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about

This is a song about being who you are, not who you were supposed to be.

This is from Imago, by Octavia Butler, book 3 in her fantastic Xenogenesis trilogy. (Also published all together as Lilith's Brood.) I actually read this book first out of the three, because it was what my library had, and so the story of Jodahs was my first introduction to the Oankali.

The Oankali have three sexes - male, female, ooloi - the ooloi are genetic manipulators who build the children of the family. Children all start sexless and then have a metamorphosis in to the sex that they are most drawn to. Jodahs wasn't supposed to be ooloi, because part-human oolois were thought to be too dangerous. But nobody asked Jodahs.

Ooan is the name for your ooloi parent, and Nikanj is the name of Jodahs' ooloi parent, Jodahs' ooan is Nikanj.

This song is dedicated to were_duck's super awesome tattoo.

lyrics

Ooan Nikanj you have always been careful G Cm
To have sons and daughters, not children like you G Bb G
I know it has pained you to channel our choices G Cm
I know because I have stood closest to oo G D G
oo Cm G
oo Cm G
And I love my mothers, and I love my fathers G Cm
But ooan Nikanj, I stand closest to oo G D G
Cm G
Humans are dangerous; I am part human
But danger must come for our race to renew
I could pretend to be sister or brother
But ooan Nikanj, we both know it's not true
oo
oo
For Yashi twists in me as it twists inside you - 
Ooan Nikanj, I stand closest to oo

Consensus was reached not to have construct ooloi
Not yet - and not now - and defer, and review
I know that my wildness and power are frightening
But I am here now; I can't wait for their cue
oo
oo
My metamorphoses won't be convenient
But ooan you know it's too late; I am oo
oo Cm G
oo Cm G
Ooan I am your ooeka,  G Cm
ooan I am oo. G Cm G

credits

from Weirdness from 2014, released February 3, 2014

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Brooke Abbey Vancouver

Brooke Abbey (formerly Brooke Lunderville) is a banjo-playing pharmacist from Vancouver, BC.

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