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© Jide Adebayo-Begun 2007
Introduction Prologue City of Amnesia Arbitrary Cantos Canto of the Yellow Blood Accident Colour Article of Faith The Maestro City of Amnesia II Arbitrary Cantos Canto, Caves, Fragments… Lovesongs? Cutting-edge Canto Siren Season Contentment City of Amnesia III Arbitrary Cantos Caligula University Sango of Enwowu Cassava Time City of Amnesia IV Arbitrary Cantos Under the Bridge Stolen Canto Mating Canto Prayer House City of Amnesia V Arbitrary Cantos Water Poem Language Watery Questions 2 page 4 5 10 14 15 19 20 22 24 26 29 30 33 35 36 37 38 42 43 45 46 48 49 50 53 54 56 58 59 60 61 62 63 65 67
Generator Violence Lambent Street Arbitrary Cantos Spoon Witches’ Canto Moremi Despair Genesis Epilogue
69 70 72 76 77 79 81 83 85 87
There are two dominant voices in the City of Amnesia. The first is a poetic narration of the mythical city by the ailing persona. This necessarily takes on the coherence of formal recall, and authority. The second voice is more jarring- the City of Amnesia is a city without memory and only the stones sing- the second voice reports what the stones sing… and they sing intermittently within the starchy, measured voice of narration. Their songs are called the Arbitrary Cantos.
Lagos April 2007
beasts and daemons In the four corners of earth and beyondHear! Hear! Leave your finite cares and worries. 5 . Calculus. A thousand severed souls for every bull.Prologue I Come! Come! Man.are dead For what death would purloin the king swimmer If not the traitorous limb of the deep? What sloughs the prize fighter to chthonic sleep But a slim fate in the fine points of war? So it is that a hundred and one bulls Of chaste and harmonious Pythagoras Bloated the fair children of Memory. Hundred thousand more for the unknown god. And they traipsed their last in Hiroshima We whined aloud in nauseous flowers Of becoming death. I suspect they. Not sparing a thought for the gaudy nine. destroyer of worlds. smug in the entrails of Lagos. Your furrowed brows and whimsical pleasures Come lend me your ears or that which you use To make sail in a giddy sea of dreams: For I have one eagerly to render. tired gore of Lagos. woman. Hamlet and 9th symphony Some two thousand. five hundred years laterWe made a quantum split in earth’s innards. child. Their sisters are dainty Quixotes saying Grace to the effluvium serenade Monkeying fifty an Eko warren In the gaunt beast with romance sobriquet And I. Sweat of Lagos.with their pretty faces Olympian arts and sacred song. A boon child of oil and water wedlock Of human disease and a grain of sand For the muses are nowhere to be found.
Per-second monoxide douche of Lagos… When ailing Leviathan plods sickly In the commonwealth of happenchance Gobbling some millions poco a poco And wolfing them down with lambent motifs Of ten-year olds tyred stiff in whore justiceI caught a lethal bug and slouched to State Clinic. Calmly healing in supine myth My sinuous jailbird is a quicksand. sorrowful-chewing the roots of hope An infinity curled up in my mind On hourglass din of Agidigbo drum. Making grim scat on purple irises. Gagged in a sea of syntactic troubles: Who shall set fettered eternity free? My tale is life crenellated in line And each line now craves its own crowned goddess. ambulant. to die my postcolonial death. A prodigious moment garnered from bits Of ragged and distended centuries. Festering rheum in the pores. She spits out a chance of lyrical germ. Stretched taut. She is ample. Balmy. II Body becomes an iron carapace Sniffing out life and love. cladding the guts. brooking no block. my mind wrung dry In catatonic haven seeks release 6 . loins and liver Eyes become purblind mildews expiring Arabesque numerical on russet Municipal ceilings and death kept tabs. this one tale Is a dizzy belly champing mirage Of garrotted continent breaking free. Ailment prospers as a cruel gulag And manacled with me is a sad tale Bright.
tick-tock giggle apiece. wiry stubble Singeing straight to hell: I graciously pined. Cold vigour will chase Commonsense away and all shall be well. The world shall be restored: we sailed fairly 7 . Fussy commonsense will chase Vertigo away. Singing of finical boons of dead mice. He had dined with green denizens of earth. There universe of vertigo will chase Pain away. the rats shall pilfer. Soggy fleas and some obstinate body In egalitarian Jacuzzi.flowers. butterflies And poetry can only get greener here. Down here some local chief unwound the rain With a pompous vintage ruminating Over the shy spoil crouched on the bed. The moon will glisten. nodding to life. III Touch-button gloss of death. unleashing pale globules. All cures were pretty maternal in his eyes. The jagged hearth was no stranger to him. unloved bellies Strain thin necks and nimble feet in puddles. wont To bury time’s wetness in rented thighs Pink with luxury.From the eunuch responsibility Who shall set fettered eternity free? The sea cleaned out one day transporting self To brother sky. Hot-air nuggets will pass from loving ear To loving ear. A friend cried in the rain. Down here thirsty warrens floated neck-deep Jocular as when big. This good friend propped me up and called a name: Aiyeda: An ancient land with rich salve In gritty barks ensconced to spill their milk. He knew the underworld language of death.
I was choked on her stony creepiness. Bring the magic chalk. They bore me on to Aditu River. I want a cure. fleshAlas. We sped past lean. enthrall my fever With fancy geometric reticles Confound illness. in torrents. IV And I knew gone are the days of gnome-like Shamans with a library of hundred gods. herbster arrived…. Speak the lost language of invisible Savants grubbing wisdom millennia old. Thus Lagos an eternal delusion Turned a limping. sloppy. 8 . In jaded Yoruba inertia: CURE! Get me to health and get me out of here. ail ever to suffer nerve. We ambled over the malignant toes Of plenty gods dotting sable Lagos The lagoon passed us by. Where is the ancient magus who has dined With the daemons of the seven mountains Who retains the praise name of every sap Of ill. a short. And was made to bathe in sand. a pilgrim hallowed by pus. And Aiyeda is a child frolicking In plush green. cast dizzy shapes to root. snorting pillar of clouds. but she lolled. horny with bilge We denied umpteenth ware of umpteenth child. petrifying sky rise. Left to find my fate in dust absolute. There a bag of the rich humus was filled And eyes soon fell for the gift of fatigue I woke up to an enigmatic sight. moaning get well As lusty fishermen tickle her wide Bosom nubile with fish. Arsenal and stinging précis of words.To the grail.
not mine. moving like that and Wrenching curious silhouette from voidOne cat. I saw a golden. Like the hourglass din of Agidigbo Daemon of fear flew out from my spirit And knocked down the garrulous bag of sand It danced. lilting voice. twirling upwards to air and earth Colours broke out in smoky clarity. I saw hazy outlines of a forest. A different world.The bag kept throbbing. Was she hypnotized? This great grand lady A billion years old. tele-guided form. crinkly leaf soft like Pendulous breasts. protuberant trees and fat anthills I thought I saw a bird sallying north Vermillion like blood. weaving and bobbing It winnowed out a tiny. I peeped: air was cooler inside. And the grass was greener in a gigantic Expanse of land. Lost story of the Amnesia city Gently I stepped into a grain of sand. I saw purple Rocks. brittle dust and I knew I was entranced in a mythic constant. Soil reeled sonorously to wind lyric. 9 . bottles of beer and stiff shirt Of a dead tyrant complete with tinselsThen a little crack and a little fleece In time. The Odidere myth of earth’s wonder. pair of glasses. the Agidigbo Sounded an anonymous planet. Moved in an ordered. bigger than Concorde. the air smelled lost The song had begun. misshapen head Of a goat.
