Monday, June 29, 2009

for opal palmer adisa (33)

with all the rainbow’s splendor
for opal palmer adisa

she had a knack for figuring
out the finite in the infinite
from ‘roti’

well known to nigeria’s gwari, berom & otárók
peoples, who dwell in her plateau lands,
u can rise daily to go to farm & if the gods
smile widely, showing their sparkling teeth,
while clearing the land of its native cover,
while removing rocks & stones, opals &
tourmalines can be found resting anonymously
on the surface. the trick of fate is to know what
they are, recognize their iridescent value, or they
will be mindlessly tossed for the mundane yam,
sorghum & millet pray/planted in the holes they
leave. i found u in much the same way. the certain
surfaces of yr poems drew me to u, daughter of
the uncommon yam, caught my eye; appeared
to change colors in the way of soap bubbles,
butterfly wings & mother of pearl. i picked up
one of yr poems & held it like a conch shell to my
ear. the twang of yr lilting poetic voice took hold
of me, took me by the hand & walked me “finger
laced with onlookers looking on” thru the erotic
& often ineffable landscapes of yr verse. i know
the muses who routinely take yr head. they are like
pomba gira, the salaciously scintillating spouse of eşu
& iyami aje, the divine mother of the mothers, who
cause u to write power without guilt, love without
doubt & against the arrogance or negligence of men;
cause u to poetically walk or gẹlẹdẹ dance where u please,
afraid of no one, neither law nor rule, flowing through
the cracks & crevices of convention. yes i know
yr muses & why u must motherly & loverly receive
them. & every day when i go to farm in my own fashion,
at labor’s end, if i don’t find a new opal resting on
the ground before me, i simply retreat to the secret
clutch of poems that i keep; poems alive, stepped on
by the creator, sparkling with all the rainbow’s splendor
& take one, look deeply into it or put it to my ear.

©Joseph McNair

1 comment:

  1. Joseph, I would like you to submit some poetry for my poetry issue of the Journal of Pan African Studies ASAP. Also, I would like to use your great paintings of some women poets who appeared in the Journal of Black Poetry which is being honored in the JPAS. Please hit me back ASAP with some poems and permission for your art. Peace,
    Marvin X
    send poems to