Trafficking in Poetry


Cages. Consider a birdcage. If you look very closely at just one wire in the cage, you cannot see the other wires. If your conception of what is before you is determined by this myopic focus, you could look at that one wire, up and down the length of it, and be unable to see why a bird would not just fly around the wire any time it wanted to go somewhere. Furthermore, even if, one day at a time, you myopically inspected each wire, you still could not see why a bird would have trouble going past the wires to get anywhere. There is no physical property of any one wire, nothing that the closest scrutiny could discover, that will reveal how a bird could be inhibited or harmed by it except in the most accidental way. It is only when you step back, stop looking at the wires one by one, microscopically, and take a macroscopic view of the whole cage, that you can see why the bird does not go anywhere; and then you will see it in a moment. It will require no great subtlety of mental powers. It is perfectly obvious that the bird is surrounded by a network of systematically related barriers, no one of which would be the least hindrance to its flight, but which, by their relations to each other, are as confining as the solid walls of a dungeon.

“Oppression”, in Politics Of Reality – Essays In Feminist Theory (1983)






SEEKER, by Oghogho Eloghosa Braimah

I bear you no grudge

Though you beat my back with vicious whip

And rain your blows into my spine.

Tears of shame do not flow

When you ravage me,

Take your turns with me,

Turn my temple into a sewer.

It was my sister who sold me,

My brother who bought me,

My father who failed me,

My mother who scared me ,

My leaders who first raped me.

It is I who have come,

Seeking redemption through your curse,

Release in your dungeons

And dignity in slavery.

If I bend lower,

Will my salvation be any closer?