Too much strength for them, those monsters.
I am too little to be broken into shards.
I’m in the kitchen, sharpening the knife
meant for vegetables and fish,
in preparation for what could be my last attempt
to stay alive if not properly handled.
As much as I love hard copies, I won’t hold
a poetry book. Both hands would be occupied.
I’ll go for the neck, left hand around the neck,
then the right holding the knife to the neck
And before the count of one, one of us must be down.
Imagine it’s me, I must slit the throat, blood dripping
down the neck. No! Don’t think of a reversed occurrence.
Have you seen a mythical monster before?
In your dream like my first after my mother’s demise?
Tell me about your long night, of screams and sweat.
The beautiful side of the herders and their wives.
She remembers to tell you they ruined a country
because her heart still bleed for her lover
and grief won’t depart from her until she invokes
what was written by the prophets in a poem like this.
Did I tell you that I am a lover of cheese
and Fulani are the maker of sumptuous ones?
I am sorry your father didn’t return from the farm.
Truth has an unpleasant taste but I must feed you this:
not all herders kill and not all killers are herders.
To the farm, let us go! What was written
and sheep dwelling together could fulfill in us, too.
And when this system crashes like a pillar of salt,
behold your father coming out of sheol.
Mortals are good readers of grief.
In a nameless city, there’s a claim
mortals do not know how to read things
written, and poems scribbled – a light
for their pathway into Eden, the new one.
How else does a man prophesy blindness
to his eyes but by feigning it?
In same city, a man as old as a country
says he doesn’t think God exist.
How would I talk him into believing
the written word? This is not a failure!
This man whose heart is a rusty cell
wouldn’t allow himself to be imprisoned.
When the bandits left Sambisa,
they left a sign for us to remember
that they were here longer than
we had thought. Even in Eden,
it is difficult to forget that the jacket
my little brother was obsessed with,
was the sign left for our kingdom.
In this poem, I am invisible to the eyes
because something tells me they aren’t gone
really. In the old world, I imagined
severally, how city should be a name for havens
and a country to be heaven for God.
I hope this poem too isn’t an imagination,
a sequel to what was written
about a burning home of a people _
a lover of God and holy writings
whose faith were made of straws and rafters
something too weak to walk ethnicity away.
When a man wakes with the yearning
of a lad for breast milk, he sucks
whatever looks like a nipple.
This is not me even though
this poems says I’m hungry
for holy writings, for solid food.
Lead not to my abode, the clergy
who wouldn’t read from the scripture.
My dog hasn’t eaten flesh in a while.
My mouth is blessed with high spirit.
If you ever read about the man declared
happy for counting the scribbled letters,
you’d understand when I said I am
a citrus tree at the riverbank.
It was written that night would grow teeth
unfriendly to mortals and suck their blood.
What would be left the prophet calls dust.
I read: when it touches the ground, it’d blend with it.
What is memory if not a symphony of circumspect?
I cut the page of the scripture where it was written,
and fisted it in my left palm for reminder sake.
Tobi said he did so. But he didn’t survive his last walk.
Nights are dangerous these days than den of lions.
I’ve lost more than a friend to the night I can’t query.
Is it the kind of night you want me to walk?
Needless to write about sightless shrapnel
that hit Tomi on a broad daylight.
Imagine what the night here holds for a bird
(not owl) walking the night of shades like ghost.
wasn’t a burden transcribed for us.
Most times, it’s not weight that sink a ship.
I know you do not like reading what was scribbled
for us. I think you knew more children that I know.
The cold is not leaving us soon. It has learnt doggedness from the sons of Israel.
Sit them down beside the burning flame
Be still and listen to them as you would, God,
speaking to you from the holy of most holies.
I am afraid you’re walking the broad way.
I still haven’t judge neither would I ever.
How displeasing it is to walk a cramp road.
My ear stools excess word of God _
can there ever be a party of spirit outflow?
I want to say no written word is irrelevant.
As important as air to the body, so are they.
In my home where fire burns everything alive,
we depend on words to live a life life denied us.
Welcome those who do not welcome us.
And because I have a haunting image of you as a rebel,
I am recommending plenty of what was written.
(a poem including a line by Neil Gaiman)
“One of you will betray me,” Messiah said.
He’s right. Books were safer than other people anyway.
Sometimes, it’s what Judas did to his master
that makes me wallow in solitude instead of walking
a lonely bridge with a friend on nights.
Lately, I’ve stopped thinking about extreme grief
stemming from the plant men stalked into me.
Truth be told, I trimmed myself not to grow as thorns.
A brother betrays his tribe and I watch you sigh.
I, too, grow weary when anyone wash his fear in the stream
that passes through every pores in my body.
Often, I imagine the look on the Messiah’s face
after the third cock crow, the sadness that enclose
his heart like clouds on God. Perhaps, I should
speak less about the ancient betrayal accounts.
Recently, a murders his mother and seals his father’s lips
with a coin. A father lullaby his little daughter to sleep
and lit her into a country. See, it’s not bad to reiterate
the truth once told: betrayal begins with what looks like love.
Forgive me if you say you love and I do not respond.
I swear, what was written tastes better than apple
served by the hands of a lover.
I know men who mistook their stupidity for cleverness.
I am against nothing but a man who doesn’t feel
the end of this poem as the end of a system.
I am not a prophet of doom but this earth is a dying man.
What to save from it is Himalayan.
To be brief say: self and others.
And to pronounce a word, alphabets must be kissing –
You’d first save yourself to be eligible to save others.
We are pacing, leaving what was written behind
for dance on the alter of guilt. Years from now,
a rat might eat the pages of prophecy and be fulfilled.
Will it be honey for my people to perish because what
they call wisdom is the spirit behind a bird’s mocking song?
After my mother left, I forgot the written things,
that part that speaks to me became obsolete.
There was a spirit breaking the pod of a kolanut.
Forgive me, dear Lord for this confession.
I was a mere boy, in the middle of a dark night,
gifted a box of grief. I did not want to share.
I wanted pain to end with me in the grave
but my grandma wouldn’t allow me go alone.
Picture a school of graves in my family yard.
I rose the sun in my mouth and embalm it.
You won’t see me gnashing my teeth before her
or in the presence a man who was also a dry bush
because grief is fire_ it burns wild with air.
If I had said yes when I wanted to, who knows
something written would have found fulfilment
in my passing. Perhaps, it wouldn’t.