A LETTER OF APOLOGY
This is just to say
so sorry that I had to go away
The Niger River called
with its wide drifting waters
fresh fish and coconut rice dinners
straight from the pot
Long-legged birds calling from the shallows
soft warm laughter, and
dreamy, peachy evening skies
will you join me?
because I need some more cash
and extra underwear.
I love the English language.
It was written and developed just for me.
English is mine; it is my personal property.
The phonetics of English sits snugly in my jaw, like a baby in a basket,
It suits me like a suit.
English lies on my tongue like a piece of chocolate, slowly melting away when I speak.
Also the irresistible nuts, whole and round, sticking out of the chocolate of English, which collapse with popping and crunching when you bite into them, are the English language to me, too: my English language.
When I’m in London my tongue gets so long, I have to roll it up before I leave the Underground and
If I stub my toe, it is in English that I say my faulty prayers.
They use my language to negotiate borders, handle trade agreements, and hold war crime tribunals;
Even the Russians speak English;
And I laugh at its weird non-conformist spelling, like an understanding mother, allowing it to surprise me every time again, as we get to know each other.
English is the bedrock of the way the people’s world reaches me; the rest is acquired software.