I hear the music of my land and hear It no more”. “What’s my name? My name! My name!” He quips. Her strangeness is seductive. Sibilant tones. There is an uncanny Beauty to the loss of name. I have found A new kingdom in a grain of sand. rutted mash secured firmly By hand-woven girdle slanted with grime. There Is no salt or juice there. slapdash night like a bad conscience. I see wide Towers in gigantic trees of amber. In lost thought. But I shudder from the fall. listen! I can pick a muted Obey vintage Among the alien tongues. He hugs me and I ask him For his name. I move Closer to the belly of the city. There are human forms innumerably About. I am an expansive road. Have I picked a friend in them? Wait. I feel the pull Of a patient arm. The city rests glumly on The gay. drifting in fluid absolute. 10 .City Of Amnesia Gently I step into a grain of sand. Suddenly I can no longer hear the Obey strings. and I approach a man “Sir. standing gingerly On one leg. Racy heart. Words are lost in this kingdom. I turn to see A dutiful woman bear on her back The stringy head of her child enmeshed with A dire purple-blue body doggedly By one thin and pig-headed ligamentA little. wondering how I wander away From my earthly route. alone and Weary. thumping his head and moving on. Shrill voices cascade On the crack of thunder. Sharp cry pierces the night. Legs in motion.
Cold frenzy. He whips out a sword and Gyrates it menacingly at the crowd. They talk past one another. And there a dog wags his tail and lectures In short. Even the road gets lost in this strange land. It is the Pegasus of nothingness. Illumination is great In the city. She strolls back and forth. I run away from the street Into another. A haughty man comes down tall from the horse. The man Plunges into a run. I hear the stones singing. And the stones are singing. I move away from her. his coal-fire Eyes are aglow. Immediately. and violates the air In her frenzy. It bounces on a dead Body or two. concise barks. Regal dance.There is a smile on her face. People pass Her by with thick smiles on their faces. They do not talk to one Another. The man strikes wildly at the flustered run. She Is arguing passionately with a stone. In a city Without name only the stones deign to tell The story. I try running Back to previous street but I can’t find it. riveting the crowd Of humans. A thick crowd is gathered at the street’s end I move towards it. This intensifies their passion. People form circle Round their subject in captive attention. and am almost knocked By a flying horse in glimmering night. 11 . They pick it up. He sees a pool of water and sword Plunges into the pool’s solemnity. I also find my legs running along. crowd following. I catch a glimpse of a man falling down. the crowd leave the dog And someone starts a song.
There’s No milk or honey here. In the city They till the earth without love. like a lift. Please come along and 12 . Mounting his horse. They mistreat the road of its destiny. It is a city of fate. Its ascent and descent is One linear motion. Ceaseless Yams sprout in abandoned places and get Trampled on. In his laughter I see the Horse has forgotten its destination And the man his destiny. The man Laughs harder. He smiles. A tall figure approaches. Fresh tendrils Must flee memory to bud to fruition. He frolics Above the Pegasus of nothingness. your chaperon In the city of Amnesia.Gaunt and spindly. They don’t plant. Here they worship An indefatigable god who can’t Hide behind his works. motions me to stop. the man who Rides the horse of nothingness like a liftThe city without dreams knows miracles At all times. he mildly keels over. Bushy-haired. They kill the seed. The nameless city is not a city Of dreams. They steal people’s anger with guns and clubs. Under the unction Of the man who fights the sea. They steal their legitimate fears. I have met gangs of honey-tongued robbers. he gives A ringing laugh. It is a city of miracles. And the stones keep singing. I move. And Pegasus flies up But comes down. The man who rides the flying horse tires And sheathes his sword. I have Been expecting you. “I am Odidere. twinkles green. And not A man or woman or child have I met Without a broad grin lolling on the face. The roseate Heart is blighted in the sun. Intelligent eyes.
No! Not songs! They only Make arbitrary Cantos. your cure shall be complete” I Ask him what the stones sing. Ignore it” 13 . “Ignore it. The Stones do not sing.If you will.
Arbitrary Cantos 14 .
sodden ears Of the Scheherazade streets: Please a story to pass the night… A story to masticate the genes.Canto of the Yellow Blood In A blink Of instant sheen Echo bounces Back her voice In mirrors and secrets Beholden to galactic basins Spread-eagled on the cramming turf below The cramming bed… Inside lives are lived on liberty: a penny Dye. 15 . Fastidious riverbanks. a mess of smoked Fish dappling oil keg ambient In mosquito coil auraEcho bounces back her mind Between the chinks In the family photoFree air into the past. in pauses Between amber and green. wizened kolanuts.Please! Thick chump of soot Swatting commerce and foul air And underground serenity In a mentally innocent cityEcho bounces back Her outraged Pudency at the polyvalent Markets where polyvalent guilt Is sold by polyvalent godsEcho moaning in farmsteads.
stunned When history Crosses the Rubicon and ashes begin to fall On the children of pyramid With their one god per man And mathematicsEcho bounces back her Bewilderment and fragile pride At the mouldy labyrinths. for the Eli Eli la mach sa Bach… Echo sings along to the Borgesian tiger riding the circus of life and death And access to life-blood and death-blood In blind. 16 .Hasty infinity between amber and redEcho calls out her mutilated voice And monkeys Snivelling voices sampling Strangulated reason over swills of beer In toilet truths. Flabbergasted. Appearing ill-clad Before history’s baroque antechambersEcho bounces back her frailty At the haughty dust Moonlighting on history’s fine garment In window frames Where bright flies are taught Fecund evil Nietzsche Nodding wisely to race Of horses in cloisters of wineEcho bounces back her scorn. absolute totalityEcho tearfully nods her fate When master history Banishes her atom-recall voice to the chthonic forests Embowelling the sea. At the Jews harangued. In graveyard zest. In classrooms.
