Big Mama Is Calling

by Cherise “Reese” Charleswell

I closed my eyesand I saw Big Mama
toil the land
with her bare hands
immersing her nimble fingers
into the fertile soil,
alongside the flowing Nile
she toiled.
Making use of the nutrient-rich
she spoke to me and called me
by my REAL name,
one that was free of any association
to a slave master
who snatched Big Mama’s children from her.
tall and lean
tanned body
with a head filled with intricate braids
she beckoned to me.
I looked closely
full lips
kohl-rimmed eyes
Big Mama
was a natural beauty.
She seemed to speak in a whisper
and I tried my best to listen closely
Oh, how I wish that I knew what
Big Mama was saying to me.
Then, with her fingers she pointed West
and waited for me to proceed
out of the South Eastern tip of Africa
I began on my journey
around me the continent was being filled
by Big Mama’s descendants -- my family.
Big Mama shouted out to me
she spoke in a language that was ancient
I proceeded,
I was obedient,
through the lush jungle & across the central plains
I walked,
and around me I heard much banter
as the people talked
their dialects changed,
some words remained were able to remain the same.
From a place of common origin,
I was witnessing the beginning of our division.
When I reached the West Afrikan shore,
I realized that I couldn’t walk any more,
that is when Mama called out to me
Mama Afrika was trying to warn me --
take a few more steps and 
you will no longer be free 
to sit in the shade and get drunk off of palm wine
to fill my belly with a healthy fixing of spicy jollof rice,
or concentrically whine
my waist to the sound of the pulsating djembe.
Mama was now yelling at me!
She was crying out with tears in her eyes,
but my inquisitive nature
which sparks my creativity
my curiosity --
got the best of me,
and like a disobedient child
I did not heed Mama’s call
Mama Afrika’s gold coast
Mama’s wealth & most precious resource
were being snatched right
before her eyes,
and in that instant
I even  heard Big Mama cry.
Their children
were placed in bondage
robbed from their bosom,
and they were left behind 
to be forgotten, 
but I will not let that happen,
I will now listen,
listen to their calls
carried on the howl of the wind
and you too shall hear their wisdom.

Big Mama Is Calling by Cherise “Reese” Charleswell

© Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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