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Vol.3. No. 4. July - September 2010





Afam Akeh
Andy Willoughby
Claire Girvan
Christian Ward
Derek Adams
Esiaba Irobi
Hannah Lowe
Hunter Liguore
Ikechukwu Obialo Azuonye
Karunamay Sinha
Kate Horsley
Laura Solomon
Lookman Sanusi
Malcolm Bray
Mark Lewis
Moa-Aaricia Lindunger
N Quentin Woolf
Nina Romano
Nnorom Azuonye
Norbert O. Eze
Olu Oguibe
Pius Adesanmi
Robert Lee Frazier
Toyin Adepoju
Uche Nduka
Wayne Scheer
Zino Asalor

Edited by

Andy Willoughby

and Bob Beagrie


I have been sleeping now for seven years. But look!
The iceberg cracks, the levee breaks, the volcano erupts
and the angry lava spreads like hot mud towards the valley
of the mean villages you call your minds. O ye
breathing corpses, ye scented cunts, cadaverous entities,
I am the actor cursing the snow in Ulysee’s Gaze.

 - (excerpt from 'Rejection Slips' by Esiaba Irobi)




Elegy For The Minstrel: Esiaba Irobi (after Neruda)

Through the drag of workdays, with your
Starburst smile and your flash of light,
With your syncopated rhythm,
Over piles of fractured bureaucratic language
From marking cover sheets, from tedious evaluations
Of quality, I hear you faintly, so distant now,
But the volume builds as you pound the big
Drum between your legs, call out for a response,
Over years, over continents, over the debris of
Our prime – you come drumming,
Banging through the buzz of humbug,
Silencing the moronic harpies of political correctness,
Shutting up the shrivelled whine of dry balled academics,
Calling forth a dance of resistance and orgasmic joy,
You come drumming,
Over ruined dreams of independence,
Over fields of civil war dead,
Over the hidden corpses soaked in oil
And covered up by shells full of dollars,
You come drumming,
In your fine robes with your pounding feet
With your thrusting hips
With your raucous laugh and righteous howl of laughter
You come drumming
Beating out a warning to the Beasts of Sandhurst,
Dragging into the light the secret police with their
Cowardly meals of ground glass in mashed potato,
Their Columbian neck ties,
Reducing the roar of tyrants into the buzz of
Dirty little mosquitoes,
Composing your dance of rebellion and unstoppable human joy,
You come drumming,
Over the fields of middle age, over the fearful desert,
Over unspeakable silence of loss,
Over the graves of poor mothers,
And poverty emasculated fathers
Over the stilled rivers of molten steel,
Over the waters of the Tees, the Thames, the Mersey,
The Niger, all the world’s rivers, over pipelines greased with
Sweat and human blood,
You come drumming, and singing
Of revolution, of love, of sexual joy,
Of the pleasure and fires in great poetry
Of early Walcott and Neruda, of Soyinka,
Of Guevara, of Brecht’s first anarchic ballads,
Of Oxtail soup and the best kind of chilli
Of Goat curry with Rice and peas
Drowning out the drone of the conformists,
The vicious rumble of the bigots,
Cancelling out the hum of the vacuum of infinite space,
Demanding a place at all the parties to celebrate freedom
You will never be able to attend with us in person again,
Ensuring we will sing your songs and dance with your
Smile exploding within us,
Old friend, you come DRUMMING.


Related Article

The day the minstrel taught me how to dance




Andy Willoughby is a poet, performer and playwright based in Middlesbrough where he is a senior lecturer in Creative Writing at Teesside University and runs Ek Zuban Literature Development with fellow writer Bob Beagrie. He likes to work with children, hard to reach groups, the excluded and those often deprived of a voice in society using poetry and drama to try to bring down the walls of Jericho. He passionately believes in the power of creative expression to change people's lives. He has published several books including "Tough" (Smokestack Books) and "The Wrong California" ( Mudfog Press) his collaborative pamphlet with Finnish poet Riina Katajavouri "Peripheries" and his words and music collaboration with Beagrie and world music duo Gobbleracket: SAMPO:HEADING FURTHER NORTH are both available from


SPQ #2





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