Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales

Posted by Charlie O'Shea | Posted in Charlie O'Shea, Independent Music Finds, Other, Other Finds, Poetry | Posted on 30-05-2009


Thirteen Fairy Negro TalesThis is a poem from one of my favourite books Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales by Inua Ellams. The poem is the opening to the book which contains thirteen poems in total as the title would suggest. I’ll post some more from this book at a later date so keep an eye out. 

You can buy the book from Amazon for £4 here.

This is Inua reading the opening poem. Yes, the backing is the Pyramid Song (:

Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales – Inua Ellams


I spun 13 fairy Negro tales that night.
Weighed them on illogic scales
that tipped the balance
and formed an alliance
with my version of the truth,
I uprooted reality and substituted it
for another that had more humanity;
thinking that if I thought hard enough
I’d make it real.

Having so much belief in mind power
I cowered beneath the defunct light
and attempted to bend Saturn’s rings
around my mind.
I did this till the blinds let light in
to wake me from that super sonic slumber.
I swore I was under the influence of lightening
that struck my brain and convinced me I could stain worlds at a time.

But I realised it was just beer and wine.

I found I could dine on the sun
drink the milky-way
let stars sticks to my tongue
clasp Orion around my waist
pluck Pluto, paste him to Mars and run
before Zeus realised I had face-lifted his estate.

I found I could reverse 360
from the 3 point line
and dunk Jupiter in a black hole.
But this divine world existed
only in my soul.

So I held my 13 Negro tales
and made a back bone
swapped it for my own
stood to the wind and dared earth
to spin me off it’s shoulders
not knowing I had soldered my pen to its core
and “ink”- planted a metaphor.

And perhaps this was just in my mind,
but I’d envisioned my self as a poet, so let it be
’cause I write this not for you,
just for me.
I’m trying to make the world a lil’ better
by building bridges out of letters
trying to break the sound barrier and obliterate the colour lines,
’cause I was taught race was in the mind:
You can unwrap the illusions and unwind
to the sound of rainbow drops falling
on all proletarian props.

I speak thus
for I fell in love with an Iranian
girl who complimented my soul.
She had no colour;
just a diamond backbone.
I looked in her eyes and saw five stories
for each tale I owned.
Though we never dated,
she sowed a seed in me
and I reap the fruits regularly
and mix the juice with ink,
so when I write about love
it tends to smell of her.

She is my virtue and my curse.

I guess I’m a fairy tale less now,
guess I have to chill at bus stops
and smoke sess now,
guess I have to trail blaze
and be like “yes now”
to every soul who gazes at me
trying to guess how
I can talk to myself and care less
about the effects of stress.
It’s cause Spokenword is like sex,
The more you listen,
the better it gets.

That’s why on long bus rides,
I close my eyes and try to hear drumbeats
from Nigeria- the mother land calling.
I be like “yes mum, I’m hearing ya”
It’s like some ciphered world
with armies of sounds
and underground cultures
with talon-less vultures
trying to pierce my skin
and place talking drums within.

But Hip Hop takes over
and my head bobs to the beats
of a different soldier
and it’s gotten colder
on this side of thought
’cause now,
I hear dreams money bought.

Driven despondent by this
I close my eyes tighter and
think a little deeper.
I see aquatic worlds
ruled by Soulquarians,
gods that remix bubbles with beats
so we inhale music
swap smiles for CD’s
do voodoo just for the hell of it
and there is no pressure
if you choose to be celibate.

That’s another fairy tale gone.
That’s another scenario
I’d offered to the Sun
to run on Monday mornings
when workers are still torn
between workdays and fun.

A world without guns
when the only people running
are kids chasing nuns
for trying to convert them
when their teeth were still gums. 

But the sun shrugged his shoulders
and shoved my idea where he couldn’t see.
Telling me the cosmos didn’t agree,
telling me humanity needed drama
in order to be free.
So I popped my middle finger
for Martin Luther King,
Seamus Heaney and Palestine’s plea,
’cause you shouldn’t need to suffer
to be granted mercy,
post-depression insurrection
is not a way to be.

But this world exists
between the purple evenings
that serve as backdrops to my reasoning
and nestle hopes of seasoning the world
with constructive dope,
to raise minds to that nexus in the sky
distill the plexus and finally understand
why Tupac, Biggie and Jim Morrison had to die.

I guess I’m more fairy tales less now
guess it’s best if I tell you the rest now;
like how roots are looped through violin strings
and red mists faded yellow yell:
“the last bohemian lives!”…
like how Alice never loved in Never Land
and The last Rebels rise to remix riffs…

But the last fairy story
goes a bit like this:
I sit on a mountain top
with my Iranian scented ink
trace words on winds
sink to blue worlds
drink nectar
and think…


Inua Ellams

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