cid oksas

On my way to America

Is love a noun, like a place, a person or a thing?
Or does it exist independently of persons, places and those things?
Does it need culture to shape and give its meaning?
Did my father love me?

Even when he abandoned me to the wolves at Festac Avenue
to seek absolution from prostitutes and wash my face with cheap beer?
In his country, sons are a threat to be reckoned with by their fathers.
So, they are sent far away to distant lands.

He didn't say it,
But he didn't say he didn't.
He was a man of conflict.
So, he hated what he loved.

So, one morning,
He climbed on a treadmill
And ran until he met with death.


Cid Oksas: At the age of 15, my parents abruptly sent me to the U.S. That moment became an event that shaped who I am today. Poetry offered me the voice to begin sorting out the loss and cost to a future I faced. Poetry was the only voice to shout through the interstices between my shrinking African-ness and the emerging United States I faced. The U.S became more than any other place, yet, it felt alien to me, pushing me further towards a middle place.

So, I speak from this place, an interstice between the two worlds, hoping to understand why my father, an international businessman and an attorney, felt it necessary to send me off with a one-way ticket to the U.S. at a wishful age.

The early months in America were mixed with the excitement of a new country and sadness, for what I left behind. My girlfriend at the time represented the totality of this loss.

I have since settled down, and made a new family in America. I have a son and a daughter, who I love dearly. They are Americans. They are beautiful. I have since worked hard make sure my children will not face the same displacement I confronted. I have a dual master’s degree in Psychology and Theological Studies. I work with a local mental health agency, counseling adolescents who look like me, feel like me, and hope to get through the other side like me.