Monday, December 21, 2009

The poem that inspired it all

So after debating with myself back and forth for days before officially starting this blog, I have decided to post my poem. I've had many mixed feelings about this because I know that plagiarism is alive and well in the world. As a writer, I value my work and don't take the threat of plagiarism lightly. Even so, I believe that some (Naija peeps and others) may be able to relate to it and it might stem an interesting conversation. So without further adieu, I present to you my poem, Naija American Girl. I would hope that any reputable contest or person with common sense would do a simple Google search to verify that submissions are not listed on the Internet as someone else's work. And to anyone who would try to pass any part of this poem off as your own: Na only God go help you oh! Everything done in the darkness shall come to light! .....Hahahaha. Seriously though, don't commit copyright infringement; use your own brain cells!

Naija American Girl by Chidinma Ogbuaku
© Chidinma Ogbuaku 2009

Naija American Girl
complex mix of two worlds
Who knows the things that cross your mind,
the solace you seek but seldom find?

Many people born in Naija,
their hearts burn so bad
to come to America
and when they get Visa they’re glad

But for those of us born here,
Na wa for us oh!
Because of the many things
we should but do not know

“You mean you can’t speak Igbo?
You don’t cook fu fu?
Why are you not studying
medicine in school?”

And when we go to school
and the teacher takes roll
We hear a very familiar phrase
that we’ve all come to know

“I’m really gonna mess this one up,
please forgive me in advance,”
Then they struggle through our name
But they don’t have a chance


They struggle and struggle
with all their might
and when they’re finally through
we raise our hand and let them know
just how to say our name
some of them will hardly try
which really is a shame

We can get down with black Americans
'till they start talking ' bout slavery
Then we feel the need to boldly interject
“Oh no, that wasn’t me!”

“My ancestors were never slaves,
they weren’t forced across the ocean,”
Then our black friends look us up and down
and start a small commotion

“Oh so what, you think you’re better than us?”
they ask with animosity
They roll their eyes and start to cuss
And we wished we’d just let it be

We can hang with our Naija folk
till they start speaking
their native tongues
We catch a few thing here and there
while they all joke and have fun

Now having a foot in two worlds
isn’t 100 percent bad
for few can do the things we can
We can switch our greetings from
“Ndewo, sir” to “Ay, what up doe fam?!”

The line we walk is a fuzzy one
from what we do to what we say
It’s a very curious little thing
that really comes with age

Naija American Girl
complex mix of two worlds
Who knows the things that cross your mind,
The solace you seek and sometimes find?

© Chidinma Ogbuaku 2009

What do you think? For the full effect, you really have to hear me perform it, but I think you can get the gist, right?


  1. I could TOTALLY relate to this; awesome poem.

    You know now that you mentioned it you're going to have to record yourself performing the poem, right?

  2. I guess I never thought of recording it and putting it on here. My mind was stuck on the live performances I've done. I don't think it's a half-bad idea!

  3. Very beautiful poem, I could realate even though I wasnt born in America I have been living here most of my life so I understand this poem

  4. Thanks Funmi. Glad you liked it and could relate.