Ojo Taiye is a young Nigerian who uses poetry as a tool to hide his frustration with the society. Apart from writing, he loves drinking coffee a lot. You can find him on twitter @ojo_poems.
My inability to speak my native language fluently prompted “My Language, My Home”. And I feel beguiled and delighted when I hear the locals in my work place speak and engage themselves in conversation using their native dialect.
My Language, My Home
because i am a refugee, the etymology of language is my subject already. what could be more political than the fact i’m lonely, that i am so far away from everything i should’ve known? the opposite of tonsils is not contact, it is birthplace. Ma brought two bags from Ugbogbo*, but left a third behind. in keeping with the ritual, my mother gets on the phone with my aunt every third Sunday & when it’s my turn, i utter the same phrases i used the last time i spoke to her. i wonder if she can hear the broken bone in my voice; the way Igarra* sounds when it comes out of my mouth is like a book that doesn’t want to fit in a tight space on a shelf. to have a body is to carry its lineage inside; i am always translating words my tongue doesn’t know how to carry. to make a language where my body is just my body, my blood just my blood – have a way of making me feel kindred to sun & clouds – & the words i can’t give meaning to become music & this time i’m okay with this dance. last week, i’m sitting in the Baptist congregation with my good friend & when church is over, she introduces me to a man whose face is a treasure i want to touch. as his fingers grace my soft palms, he asks, “do you know how to speak Igarra?” i pause & try to ignore the familiar throbbing in my chest. my smile fades as quickly as it arrived. suddenly my throat is a ruptured bloodline
* Ugbogbo: A rural village in Edo State of Nigeria
* Igarra: The native language in Ugbogbo