Sentinel Poetry (Online) #44  


ISSN 1479-425X Editor: Amatoritsero Ede                                                            


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Tolu Ogunlesi


The Man who caned nonsense

He leaves the taste of freedom
On the tongue. You can go to bed

And wake two mornings after, kiss
A million passionate lovers, feast

On the spiciest of native soups, yet
You'll still taste him, jazz on the taste buds.

He cramped military dictators
Into the winding corridors of a saxophone

And blew at them with marijuanaed breath.
And out of his instrument, tumbled

Not only rattled soldiers and the shreds
Of their shrines of Injustice, but also

Afrobeat, jazz's deep-voiced snake
Wrapping itself around the heart, the brain,

The feet, breaking the bones of lethargy
Venoming Nonsense and her many Teachers.



The pouch we believed held death, turned out
To hold stuff slightly less menacing: Dust & Mud.

Dust. The swirling, rebellious dust
Of Ake, decades old, shaken off the feet

Of a mob of women; whirlwind
That still compels Kings to sneeze in public.

And Mud. From marshes peopled
By The Masses, squelched by the boots

Of unknown armies. Let Us (the Black Man)
Make Protests in our own image.

Mud from his pouch,
Moulded with his lips,

Leavened with his breath, and loosed
Upon the earth, a red-eyed battalion

Khakied in Melody.
His was the Sax that seduced

A bevy of fiery Tales, Poetry
That readily married Fire, Rhythm and Weed.



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