Saturday, April 27, 2013

"Ego Tripping" - Nikki Giovanni

One of my favorite poems of all time is this one by Nikki Giovanni. I read it for the first time when I was just out of college, had come out relatively recently, discovered acid jazz and hip hop, was doing open mic readings, and moved into the city to live on my own for the first time (college doesn't really count). Nikki Giovanni was just one of many mind-opening ingredients in a potpourri of inputs that mentally made me over during that time. It was one of the most exciting times of my life, and every time I read this poem the images and feelings I had then come back to me.

While some might claim this is a poem for African Americans or women, I totally felt it was about me embracing life and enjoying it by stealing god's car and driving away while blasting music with the top down!

It's a good set of feelings to remember. Thanks Nikki!

Ego Tripping (There May Be a Reason Why)

I was born in the congo
I walked to the fertile crescent and built
    the sphinx
I designed a pyramid so tough that a star
    that only glows every one hundred years falls
    into the center giving divine perfect light
I am bad

I sat on the throne
    drinking nectar with allah
I got hot and sent an ice age to europe
    to cool my thirst
My oldest daughter is nefertiti
    the tears from my birth pains
    created the nile
I am a beautiful woman

I gazed on the forest and burned
    out the sahara desert
    with a packet of goat's meat
    and a change of clothes
I crossed it in two hours
I am a gazelle so swift
    so swift you can't catch me

    For a birthday present when he was three
I gave my son hannibal an elephant
    He gave me rome for mother's day
My strength flows ever on

My son noah built new/ark and
I stood proudly at the helm
    as we sailed on a soft summer day
I turned myself into myself and was
    men intone my loving name
    All praises All praises
I am the one who would save

I sowed diamonds in my back yard
My bowels deliver uranium
    the filings from my fingernails are
    semi-precious jewels
    On a trip north
I caught a cold and blew
My nose giving oil to the arab world
I am so hip even my errors are correct
I sailed west to reach east and had to round off
    the earth as I went
    The hair from my head thinned and gold was laid
    across three continents

I am so perfect so divine so ethereal so surreal
I cannot be comprehended except by my permission

I mean...I...can fly
    like a bird in the sky...

- Nikki Giovanni

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