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The Good Ship Jesus

I am Mandinka Jawaaro,
Mandinka Warrior
From Kunga to Sinkandinga
And, with these black fingers
Curled around my spear and my shield,
I stood with other boys, who wished to become men
And learned the dances of death;
Learned the Warrior Ways;
Learned the tactics, strategies and rules of engagement
Training from dusk ‘til dawn, as the Elders instructed,
But knowing in my heart that no one would try to attack our village
Nor try to rape, rob, or pillage us
For we were Mandinka…
Wise, fierce and skilled builders of Sankore, Timbuktu and Songhay
Praised in parables, poems, plays and song –
They
Even worshipped us as Gods in Greek and Roman Mythology
We gave this world literature, art and technology
We were Mandinka…
No one could possibly defeat us…
That is, until the coming of the Good Ship Jesus

I am Mandinka Jawaaro,
Mandinka Warrior
From Kunga to Sinkandinga
And, with these black fingers
I gently caress Fanta’s swelling belly
Pressing my lips against the smooth, brown skin
And singing songs of praise to the growing warrior
Resting peacefully within Fanta’s womb
Looking up into my Fanta’s big, brown eyes and telling her I love her
This beautiful wife, warrior and mother to my child
My Queen blesses me with her enchanting smile,
As brilliant as a million sunrises reflecting off the surface of the azure sea
And I know we must always be together
Forever
For, to lose her would tear me to pieces…
As I discovered with the coming
Of the Good Ship Jesus

I am Mandinka Jawaaro,
Mandinka Warrior
From Kunga to Sinkandinga
And, with these black fingers
I clawed at the shackles placed upon my wrist, neck and ankles as I slept
With these black fingers
I pounded on my chest as I wept
For, immobilized by these heavy, rusty chains
I could do nothing to save my beloved Fanta
As Tubaab –
Those stale-faced beasts,
Who slithered out of the pestilent bowels of that old, ‘Good Ship’
Invaded my lovely Fanta;
My beautiful Fanta;
My crying, screaming, dying Fanta…
Invaded her
With reeking, filthy flesh
And blood-encrusted steel
Giggling wickedly with glee
As they snatched the little warrior
Our little warrior
From Fanta’s precious womb
Through the jagged chasm they had torn
In her once smooth, brown belly
These black fingers burrowed into the blood-soaked sands of the shore
As I watched my little warrior struggle to take his first breath…
Struggle, as Tubaab stood upon his tiny chest
Crushing my son under the oppressive weight of his boot-heel…
His boot-heel…
His boot-heel, crushing my beautiful, black son
My cries of anguish,
My cries of despair,
My cries of absolute, all-encompassing anger
Mere whispers compared to the giggles, chuckles and chortles
Of those stale-faced beasts,
Who slithered out of the pestilent bowels of that old, ‘Good Ship’
And I asked the ancestors,
The all-wise Alifa Falolu,
To rescue me…
To break these heavy, rusty schackles
And allow me to taste sweet revenge
“Monibo di naa! Monibo di naa!
Moniba di naa, ye na muso ning dinga!”

“Give me revenge! Give me revenge!
Give me revenge, for my wife and my child!”

Tubaab smiled…
And stared into my eyes,
Which burned with sweat, sand and tears
Tubaab stared into my eyes,
Soiling my soul with their wicked gaze
And I felt myself being pulled to my feet;
Felt Tubaab’s cold, pale hands clutching at my aching, black flesh;
A rope, tossed over my head
And then, the tightening…
The tightening…
The tightening…
As I was hoisted higher and higher into a baobab tree
Hung on the baobab by Tubaab,
Who giggled, chuckled and chortled with glee
And, as darkness overtook me,
I gave praises to the Ancestors
For, I realized…
I realized…
I realized they had freed us
Freed us from the pestilent bowels
Of the Good Ship Jesus…
The Good Ship Jesus…
The Good Ship
Jesus…
They had freed us from a nine-thousand mile journey
On that old
‘Good’
Ship.

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Comment by Milton Davis on May 27, 2008 at 7:09am
Powerful words, my brother. Serious imagery. I like it.

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