HOW WE HEAL IN AFRICA
While writing this poem, I’m watching Africa Magic Yoruba on DSTV;
This is where I get to see Africa from other people’s eyes.
A boy is running on a rocky path, carrying his identity in his yellow teeth.
He kicks a stone and falls, his body hits the ground in a way days break.
He springs to his feet; nothing keeps an African defeated.
He bends, carries some sand particles and rubs it on his bruise.
He will not tell his mother or visit a physician,
He will heal in days, and funny enough, he will not have a scar.
My grandfather tried to teach me the art of trees and shrubs before he died,
But I was preoccupied with biology that I lost the chance to study life.
He would say every plant is healing in its own nature.
He once cooked the bark of mango tree, lime, and some leaves,
Then cured fever and catarrh with the water.
He’d shown me how bitter leaf’s stem washes the mouth and cleanses the body.
“Healing is natural” is a phrase best defined in Africa.
Father told me nothing kills a man faster than
Fries, cookies and every white man’s food.
He showed me how to pound yam, prepare Amala and steer Eba with my hands.
He told me every man is his own cook.
He taught me how to cook meat with seasonings, and how to cook vegetable soup.
He’d say food is medicine, what a man eats defines how he lives.
Yet, I don’t get to see much of Africa around here;
All I see is Lumartem when malaria knocks me down, Ibuprofen when my body aches,
Iodine when I have cuts, Paracetamol when my head becomes a warfront.
All I see is pizza, small chops, cakes and sugar in the name of soft drinks.
I’m a long way from thirty, but my body is already ageing; losing its wit.
But it’s my fault. I’m not healing the way I should; the way Africans do.
Michael Ace is a Writer and Poet from Ibadan, Nigeria. He has authored
two poetry chapbooks titled Sermon From A Stammerer and Scarlet Silk.
His poems have also appeared or forthcoming on Praxis Magazine,
Lunaris Review, Kalahari Review, WRR, Tuck Magazine, African Writer,
Wildsound Review, Peregrine Reads, Parousa Magazine and more.
He is a Computer Scientist but with a great passion for Art and
Literature. He is a curator of anthologies and contests, including Pun
Poetry Contest, 2018, Growth Contest, 2018, Wakanda: Rewriting Africa,
2018, In my father’s house anthology, 2017, Healing Hands, 2016 and