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By Farouk Omar Sessay



Saturday/Sunday, May 16-17, 2009.


“Many years later

I threw myself into the mouth of the crocodile

And discovered my long lost siblings at the

End of the century’s digestive process”

(The Chain by Gbanabom Hallowell)



To a white brother

In spite of                                             

 My Harvard degree

My suburban castle

My suave demeanour,

 In spite of

My pedicure feet

My manicure nails

I feel the chain of your look

Swinging to chain a slave


In spite of

The books hard backed with social justice

The civil right struggle

The million man match

The Rosa Parks

In spite of

The Oprah winfry’s

The Maya Angelous

The Martin Luther kings

I feel the look of contempt

 Swinging to chain

The ideals of equality


In spite of

The many years of bondage

The inhumanity of slavery

The crime of your ancestors

The Mississippi fires of hate

In spite of

The green backs from my toil bag

The bonds from my bondage

You still look for the burden of my bondage


In spite of

The censored language of political correctness

The civil right bills

The embrace of brotherhood

The kind gestures

In spite of

The Collin Powells

The Condolizas

The Barack Obamas

I still see your look chained to prejudice


In spite of

The preamble

That all men are created equal

In spite of Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation

You still look

For the branded limb of runaway slaves

I look back at your chained look looking:


for the chain

the branded limb, the slave catcher

the thorn ridden fields and the slave house

look beyond the loop of your look ;

 the chain is still here, tied to the ankle of your soul

clinking discordantly with the dangling  stump of your spirit

Yet your look could not hear the dirge

I am singing for you in the chambers of my soul






And you my black brother!

In spite of the

The burden of the look we share

The call for the return to the mother land

The broken home stifled by your enslavement

The ancestral root

The Africa prefixed America

The kwanza celebration

The black history month

Am I the brother who sold you to slavery?


In spite of

The shared history of humiliation 

 My soul shackled to the chain of your servitude

The torture of growing with the cry of your anguish

Ricocheting in the borders of my soul

Am I the Judas who sold his brother?


In spite of

The common blood in our veins

The common pain of that look we share

You still hold a look of hate

For the brother who stayed

While you suffered the torment of slavery


But brother look hard beyond the facade

The shackle on your ankle is tied to my soul

The abyss of your servitude dug in my heart

And my arteries confluence to seas of middle passages



Then centuries later on a paid passage

I found you my long lost sibling scared,

Unshackled yet shackled by the look

The look hook the lapel of my soul

The pain a reminder of sibling’s servitude

Though my pain is a shadow pain your pain

When you lost the mother soil

I lost a brother soul

I endured their look but not your look

So brother don't look me the look

 They look at me for looking like you.


Oumar Farouk Sesay is a leading Sierra Leonean poet. His poetry has been described as "...witnessing the ebb and tide of human struggle in a past and present that will never be a foreign country." Sesay read philosophy at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. His latest collection is titled Salute to the Remains of a Peasant. He can be reached at farouksesay@yahoo.com



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