They say you do not know how to love; that you hold your lovers at arms length and with your thumb and index finger like disgusting pieces of rag and that you do not know how to smile. Same way they said your mother did not know how to be sad because she did not cry when her husband died and they drove her to madness and eventual death. Then they said that she did not know how to die. Only a poorly trained woman would die in the middle of the market, her hair covered in dust and her body immersed in mud. The stories of all her sexual escapades locked in her burly brown body which now lies rotting in dirty water.
They say you do not know how to dance; that your bow legs would not move to the tune of the akpata musical instrument filling the air with rhythm. They say your mother did not carry her pregnancy like a real woman or that she was too horny to give birth before having sex again. They call her lewd words and she swallows their words and buries their insults deep in her heart, in the same closet where she's buried the names of lovers who left and children who didn't live.
They call you the ghost of your father and not his spitting resemblance. Your father was a banker and a pastor. You want to be a tattoo artist and a revolutionary. They say you are a smear on the pure white records of your father; that you are an ugly example of Lion Cubs that ate grass instead of bloodied meat. They say you are a ghost, plaguing the saintly memory of your father. But you do not know how to care. You do not know how to listen to their words and keep it in mind. Their words are like boomerangs; they fly towards you and ricochet back to the senders.
You have found use for the ugliest things of life. Beauty in madness, God in shades of tattoo paint and life in dirty water. You have learnt to be a person and not a people's person. So, you live. Regardless.