a daughter’s oríkì

by her mother who waited for her

Olúwátamílọ́rẹ
of my own blood
that flows as the river
Ògùn, knowing and fierce that
Olúmọ’s stones tremble.

Olúwa ta mí l’ọ́rẹ!
and He graced her with a bow
that stretches from ear to ear
and gleams against skin dark as orógbó,
showing a glimpse of His abode.

…re mi mi re mi mi re…
her voice speaks
in the same rhythmic tone of half a scale
and a half word of wisdom
of Ọ̀ṣun, Mọ́remí, Màámí

Olúwátamílọ́rẹ
ọmọ Àdùkẹ́
ọrẹ oníye lórí
tí a rán
láti orílẹ̀ ọ̀run wá.

ní gbọingbọin

Olúwa o ṣé t’Ò rí bíi òòrùn,
òòrùn tá sápamọ́ faṣo borí bojò
bá ṣú, tí ìjì bá ń wẹ̀ mí. Olúwa o
mà ṣé tí O ò wà bíi òṣùpá.

òṣùpá á máa kọ̀ láti fara
hàn ní alẹ́ mìíràn, ní òde tí
òkùnkùn bá ń ràn. Ṣùgbọ́n Ìwọ
Olúwa O dúró tì mí gbọingbọin.

Bí èémí ṣe fà sí mi lo wà sí mi:
nínú òjò, nínú ìjì, bínú bá ń
bí baba àrá, Olúwa O ò sá, ṣe
ni o dúró ti ẹ̀mí mi ní gbọingbọin.

ọkọ ìyàwó jídé

for Ọpẹ́

where is our ọkọ ìyàwó?

the bride has been beside herself
with expectation and a pout
straightening her ivory laces
again, pondering, on end,

“where is the ọkọ ìyàwó?”

the enigmatic ọkọ ìyàwó.
or so the bride swears:
plying us with tales
of his playful wit
following spectacular shows
of bravery and softness. but,

where is this ọkọ ìyàwó?

the bride has made a stew
of green vegetables, fierce red
crayfishes, a number of peppered
African Giant snails, dices of plush
cowhide, and kind chunks of cattle tripe
with yam pounded with fierce gentleness,
not waiting for the gifts of live goat and palm oil,
the tubers of yam that her in-laws will bring. so,

where is her ọkọ ìyàwó?

wait.
do i hear drums?
aren’t those excited cries
of “Ekáàbọ̀,
ṣé dáadáa lẹ dé,
a tí ń retí yín”
welcoming guests?
hmm, ọkọ ìyàwó jídé
(the cock’s crow bears witness!)
to take our bride at last.

ilé

ilé là wá nlọ,
ilé, ilé

but do you not wonder,
n’íbo n’ilé wà?”
as all men sing the tune,

ilé là wá nlọ,
  ilé, ilé”,

with suitcases that bear gold coins
and a sofa, a suit and a garage
of metal beings that hum,

ilé là wá nlọ,
  ilé, ilé”,

on the trek to that small country
(the strongest of them!) whose anthem
(and all who live there still sing),

ilé là wá nlọ,
ilé, ilé,

makes you wonder,
n’íbo n’ilé wà?”,
only you must not still the song,

ilé là wá nlọ,
ilé, ilé

òrìṣà kan kò sí bi Olódùmarè!

is there any
like Ọlọ́run the King?

they call to Ṣàngó, for fire and thunder,
singing odes of Yemọja set to the raging blue-eyed sea.
they dance, to rhythms for ànjọ̀nús not born, for the sake of the unborn.

they have cried to Ọ̀rúnmìlà
and gone to beg Ọ̀shun for favours.
why do they not seek Olódùmarè Himself
who breathes powers that Ọbàtálá could not boast?

they bring rum and a he-goat to Ògún Shibirikí,
palm oil and a cock for Èṣù Láàlú.
but what do they come to?
Ọlọ́run Ọba asks only one thing,
(unshed) blood of ènìyàn, (beating) hearts of said men.

i will have none of Ògún
who needs spears and guns to save me
nor do i want Ṣàngó who may be shamed
by Yemọja or Yèyé Ọ̀shun.
my song will be for Olódùmarè alone.
it is He i will give my life, to keep my soul.

i am cubano

image
image credit flickr/digitaltemi

i am cubano.
my great grandpapa Baba Casamayo
lived by the Ifá-given words of Orúnmila;
his mother adorned La Virgen de La Caridad y Ochún and Yemayá.
these, Grandpapa Jorge tells with his santiagüerro
accent, dramatic face, and ergo
over his evening rum with waffs of his cigar’s
smoke lending life in whispers
to tales of a revered Changó
while Mama fries bananas to snack with our jugo
naturales. Papa would cut in with the clave,
Cousin Manuel with the conga and our hips soon gave way
to son, and then rumba, all before
la cena. Si, Señora y Señor,
soy cubano.