Taking up the fashionable concept of the book trailer, Edgar Sekloka, one half of French hip hip duo Milk Coffee & Sugar,* here previews, through a powerful poem, his recently released Adulte à Présent, a teenage novel about 15-year old ‘la cadette’ [the youngest] from Douala, Cameroon, and 13-year-old ‘le fils’ [the son] from New York, whose paths cross in the U.S. after ‘la cadette’ flees from her home country.  Here’s my translation of the preview poem:

I don’t hide myself
even when I say I’m talking about myself
but since we are all part of one another
I believe I’m talking about you
I’m talking about us
our individualism is universal
I talk about everything
it’s a mess, it’s confusing, insurrectional
it’s spontaneous
explicit lyrics stand corrected
for in the face of the order’s jokes
I am the force of the brothel
an impromptu bazaar
hard to explain myself
I’m not clear, nor concise
I’m like your life, I’m complicated
a poor man who calls himself bourgeois
a pagan who says he’s from good faith
a sugar that says it’s bitter
a Frenchman who calls himself Cameroonian
convoluted thinking
in Europe I’m a bikot [black]
in Africa I’m a béké [white]
but I keep on travelling
loosing myself, finding myself
talking slang, talking patois
I’ve got the flavour of a brown zebra
a bit hot and a bit cold
a bit black and bit white
always confused
because they don’t believe me when I say I’m métis under my curly baldness
a bit like this, a bit like that
a bit like all schizophrenics
my folly uses my joy to shed my sorrows
I’ve made my modesty public
fucking nonsense!
I want to be known
but I can’t stand them infuriating me
I’m an artist like you
an artist like everybody
but when I sing under a shower
sometimes the light abounds
and I might be sweaty, I’m still expecting to glisten
lurking in the shadows, waiting becomes a day-job
to wait: it teaches me to temper my haste
when we’ve got all, at once, it is hard to know how to fight
so I don’t listen to the ones who flatter me too much
those who chat to much
the gaze of the neophyte is worth more than the sermons by the professional
professorial, paternalistic flukes
and I need to keep reminding myself I’m not the child of those industrials
my only links in the world of music
are with my sister Touria and my brother Picaflore
I’m not demagogic
I’m not saying the audience is my family
that my living room is a concert hall that sizzles
that I’m affiliated with a department
despite my cryptic thinking, I can’t say whatever, never mind how
like a heart against a brain
if I had to judge Men, the first would serve me as a provost
and reproach me for having too many affects
time would have us write poems with calculators
it’s not what you want but you choose to undergo it
and I’m like you, a pseudo-martyr when my texts show their tariffs
but I accept the complexity of my incoherence
I am the nail that jams the machine that made it
my rap is the theatre of the absurd
in the end all this is a spectacle
it’s true but I assume
you see, I’ve grown up and so did you
I’ve become an adult while shouting my adolescent writings

Here (in French).

*You know the track they did with South African Tumi & The Volume: Rise Up.

Further Reading