This Week’s Poem by Taban Lo Liyong

January 13, 2024
1 min read

Ministers to the Toothless
When I am old and my teeth are gone or rotted Let me age away near KFC or MacDonald’s hotel: Potatoes have no fibres and just disintegrate in the mouth When they are squared and fried hot you don’t need teeth; Finger-licking good spring chicken eaten hot is swallowed whole The coleslaw in hamburgers is for additional salivation It softens the bread and your gums can pound the meat And you turn everything over in the mouth and swallow: Nobody knows if you chewed or just washed it down Especially as the salt on the potatoes, and drugs in the Coke Contribute a lot to the salivation and gunning down. The workers of the East with their poor dental care The poor of the world who buy silence with sweets and ice-cream Will keep MacDonalds and the General in business Regardless of ideology, change of regime, whims of the boss: When I have no teeth apples are out, as are steak and ribs. Fried chickens, eggs, minced meat, coleslaw and bread These I can eat with my gums, with my baby.
Taban Lo Linyon  is one of the greatest living Black poets. A Pan-Africanist, he was born in the Sudan and raised in Uganda. He was educated at Howard University and the University of Iowa in America. He has taught in Kenya, Sudan, Japan and the United States.
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