I survey all, like Ozymandias, and smile.
One day, this country will explode,
with a terrifying force,
the force with which the engines,
like the imagination, rage
against the fuselage's and the wings'
craving for the earth and gravity.
It will explode! In the hands and faces
of its makers. It will explode! Like a crude Biafran bomb!
And now, as the plane begins its cruise, in high altitude,
across the sand dunes of the Sahara Desert, towards the tropic
of cancer, towards England, on a clear September day
I take a final glance at what was once my country,
and sigh, as all exiles always do, and begin to sing, inwardly,
without words, in all the colours of sorrow, about the destiny
of my country and of all exiles like me, who leave never to return:
I spit upon the laws that thieves have made
To give the crooked the strength to rob the straight.
I spit upon a country so full of wealth
Yet millions wallow in squalor and in want.
I spit upon the flag that flaps like a rag
On an iron pole planted on the vision of pregnant generals.
I spit upon rabid religions that defend a hell on earth
and preach a heaven beyond this mire
I spit upon the education that turns into stenographers
A generation that could have been philosophers
visionaries and revolutionaries. Upon this whole damned
nation of mine do I spit. And while I spit, I weep.
Join me, B. J. in this epic of a cynic,
our nation's nunc dimitis, my ballad
for her rigor mortis, which I sing
on my way into exile, and while I sing I weep.
Join me, with your baritone, brandy-mellowed voice,
even from across the Atlantic, from the other shore littered
with exiles, like beautiful seashells on a tourist beach.
Join me. I didn't know you too had fled.
Some omniscient African-American egghead at Harvard told me.
B.J. I can hear you from here. My sorrow is oceanic.
Join me from Cornell! Nothing will stand between
You and me and the pain of history this song contains:
The cruelties of history. The fangs of our history,
As sharp as the jaws of the desert
and vast as the Sahara. As deep as the Atlantic
which, now, cannot stand between us
and our demon song! So, B.J., join me
in this Booger Dance before the cortege arrives
and we become another shard amidst a pile
of shattered shards in an exploding continent.
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