Of indefatigable martyrs
Forcing on us a different date
Ominous as it is ignominious
And you remain ever missing
On the gaping toothless rota
Of national obligation days
Fixed according to the dictates

Of our postcolonial past
And neo-colonial present
Bequeathing in its wake
Wordy improvised requiems
Mostly by the unworthy
Who’d rush in headlong
Where patriots fear to trepidate…

4.  BIAFRA: A Requiem (To Emmanuel)

Abandoned in a trough by poesy,
I remember now like then
The very last of the days
When multifarious brothers
In an equal show of passion
Took up arms and tanks
In self and national defence
Depending on which end –
Gun sight or muzzle –
You found your eye and skull
In between the start and end
Of blood-thickened hostilities

When all the plasma we shared
Following the Berlin Conference
And the subsequent amalgamation
Of Nineteen Hundred and Fourteen –
Forced more by colonial economics
Than cultural affinity, perhaps –
Could not assuage mere repercussions
Of a disagreement in an officers’ mess
Of an army bequeathed by colonialism.

And like a thing always led to the other
We lined behind the new saviours
Wolves in fox clothing
Elevating mere brutes
To the height of deities
And now they have left us
At the cutting edge of the precipice
Of the exalted rank and file
We bestowed on them
Under compulsion of panic...

Alas, my muse cometh!

Yes, only its surreptitious arrival
Can cast off the magic spell of suspicion
Shed on me by these poignant lines past
Lest remembrance spooled back and forth
In life and death toggle roulette gone awry
Binds its ever-tightening tourniquet hold  
Around my puzzled mind-and-soul frame
And I can no longer breathe in metaphors
Like my ever alive forefathers and mothers
Tailing us from the low fences of their abode…

Like them in grey beards and hairs
I crave to dunk my truculent words
In its treacly palm oil recipe of yore
To ameliorate the ingrained banality
Replete in their unvarnished alter egos
Vomited without recourse to digestion
Truncating the all-important absorption
That bequeathed a harvest of indigestion
To a stillborn state doomed to damnation
Even before the first guns of war boomed …

Raw words become the monotonous jangle
Occasioned by stringed empty shells
Of the slowly giant African gastropod
Ghastly garlands of civic dishonour
On the wiry necks of war-time thieves
Liberators of their neighbour’s harvests
In modest contribution to the war effort
While the rest of us mimic ofo in hand
Only manage death chants to the infidels
With our kwashiorkor-swollen stomachs
Handed down by the federal prosecutors
Of a war of words, wits and weaponry
Where food, medicines and essentials
Counted much more than guns and tanks…

Ambidexterity, you know
Is never achieved in late life
Just as the child that will run
Firsts struts and falls in trials
‘Cause when the first has not
The second can only join a queue
Repetition being the bane of sacrifice
Like efficaciousness is its essence
A ripe corn affords a ticklish harvest
Only from a gracious thief’s hands
Wondered why chicks cackle at table
Till I saw networks without connectors
Don’t gather ant infested firewood
If you are not ready for a lizard party
Baby snake and baby toad were pals
Till either mother gave them a talk
Semblance between water and schnapps
Never exceeding the level of vision
Meanings unspoken most of the time
Lying deep beneath a veneer of vanish
For philanthropy of man unto woman
Inevitably leads to a trade of bargains
Like the wanderlust ingénue in lore
She mistook penis for pennies
And conceived under an oil bean
To where artful burrowing rodent
Gifted its dispersed seed by fate
Transferred its far-off abode
And exposed his multitudinous clan
To unending unfriendly visits
By scavenging human species
Belying the implicit lesson of the coward
Showing the ruins of the warriors fortress
From the tiny acreage of his hovel…
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