Hailing his myth… Echo bounces back her brand as history’s unabashed shame And happiness and rose-tinted tyrant Grows flowers in his nostrils and anus and eyes and armpits And poresHyacinths Converge dewdrops in his brainsEcho becomes weakened In the exasperation of our god. falling in love. fanning his groin. ill-sought.To ill-gotten. Total oblivion of being. Licking his spittle. suckling his gore. In his body heat he’s become Self-less. one union of callus-as-state: Slowly Echo bounces back her voice As the voice of God 17 . woman as Cauterized justice echoes in swollen bellies That dare the malice of waterEcho curtsies her destiny before the comely Aquamarine throat of the state-as-leaderEcho bounces tiredly In flurry of chaste paring By the rose-tinted down of god-as-tyrant-as-person-in-state Sawdusting in surreal dreams Of two-tailing daemons. self-as-state. in underground hearths Bellying its own triumphs Snubbing its own triumphs Echo bounces back her voicelessness at the song Of two-tailing wilds Flailing themselves. ill-perceived possibilities Crackling happily on the supple boughs of gangrene treesEcho daubs her tears When the piercing scream of Aiyelala. no self.
hurt. in terror In abysmal hopeEcho echoes resoundingly as he firms his heart On the vertical thrust of the muted destiny Cut down in yellow bloodEcho sighs the fall and impalement Of the rose-tinted At the whistle of two-tailing minions Becoming a soul with the Restless rivering of yellow bloodAs the voice only the voice and the voice Echo drops Pin by pinHurrying Forever On the crystal pate shining on… Nothing 18 . bemused.surprised.And rose-tinted tyrant cries hard for the fallacyA state should not eat her wordsEcho bounces back her derision To the vertigo Of the rose-tinted at the fury of two-tailing dogsEcho bounces back her awe At the forceful implosion of the tyrant Before the lake filled with the yellow blood of the dispossessedEcho bounces back her eyes As the tyrant sees his image ambling On the film of lake. aroused.
its rheumy eyes blinked Sisyphus becoming unbound.it bears appointments. hypocrites. steel and motion. saints. free-will and prayer of beloved Not even one survived the treachery of rot. fulfill devotion To one’s gods Robbers. 19 . a dose of ordinary people who had learnt to Accept the mobile miracle Then weary mouth yawned. anger of a lover. multitudinous din in hundred languages Egg-shells monkeying -With banana -With palm-oil -With blood -With a dazed eye -And a twitched nose Free-falling past air.Accident Rattle-sounds. keepers of rituals both Mundane and sacred Hurrying to still the anxiety of a child. guttural snicker crawling Stealthily upon Bitumen varnish. skidded wildly for freedom Throwing the boulder at a screech: Free-fall.
greenish abundance. For the blindness that always precedes every beginning -Red strode casually in. Life is green. The universal blackness of chaos. We see the pale euphemism for yellow -Indefatigable black came late. The caked brown of the hem of unwashed skirts. -And when the green nausea rushes to the throat And the road is blocked.In came the scarlet Mister White. of life and the antipodal ping-pong Eternally being tossed around by the two -Green appeared with a thousand-member entourage. greening things…. A big pot of forgiveness. brown heralds the era of the laughter phase: -Tactile brown of the three dimensions… Dusty brown of hunger. Red is of death. with a violent tongue and a cudgel He was holding brief for death in the nether world: Black of vermin. Grey brownness of war running wild in the bushes and dodging landmines. Picasso’s Guernica is black The ancient bronze heads of Ife and Benin are only ashamed of their blackness And just when black has lost its potency. green trees. beating time on the talkative Bata ensemble. White is our pretence for nothingness. Black of the first civilization.the mindless black.Colour One day the gods in an ad-hoc meeting Wondering what went wrong with man Summoned the great colours of the earth: . Black of the visceral elements. 20 .
.Pock-marked shoes which have seen more adventures than wanton Columbus. They are victims of brown prowling demons eagerly painting the soul to their instinct.Finally the morose Miss blue When civilization has gotten to a head. The blues of personalized existence. The blues. 21 . The blues of melancholia. Psychotic leaders appear to be brown in their tragic mindlessness. The lonely blue of the death of the soul. the blues. The blues of narcissistic love.
leaden runnels To the taut alluvial Of ashen bowls… It is not The orange moonlight Over the leathery sheen Of our Fulani brethrenWhere The feet Have known glory From Niamey to LagosIt is not The anguished Carnality that passes Sour grapes. Lust and liceNor our Bitumen eyes..father to sonNor is it The one-eyed glint That raps knuckles On wanton children.Article of Faith Hold! Hold sternly To the finer points Of your bread! It is not Our baked garment With its civilization of brine. Or the Sharp-tongued Injury of passers-by Here and there- 22 ..
The quixotic ejaculation. dripping Salty lyrics from our mouths And when time comes remember this: It is a time-worn catharsis.It is not The darkness dangling Over our heads.It is an innocent muse lurking in bedside mirrors waiting to belch: Ah! I do my bit! In this world I do my bit! 23 . the peace and contentment of a nondescript soul.
Talking in a round-about way. Then like a moon-walker he proceeds slowly. the sensual waist of the sea And they narrate whatever you have to know In excited chattering voices: Madness will dodge your steps That is what you inhabitants of earth have chosen But whenever this man plays his guitar. The fruitful generation and meek love at its tailYou will see wild flowers there You will desire their breath and bangles Of Yemoja. We shall loosen our borders and welcome The free at heart to our land of light. then simmers in. fulfilled intentions. priestly black men. Leaving your eyes blue with a land of yellow Women. Your heart is warmed to the talk of the matter Suddenly he pulls out violently.The Maestro Nothing deceives like an Obey vintage Interlacing shrewd sham to hide the real deal He makes on enchanted strings His guitar introduces his world A heady world of gnomes. of sprites flying the air Of walking diamonds and shy gold. magic and sleep 24 .
With bountiful dreams. 25 .
Odidere says one must ride cycles Of immolated skulls to the parchment Of history. there’s no forgetting. The more they grew to love it. there remained only One more country for the name to feed on. They rushed to their king. The name stopped feeding on the people’s dreams. The name was triumphant In all earthly corners. And the more their name deposed Emperors and sundered civilizations. there you will find the scroll Scrupulously written in the blood of The disinterested. You must follow the scent of blood To the alluvial of buried storms. Past is full of bunting and lavender Triumphs. Wherever the king earthed his sword. on the dingy Pathways. Their name rang In the land and on the sea. Their name rode The air. This was the crux. 26 . Odidere says to know the city Of Amnesia you must trace the pockmarks Of blood on unsung stones. One day The people woke up to a shattering Realization. It started feeding on itself. The scroll mothers past. a fierce man with Coal-fire eyes. scattering fast deaths to hapless Enemies. All things made of iron became his slave. erecting Signposts of feverish rigour.City of Amnesia II In tongues of the dead. Odidere tells me the city used To have a name of renown. They cast Stern monoliths with bellies big enough To grub their sins. But her face has been scarified By the ones who keep all time in their pouch. Odidere tells me He had a sword secured with a thousand Heads.
