My Artwork Isn’t About Me

I remember the first time I was sexually abused by my nanny at my aunt’s house

I remember every night being stuck at the corner of the shower trying to escape the maid touching my private part

I remember her threatening me if I were to tell anyone

I remember it going on every night at a the shower when she was giving me bath

I remember on time  telling my cousins what was happening to me

I remember the little brother of my aunt’s husband beating her until she couldn’t breathe

I remember her sinking in her own blood

I remember being in pain for what he did to her

I remember it was my fault for telling the truth

I remember eating one time a day everyday at my grandma's house  

I remember knowing my real mom for the first time at the age of 10

I Know I grew up without knowing my father and still do not know him

I remember grandma's cries of sadness for the death of my favorite uncle

I remember Grandma telling me I’m a descendant of King Nanguin who is her grandfather

I remember her calling me Nanguin, I asked why that name never heard it before

She replied because “it’s your name now you just like my grandfather. So was your uncle who passed away. His spirit chose you to carry on his name”

I remember asking myself if we’re royalty then why are we so poor.

I remember mama little sister telling stories of her childhood.

I remember auntie telling how the elders (brothers and sisters) hated grandma because she was the favorite of the family.

I remember auntie telling me after my great grandma, princess NADÉ KONÉ died. Grandma’s sisters and brothers took all the heritages and put my grandma into the worst condition.

I remember auntie telling me that grandma and Grandfather left the kingdom with all of them.  

I remember auntie telling me that grandma was trading all golds my princess NADÉ KONÉ left her to take care of them

I remember crossing the road with my girl cousin

I remember a car hitting her

I remember her laying on the road and the blood coloring her last breath

I remember laughing cause I thought she was playing dead

I remember my aunt baby born being sick and no hospital could treat her

I remember her deceased from her sickness

I remember being arrogant, selfish and heartless toward my little cousin almost choke him to death  

I remember being woke by a loud scream

I remember it was the last breath of my mom sister in law

I remember watching my sick mom sister in law dying right in front my eyes

I remember sinking from within

I remember living at my uncle's house with his mean wife

I remember her giving me scraps of food to eat or treats me bad when my uncle goes to work

I remember mocking a kid at my school for being disabled

I remember the kind hearted old lady with restaurant who was giving me foods everyday

I remember being this kid asking myself where are my mom and dad

I remember acknowledging my cousin waking up with cries every night for the death of his father

I remember my grandma's friend telling me that my father abandoned my mom when she was pregnant

I remember waking up one night in a civil war in my country

I remember we were the only people left hiding while everyone abandoned the neighborhood

I remember the gunshots and seeing bullets flying in the air,  the bombs shaking the ground

I remember blacking out thinking we were gonna die

I remember us starving, hiding, scared and isolated nowhere to go and no time for sleeping

I remember one morning exiting our hideout curious to see what was going out there

I remember it hitting me really hard a deep down unable to breath

A huge truck full of people being massacred by mercenaries front of eyes on the street bullets in their heads

I remember hiding behind a broken brick wall

I remember all the burned and dead bodies laying down the street during the Civil War in Ivory Coast

I remember my Aunt being traumatized during the war and got really sick

I remember waking up with a loud scream me thinking I was dreaming

I remember it was my aunt last breathe passing away

I remember sitting at the corner looking her dead body glowing

I remember my mom older brother beating up my grandma

I remember the time I came to the United States

I remember living with my mom here in U.S inside a basement in the bronx filled with roaches, flies and flooded with water feces

I remember mom struggling to find something for me to eat

I remember her looking at me smiling I could tell she was feeling morose that this isn’t the life she wanted for me

I remember the stereotypes in high school and, me acknowledging for the first time that I was black

I remember mom telling me the kind heart old lady who used to give me foods passed away

I remember waking up early in the morning and knowing that my grandma passed away

I remember being clogged with pain

I remember trying to kill myself knowing that my best friend who is my grandma has passed away

I remember trying to escape all the pain through laughter but it kept bugging me again and again

I remember not being able to sleep every night cuz I was scared of the nightmares

My pains were my nightmares, they were haunting me

Every time they tried to catch I would jump off the bed and wake up

I remember holding a sharpie pen to paint for the first time

I remember breathing for the first time after it and smiling

I remember this voice from within telling me I’m always with you no matter what happens to you let the colors of your heart breathe

I remember that voice it was my grandma she was talking to me

I could hear her sweet voice, I could feel her sweet voice

I remember promising her that I was gonna build her dream house

I remember she was not here anymore but she was here and always will be.