SPIRIT
BANTER

EZI ODOZOR

[1]
I have planted my foot in this soil, and wondered at the foiled bill of sale
that make these toes mine and this land ours, at least in part.
I heave upon my shoulders, yesterday's work and fasten it at the
collar, hands Blackened by birth, and time, and colony, and insistence.

Is it enough yet?

If I dangle from my lips a pipe and from my breast time
on a chain, will that make us equals?
Must I toil on new fields, under different sons and suns
in search of my birthright?

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[2]
Despite indigo, despite earth-bound clouds, 
I have made a new song of the wood, and rubber, 
and waterside, of mind, of mine, of soft black cushions of hair
pinned up and back, out of reach of your picking 
hands and flattening palms, and it is for me 
to sing inside out and out loud, in my key
tunned and wild and free.

I have brushed the dirt from my lips, 
untangled the cobwebs and laughed at you
and your surprise. 
I am full of mirth and tomorrow shaped things
whatever you may wish to believe. 
You will see me in your blinkered eye, 
open or closed, I’ll insist. 
This is not news, but it is a promise worth repeating. 

[3]
I have returned to where I have never been, always 
belonged, and dreamed of always and never. 
I am back, having never left,
knowing forward is as much back, as standing still. 

My veil of cowries shows me the way home.
I lay it at my feet, jump, and land
shaking the earth for I am material, here
where I have never been and always known. 

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[4]
My lips have grazed the heavens. 
The taste of stars, 
squeezed blue-black, lingers on my tongue. 
I have feasted and known my belly to be full. 
It is not always sorrow. Joy too. 

If you blink, and since you have, you’ll miss it. 
The moment caught in shattered glass and powder, 
where I told you so. 
Where I said I and knew it to be true. 
But powder and shattered glass do more than freeze the frame. 
They are the song you wrote in blood too. 
Look and see the proof.