Sharing My Life in Simple Poems

On this page, I will be sharing my published poems with you.

 

 

Part One

 

VICTIMS OF LAZINESS

 

Along the banks

of lonely rivers

I get trapped,

 

A towering mountain,

a deep valley,

always at home,

 

Time finds me

sharing my life

in simple poems.

 

Rejected or cheered,

I see hope

in every trials,

 

Strive I must

among my kind,

victims of laziness.

 

 

THE INK IN MY BLOOD

 

Take me to the gethsemane of life

Where fleeting pleasures cost too much,

Let me sit under a tartarred tree

And sing these songs of toil and pain.

 

Shall I seek out tents of worship

Holding pious people shrouded in noise?

Shall I sit under sellers of God’s grace

And swell the pockets of glory seekers?

 

Shall I sit by the edge of life’s road

And record the sweat of man’s labour,

This timeless extravagance of tears,

Of man sucking man’s blood?

 

Shall I peer into my mother’s hut,

She, heroine of the trial of virtues?

She speaks not with the tongues of today,

She’s shunned by the values of the day!

 

Shall I cry for love, the cold cruel

Love of ladies fair and vain, as

Changing as their garments of fancy?

I have not the heart!

 

Lock me up, oh silent muse,

In the closet of my desecration,

Let the ink in my blood flow

For my purification and death!

 

 

LET ME BE

 

Let him not see beyond his nose,

Let stillborn dreams litter his mind,

Let decaying stars shine in his eyes.

 

Grant him mercy to be withdrawn,

Tomorrow may just be a night away

But it will not come in his lifetime.

 

Let him sit on life’s spiteful fence,

Let him pursue his wily vocations,

Let him be and let me be!

 

 

MANKIND

 

We are oscillate

between the same heavens,

the same hells,

we are only different souls

in one body,

one experience,

we are one lump of clay

draped in the same troubles,

we are one wisp of spirit

attired in the same eternities.

 

Mankind,

with all its natures and colours,

is one unending journey

on the same road.

 

 

THE GOSSIP

 

Do not give in friend,

To the untamed hunger

Raging in your bosoms

For morsels of gossip.

 

Do not sneak upon me

I have lost my balance,

Your victory is fake

Where there is no conflict.

 

When by unmerciful lips

My life is stretched and spread,

Do not cut away, oh gossip,

Help me instead to a shade.

 

 

A BACHELOR’S EXCUSE

 

a worthy vessel

in which

to pour my love

and invest my destiny

I cannot find,

for virtuous hags

have dried my heart

and despised my pocket,

while the innocent

and the emergent

now make their offerings

either false

or full of fears.

 

 

TO ANSWER THE CALL

 

Ask this of the learned,

Enquire at the house of the wise,

What oracle endures unashamed

The violation of its worshippers?

Will our elders embrace slumber

Leaving us in uncharted forests?

 

Do not ask me to confront angry gods,

I have not tasted the blood of initiation.

Do not send me on peace missions,

I have not tamed my pubertal fires.

 

Imprison me in the throes of birth,

But let my ears be unshackled

To hear this call of the lonely and

Let it be answered in patterned thoughts.

 

 

SUMMON FROM THE DEEP

 

Your haunt is deep, oh muse,

Deeper than the wells in my soul,

You tease my meagre being

And I know I must strain,

I must strain to cage silence

And unleash it upon s subtle summon.

 

But I am a witless disciple

Living outside the borders of rigour,

And yes, when you come demanding

I am found both lazy and shirking,

Drawing warmth from laughing fires,

Impotent flames of my higher dreams.

 

So I wait here, ingrown and stifled,

I feed your hunger with solitary thoughts

Until you ride with my bruised prides

Like a good smile teasing a sad face.

 

 

 

THE MAN LIVED

 

Sleep engulfed me

In my austere bed,

Scheming and sweating

I made more dreams

As success eluded me.

 

In my hour of disgrace,

Fear became my companion

And shame became my strength,

To hope and to search

For any rebirth.

 

Ridicule tortured my steps,

A bruised tribal pride

Engendered my pains

And a love of self

Reinforced my prison walls.

 

Now I am oblivious

To the conflicts for my honour,

I drain my blood

Into their merciless cups,

For death has given me life.

 

 

I WOULD IF I COULD

 

something of your life

is etched on my heart:

 

it could be your face

it could be your voice,

 

it could be your thoughts

echoing in my dripping blood,

 

it could your destiny

clutching unto me for support,

 

and now I know

I would if I could.

