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Balogun

The Good Ship Jesus

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The Good Ship Jesus

*The Good Ship Jesus", or the "Jesus of Lubeck," was a 700-ton ship that would become the first vessel to bring Blacks, as slaves, from Africa to the Americas

I am Mandinka Jawaaro,

Mandinka Warrior

From Kunga to Sinkandinga

And, with these black fingers

Curled around my spear and my shield,

I stood with other boys, who wished to become men

And learned the dances of death;

Learned the Warrior Ways;

Learned the tactics, strategies and rules of engagement

Training from dusk ‘til dawn, as the Elders instructed,

But knowing in my heart that no one would try to attack our village

Nor try to rape, rob, or pillage us

For we were Mandinka…

Wise, fierce and skilled builders of Sankore, Timbuktu and Songhay

Praised in parables, poems, plays and song –

They

Even worshipped us as Gods in Greek and Roman Mythology

We gave this world literature, art and technology

We were Mandinka…

No one could possibly defeat us…

That is, until the coming of the Good Ship Jesus

I am Mandinka Jawaaro,

Mandinka Warrior

From Kunga to Sinkandinga

And, with these black fingers

I gently caress Fanta’s swelling belly

Pressing my lips against the smooth, brown skin

And singing songs of praise to the growing warrior

Resting peacefully within Fanta’s womb

Looking up into my Fanta’s big, brown eyes and telling her I love her

This beautiful wife, warrior and mother to my child

My Queen blesses me with her enchanting smile,

As brilliant as a million sunrises reflecting off the surface of the azure sea

And I know we must always be together

Forever

For, to lose her would tear me to pieces…

As I discovered with the coming

Of the Good Ship Jesus

I am Mandinka Jawaaro,

Mandinka Warrior

From Kunga to Sinkandinga

And, with these black fingers

I clawed at the shackles placed upon my wrist, neck and ankles as I slept

With these black fingers

I pounded on my chest as I wept

For, immobilized by these heavy, rusty chains

I could do nothing to save my beloved Fanta

As Tubaab –

Those stale-faced beasts,

Who slithered out of the pestilent bowels of that old, ‘Good Ship’

Invaded my lovely Fanta;

My beautiful Fanta;

My crying, screaming, dying Fanta…

Invaded her

With reeking, filthy flesh

And blood-encrusted steel

Giggling wickedly with glee

As they snatched the little warrior

Our little warrior

From Fanta’s precious womb

Through the jagged chasm they had torn

In her once smooth, brown belly

These black fingers burrowed into the blood-soaked sands of the shore

As I watched my little warrior struggle to take his first breath…

Struggle, as Tubaab stood upon his tiny chest

Crushing my son under the oppressive weight of his boot-heel…

His boot-heel…

His boot-heel, crushing my beautiful, black son

My cries of anguish,

My cries of despair,

My cries of absolute, all-encompassing anger

Mere whispers compared to the giggles, chuckles and chortles

Of those stale-faced beasts,

Who slithered out of the pestilent bowels of that old, ‘Good Ship’

And I asked the ancestors,

The all-wise Alifa Falolu,

To rescue me…

To break these heavy, rusty schackles

And allow me to taste sweet revenge

“Monibo di naa! Monibo di naa!

Moniba di naa, ye na muso ning dinga!”

“Give me revenge! Give me revenge!

Give me revenge, for my wife and my child!”

Tubaab smiled…

And stared into my eyes,

Which burned with sweat, sand and tears

Tubaab stared into my eyes,

Soiling my soul with their wicked gaze

And I felt myself being pulled to my feet;

Felt Tubaab’s cold, pale hands clutching at my aching, black flesh;

A rope, tossed over my head

And then, the tightening…

The tightening…

The tightening…

As I was hoisted higher and higher into a baobab tree

Hung on the baobab by Tubaab,

Who giggled, chuckled and chortled with glee

And, as darkness overtook me,

I gave praises to the Ancestors

For, I realized…

I realized…

I realized they had freed us

Freed us from the pestilent bowels

Of the Good Ship Jesus…

The Good Ship Jesus…

The Good Ship

Jesus…

They had freed us from a nine-thousand mile journey

On that old

‘Good’

Ship.

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