Sentinel Poetry #49 December 2006 ISSN 1479-425X
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF POETRY & GRAPHICS...Since 2002
Guest Editor: Nnorom Azuonye
You look at one another with
measured smiles, pursed lips
or Absolute Hesitations
and speak with your eyes
above the din of your skins
in conversations of many frequencies.
there's the disappointment
that comes when French falls
through the teeth of a kinsman
and you think –
another nigger down.
And there's the Enlightenment
that not every black man is
from the country
you left behind.
you glance at one another
in rituals of Suspicion
wondering who's legal
and who smells
of impending deportation
Paris is the City
where you speak the slowest,
like a stammerer,
to avoid tangling your tongue.
the City where
you find your way
around the fastest
despite their speaking
Small English Towns
The first of them appears in the patch
Of grass between the bottle-bank and the
Paper-bank. (Both banks are stationed
Like armoured vehicles at the edge
Of the park – rubbish splayed around them
Like rows of beheaded corpses). In her arms
Is a bundle of clothes. Clothes, which is odd
Since there are no clothes-banks anywhere
Around town. Another emerges behind
Her. So now they are two, two beads
Of some invisible necklace. And then
The third bead. Male. Stoned like
The others. And just like when you string
Beads, they move closer still, a jamboree
Of joints in an English seaside paradise.
I am beadmaker, fingers apace
I am god, three floors above;
And poet, one vain insight ahead.
For those birds that loved marshlands more than runways…
Pick your way bravely through a cross
Word-puzzle of split-open luggage
And split-open bodies
And see how high your kites
Of fortitude will soar before crashing.
Death is a misleading mess
-enger. If I have stretched farther
Than life or logic, she sings,
It is because I stand
Atop the shoulders of eternity.
Even the dead dream of death
And leave the living to awaken
And confront the sequels.
The dead and the living have chosen
To mourn each other.
To make a strong perfume,
Mix the stench of Lissa
With the memories of her entombed,
And pressurize with the madness
Of grief. Spray it, simultaneously
From all one hundred
And seventeen corners of Nigeria, till
The ozone darkens into a permanent pall,
Till death immolates herself by asphyxiation.