 

 

 

CALL OF THE FULANI MAID

 

          for Binta

 

At the edge of the sahara

I meet my Fulani maid

With dances in her eyes

And flowers in her steps.

 

In her nashful smile

I saw a beckoning path,

‘Come with me Ngainako1,

I will be your companion.’

 

Sure in her wandering spirits

She conquered my fears and

Imprisoned me in her serene gaze,

Taunting in its elusive call.

 

So far have I ventured,

To follow my Fulani dream

In search of a secret place,

To drown in her milk and honey.

 

1.       A Fulani herdsman

 

 

 

THE STRUGGLE

 

she conjured a home

on the shifting stages of deception,

 

he is an abused rubble,

a clay to cajole into gold,

 

this is a struggle to keep his soul,

for your mercy, oh daughter of eve,

is harder than God’s wrath!

 

 

FULANI EYES

 

Her eyes are dark,

Filled with stories,

But she hides her past

Behind weak little smiles.

 

His heart is brave,

Covered with scars,

But he hides his guilt

Behind a cheerful pen.

 

Now in a sinless way

They make simple mistakes,

He to clear her eyes,

She to remove to fears?

 

 

 

UNITY IN LOVE

 

Machetes of gossips

hacked at our honour,

we found strength and pride

in every drop of our blood.

 

Where can I find shelter

if you crawl into your shell?

 

I will not run after you

lest I crush your desires,

I will wait here, alone,

and fight this war of fears.

 

Thus shall life go on

for you and for me,

for you

          to feast on my strifes,

for me

          to clutch at straws.

 

 

 

 

THORN IN YOUR FLESH

 

The lights in her pitying eyes

Recede into haunting regrets,

She sprays her vintage venom.

 

What itched his peace?

Oh the stab at her pride!

The carelessness of her revenge!

Her restless tongue slashed away

And he buried his heart in blood!

 

Now she makes the righteous call

That compels the wounded to hide,

And I wrap my soul in ashes.

 

 

 

THE CRUSADER

 

At the end of her crusade,

She stands tall, steeped in blood,

And he is left to tell the story.

 

Yet light pulls them further apart,

She, a wife not a sweetheart,

He, a lover not a husband.

 

 

 

THE BUTCHERS

 

her claim was low

for the deepest cut,

 

he trusted at a cost

for the cheapest cut,

 

she came, looked and left

for the surest cut,

 

she put strength in her toys

for the best cut.

 

 

 

THE MOMENTS ARE UPON US

 

The moments are upon us, and

I must catch your free spirit,

So I conceal my intents:

To preserve the untainted memories

Of your play upon my heart.

 

How I long to unravel, to share,

The mysteries in your smiles!

So I lie awake at night:

To watch the clash of our desires,

The touching of kindred souls.

 

Yet I have come to your gate

And I must state my quest,

So I throw away my shield:

To hold, I die of fear!

To leave, I die of love!

 

 

 

MOTHER

 

When silence overtakes the birds

I hear your cradle song,

When darkness magnifies my fears

I make my nest in your purity.

 

I return mother, I return,

To your tent I’d always come,

I am the son grown on your milk

And the man living on your love.

 

 

 

Part Two

 

LITTLE GOMBI

 

Named for your size

You have shunned growth,

Like a wooden chair

Caked in colourless molds.

 

You make dull noises

Showing inorganic life…

In a smiling face I came

But you caged me in boredom.

 

You colluded with fake love

To haunt my days of rest,

But the distant voice of concern

Brought hope to tortured days.

 

 

ANOTHER BEGINNING

 

Time has run fast between us

And we must reply to changes,

You and I,

O prodiguous Otukpo,

Have tramped a long weary way.

 

How wearily you plead then

Through dilapidated structures,

But your generals,

In suburban mansions,

Cannot hear your cries for help.

 

Like a boy on an errand I came,

As a man with experience I leave,

Play your game,

O flirtuous Otukpo,

Which part of me have you claimed?

 

The drills have come to an end,

This end is only another beginning,

What comes

I do not know,

But the scent speaks of better things.

 

 

LAGOS I

 

You search the coastal skies

And stretch the deep atlantis

Enclosing saint and sinner

Into your generous expanse.

 

Night-crawling guv’nors

Confront fun-seeking glamour girls

In the bright lights of your nights,

All taking more, giving less.

