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I AM ONE OF THE CAGED BIRDS-MUTIU OLAWUYI

September 11, 2017

I AM ONE OF THE CAGED BIRDS

(To Maya Angelou)

My shank pip out to spot my fellow wings,
though of different colors and shapes,
from the fluid cage since the shadowy point.
I sulk to flee the cold from the callous snowy soil,
though the coop metal gate was bolted,
with my bald and skinless neck.
And those like me in blood and eye-sights
crouch with outward smiley face –
built with rotten rice and cassava and maize.
Dogs eating dogs and things fall apart –
Our cooked foods are enjoyed by our visitors
and we – turned their watchmen.
And our crops turn their plants for us to buy.
They’ve swapped our bearers’ tongues with theirs.
And they on our wings now survive.
Our saliva is dry – we can no longer sing –
We wheeze and sneeze to feel an atom breeze.

Surely you may know – why the caged bird sings;
how the flutes of others fine-tune his throat –
hidden to the free bird flowing in the cloudless sky .
I am one of the caged birds – troubling my gangan,
bata and kora, yes, for freedom of my vein’s wits,
and of her sights and hers legs. The caged bird
no longer sings but wheezes, sneezes and drums not.
He shivers but never allowed to dance.

 

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