And do you notice, B.J., how, as one escapes
further away from the boundaries of our nation,
the surreal reel of the iniquities of our history
begin to unfold faster and faster in the memory
like slides from Shoah? B.J. do you realize as you read,
that I am what I have always been: a student of holocausts,
a scholar of genocides, a professor of pogroms;
a research assistant of exterminations, ethnic cleansing
and all other exciting atrocities of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries…
Ah, my compatriot, B.J., do you remember the beauties
of nineteen sixty-six exhibited as the masterpieces of our history
in the galleries of the North? Do you or do you not?
The human heads baked in an oven before they were fed to dogs.
The female breasts sliced off with axes and scimitars.
The vaginas and male genitals scalped with rusty scizzors;
The spoils of an incestuous war. * Skulls trepanned
with swinging axes. Necks chopped off on auction blocks.
Eyes roasted like groundnuts before they were fed to vultures
and other fowls of the air. * The human brains
used to repaint the dirty asphalt of the one road
we have traveled since nineteen sixty-six.*
Corpses tipped into mass graves, some left to the caress
of hyenas, the delight of vultures and the phalanges of the wind.
The valley growing with bones and rotting flesh.*
The bodies of little children floating down the river,
clutching , like tiny green-white-green flags, the fragments
of our future. * Do you recall the memory of the Igbo woman
who brought home, like a trophy, in a suitcase,
across River Benue, across the river Niger, by donkey
and by bicycle, by head and by train,
the quartered pieces of her husband's body. *
It is happening again, B.J., it is happening again.
At the turn of a new and doubtful century,
it is happening again and of course, you sef can see
how we have been standing here for half a century ,
knee-deep in ashes, like embalmed sentinels,
waiting for the sign of a new life, any green thing
that can sprout from this valley blooming with bones,
blooming, like Malagatanas paintings, with its harvest of skulls.
Yes, B.J., the iniquities of our history will shame Mosseley,
shame Mussolini, shame Hitler, shame Enoch Powell, shame the Roman Arena, shame Carthage, shame Rwanda, shame even History herself.
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