 

You breed Area Boys

And dare-devil crime lords,

While bugs and bulldozers

Ravage your maroko for the rich.

 

Bare-footed, white-clad prophets

Spew out of halleluya houses

And infest your beaches,

While penticostals perform for all.

 

Eko, you are an alluring harlot,

You trap men between your thighs,

Whoever comes into your embrace

Would not live anywhere else!

 

 

RESTORATION

 

surrounded by leaping princely hills,

this elegant green-sided road

begins to make its approach into Yola,

the sun with its rays now softened

caresses my back with golden warmth,

these hills with rain-polished rocks

shed off the anger of the heat

and protect the side where my love waits.

 

hurry on, driver of iron chariot,

ere darkness falls upon us,

I must kiss my love and beauty

before the sun casts off its last smile!

 

 

SUNSET FROM GA’ANDA

 

Perched atop a rickety pick-up van

With his back to the serpentine road,

He left the friendly hills of Ga’anda

Bathed in the golden glows of sunset.

 

Cared for by Sa’adatu and Ayuba,

Missed by Fartisi, Lare and Murna

And loved by Namchedek, who cried,

He was cheered on and waved away.

 

The white dust of the dry season road

Enveloped him like a thin garment,

Mocked by the softness of the sunset

His body danced and ached along.

 

He was spewed unto another van:

The piercing night winds of harmattan,

Joined by the young pale crescent of a moon,

Accompanied him from Gombi to Garkida.

 

 

 

BELOVED GARKIDA II

 

Scraps will litter your dusty streets

And your native eyes will be dazzled

By the fashions of your scattered people

As they gather for a few days of show.

 

But now you are a rejected village

Struggling without your decorations,

To fight through mindless teenagers

Ineptly playing adult games.

 

I patrol your bowels in unspoken pain

And try to exorcise what’s part of me,

I reach deep into my sad sighing soul

Afraid that without you I am lost.

 

Though your brooks are no longer pure

To your famous breasts I return,

Tainted by fame and mammon, I’m bewildered,

Bewildered, but for a while, a little while.

 

 

PRIDE OF THE NATION

 

You beckon to us

In beauty and breadth

As superstructures sprout upon your belly,

Courtesy of Berger and Buoygues,

Of Sterling and Strabag.

 

You are a rest house

For the super rich,

What is loathsome in me, oh Abuja,

That you should exclude me

From your opulence?

 

From Kubwa and Karu

I shall come

To gaze upon your other-worldly appeal,

Let me go overseas

In my own country!

 

 

 

LAGOS II

 

Oh town of slums and skyscrapers

Of ancient buses and posh car;

 

You are a city besieged by armed robbers

And swept by army squads in battle bravado.

 

Policemen punctuate your streets,

Black in habit and black in heart,

Sucking the blood of your offerings.

 

No longer the monster in my imagination;

I have fought and conquered your mighty molues,

I have looked your area boys in the eye,

I have traversed Oshodi at night.

 

No longer the monster in my imagination,

No longer the dirtiest capital in the world,

Abuja has disciplined your offices,

Adisa has beautified your bridges.

 

No longer the monster in my imagination,

Yet you retain your ravenous appetite

For village boys to come and be dazzled

By your long-term, die-hard admirers

Who still see you in your old beauty

And tell of the affairs of your past.

 

 

 

LAND OF DESTINY

 

Along the fertile confluence

You stretch yourself,

Oh so lazily,

Like a shriveled spent whore

Full of greed and spite.

 

In your lust for good things

You cast aside your own,

The old cry in the streets:

‘She has trapped our bread,’

Young maidens rend their manners:

‘What honour, who cares?’

Home boys bind their bruises:

‘Why labour, who cares?’

 

Lokoja, you call unto me

And draw blood from my soul,

But I will not dance for you

And I will not hang my harps!

 

 

Part Three

 

 

FULANI MIGRATION

 

He takes his whole clan:

The bulls, proud and forward,

And cows, a harem of them,

The sheep and goats follow

Like shrubs in a forest of beasts,

Then clan dogs and chickens.

 

Children and feeble old women

And young pregnant wives

Ride the backs of broad cows,

Tall men, slender and weather-beaten,

And boys ripening to men

Constitute the vigilante band.

 

Through savannahs and forests,

Over hills and drying rivers,

Day and night they migrate,

Following wherever pastures bid,

Caring little for ease and comfort,

Living and moving for their cattle.

