Liberia – A Poem by Ayouba Toure


        after Allen Ginsberg

You have made breathing as tiring a thing as reaching
the last floor of the world’s tallest building
by stairs. You have made survival as tedious as
swimming across the Atlantic. Your sun is merciless.
Your rain is cruel, it deprives us of our homes.
Your streets are flooded with bodies
that are not too far from rotting. At night,
the city becomes so dark that the moon screams
for mercy. It’s two decades since the gun went off & still
Monrovia is obsessed with its black, thick smoke.
& still your soil keeps drinking our blood.
& still everyone is running to the border. Liberia,
you pushed my cousin out of a speeding
earth. He died because you couldn’t secure him
what countries across the Mediterranean guarantee
their occupants: peace, skyscrapers, honey, roses,
education, pizza, shawarma, butterflies, moon,
snow, security. Liberia, when will you erase the holes
the bullets carved in our chests? When will you
anoint our stomachs? When will you turn our water
into wine? When will you allow us be those birds
partying in a perfect evening sky? Why
are the newspapers always like this—bleeding? Why
is every dream conceived under your sky a mountain?
Liberia, do you know the absence of rain that
makes us sunburn here is summer elsewhere? Liberia,
what the fuck are you waiting for to sing us to sleep?

Ayouba Toure writes from Paynesville, Liberia. He is a staunch believer in the poetry and teachings of Dr. Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, and has works published (or forthcoming) in Lolwe, Olongo Africa, and elsewhere. He tweets @abuoyaeruot

Art: Jagged Line, an image by Robert Frede Kenter (c) (2022). Twitter: @frede_kenter

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