poems

Online Magazine Monthly July 2003  Issue #8

ISSN 1479-425X

Esiaba Irobi's "Kingdom Of The Mad"

Cover Page

Stephen Vincent
Poems from Walking

Interview
My e-Conversation With Stephen Vincent
by Nnorom Azuonye

Emman Usman Shehu
Two Poems

Robert John Helms
Reflections of Spring

Esiaba Irobi
Kingdom of the Mad

Past Issues

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Kole , I hear you are now in South Africa.
Doing great adverts for mobile phones from the USA.
How will Karl Marx feel in his grave now that you appear
On billboards for conglomerates, how will Trotsky feel?
Lenin, Stalin, and Chairman Mao, how will they feel?
Have we betrayed them, compesino and comrade, have we ?
"But what else could we do? Afterall the Berlin wall had fallen
and we had been hoovered out of our country like crayfish
in a trawler's net sweeping the ocean floor. Uprooted
like tender cotyledons by a whirlwind,  the tenants of the desert."
Kole, I too have joined the rat race , running my own race
through the academic track. Reading  and writing and teaching
by day, playing the lottery at night in crowded malls.  Dreaming
like Sampson and Salubi, about becoming a millionaire!!! Waiting
for my first million. To build a library in Aba.  The second ?  To marry
seven wives. Father seventy children. Form a new Marxist party!
Overthrow the government.  Bring you all home. Make you ministers!
Ministers of culture! Ministers of the Future!!! Future Prime Ministers!

Join me, Afam Akeh, you who chose the path of a different truth
The road to the cross, on our way to Golgotha.
Join me, as I exorcise, in words and songs,
the terror at the heart of this epic, the eternal  fear
gnawing at the sinews of my soul. Join me as I begin
to dirge and redream for the future of our children
who may return to a no man's land, a home happy with
the laughter of gunfire whose national anthem is a twenty-one
gun salute and spurts of human blood jackson-pollocked
on that rag, that everlasting rag:  that green white green rag.

VII

Join me, all you who are the remains of what remains
Of my generation.  We are those the future forgot.
Beleaguered and despised, banished and dispossessed.
We who were blinded  before we were born. And branded
thereafter.  Friends, you who were once alive and happy
and writing,  I just want you to know that before we return
from this interminable exile our country may no longer
be on the map of the world. It  may have been erased,
its dross, the ashes  and the dust a military priest flings
into the graves of  pregnant generals who died fucking up their country

So, join me, Ossie Melody, you who thought you had
found the final metaphor for our country, broken pots.
Crouched in that industry you believed would make you
immortal, how could you have known that we would
all become, in the end, the pieces of the pitcher at the riverside,
fragments from that singular fall! Shattered, we cannot go home
with the water neither can we return to the stream with the waterpot!

Laa n'udo; laaa n'udo, nwannem nkem huru n'anya…

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