 

I KILLED A GRASSHOPPER

 

An insolent grasshopper

flew into the embrace

of my bare room,

lost,

frightened

and chirpy!

 

          You invaded my peace, man!

          Your wings my executioner’s sword!

          Your fangs my grave digger’s pride!

 

I struck at it, the hopper,

It lay at my feet

shocked,

unmoving

except for the twitching

of uncomprehending antennae.

 

          I stared at your stupor,

          amazed,

          sharing in your shock!

 

Suddenly

it sprang into life,

on the floor!

crying to me

for mercy that I cannot give,

for life that I do not have!

Then it went into a shadow

and died,

the grasshopper, it died!

 

          My kindred,

          I have killed you!

          My kinsbeing,

          You have killed me

          by dying such an agonising death!

 

          For my peace,

          I shall bury you!

          You shall not satisfy

          the grizzly hunger

          of some shameless lazy lizard!

 

 

A GECKO PASSED BY ME

 

You were hiding under the table

when I invoked the light

and put an end to your evil.

 

As you slipped into another shadow

you passed by me,

stopping briefly to wink at me,

but your tricks which tormented me

at childhood

are no longer potent in the light,

and your darkness is too small

to frighten me now.

 

But I did not hear what you said

and my fear followed you,

to resurrect

wherever you may appear

again.

 

 

THE PREYING MANTIS

 

Perhaps you will hear me from your grave,

They say you are a skillful predator,

A slow cunning hunter,

A hunter that kills without haste,

Swaying endlessly on your slender traps!

 

How were you to know, given your one-thing brain,

That you will never out-trick an omnivore!

How sorrowful that you should fight a chicken

And lose, in broad daylight, oh preyer!

It was my fault and I am ashamed!

 

 

AT THE WINDOW

 

Wave at me carefree bird,

Tell me if you are in flight

To love and homely comfort.

 

Sing to me, contented bird,

Over the growls in my belly,

But if you chirp of man helping man,

I shall seek to put you on my table!

 

Go, bird, fly over the elements,

If you find value in this living,

Come back and let us feast on it

Or send my share tied on the moon

As it rises over my world.

 

 

THE BUG

 

A living space I do not begrudge you,

But human kindness is not so simple

And I have no wings to spread about.

 

You foolish buzzing thing,

I have been wasting in this room

All day, for days,

Without any meals too,

But I do not bug anybody, do I?

 

I do not harass you

Out of hate or greed,

But for your insolence.

 

If you mock my silence again,

I shall crush you

With the anger of hunger!

 

 

APOLOGY TO A DEAD WASP

 

Whether you were a mother or a father

I could not tell,

But I had encountered you many times.

 

Playfully, and with some fear of your sting,

I had shooed you to submission

And you had fled through the window.

 

But that morning,

That awful morning,

You had stood your ground.

 

How old your wasplets were,

I did not know,

But you had fallen,

That awful morning,

And I was relieved with a heavy heart.

 

I am a man now and a father,

I would not wish your children’s fate on mine.

 

 

PICTURES OF THE DRY SEASON

 

Cockrow

no longer calls the men of my village

to the oft trodden roads to the farms,

 

mother earth

has withdrawn her green carpet

and the land is shrouded in brown.

 

Fulani cattle

non-challantly browse the after harvest,

ignorant of the herald of burning heat

and dry water holes.

 

Our barns

are now swollen with new crops

and as the farms empty their bellies,

the burkutu1 woman has her day;

each morning finds her pots

abscessed with eager men

who stagger home after at night

belching and singing.

 

Hardworking men,

now rendered impotent by the season,

are contented

to savour the shades of tired trees

and churn out lengths of perta2

and bales of mamzham3

to beauty their homesteads

in fresh garments.

 

Woman, oh African woman!

At the smile of the day

she is sucked into depths of worn-out bushes

in search of nature’s fuel,

she returns, fatigued, to tend to her broods

and her kitchen for ten!

 

When will the sun dance around you?

You are soft, woman, like the African moon

that caresses children at play.

You are soft, mother.

 

1.                  A local beer brewed from sorghum

2.                  A rope woven from grasses

3.                  A big woven made made from tall grasses for roofing and fencing

 

 

Part Four

 

 

BOOTFALLS IN OUR STREETS

 

Garbed in my starched white coat

I cower behind a flimsy mouth guard,

Lest my life becomes a blood stain

And desterilises my tools of trade.

