Somi - Shine Your Eye

by Somi

When I close my eyes
I remember the bright city heat pressing against the knuckles of my searching toes and squinting brow
I remember kind strangers and brave adventure
The beauty and revelation of dirty drums found deep inside of me and the knowing that my heart's hand had always rested its palm against their homesick skins their homesick skins
I remember non-vegetarian pepper soups, month-long rainstorm lullabies, and sleepy traffic thick with hot metal bodies and impromptu window snacks
I sigh... stroking through a sea of dissonant horns and agile bodies that careen between cars hurling both barter and abuse
Unassuming streetside glamour - heavy hipped women in red and gold
A body of water full of reeds and houses on sticks expands under a concrete stretch to Victoria Island
I remember being told to "pronounce yoruba with my mouth wide open" and to shine my eye
The fake tears of nollywood flicks
The fierce intellect and ambition that spat in the face of stereotype
The sighting of East African backsides that saw me too
I remember hungry boys pouncing on car windows
And I remember looking away
Market fish and soft leather
Red carpets and white teeth
Pastel parasols and the unexpected majesty of rough beach horses
I remember sweaty night beats, brash rhymes, and bottle service - boat clubs and chivalry
Strong-hearted men with oil-colored wealth and dizzying tropical nights illuminated by generator hums and a sharp-angled breeze that begged me to taste the mouth of the ocean if I momentarily opened my own
I remember hurting people with my western-isms and not knowing how to fix it
I remember writing sound and word while sitting on top of houses and underneath almond trees
I remember when the mosquitoes stopped remembering to bite me
The quiet rejoice for stable electricity and clean water
The finding of love and the letting it go
Tears and melancholy
Magic and serendipity
Deep joy and rebirth
The soft breath of angels that whispered to me while I dreamt on top of hard mattresses and danced under sunsets that startle you.
Champagne, anyone?

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