Pegasus of nothingness Neighed. Swords had been known to decapitate heads Of owners. When eyes beheld the regal Pegasus Of nothingness. This was patiently relayed to the king By Baale of village. “Seven days” he thundered. He was fagged out For the want of war. coal-fire king became the Happiest man in the world. seven days and Not a leaf must remain in the village. As the king was riding back to city.Arrows had been known to strike their shooters. Coal-fire eyes flared. He saw a shiny brook. There was an anguished joy in the name’s heart. The brook could Give fruits of the womb and heal. Taste of the waterA mixture of honey and morning dewWas a marvel to his throat. There he would erect a palace of stones To the name. They were entering when a little scuffle Brought an old man before kingly justice.exhausted with peace. The king loved Brook and declared it sacred to his name. He blessed a tiny village with the brook. 27 . Purity god. No one left The village. even legendary knees Quaked. They welcomed coal-fire king with songs. Throngs besieged It all day to salve their wounds. The land surrendered without a fight. He moved his men in thousands. The king was a myth in war. On seventh day. He drank from the brook. and bowed. And he it was who rode the flying horse. savant of destiny. man and beast became dots in the sky. All accepted without question except A little snag: the brook was already Sacred to the name of Obatala. And rage consumed unwitting impudence.
28 . I can hear the songs Through muted Obey strings. Had travelled many moons to taste of brook. Citizens had Sacked his palace and killed his family. This. several bespattered men came To the king with dire news. But compassion becomes Obatala. Odidere says Before they could chance upon a fly in The village. And this he must even in the face of A thousand soldiers. They fought without fear or passion. King took defiance For insult and ordered the man beaten. is Story of the city of Amnesia. Just arbitrary cantos. They said the king had grown weak to lead men In the name. They warred no more. the name’s chapter. Many died Under the severe spell of injured age. Odidere tells me. they said his heart was secretly Tarnished with love. the virtuosic Music of my land. Grimly. But Odidere Says it’s nothing. But the gift took away from them more than The desire to war. Eager men trampled on the purblind head Of age and pummelled the man in the wilds. The stones keep singing. the man blew a handful of sand Towards the city. The gift finally took away the name’s Thunder. They called for crown and head.Odidere says he was from far lands. After seven days of death he sent them A gift of forgetting. The king went back to the city where kin Fought a ferocious battle for the name. they fought With antiseptic logic. It took away The vestige of the name.
Arbitrary Cantos 29 .
Playing love.I love The glimmering felt of your skin I am in love with the severe grin Of your dark nipples marinated In wine. Hung precariously in their Clovered nests. It comes With the forgotten fate of a dropping… A soft-walled egg pulsing In hidden dark nests. spouting a wicked purple Mantis love When one consumes the other And resurrects And cancels out the other. Caves. On fragile twigs. Egg-spidery love. At the edges of sacred china. We germinate in obscure corners Of the house. Lovesongs? Love comes Threadbare: lean.Cantos. Being in love. I love the sporadic gaiety of your breastsMarinated in stained blood goddess. Your love comes where The birds are mooning. innocentLike a spine. A wink at iridescent fatality On charred rooftops. 30 Fragments… .
a stiffness gingered by sceptre Addled by power. I love your rattlesnake morality. Squatting in shallow dug-outs In ritual footpaths the colour of blood31 . Numbing iron point. I love the assuring enormity of your bosom. Your love comes extra-logical in wisdom. its ebb and tide. The rare fields of fear. I love your incarnations Our love is marooned in An obscure book where my fate Plays out in dog-eared mystery. Somnambulant loveOn an arching tower. The incomprehensible pleasure. I am the king Of tomorrow. a stubborn cling Defying the flood of insecticide. I love you with traditional Love. We play the tenacious feisty love Of roach life-forms shipwrecked on porcelain Surfaces. I love your blood. Dark. Your careless solidarity. Telluric chance. I love your slippery lips. Of their own terror or myth. Sensate. The treacherous alcoves of your eyes The slithery inlets… I want to see with your eyes. Obstinate love. Scylla and Charybdis.I love its hue. I love the twin towers not needing terror or myth. the hip hegemony. I love the tickle of our fugitive Voices echoing in disused gutter.
In love. Surrendering strength and weakness Surrendering the rudder of my needs To the sovereignty of your eyes. Closing. Arcane hunters. A perpetual door. I am an irreducible point of love. I love you with the decaying love Of an ancient rock. Sleeping on mattresses’ lean precipice. I dissimulate. We fear people and machines Love bounces in dizzy inertia Love is a perpetual jarring of doors. As a grain of sand. Coming apart Ever so slowly to begin again. Whittle. Forsaken past. Future gnarled. I forget myself. I plummet. 32 . Hugging the floor I love you with the ideal dignity Of picturesque Kogi Mountains I love you in tired groves. My love is fidelity.It’s an agoraphobic love. Caked tree. I dissolve my being. In love. Whittled love. chiselled legends. A three-century old giant tortoise.
a wrong Friendship. Shock of birth 33 . Put apart. To make unwhole The cutting edge Destiny of knife is to bleed Shy serums from the Rotten finger of the earth The tremulous Hinges of a nation Need a knife A weakened heart With weak tendons Needs a knife An indecisive marriage.Cutting-edge Canto The straight knife Is not designed to build. a fledgling child A besotted race At the death’s Canny precipice. it cleans out Insidious creation Or the redundance of it. After the sweat of labour. never fail To put apart for that Is the beauty of it all. It is to put apart. They all need a knife Knife is the solitude Of un-pretence bringing grace To tedious finality.
Slash through the penis of growth Scoop the blind eyes out Smithereen the weakened The Darfur. They play noble roles The cutting-edge duty of Mending cut-out purple souls.Tingling love For all phenomena created. Putting apart shall immune Us from boredomCut out the baby’s heart. 34 . happy Nigerians Traditional hearth Nick the tortoise’s Flawed wisdom But leave the post-modern Priests in Versace and jerry curlsDo not cut them out.
this sick blare. with fire in their eyes. guardian of the till And gorged their belly hoarse And learnt the song of nail slanted on concrete When they got to the commonwealth They spat nails at the earth They spat nails at the destiny of their children They spat nails with no seductive will Their nails have no face of women It knows no Classics. And defied Eshu. 35 .Siren Tell me the sad story Of the village with the heart of salt They say one day a gang Of birds happened upon the green vineyard They fell to.
A mnemonic one sings of the London Bridge Falling down in the winding heart of the tropics.Season I am a soft. Little things dash about. wet earth. A texture of life. 36 . It will pour from the sky and cleanse the mind Of all doubt. I accept the possibility of water For this benign clay I have known. We shall await the hangover tomorrow Shaking with fear Of the fleeting muse And for the want of food to eat Cold beauty really changes nothing. A tingling breeze. This presence I have been enshrined with. And grew up with. Holding this warm gift dear to the pores of my skin.
this long-legged fly knew its purpose Brooking no excuses and exerting itself to the fullest Of a million drinks. heady with pleasure. malice of enthusiastic Africa In cool of evening. bobbing. dodging carelessly thrown arms And the malice of colour and dust. whisking its fly and eyed me With arrogant courtesy Then it fell to. swimming. It winged its last I drank in this contentment with no small pleasure. then after a long while it floated ashore And with one last flicker revealing contentment and a fulfilled destiny. It sipped genially. a million cups and a million laggard loafers It chose the bubbly froth of my glass.Contentment A long-legged fly sped grimly on Sailing the air. It took in the smell. flailing about in the Universe of bliss. 37 .