 

But my patient is sick and dying

In need of transfusions democracy,

Khakied goons seize her by the throat

Killing her with gunpower and settlements!

 

I percuss a boom of kwashiokored bellies,

I auscultate a rattle of stick-like limbs,

I hear growling hungers in our bodies

And fierce bootfalls in our streets.

 

My anaesthetics, they fail me now,

So I emerge from disinfected cubicles,

Without my hypocritic oath, I join the cry:

‘When will a batch of hearts break?’

 

 

HOW CAN I DIE

 

You took my leader

          I did not stray,

You took my land

          I did not run,

You took my love

          I did not cry,

You took my food

          I did not starve,

You took my pride

          I did not fall.

 

How can I die?

How can I die

When you are not

Through with killing me!

 

THE CALL OF THE PEN

 

Harassed by a band of militiocrats

I take up the call of the pen,

If their deeds of doom I denounce

I shall by army gums be profaned,

If the emergence of hope I herald

I shall by the hungry be hounded.

 

But I seek neither crown nor glory;

Let them come that slay body only

My flesh surely other dusts must join,

Let them come that draw out blood

To carry my word into immortality,

Let it say, ‘he answered the call!’

 

 

DEATH FOR ALL

 

There are green things

with leaves and flowers

of all shapes and sizes,

endowed with chlorophyll and given sunlight,

they, through photosynthesis,

make life for all.

 

There are things in green,

few and fat-cheeked

in khakis and boots,

blessed with guns and

looting naira and kobo,

they, through phobiasynthesis,

make death for all.

 

 

 

MARTIAL MUSIC AND METHODS

 

They surround their importances

with mistresses and minstrels

who, plastered in looted naira,

tell us too sing and dance

and forget our sorrows.

 

But there is no redemption

In their martial music and methods,

So while they feed on our fat,

Our spindly legs can only dance

To the drums in our empty stomachs.

 

 

 

COME OUT!

 

Come out ye fertile mothers

From your huts of deprivation!

Take your fill of the land,

Give suckle to your offsprings!

 

Come out ye broken fathers!

Come out proud sons of the land!

Go tend thy fields today,

They reap your sweats no more!

 

Come out daughters of our land!

Emerge in your forgotten beauty!

Adorn in your apparels of dance!

Let your songs fill our streets!

 

Spread the wonders abroad,

The grass shall no longer quake!

Gone are the sacred cows

Into their abandoned barracks!

 

 

 

THE DICTATOR

 

He envied the politicians greed

and came the plunderer’s way,

out of a sheltered barrack,

schooled and decorated in drills,

riding the backs of friends.

 

He emerged

behind the barrel of a gun

to squander and ravage,

to graze on the citizens

he swore to protect.

 

Then he smiled, gap-toothed,

and promised us daybreak,

but he dribbled us and stepped aside

to usher in a darkness,

a darkness blacker than night.

 

 

THE RETURN OF THE SAINT

 

What settled accounts

In yonder Swiss vaults

That made the man in green

To spread for you the red carpet

Instead of a dirty crate,

I would never know!

 

Now you return as a saint

With a doctorate to your name,

How my gullible people

Would mistake your coming

For that of a physician,

I would never know!

 

Are you unrepenting

Or am I unforgiving?

Do you now covet Aso Rock

To encastle your greed or

To atone for your wrongs?

I would never know!

 

When the endless race starts,

Would you be spraying the sterling

Or would you be giving us rice

To make us forget that yesterday

You promised us only garbage?

I would never know!

 

 

 

THE ULTIMATE DECEPTION

 

A series of attempts to appease,

A reluctant desire to step aside,

A horde of slain politicians,

The president had hidden agenda,

The presidents-to-be had their skeletons,

Only the multitudes were deceived.

 

Two-party system, open ballot,

A harvest of party structures,

A contest of friends of a friend,

Still the president had his reasons,

The presidents-to-be had their skeletons,

And the super-rich were deceived.

 

Paradise was painted in promises

And scores of observers cried

‘It was the freest and the fairest!’

But the general had old grudges,

The president-elect had hidden skeletons,

Only the citizens were deceived.

 

 

 

OF PIGS, SPECIALISTS AND BUTCHERS

 

Dirty pigs infest our gutters

 

Do not give your pearls to pigs,

Throw not your body at them

Lest they carve you up for dogs,

Share not your fears with hyenas

Lest they turn and devour you.

