regardless of what the sun’s puissant ray
may tell you of the taste my flesh,
i am not an emissary who curbs war
and revolts with waves of abandon, bartering
my blackness for a host of prayers & eulogies of twelve religions.
rather, i am the name of a man battered
by the harsh whispers of spite from
an eloquence of lawyers whose tongues
are mapped geographies of success;
globes shaped like adam’s apple
i am the ash on sidi bouzid, searching
for the arabic locution for scream, the
tiny providence on the lips of tunisians
that will just say bouazizi
i am the drowned ghosts of refugees, the
one minute silences invented by daughters
who only hear about their fathers during confessions
of pirates smooching wooden crosses
i am the soft natter of juveniles,
the erratic swirl of chibok’s gospels, riding
on the scent of betrayal from judas’s kiss
i do not have the algorithms to night’s tempest shades,
millennia crumbling into decay.
but this is how i thwart pain, by recounting
the jaded edges of our ancestry with songs.
“one true nationality is mankind”
~ H.G. Wells
before men sat in bars ripe
with desire and bawdiness,
swigging hip-hop tunes
& exhaling dusk. we & our
forefathers — men whose bones
shivered with age & rust,
would sit in cycles with the moon
as a solicitor, conversing about
the erratic dues of testaments.
it was then, our village chief,
jaja, told us about the origin of
gospels & tongues of light.
how men with skin the shade
of tar were bartered for mechanics
of oz’s wizardry. how the innocence
of cities were eulogized by
bullets because they didn’t understand
the language of war. it was then we
knew about marcus, malcom
& haile — prophets who vilified the
blasphemies of the colonialists with
songs arranged in quatrains. it was
then we knew that not even the rage of
voodoo or tales of a messiah on a
white horse, the enchantments against
machines, could thwart the triumph: the
ruin of colonization by atoms of time.
Darkness has swallowed light and no one
dares to flare its diablerie.
Tranquility has gone
on a sabbatical. No wayfarer knows its destination. Chained to our present are
conundrums of coils. No one can find a sledge. Tonight, i stand under this
aged hut listening to dirge notes blaring forth from the larynx of forlorn
villages. A dirge that pierces the sereneness of Liberia as death's merchant
bids for mortals at Earth's auction. A dirge from the babies of Uganda who were forced
to eat tears and mucus from their organelles at the behest of their hungry mothers.
A dirge that echoes from the Nigerian goddess of feminism as men tying turbans
find utility in geometries of teenagers.
A dirge resonating from the innocence of
souls sacrificed to mermaids dwelling in the Congolese waters. A dirge from the hopes of
Kenyans that were made to kiss the dust by bombs defecated by al-shabab. A dirge from
the corpse of civilization as the god of war now defiles Cairo’s sublime ancestry
with riddles of woes. A dirge from the stomach of lads in Somalia whose
stomach have been sliced by knives
of hunger. A dirge sweeping from the
boulevards of Durban, where blood of
black foreigners were sprinkled on
the shrine of xenophobia. A Dirge
written on the faces of the
populace in South Sudan
whose cry for freedom
birthed tears of war.
Can we say our sod,
Sahara, is a port for
solace? Can we
beat our chest
not in the
We have lived ten thousand lifetimes before the first of men tore through the dirt.
some nights he’s a tidal wave & you drownas he scripts his love on your back.& you understand this language
If you've walked through the long night of grief,you'll meet the ghost that lives in your head.
i am the drowned ghosts of refugees, the one minute silences invented by daughters
the music is loud. everything is loud now especially our chests, howling with memories
what began as throbs ends in a bleed. I return to the trail of my blood-