There is sad solitude about The little land. he dips Into the cauldron of the little land. Be the night. But what is this salient voice I catch Among the sweaty thorns of the cantos? This plaint is not arbitrary. The music of being. content to warp its existence In gravelly croons of workaday spite. Yes! The stones are singing a different song. The boy says if you want To know the soul of a city. exhales the flimflammery of motion In glittering hues or gruelling steel. His weakness is loud but the gods vouchsafe Him a good grasp of the tentative space. visit Her night.City of Amnesia III Odidere says the stones say nothing. A lad of adventure. He eats sweaty rice with cloves and chilli Over a stone of sepe. Merge in one fastness with the Behemoth minutiae of the earthThe roving master to his concubine. disillusion of touch. he breathes in Dust. He is a king Of visceral totality. the voice Is scared. Love the night Without bitterness. gyratory Music alluding to the water in us. Anguished noise in electric cachesEvery night the sentient lad contests Notion of name. Fragile penis Of artistic growth. He pokes about the liquor stands selling Ogogoro in twenty-one variants. 38 . He comes from a little land. Out comes the zest of living. take its boon with grace. He rifles the ubiquitous churches Selling Holy Spirit at cheaper price. The boy’s heart is good. So at the cool of dusk.
forgetting. the tales they never tell. cry. gold. solitude. destruction. writing petite Beauty on the plinth of chaos. children. The brittle. a look. anguish. knowledge. the tales they Tell in the night. joy. Their faithfulness. Moment. lies. mask. collapse. as a being. Life. He Paints their pain. lived. their purity. angst. A wink. love. the aged. green. the story. in atoms. Bivouacked. Their sex. the difference. jollity. ignorance. The dawn is pregnant. the gods they do worship. foamy fate. pleasure. The leaves 39 . Their heart. the longing. He gives birth to his art. The gods they don’t worship. ambition. umbilical cord. passion. the soil. the rain. more lies. science. As a thing. monument. their systems. laughter. The lonely grain of sand going about Its indignation with mighty repose. mathematics. a sigh. Gaiety. as living. their myth. Their foes. the indifference and Life and life and life and life and life. Survival. their thoughts. Their music. their dust. renown. the scheming. Life! One day a bird ogles at the river. He takes his canvas and brush and his pot Of many colours and shares diurnal Joys with his best friend. dreams. death. their beauty. their minutes. a solitary Lake in a solitary land. the engine germs. carrion. Our lad whistles across to it. deceit. Motion. the friends. And when all is done our friend seals the taste Of night by the workaholic Rivers Of swarthy women. angle. demons. gut The engine. merriment. discordance.The drunken piss and its calm. Creation. Their wholeness. art. space. Their water. light Their brilliance. Despair.
The pebbles 40 . Contrived angles. Crystal pall. your river. The daemon Flies to the welcome caverns of the boy. Imperial annexe. the nuclear canard. Lazuli fragments. Our lad fills his Canvas without knowledge. stop it. The fringes of fervour. The sickly night. stop it. Dark dawns. Wan bulimia assumes the Atlas Kapellmeister of global happiness. dead. What he says he knows not. Daemon world. without history. The trumped-up mystery. Patina Bellying rut. Life perpetuates and is lost. he suffuses him with the History of his land and the story Of villains that are daemons and daemons That are villains. The gore of the glory of daemon-dom. obfuscating Zest. the thief’s coming. There’s no space in space. There’s no time in time. Hide your gold. He suffocates him with Cacophonic steps. Tongues of locket. Anger is fortitude of confusion. It comes To him. What a sad spirit is this daemon? What A flagellated soul? He chokes the boy With his myth. his head swirls. There’s no love in myth. your belief.Try to warn him in their endless flutter “Stop it. Slowly hands pick up enforced daemonic Nuance. all is nought. Arabesque caper. heart of his nausea. alien panache. Carcass becomes a daemon. Our friends Are nothing. The bird becomes carcass. Their tomes of hatred. He can’t say what He knows. Inferno of loss of spirit and self. daemons rule. we are nothing. the Thief’s coming…” The boy in his flawed but rich Mosaic beckons at the bird. issues a plaintive sigh and falls To the ground. His art is lost.
Do not talk. Singeing treasures. 41 . jades of insomnia. Beauty is death. Water corrodes. The numinous is death. The earth blinks.
Arbitrary Cantos 42 .
Caligula Where many mouths feed Caligula whips the cow In petrified markets Where children harking unto Unknown gods trade their souls For a mess of chow Caligula whips the cow In fever fine-points In sawdust locus Grated with pain From our grey eyes Caligula whips the cow With the pompous Rod of ignorance When the cow Accidentally eats grass Only deigned by humble gods Who chase petty flies Caligula fights with a sea of argot. And codes Hammered by Wandering men of fortune And eviscerated. A streaky thing. A measly beast The cow hungers for a sensate destiny For song without tears For comfortable mediocrity For tired fruits of knowledge But what she gets is shrapnel. She performs a servile alchemyTurns the dust of memory to gold And chews cud upon cud To get to a fading grass patina And opens her bosom to the world And sells her life-blood cheaply And time passes away… 43 .
giddy children Unknowingly priming the last strikes For the mammoth carcass And the sloppy volume of offal 44 .Caligula’s ash is stoked By an anaemic Amanuensis Rendering meek ditties to a cow far lost In the labyrinth Of her own chains Thrashing happily in gasps Of dismemberment when Another rash of Caligula Are already waiting.
I grew here. tinder became wild fire: I consumed and consumed Beer. 45 . filing in The outcome with soot to our lungs and spills to the gods We swam.University Fresh tendril sprouting up to be devoured by books. Papers with no lambent flame Laboratories with no zest… and no rats Lame Vulcan slamming head against the smallness of vision When we crashed Some survived to flee Others to roam the earth for food Being only trained for dead slogans in un-living languages Others didn’t survive They married and bred Like mice. books. Ogun of the hills Bats flying tales bats alone can tell Hopeless revolt of young blood initiating into dross: I found warmth here The myth of sour bellies was taken seriously In dingy lights we changed the world. Schopenhauer and the lonely coin. but reality is a faster swimmer She caught us in the belly button. Swivelled us to the barren skies Of forty-seven AKs and lunatic gangsters Burying their mates in shallow-minded cavern and fraternity Swivelled us to the conclave treachery That produces our chairs.
And rained and thundered and fired And stole his wife from Ogun 46 . “What am I doing here?” he asks After a particularly heady gulp of nauseous traffic. at Oyo When a thousand women courted his groin. He blinks his coal-fire eyes in confused askance. The rotten fruits of the earth. Eager faces forming his lordly court. testy hands of Enwowu There is the great Sango. Where he forever scarified the Nupe people. contented Orange rinds and a mindless beggar or two Sango beams his battle axe And regales his new court Of great tales of his legend. He directs this at the trifle. lover of the unloved He eats stones. Now in the heart of Marina severity. Pounded yams and fierce anger hundred centuries cold. The proud and hardy one.Sango of Enwowu There lies a monument To electricity ejaculated By the fecund. in awe of such an august presence For the lives of forsaken debris. And belches thunder in rumbling satisfaction.