 

Cunning specialists litter our programmes

 

Open not your door to exotic tricks,

These greeky surgeons beraing knives,

Beware of crusaders and activists,

Beware of orgies with harlots,

They fan the fire set upon your house.

 

Sharp-toothed butchers infest our street

 

Throw not your body on their knives,

Do not lend your ears to buzzards,

They do not pay their debts,

Do not sell your peace for a promise,

You cannot cast your votes for wolves.

 

 

 

VISION 2010

 

They are on the same run again,

looking up to you

the image of their past fears.

 

The same exit scheme

beckons their undying dreams

for a place in our history.

 

Between now and then,

you give them the same sweets

and new impoved nzeribe monsters.

 

Me, I have nothing to lose,

I am still homeless and sick at 2000,

teach me to catch your vision.

 

 

 

UNDER THE GUNS OF DICTATORS

 

Brother Jero, I will not follow

in your quest for foreign decorations

and trade mark pills and remedies,

you partook at the state banquets

under the guns of dictators,

and in your flow of ink

I perceive a whiff of deceit,

enough to crush budding blades.

 

Woe to you conniving socialists!

You fill out your cheeks

under the guns of dictators

and abandon your discipleship

until your sheep’s clothing

can longer cover your wolf’s body!

When you call to your comrades,

you speak in poisoned fangs.

 

Tell me, you monger of news,

why do you shun courage

and hide your pernicious mischief

under the guns of dictators?

You keep your conscience

hidden in big brown envelopes

where truth acquires many shades

and demi-gods are created and appeased.

 

What can the hopes of the peasant do

under the guns of dictators?

While they toil to fill the coffers of generals

(goaded on by frenzied dances of sycophants),

they hope for release from man-made yokes,

for the practitioners of politics will come

to loot with smiles and unfulfilled promises

what was not ravaged by guns and boots.

 

 

OF ADJUSTMENTS

 

Sharp and problematic

          years of

structural adjustment programme

          removed all

subsidies and privileges.

 

Some additional parts

          of the Nigerian dream were

sliced and pocketed

          by a

select and pampered

          few,

          while our

suffering adjusted parents

          were retrenched,

          and we joined the

senior applicants parade.

 

          Now we have tribunals that

search and punish

          corruption,

          and we reckon to shift between

sinners and politicians.

 

          He believes

          that when power is devolved

          and the nation is given federal character,

          we are TICkled and NARECOMed,

          we might be a

soundly adjusted people.

 

          If we shun

separation and polarisation,

          we might

stay and prosper,

          all if

some abacha please!

 

 

TIC = Transition Implementation Committee (Nigeria)

 

NARECOM = National Reconciliation Commission (Nigeria)

 

 

 

 

WE SHALL RISE WITH THE SUN

 

I

 

Over-cooked unyielding promises

have SAPped their stomachs,

pot-bellies tycoons

have clothed them in TOKUNBOs,

unlettered men of Action

have MAROKOed their dwelling places,

their NEW BREED patriots are hindered

by clumsy turnings of a headless NECk.

 

They seek to return to their grassroots

and Operate to Feed the Nation, but

their Green Revolution turns to brown dreams,

their villages are not DFRRIed.

 

Their rural women are promised Bitter Lies

as lazy Ladies, First Persons to sit in Chairs,

accumulate swelling wardROBes.

 

Their National Cake is Privatised

into the waiting arms of practitioners of lobbying,

while the sword of retrenchment,

sharpened by Invincible Men of Finance,

hang over underpaid slavers

abandoned by pascals and rascals.

 

Men of wealth ride the winds

to seek cure for luxurious headaches,

while the kwashiokored children of the land

are promised Death for All by 2000

new SINthetic ailments and SINdromes.

 

II

 

Yet the choking merry gist

of the infamous he-goat

and the jerry jarring jingles

of ah-so rock music

is MAMSERed to Nationally Orientate and Agitate us

to shun the evils of Andrew

who checked out…

 

Yet the dimpled descendant of Mai Dugu

with wisdom behind dark goggles,

and supported by vain hawkers of words

partaking in the naira share-a-thon at Sheraton,

push away the day of Naija’s de-mockery-tisation…

 

III

 

We hear their appeals in our hearts;

‘oracles of our people,

what paradise do your pens discern?’

