This was how it started, we gathered,
Puncturing skies with freedom anthem
Loosening the grasp of egregious beast in black
Black-suit beast who drives hot iron
Into rising youthful skulls and chests. Here they say:
A youth must not be successful at an early age
That it’s a taboo. And blood must be spilled
To pay forfeit. Thereupon, I bear fear for success
Than poverty. For what’s a boy, who seeks
A freeway to his own grave?
On 17th of October, again, earth yawned and swallowed
Jimoh. Black beasts cast hot iron into his body.
I watched as life snaked out of his body like
Fluid. We entered into his grave and woke him tears
Alongside other victims, we dug our bodies,
Buried their ghosts in our hearts. Hence, a
Body begins to carry a ghost. For some, their body home
More than a ghost, like a boy whose two elder brothers
Were plucked off the land of living by bullets in Ibadan.
Like tongues of fire in the day of Pentecost,
Outrage burst the cloud like volcano,
We burn. We spoke in audible tongues, casting
Pessimism out of one another and brutality
Out of the beasts – our demonic brothers.
We crawled out of silence, bearing victims
Names as identity. Unto God will point placards
Bearing names of his new visitors. And with mouth
We dispense wrath like currency
We ooze truth like a fountain. A reawakening
Nationalist spirit, brotherhood and struggles.
Brothers see brothers, Sisters hold unto sisters,
Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, we all ripped off tribalism
We embrace love and locate parallels in exile of
Our situations and thus we become a roaring blaze.
Humanity and love
Hold us tightly. Until 20th October, we seek
Pieces of the innocent dead, we seek life
For every unheard voice. Under the blue sky
We gathered at Lekki, awakening the dead
Verses in our anthems, awakening God of creation,
Our voices rippling, pickling and shaking up the
Pillar of brutality like furious waves combined.
But while we sleep
The enemy came and flecked handfuls of chaffs
Into our wheat and drove fires into
Brothers and sisters skulls and chests
Mothers’ tears hold unto fathers’ tears
There, we had an immersion of either tears or blood.
We called unto heaven, it broke apart.
The loudest word we could say was cry,
Was to raise up our tattered flags bathed
In the blood of many ripped apart futures.
We break another day with lamentation,
With our hands collating lost shoes, lost
Jewellery, flags etcetera. Each broken pieces
Testifying to its iconic owner. To ease our
Head from the shock mete on spine, we woke fela
With his song, “Unknown Soldiers” and his
Mother anchored the youthful dead to the
Hand of God. But for us, the living, we sling
Our misery on our back and walked off the
Newly brought down Crimson sky.
Till the day when we’ll raise placards again,
Flood every street where our kinsmen received
The shares of their heaven, we’ll speak of new
Truth with new confidence: tyranny is dead,
Long life, peace and freedom.
Overture: Origin Of Voice
It began eons ago
Early in secondary school
Days. When I seek meaning
For everything – for growth.
For withering petals in-between my palms.
For thriving thorns beneath my feet.
For silent nights – for
Gravy days, for how we all
Dispatch for holiday and a
Friend embraces death. And for how
Beautiful moments disappear
Too fast and left us with fainted memories
With views of nameless images. So
I decided to be a Messiah to nameless
Things and unsung heroes and myself.
I, holding life with eyes and
My heart finding names for all
Things seen like masker who
Find size for every face
With words I paint feelings
Like some classical artists
Who finds home for history
On Canvas: Every naked body
Needs covers so I weaved words
Into cardigans and hope it
Shields their nakedness from
Stern frosty nights and days.
Each empty stomach needs
Food, so I shape words into
Many morsels and feed them
It all starts with seeing. Then
Feelings. Then tacking threads
Of words on paper and like
God, I breathe on each word.
For what are utterances that lack
Translation than undecipherable noise
Of two rattling stones in an empty can.
Hence, I set myself into my reality
Walk through endless forest of form
What I seek is a lucid box of languages
Demystify tongues and godly
Soul, speaking audibly with
Tiny mouth of pen and clear
Imagery in the sky of books.