He could still be seen By the cool of dusk Shaking his dreaded locks Menacingly at Oya. got bored and starred on.Who even now can be glanced. Excited by the possibilities of Sango’s fire. Than men’s imaginative phenomenon They would continue to be. The sheets of paper tinged uneasily. gnome-like Muttering to himself on the Third Mainland Bridge. 47 . The beggars sidled up to an approaching Rolls Sango was furious. More ancient than art. The rinds tried to listen. more ancient than stone. even after Sango Is forgotten in his land or in his penthouse Beyond the oceans where to this day. In vain For these trifle faces were the ancient ones.
Raisins jutted out the stomach Milky ambrosia of the poor And keep them impossibly Going on and on and on… 48 .Cassava Brittle flakes Long-sleeved Grace of yellow-green You impregnated the earth. The earth Protruded the greenish herbs The herbs Sprang the swollen foot Swollen foot The dainty raisins.
This time: he actually owns us all. 49 .shrivelling his wake A white canvas of infinite possibilities. A lone muttering god Gnawing insomnia and shovelling imprecations on the head of the earth: He’s sick but would not Die.Time We all serve one god.
Must die with Time in it. Before this a sojourner. An advertent catalyst though He craves glory without duty. He heard his Threat and took the village head into firm Confidence of victory. It was Eshu’s wrath that blew the sand of 50 . He’s grown immortal with it. And you tell me it’s water?” Odidere mused and assured him of A fresher taste coming by himself to Gorge its delight. He tied the god’s Coming to arrival of coal-fire king. He met Eshu at the surreal landscapes Where three footpaths meet and gave him brook’s jar. Victory? Against the rider of the Pegasus Of nothingness? Odidere woke up Next day and filled a jar to the brimful Delight of the brook. And now Odidere can’t forsake the city. Then he wandered earth’s Great roads for one friend of his to incite. Eshu must come disguised To fully partake of elemental Goodness of the water. breezier than Oya’s wind.City of Amnesia IV Odidere twinkles intelligent Green eyes and I ask him why he chooses The city of Amnesia? “It is meet” He says. Prober of earth’s interstices fated To be at the village when coal-fire king Desired Obatala’s brook. He is a witness to the loss Of name. it is More refreshing than the dawn. its taste rivals the choicest wines from Oyin’s nectar at the heavens. “Ah!” said Orisa after drinking “Is This from the same earth I’ve wandered and loved? Why.
No one Died except in the lone hour of the year Because they did not die. Brilliance and contradictions. The village head thanked Odidere. Odidere got weary. the unborn ceased To come. a wonderful Charm for making dreams and then stepping out Of time to live it. Since then happiness Becomes Odidere in the city 51 . and the purl Of pity which becomes Obatala Prevented the march of cycles. mind was eating itself. but for mercy Of Obatala. Exactly the moment Eshu’s sand Was blown across the city. On your laps shall fall The duty of guiding strangers who stray From their path to the land of Amnesia” Odidere tells me he accepted The task and thus stayed. they still rise In arms and fall to in deathly clatter. He Sought death in vain. He donned the carapace Of solitude. It was Eshu’s intent for them to selfDestruct in seven days. Time blurred time. They shall not Depart from your sight. But time has ceased in The city of Amnesia. the rigid standard Of peace. But Obatala in cold-hearted mercy Appeared to him on the surface of brook Sternly as he made to leave and told him “Since you were the instrument of the fall You shall be their memory. And one hour every year.Malice at the destiny of the name. Until one day when Eshu his good friend Paid him a visit where he presented To him a sacred gourd. The antinomic powers of Eshu’s shine. He softened the pall but could not But steal the name.
He lived through many an incarnation. In the nameless city. here all is marked and Recorded. Created the gods in his own image. In irreality He wrestled with those who had wrestled with Him. Became magisterial in many Worlds and still he didn’t forget the burden Of those without memory. Orisa evinces the eternal. My guide in the city of Amnesia. An Orisa creates the instrument. he built the Gods’ Crèches. He fashioned the lambent street. Rotor has an Orisa Canaries have Orisa. And the stones keep singing. Created multiple realities. Equilibrium Becomes the Orisa. Here is a fair land. And thus did He create a different street in city Of Amnesia. Odidere. now they sing In the scared voice of the unknown victim. He mastered his gift. One of them makes the space digestible. The steel is Orisa. 52 . Numbers are Orisa’s Serenade.Without memory. They are singing The arbitrary cantos. Morality is the ice Cream of Orisa. It is the home of the gods. It is the summation of mind’s finest Impulses.
Arbitrary Cantos 53 .
Constable Uche.Under the Bridge For one it’s The shadow-minded joy With veneer of compost Kingdom. There are tributaries Of retired barrows.black-striped Denizen of the crossroadsMakes snappy visits to stash the bribe and smoke a wrap. Aging excrement And the soft purl of a newborn’s temple Feels the moist apprehension of motherhood. Tenement of many dreams- 54 . There are markets here where they trace The destiny of Michelangelo This debris is a polymath of freedom Many waters are under this bridge But they are here to stayIn this positive energy No one needs Fear a fall. So much words for a penny book. Even the leaves find a CERN-like Space to experiment reproduction on Splintered glass.
One by one Crusoe knows no Vertigo in the monomania Of the view from under the bridge.Of many rooms: Kunle hones His kicks before his shine for Arsenal And stays here. There is more than Ignorance in Plato’s cave. 55 . Rasaq sharpens out The laws of power. Afterall hyacinths hasten their soul away From the boorish darkness but when they taste the sun. It is a sad fruition to death. selling for the time Being in curlicues of ash on the Splintered head of Medusa above. Do not despair.
the swarming flies On the carrion of beauty. Where are the dotted chieftaincies Creaming out a deranged poison’s resume Where will they all be? 56 .Stolen Canto Halt! You go stop the workaday Folly of pilfered smugness Toil upon toil you pile Your golden dung in the gushy Recesses of your little lilting heart Now we shall stop it. the deafening sirens Masquerading a pockmarked garment of hunger Where is the impassioned promise. We are the violence of bland Dawns just after the itinerant Doom of hapless millions Are sealed in vaulted sepulchres Move! The earth abhors a halt All is one grand move to whereAfterlife? In a day's job of harvesting Yielding coffers in unyielding hearts A need occurs here and there And we cannot but exert BOOM! The full brunt of our trade And it's over.the gold. the astute affinity The false necessity of crazed fingers and itchy pen? Where Is the heart dying to venture Into the sea and slit open the Warm trembling blood of love. the praise. We Are the only one mobility In the crypt of dead logs.
