Spotlight: Hannah Yomi

Austringer Staff

Americanized Motherland

Original Poem by Hannah Yomi, ’21

Performed at the Spring 2019 Coffeehouse


Born into the capital of the country named by freedom

Born as a byproduct of the fourteenth amendment

Born as the product of two immigrants’ hard work

Awaking the hope of a better future

Breathtaking opportunities for a new life

Heartbreaking ties broken

Waiting for the security of a day of travel

Back to the motherland who made them who they were

Heartbreaking times of loss without the feeling of the full family never failing to comfort the

troubles of a loss of a child

Until the promise fulfilled came about

No patience or peace until the promise child was born

Born into the middle

Born into the center of the free world of parents born and tied to the motherland

A child with the motherland in her heart and American around her

My country is a country where two parts unalike in perceived dignity was forced together

Together behind the name of unity lies strife and chaos like oil and water forced in a bottle

It never really mixes, never merges into one

Yet in my one lifetime, oil and water attempt to mix

The American culture of individuality and my Nigerian culture of family

America reminds me

You only live once and what you do only affects you


We play the game called life to give the glory to God and never forget it’s not only you, you

represent your family name

If you succeed it’s to your family’s acclaim

But if you mess up it’s not only you who bears the shame

Complete opposites interact and quickly

My Nigerian culture becomes prey to the American vultures

Because America says I should be myself yet fit into the box and celebrate the red white and


But the red white and blue isn’t really true to who I am

They say a classic is chicken noodle soup and barbecue

But what if my classic is my favorite fufu and okra stew

The hair should be permed shiny and straight but my hair twists curls and coils all over the place

So finally a red fire burned the beautiful green around me and a blue wave would drown me

I ran into a white ship to take me to the final destination of Americanization

Turned in my native tongues locked the box and threw away the key

Resented everything

Turned myself into a cultural amputee

And my colorful lace to represent royalty

Was sold to fit with an ideal of American money

Dashikis turned into name brand tops

I demanded for the best and nothing lace

Every day America took over me

The perfect American girl is what I wanted to be

However, my parents would stop my frivolous spending

Knowing that want I wanted is not what I needed

My American Dream was taking over decaying into

An American nightmare, a brat was forming and soon nothing would be able to control the

decay of an American greed that couldn’t be stopped

Odds were in the favor as my life soon headed left and nothing could control or comfort me

Cause when you only live once and you don’t care for anyone in your path

No one picks you up when your down cause you never cared for them

I attempted the facade of my American dream

But even through it all my parents rooted in the ideal of family always showed me

Through rises and falls they will be with me all and all

And a green sprout budded in my heart while a white light started to shine bright

A tree came up and said

Ile oba t’o jo, ewa lo busi

And reminded me a kings palace that got burnt added beauty to it

So my palace, the place I stayed, decorated in ankara and beads


And once I unlocked all my hidden culture

Moons and stars shone with the faces of my ancestors as I shed a tear as I looked at the

journey that brought me here

I don’t want this tale to fall on deaf ears

So for my final lesson draw your hearts and minds near

I am Nigerian

Not afraid to shout from the rooftops

I am Nigerian

I am not like oil and water but more like a lava lamp

You see where and how I’m mixed not truly merged

It’s the American dream made with Suya pepper

It’s spice on levels that reaches the stars

A fusion unique in both aspects never forgetting where I come from

It’s the heart of Nigeria

The heartbeat of Nigeria in me

My ancestors calling out to me to remember

I should be me

Never forget my culture

I should be successful wherever I choose to be

And remind the world that Nigerian’s success is always a guarantee

and pave the way for the future generations of Nigerian-Americans to never forget where they

came from

Born in the red white and blue but rep the green white and green