- For the ones murdered at Lekki Toll gate. 20.10.20
Our mother poured from the Fouta Djallon
and drowned a sea.
When she etched our names on her scalp,
she said, Echezona - do not forget,
to be a strand torn from this fabric
is to be a bird, blind and tethered
It is stitching your wings in night’s shadow
To be a potter in Igboukwu is to be clay,
for by your hands, must you mould your tomorrow.
Your names are coal, fuel and blood”
- In the gele on the heads of our mothers,
wrapped twice on the waists of Ndi Aniocha
We are mud.
When Oliloanya’s brothers spat him across the Atlantic,
his skull broke in two,
A river, his blood ran into us.
Of his passing breath, we are drawn.
He festers in us, and we fester with him
Today, we are a market,
stacked with rice, kolanut stained teeth, fishwives and wandering ghosts
Does anybody need a digger? This is a digger, a big strong man, he'll dig
We dig, and Oliloanya’s corpse digs with us
- Whipped beside ungathered cotton,
ebbing in the cobalt mines of Congo
We have lived ten thousand lifetimes
before the first of men tore through the dirt.
Aim your arrows from the heights of Kilimanjaro
And see as we morph to wood, to gravel to brass
We are unquenching,
for in the darkness, as the light fades,
we become lamps,
we dance fire alive.
- Worshipped in the Temples of Ra,
buried amongst gods in the pyramids.
We are warriors, dreamers, borrowed clothes, lightning,
echoes, streams, mirrors, queer, teachers, regrets,
broken pots, gamblers, zebras, craftsmen, gunpowder,
rattlesnakes, cocoa, drummers, terra-cotta and kolanut.
We are Jimoh, Kazeem, Bala, Kolade, Iro, Joseph, Femi,
Tunde, Ifeoma, Kudirat, Chidi, Aneka, Mus’ab, Ayomide,
Modebayo, Chima and Tina.
They came, all of April's rain,
away from us.
Breathe girl! Breathe!
My lungs forbid
the air that choked my father"
Feel girl! Feel!
I feel my skin turn to porcelain, to bark,
On their faces, they wrote our names
What are your names child?”
Name us a body, we have not burned in
They called us; Okpuku jiko anyi - The bone that binds
Of our bones, we carved our children's laughter
Who died here?
Death can not kill a god named
lies, I'll rip your tongue from your skull!
Death can not kill a breath drawn
We dare not sing after a storm, we are not sparrows
we dare not walk out of flames , we are not steel
We will craft melodies in tornadoes,
burn in wildfires
Our feet, we teach the taste of water.
Our skin, we wear as armour
Move child! Move!
My roots run too deep
Dance child! Dance!
First, sing me a song, I have not died in
Do you know what happens when a tree
dances the Atilogwu
It uproots itself, breaking branches and twigs
It comes undone.
See, as palms on the streets of Lagos, we dance,
willing the earth to dance alive.
Fall Child! Fall!
Yes, we will wither
and come dusk, we will be etched in the dust
and tomorrow, we will be rain.
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-