I Was Forbidden To Say My Name…
I was lost once at age nine, after the music lanterns went home
And the police in khaki shorts found me along the rail track
The music lanterns, or was it the singers who deserted me
on those snaky, hilly routes south and north of my ancestry
After the war, I was lost on my own battlefield
I walked through the landmines away from home
A new sight, a different world even in desperate hours
dead to the divorce of lights and darkness
Then I reached the road's end, where the rail track began
The policeman kidnapped my long journey to nowhere
I was forbidden to say my name to strangers
But I croaked a generation’s praise-names as code; I was found!
Wizened with father's fury, I learned the track and the path
Now I know the route to take when the song ends...
I will never know the man who didn’t take a bribe to show me the way.
In Memoriam: Lagos
Suppose the river appears to you
In the shape of taps, or that the sun is awake
All day in the rays of unquenchable lights
Suppose your streets leap with magic
The colour of tar and hexagon marble
The calculus of the spider’s web,
A delta of trains and trams.
Suppose your lagoon and lakes wear
The whiteness of love boats
Or by the beach you can kiss
The mermaid without the fear of darkness…
And when you have danced day to lameness
Suppose you can choose your way home
In the predictability of the hour,
Still unfurled to the purple smell of night , …
And suppose you’re not proscribed to many dead ends of the road
Suppose you are what you are not, dioxide virgin of phosphates.
A Butterfly Song
I who have seen this far,
Blinded by the friendliness of the cosmetic sun
But stretched back into darkness
Battered by the bloodless teeth of the rain
Still thirsty through the pool of flooded days
I am the cage. I am the world.
I am the world, the open cage.
I am proof of the ignorance. I am the pain, and the sore.
But I am also the healing, the unspoken history of scars.
I have returned, away from the breathless cologne of night
Dirty, traduced by the ugliness of the ape story
I am the butterfly in the open field of thorns
I am the cold anger in the friendly handshake
I have returned, tears tainted with the glory of a new tomorrow
Wondering into your presence
Wondering if you know how far I have seen.
I, Tiresias, the fool in a wise world.
Sentinel Poetry #34
ONLINE MAGAZINE MONTHLY ...since December 2002
September 2005 ISSN 1479-425X
Editor: Amatoritsero Ede