in Kensington Park.
You read me Shakespeare on the rolling Thames--
That old river poet that never, ever ends.
Our thumping hearts hold the ravens in,
And keep the tower from tumbling.
(1)

1 - Kate Bush, Lionheart.

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