Poet-Today | Gimba Kakanda | The Arts-Muse Fair

I am not your plural

I’m not this unit
Of a memory that grows from nowhere
I’m not the geometry of your brush
This monochrome is only the shade of your eyes
For I’m not black, I’m not white
I’m the artwork of a thousand ancestors

You know me, don’t you?

I’m not your noun
I may be the conspiracy of an unlit bedroom
A mistake made in a whisper
But I’m not the negative of this camera

I’m the adjective
Of a secret that never was
I’m a reality
Only seen by stained binoculars

I’m not this verb
These things I do are mere prophecy
Of my bank
I’m a prisoner of my history

I’m not this pronoun
So if you don’t know the gender of my shadows
Remember the lamps that banish them
I’m not the photograph of your imagination

Your accent calls to me
But I’m not the tenses of your broken English
Nor the slang of your city
For you cannot count the alphabets of my story

I’m not the identity card of my kind
I’m my biology
A reservoir of infinite memory
I’m my diseases, my pain

I’m not this stereotype
Only the conduit for your confusion
For I have no colour, no home

I’m only the guest of your memory
You know me, don’t you?
I’m the stories you don’t tell.


Gimba Kakanda is a Nigerian poet, fiction writer and journalist currently attending the Fall residency of the International Writing Program of the University of Iowa, United States. He has a published poetry collection, Safari Pants (2010) and is at the moment working on a new poetry collection and a novel.