 

We sit here

on the burning sands of time,

entertained and killed

by star-studded

long-playing

khaki-clad

clowns:

 

‘Sons of our mother,’ we chorus as one,

‘darkness comes

to curtain their acts,

 

but the sun shall rise

upon us

to celebrate!’

 

 

 

LAND OF OUR FOREFATHERS

 

Land of our forefathers,

Recount the tales of your braves,

Stories that adorned the evening fires

Of our ancestors long departed,

Tell of the riches that once were yours

And the treasures buried in your belly.

 

Land of our forefathers,

Your body, battered, bent and brown,

Speaks of trials unknown to me,

It tells of the coming of greed mongers

(From distant lands with superior weapons)

Who ravaged your ebony beauty.

 

Land of our forefathers,

Tell of the anger in your sacred hills

That crushed our elders of old,

The hunger of your abandoned brooks

That washed away our fishermen

And farmlands that ate up our crops.

 

Land of our forefathers,

Your suntanned lovers turn their backs,

Your caretakers sit in borrowed palaces,

I cry to you, oh land of my forefathers,

For I am a pregnant young man, though

Vultures wait to devour my dreams.

 

Land of our forefathers,

Hearken to my tortured petition,

For the inheritors of your dignity, I intercede,

We cannot ask for tears from your plunderers,

We have come for courage and blessings,

Speak to us, oh land of our forefathers!

 

 

 

FREEDOM FIGHTERS

 

What will you do with this

freedom,

now that you have learnt to

fight?

So much blood floods your

fields,

there is no stop to this flow of

pains.

 

When you have shed their

blood,

others will come and shed your

blood,

others will come and shed their

blood,

until man is purified of the fear of

himself!

 

 

 

FARIDA

 

          for Farida Mustapha (Late)

 

My Farida, our Farida,

It was only yesterday

your smiles brightened our corridors

and lightened our swotting emotions,

 

now we write our examinations

with you.

 

Our Farida,

what yonder yearnings captured your spirit

on your cloudless morning?

 

You made your sacrifice and left us

Without telling mother where you were going.

 

Your blood screamed across Zaria,

and still speaks

in the shrinking souls

of those who tangoed with the police,

 

they only washed their hands

in blood.

 

Oh great Nigerian students,

Forget not the sweetness

of her last smile!

 

 

 

APPLICANTS

 

Uncertainties

connections and promises

compel us

to wait,

asking and placing

applications.

 

Certificates we’ve got,

experiences

(of five years and above)

we lack,

having just NYSC

of 365 days!

 

Now and then

we feed on rumours and truths,

you are there

I am here,

felicitations and prayers,

some tensions, some laughters.

 

Career plans

or desperations,

endless queues

from yesterday to tomorrow,

we in the middle, today,

applicants all!

 

 

 

NEW GENERATION

 

alluring embraces

curried kisses

imperial comforts

sacrificed innocence

wealth-washed values

parasitic partnerships

perverted bloodlines

home-grown injuries

solitary kinsmanship

 

          and so we run

          oh how we run

          from the calls of our fathers

 

fading histories

ancestral boundaries

rust-infested credits

conspiratorial wars

cosmetic friendships

hit-and-run cultures

stock destinations

 

          and so we run

oh how we run

from the calls of our fathers

 

disdain in the hard hands of elders

fire in the common eye of brothers

mercies of new gods

conjured ailments

chants of clumsy priests

menace of attractive traps

bungling hunters

 

          and so we run

          and we may run

perhaps never to meet again

 

 

MY GENERATION

 

Here I am denuded of all plumage

In the middle of my peak virility,

A few years stolen by mean dreams,

A few years left to tease my fate:

         

Of my generation I am the crystal image,

Sapped skeletons hugging tartarred hopes.

 

We are compelled to survive, never to thrive,

In order to maintain their fat selves

And preserve even the crumbs of our cake

For their kids and the brats after their kind:

 

          Of my generation we are the pampered victims,

          Sapped skeletons watched by insatiate vultures.

 

Born equal but bred to poor and polite,

We drown noiselessly in committees and commissions,

And when we die, as we surely must die,

We are denied graves even at dumping sites:

 

          Of my generation we are the clear picture,

          Sapped skeletons bound by barren dreams.

 

 

 

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47 thoughts on “Sharing My Life in Simple Poems

  1. Your poetry has got some penetrating political bite. I generally enjoyed them. Your blog has got some rich content! I will visit more often!