We are the garish darkness in the blind cityBut it is always the conceit. just grab the necessity And we get the hell out to bury to satiety The infernal semen in wild hips afire In a besotted land where a grumpy Caligula rides Roughshod over the commonwealth of circumstance. Far from it. The professional consequence: BOOM!! BOOM!!! BOOM!!!!!!!!! We drop. we slash. We are just artists schooled in the alma mater Of blood our nation is. 57 . grab it. abject optimism Nourished by the tube Flutters A fatalistic leaf in heart’s defiance A sly move. A thump of phone And we must. a sigh. we move Grab it.Not That we seek redress. two winks.
Clamp me With love and in The dream of your sigh Let me leave my Body and wander Among the unlimited Of this world Let me disdain boundaries let me See grace let me respect death 58 . Lips of treasure fastened on an opaque mare You are the radiance of poets Jet-black lush string Of hornet.Mating Canto Do you know what They say about you: They say you are The dark ochre casting thorn sprouts On a field of poppies They say the careless glitter of your eyes The sybaritic streets of your laughter The warrens of discovery.
A faint. This tiny thought that spun the stars. And of malice I want my words To sail to you. Feed fat on despair and finally swallow itself May our lives continue to roll on blindly.Prayer I pray to you ancient thought. The lily-livered vegetable. 59 . anguished moment that tells us All these careening had a purpose and Not the complex language some Genius uses to serenade his drunken dog. May we just catch a glimpse. never hitting any mishap that will show the light Then soon on our deathbed. None of the geriatric Goodness. The worm in the sand. No bland importunation I know of this world enough to recognize where true power lies Therefore listen. Hitler and the Internet: I pray a simple prayer of the lost I know you are the god of malice. You muted head eating the earth Piecemeal and asking yourself Why you should not grub it whole: May each day’s confusion never truly pass the day May the head Continue to think what the belly will eat May the belly not eat hope.
They will adorn the house with the metallic foot of Sokoti the steel god Wrought with iron love and foundry caryatids Quiet artisans brooking no poems -There will be union -Children will defecate -They will cozy up together. somnolent dust and Oya blows fair. Love will germinate here and Death will catch them in the cold 60 .House A sunny. cool wind They are building a house: Naïve quilt of wood arching upwards to the indifferent wide sky With clouds bearing their singular quarrels with mighty dignity. revelling in their own warmth -Hunger and dare-devil robbers will strike Philosophical robbers that moody about the Senate and power: They will snuff out sunlight to protect themselves But they shall survive it all.
In time-warp. In the city with no memory just The stones can sing. They consume His inner meat.City of Amnesia V Beyond arbitrary cantos. His curiosity. They say loud what they see In the boy’s dream they see a clumsy grip. But say the boy discovers A whiff of trance. A street replete with the gods of thought. And the boy lives his Dream in Odidere’s finest impulse. he lives it. 61 . Hope’s fibre becomes indestructible Love comes to view. They own his secret places. The stones keep singing and they will not hush. Daemons now ride his warrens. Mind Is reborn. Initiative is well-fed. And his art. a scared Voice knits the thread of our shrivelled tendril. His intuition weaves a touch exotic To their shrouds. Say the stuff of his dreams Is a sacred gourd. The boy has lost his imagination. He creates the lambent street of his dreams And stores the material of his world there.
Arbitrary Cantos 62 .
Water Poem Languor Is the sea’s cry Circling the motion of Languor Yemoja’s Smokescreen Seduces a Planet of dust Adding thin glass Over Foamy blood Creating vengeful Things Seeding In the sea Screaming Languor at No man’s pikes Blinding One cretin eye When Classics seek Languorous Route To Ithaca Of their Destiny And mere Playthings Have worn thin The amusement of Languor swarming 63 .
64 . No Fish to cry Ship to wreck The titanic Can no longer sink Atlantis has Changed address Only languor Becomes the Race of men And dolorous Languor besots Astute mermaids Like men Rowing glum Galleons in Nothing but Languor.Over The eyes of Blue gods Giving way To greater Languor In Olokun’s Brow knowing Now the nautical Pros and cons And Faust’s Corruptibility In the zeitgeist Of grey languor.
Language A polyglot that speaks in million tongues.an excessive state Of body language This is when civilization really begins Mind does the talking. Licking up his persevering mother 65 . That is what the body is. It softens itself up to be shared by Aramaic comrades and eaten as their lord It speaks the language of water. It takes in its own pills like impressions. The beginning and the crux of the matter It speaks the language of food. the stars and simple footstool As one big shed and plaything for humans To casually colonize And despoil like Magical Van Gogh Who cut his ear to spite the nose Body sometimes suffers From logorrhoea. Licking up his teacher. We see the sky. And every night in our dreams We are visited by the citizens Of the sea in their encompassing blueness The body sometimes mimics The tongues of the birds and try to fly. licking up his wanton friend. déjà vu A million dark necks manacled In Badagry and the mind screams in protest When you tell a small child to go to hell He begins to see huge yellow tongues Licking up his father who would eventually get there.
‘Christianity and post’. 66 . ‘Post-colonialism and neo’. ‘Terrorism or not’. ‘bastards!!’ Whenever they switch to the News at Nine That is small mindedness The really big one is the vicarious fanaticism What you feed the mind from behind Blows up to become world language Imaginations are sunken to complexes The world yields to the silly caresses Of thinkers and makers of death You begin to get great vocabulary with gravity ‘Genocide or what’.And a race of people in Agbada and long speeches His father always greets ‘bastards!’.
the poor souls throw merciless account In her leviathan intestines: 67 . They cut her. she cannot imagine some grave Gaa Riding rough and silly her generous bosom Why is the water shy when hungry Lagos mates endlessly the point of the sea And the ensuing Seamen are the yawning bilge safely cased in The free blessings of astute men And more astute gods in form of men? From her gaudy parties.Watery Questions Does the water cry? Does the water know when time will end or Jupiter will fall to man Or soldierly Papa Jato will finally die on cue? In her freedom. she does not know that no impudent metre Could ever caress her ample waists What says this lurid Lagos lagoon on this lurid Lagos morning To the crabbing paddles of indefatigable fishermen crawling her breasts… Or The iron stretch mark of per-second Lagos Masquerading yesterday’s darkness greying on her soft insolent capsules? In her Babel silence. may she just take a glance at the myriad prayer Of this sickly myriad hawker? Last night they passed. last night they cut her. Placing details particularly on her amber eyes. piecemeal. should she not eavesdrop on the young girl’s dark scream At the end of the road? In twinkles of time. for the water in her amber eyes And in her Calvary gasps They dreamt the glitter of their Midas gold For her dirty ways.
