Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Poem by Ronald McFarland

Post-colonialists to Partake of African Cuisine
                                   from The Daily Trust (Lagos)

We have come to sip from Africa’s rich
black fountains of oil
and nibble its exotic minerals,
tribal arts, strange smorgasbord.
The chairman offers kola.
We appreciate his bitter hospitality.

These people amaze us.
They feed our imagination even after
whetting our appetite with gold,
ivory, trophy heads, and excess population.
Provide them yams, cassava, rice,
a few handfuls of millet.
They can survive on practically nothing.

We admire their rigorous diet:
hippo, locusts when in season,
monkey brains, random bony fish,
occasional goat (best when barbecued).

When we visit they serve us
only the best cuts of beef,
breast of chicken, rack of lamb,
fat lobsters, the whole hog,
a quick, sweet
calabash of the local palm wine.
But what do they have for dessert?

Come brothers and sisters, they say,
dine with us, the road is famished,
feast on us.

Ron McFarland teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Idaho. His most recent books are a critical study of regional memoir, The Rockies in First Person (2008) and The Long Life of Evangeline: A History of the Longfellow Poem in Print, in Adaptation and in Popular Culture (2010). Ron’s fourth full-length of poems, Subtle Thieves, was released by Pecan Grove Press in early 2012. Chapin House Books published his memoir of growing up in Florida, Confessions of a Night Librarian and Other Embarrassments, in 2005.

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