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Puff Daddy Cloud Watchin ganster doodle

(for the Girls of Chibok, and for Benson Eluma, Usman Umar Akeel and Gimba Kakanda)

Today, the machinery of the poet is scuttled
No ambivalent metaphors. No silent birds
Whistling delicious melodies to the hearing of the poet,
No magic mirrors reflect images of dancing maidens
And storytelling blue parrots in royal chambers
Pillared on chrysanthemum, porphyry and jade,
No Shakespearean hammers for beating
Recalcitrant quatrains into submission,
No more polish to shine the dull surface
Of newly crafted verse

Today, the poet cannot sing,
A self-appointed Soldier of God
And his vest of bomb has just
Detonated in his box of voice

Today, the poet stands naked
Except for a shroud the sort donned by
Buddhist monks and the Dalai Lama,
Sufi dervishes and eccentric astronomers of old
Who live their lives in stone observatories on mountain tops
Searching for the meaning of life hidden in the stars.

Today, the poet wails:




Strike the evil preacher and his dogs.
Destroy the camp of carnage, demolish the forest of flames

Strike the rock dwelling Captain of the Community
And his band of thugs
Castrate the overbloated scrotums of their loot
Dysfunctionalise the erected giant members of their sacks of gold

Strike the kwashiokwored generalissimos
Cannibals who feed on carcass of dying troops
Inflict them with holy scabies, holy rashes, holy eczema
And malevolent ringworms from purgatory and hell

Strike the foul mouthed town criers:
Matuhs, Mekus, Molochs, blood sucking
Quintessential Prophets of Lies

Strike, the Prefects of the Orchards
Traitors, who let vegetation varnish
And pyramids of dust and sand
Grow in place of fountains and springs
Strike, the Prefects of the Orchards
Gluttons who dine on the fattest cows
Send their wards to Oxford, Princeton and Malaysian Colleges
While Children of the Ordinary voyage across
The geography of poverty to seek the word of God

(To seek the word of God?)

Strike the Primates, Prophets of Hate
Who carve out the other and command
Their congregations to attack the other

Conserve the shepherds, Professors of Truth
Who declare:
Identity is Fiction
Ethnicity is Fable
All is One
All descended from the adamic line
Or from the loins of australopithecus afarensis

God. Strike. Act. Or

We shall ask Eve to spread the Apple
Appease. Attract. Abaddon, the Prince of Shadows to strike!
Strike the preacher, his dogs and the message
Annihilate the rock dwelling Captain of the Community
The carnivorous generalissimos
And the greedy Prefects of the Orchards

Rehabilitate the Community. Let oasis, aquifers
And geysers of milk sprout from the earth
Rid the Community of the Leprosy called cowardice
Let the Community gather beneath the rocks
Under the fluttering pennant of the Republic of Green
And together with Man, Eve, and the fellowship of poets
Feast on a banquet of Poetry and Manna
And afterwards construct the Gospel of Leaves
The new holy text of the Republic which shall begin
With the Vitamin: love. love. love.

God! Act! Now!
Release the 17 dozen Daughters of Eve

God! Srike! Now!
Annihilate the mad-bad violent preacher
And his dogs


Image: Puff Daddy Cloud Watchin’ by Gangster Doodles Via Manufactoriel

About the Author

Umar Abubakar Sidi lives in Lagos. Sidi has a collection of poem titled “Striking the Strings” that will be released by Origami ( Parresia) sometime this year. 

Read “Testaments of Sand” by Umar Sidi. HERE

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Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

4 Responses to “This is Not a Poem, This is Not a Prayer | by Umar Abubakar Sidi” Subscribe

  1. Zarah August 16, 2014 at 10:24 am #

    I agree, not a poem, but definitely a prayer. Amen?

  2. Joe Ugi August 16, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

    I rarely imagined that poetry could subsume pious feelings best expressed in a cleric rendition, with no touch of poetic finesse. No sooner was I seduced to the idea of cleric poetry than I saw the author struggling in vain to relinquish his first nature – the poetic nature. Though he manages to bail himself out in titling the piece, he could barely wind up the first stanza without betraying his poetic bias. Praying in poems is more like it.

    Like a prayer, the poem’s nude lines do not veil their message, nor do its irregularly structured stanzas compromise meaning for rhythm. The dread and vindictive posture, typical of African prayers, and the allusion to religious characters again remind us that this could be a prayer. But he has also carefully sprinkled a handful of poetic usages all across his prayer, including his apt use of suffixes. Wait a minute …is love really a vitamin? In my opinion, “This is both a Poem and a Prayer”. lol

  3. Naomi Lucas August 23, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

    Definitely a prayer. No?

  4. muniratu August 27, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

    Its 11:55 and I cannot help but comment when I see a great work such as this


    1st per»»»»one often reveals his or her true nature on the path one takes to conceal it. Thus, the poet cannot hide his poetic nature. So, this is a poem.

    2nd per»»»»»»but you forget that he invokes the creator against the agents of evil. Certainly, this is a a prayer.

    1st per»»»»»your words make me laugh. I didn’t

    forget that he invokes the creator

    although you must agree with me

    that the words written have a

    certain sweetness that nothing but

    poetry can create.

    2nd per»»»» I see it too now. the words seem to have a life of their own. They create three unique feelings, a: melancholy; for it would be a shame for the machinery of the poet to cease working. B: hilarity; just wondering when rashes, rabies, scabies and the rest became holy. I am sure that even the mentioned afflictions will blush for been described thus. Lastly, c: I feel joy because I am the first of us to realize that this is not a poem or a prayer but its a POPRA.

    1st per»»»»««««looks on wide eyed in
    wonder»»»»» “never heard.
    that word before”«««««1st per concludes»»»

    2nd per»»»» PO= poem
    PO + PRA = POPRA

    1st per««««« ha ha ha ha ha ………. I guess you
    Are right.

    POINT TO NOTE……. This work is the bomb.

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