Ain’t I African?

by Raki Jordan

I was born on water,
in a country called boat –
Ain’t I African?
Swollen nostrils, protruding lips,
feet still running from the waters;
hair intertwined with maps navigating me home –
eyes blinded by hope—determination.

Ain’t I African? Ain’t I? Ain’t I too been bleached
by the sun, charred by its rays? Dark skinned, eyes
illuminating pain—progress aligned with struggle.

Ain’t I African? Don’t I bleed blood of beating drums –
Black fists pounding air, tribal instance dancing in my veins?
What makes me different from you? Skin diluted by salt water?
Welts swollen from the sting? Body an embodiment of chains?
Future not being free?

Ain’t I African? Ain’t I proud of me being you?
Did I not sing it beautifully?
Haven’t I made you sing it too?

Ain’t my skin soil—though, tainted by the muddy
waters of the Southern bayous?
Neck elongated from cotton fiber ropes,
muscles forever tense from centuries of exhaustive
work; pain passed on to generations of babies, limbs
enlarged from manipulation –

Ain’t I African? Ain’t I still danced in the confines
of shackles, heat curdling rhythm—feet stomping
beyond trees, echoing home from across the sea?

Can’t you hear me? The sounds of bull-whips across my back
made you deaf? Did the sound of gurgling water from my throat
muted my cry for help? Teary eyes, bulging tongue –
veins throbbing from my neck.

Ain’t I African? Ain’t I? Did it die when I went
on to the waters, floating on the waves—twirling in the sea?
Did it die when I became Black?
Did you forget about me—the water child, grasping to be free?

Raki Jordan is an avid reader, who enjoys writing pieces that’ll encourage thought-provoking interpretations of his works. Jordan is inspired by his everyday life, capturing the often bitter sweetness of his environment and society.