    1. Glad to hear that you are a much better poet. I am sorry I can’t contact you. Can you please blog your poems so that we can enjoy them and learn from your work?

  2. Hey, your blog provided me with the info I need for the 2010 ANA Prize which I am about to enter. Thank you.

    Again, being a good writer and Poet, I am able to recognize a good work of art when i see one.Your Poems are damn good, I need to get to meet you too.

    Thanks.

  3. Thanks for making such a valuable blog, sincerely Kobos Mathers.

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  5. I had been arguing with my close friend on this issue for quite a while, base on your ideas prove that I am right, let me show him your webpage then I am sure it must make him buy me a drink, lol, thanks.

    -Murk

  6. This is . . . I don’t knw. Good, nice, fine, creative? Keep’t up. Hw safe is it 2 put my work on my blog? I’m scared of pirates. Also, any membshp rquiremnt 2 join Abj Lit Society n whr is office locatd. Pls i need 2 join any creative sciety 2 xprss myself.

    1. Dear friend,
      Thank you for your nice comment.
      You are right about your work on your blog. What I do is to ensure that I have presented my work at a forum before I post them on my blog. You need to be sure that there is prior documented evidence that they are yours before you make them available online.
      The only requirement to join the Abuja Literary Society is enthusiasm! You can register at any of the weekly events. First Friday is Open Mic at the Transcorp Hilton (7pm), second Friday is Open Mic at Silverbird Entretainment Centre (7pm), third Friday is Abuja Book Club at Salamander Cafe (7pm) and the last Friday is Silverbird BookJam at Silverbird Entertainment Centre (6pm). Poetry Slams hold on a quarterly basis at the Hilton venue. You can register at any of these meeting places.
      You can also become a member of the Abuja Chapter of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA). The meetings are not structured but you can check this site for updates. This Saturday (27th, is Guest Writer Session with Musa Idris Okpanachi at The French Cultural Centre, 3pm.
      Also, there’s the Abuja Writers Forum. Meets every Sunday at the International Institute of Journalism, Hamdala Plaza, 4pm for reading and critique and every last Saturday of the month is the monthly Guest Writer Session at Pen and Pages Bookstore, Whitehouse Plaza, Wuse II, 4pm. This Saturday AWF hosts Sumaila Umaisha and Ifeyinwa Omalicha.
      Infusion is happening tomorrow, Thursday, the 25th, at JB’s Grill, Maitama Amusement Park, 6pm. Coordinated by Lola Shoneyin.
      I can assure you there is ample opportunity for you to express your creative self in Abuja!
      Kind regards,
      Kabura

  7. Thanks for remembering beautiful and super smart farida mustapha. She was my senior in holy child sch. GH. Keep her fire burning. RIP

  8. After I initially commented I clicked the -Notify me when new feedback are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any means you’ll be able to take away me from that service? Thanks!

    1. I am sorry about the situation. Unfortunately, I am not able to resolve the matter as I am only a blogger here. However, I hope the site owner can resolve the issue. My apologies!

  9. I just want to tell you that I am new to weblog and honestly savored you’re blog site. Likely I’m going to bookmark your site . You surely come with superb articles. Thank you for sharing your website page.

  10. Your poems are amazing, so intense, I could sit and read them all day!
    Do you find it difficult/contradictory to write poetry in English?
    Were all the poems in The Man Lived written in English? Does poetry have to be in English to win the ANA poetry prize or was it a decision you made yourself?
    I think it’s a shame you didn’t continue work as a veterinarian!

    1. Thank you for the compliment. I am glad that you like my poems.
      I write in English, the official language in Nigeria. I can read and write in my mother tongue but I think in English! I find it easier to write in English and translate to my mother tongue than the other way around.
      As for the ANA prizes, only works in English are accepted for now. I hear there are moves to institute prizes for writing in indigenous languages. That will be good for Nigeria.
      Yeah, it’s a pity about veterinary practice. Perhaps one day I shall return to it.

  11. I’ve been browsing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all site owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be a lot more useful than ever before.

  12. Very well written information. It will be supportive to everyone who usess it, including me. Keep up the good work – for sure i will check out more posts.

  13. Hi JA’E,
    I thought I knew you could let the pen in your blood flow, but wauoooo, I knew very little or may be nothing at all……???
    Simply put, uncle JA’E (I hope I got your pet names’ splet properly) ‘you are always the best’.

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