AFAM AKEH

 

THE POET


He gave his raw heart to the night wind,
surrounded by shadows, floating on drink.
He was blessed among night noises.
He sought his comfort among them.
Whatever the people would not hear,
what their fear could not bear,
he offered the night, slaying the silence.
He had love like a virus, giving as lovers do,
with eyes shut, too taken to care
there are traps that people the dark.
And he was immortal that way,
beyond the moment, elemental as air.
All that time history taunted him
with the surrendered life, with honours
in exchange for his freedom.

Africa was the great love he could not win.
He dreamed
Africa blooming as a bride.
Always there were obstacles to that good life,
pages of poisoned history, couldn't find
a way to love without grieving.
So he dismembered his art in sacrifice,
howling with the pain, dislodging metaphors,
breaking with irony, letting the rot
speak freely and without colour.
Africa does that to her lovers.
Among the fatal mistresses of the earth
there is
Africa.
Men have lost their heads over her.
A poet can lose his way and become spent.
Africa maddened and made him a story.

 

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SENTINEL POETRY (ONLINE) #30, MAY 2005. ISSN 1479-425X