Look! The Bakongo are here – beautiful and strong
honey-sweet fat caterpillar-lipped
tasting of frangipani in dew,
statuesque curves adorned in psychedelic charms…
Open that casket, give the men nzimbu shells
and tell them to wash off that sugar sweat of jungle.
Then check the chains are tight,
they’ll shrink down to the bones
by the time we reach port at Charleston.
I can see that one now, put in virginal white,
that cassava belly starved away,
in a silk gown and a flower in her hair.
And the other one, there, yes the one with all her teeth.
She’ll be worth a thousand dollars one day,
depending on those hips of course.
Now don’t forget the trinkets for our good friends,
measure out the copper, the cloth and the beads
and double-check the figures in the ledger.
From the collection ‘Scratching The Surface’ by Dave Lewis