Of prised. Of a bone here. withering tooth. And on this brilliant Lagos morning. white bones and caked. Of workaday sanitary pads. a tooth there and history’s head-driven nails. ash-butts and robbers’ dreams. Of witches’ nightmares ubiquiting the canvas of poverty. she is still Wetting her coconut nipples on time’s sober violations 68 .
provincial lobes A dose of darkness is good Caligula says Rome was not built in a day You post-modern engine germ of soot In the blind city.Generator Blue-black tinkering Thing from Asiatic infancy Will Sango own up To your handiwork? You shame light With your filth and noise Drumming incessantly On my machine-shy. tireless mythmaker Into your monoxide haven of fastened Breath and humourless death 69 . it is your time In the dark sun and you will cask us Soon.
wild Demons envious of humans.Violence Come let us reason together Men are selfish. They do not sing myths to one another Or lie to one another or Talk to one another. the Earthquakes. foul air and go about Unconcernedly to make a keep And when they fart out good living In contentment they look for trouble And so is it for all men but This utopia can only be Nourished by blood. blind. They only Live on billion years measured well. beastly. brutish They drink. the crazy monsoons. The first violence is of Uncaring nature scheming to Do us in. There is also The thunder that strikes homesteads blind And ashen the weak-kneed among Us. Detesting the astronomers. There is the blind rain soaking Us up in the contrived hearth. We tame the Beasts in the air. We make fire and steel. They want A cold. But for years in millions 70 . domestic cereals. so we humans Grudgingly sit down and study. But all is not a melioristic Merry-go-round. and divert Wild plants from their free course and turn Them to lame. The poets and the plain crazy They hate warm songs recounting great Escapades and lack hope to sustain The fire of legendary homelands They want humans to be lost to Humans. hardy earth.
We have survived and we call ourselves The commonwealth. She may not cook again. and despoil The collective fruit. So when some hold reins Of the commonwealth. the violence that Calms down all violence. That the lord does not forsake His own. That is the Fourth violence. the violent Vision of religion 71 . like a poor. then she will Wake up and fever will strike her mad. but wallowing In all. Not giving To each as is due. or boil The yams. She’d tell herself it’s All right. the demons of lust and Desire will seize her. What she does to herself. violence To the keeper and the deprived And the denied will see but pretend Not to see. But the dreams would say something Different. That is the third violence. live and Copulate. deranged child It is the second violence. or till the land or nurture The children. man as a gregarious Animal. Riding her Fever to what is hers. Her mind Will be filled with violence of man To man and how one single violence Will shred the earth. We work.
dangling his wobbly groin over Our woes.Lambent Street Odidere shows me the vision of His sacred gourd. twin demiurges. Immense creation. Intention: Was it Terror? Or simply unconscious rooting Of consciousness? An ancient column of Ants bear lion cubes to the infinite Between my heart and yours. One controlled The skies. they lolled themselves on Abject particularities neglecting The heart of God is an infinite gift. vexed. Then a slip. softly Gliding our feet daily to time’s troubles. Together they made a being. The lambent street is a Perfumed orange grove. Sango the brittle Thunder and five hundred more.eternal Pyramid was fragmented. glimpsing a snatch of Music from blades of grass. The other is mother earth. lords of varied Consciousness. Then the might Of a boulder shattered the first stirring From the blue void. Disquiet in him created Baila And Ile. I behold the artifice of mind dancing On edges of void. Obatala The penitent pure. There was God’s peak Olodumare: supreme. Oya of malice Of wind and shadow joy. alone. 72 . and consciousness became Ubiquitous. Amoral receptacle Out sprang Ogun of hunts. There his parts Formed the elite pantheon. Secretly I’m Taken to the fortresses of wonder. Atunda Is the first progeny and he tended God’s flowers. In lambent Street the ants do not forsake their gifts of Shining cube measured against the measly Primal consciousness.
Mobile history of ants bears Lion cubes into the tremulous steps Between our yes and no. Every strand of her hair. Her Hair is tousled with the story of the Unborn. Groin by groin. Motes of Dust. They will never be alone. Shies away from us. She is a tall masquerade with billowing Smoke. a Silky coil of snake. When Odysseus refused to drink Of Lethe and came a ragged man. how they would embrace the void without Bitterness. is a witness to The soul of the unborn.And that became MAN. The night is the memory king. Absence is more golden. We shall fly. Never The stars do not hear. Total joy. It has been so Before. In her nostrils the legend of Our rape is enshrined. who can probe the end Of atoms? What is the irreducible Unit of hunger? Where. We do not know the inner doubt Inside grain of sand. Ignorance Is bliss. What is love? What’s This world? Why should we be? They say silence Is golden. They do Not come but wait. If we do not break. A beautiful thing. singing the universe Of a strand of hair. how they would plant love on the oblivion Pate. The perfect note Of illusion. A tingle. they sing of a common backCloth. Immediate fugitive of present. No thing. They bandy about Our fate. the point of return? And the night wiggled violently on us. they scheme out their own World. Even the future. Why should we be? Why should We be without the china of remembrance? Why should we be without pity? Why should There be faith? Why should there be doubt? Why should 73 .
we spoke to Nature the tongue of numbers and she replied Us with our innumerable secrets. So the mobile history Of ants shovels handful of dust into The little breach between us and the stars. eternal pyramid fragmented By wily hands of his own handiwork. But we do express. Our mind is mightier than god. blind to Illusion of life? They are dust. We painted a chapel red. blind to life. Why should they be kept on and on. We are the children of Infinity. Perfect love exists In silence. And totally we eat dust.Men be a little lower than animals? And the air runs amok with pollen specks Of invisible daemons from a monster Universe. Iota Envies the mind of grace. are potholes of hazy truths. They suffer the in-grown gnarled Toe-nails with us. We become gods in our Fallacies. And real fiend Is that which creates. Not even lies. you’d also Find. A vertical Lunge. There. Why should there be mind? What Is beauty? What is pleasure? We do not Have a soul. They hold our knowledge and fate In a sack of dust and they are our brothers And sisters. The gods must Be our repository now. you Take away the earth. The first frost from the void’s jar. Nothing works. The soul Of my country reflects the ignorance Of mankind and the depths of idiocy. The street Plays museum to one god. hungry Of body and soul. Annihilation is Our true kindred. Take away deception. In heart of void. We are the earth. they should be The total storehouse for our musings and 74 . I will sing a paean to the first stirring.
Lambent Street is a welcome world. in love not niggard.Passion. our geometric secrets. in songs of love. in complex science. Here void Constantly is a serenade and bestowsTrue to life. There is content And justice and the stirring of the mind. they learn from it. one by one we shall drink from the Throes of Olokun. Only an Ancient column generously rides the Variations in our symphony. In inventions of future. An ancient column plays the therapeutic canto in silence To heal our spirits. Then having passed through The needle’s breath. in simpler Morality. There’s No equality here. They know that annihilation shall be met With grace. in love Without amnesia. 75 . Women shall know glory And children shall flee the Memory King And come to earth to sun and live and die. One by one we shall cross the seven Mountains. In the peace of becoming. Here they do not Disdain what they don’t know.gifts from optimum gush of love In labour and craft. They do not kill Their ignorance. we shall grow The oceans and beseech the climate. our Dreams have wings and fly. one by one we shall Behold the coral parturition of Yemoja. our Aims shall map a benign colony. one by one Sango’s fire shall Singe us and one by one Osanyin shall Squeeze the herbs from oblivion fetishes. we shall grow hoary tufts Without the deceit of age.
Arbitrary Cantos 76 .
jittery. the mouth: Why do you salivate on me so. I am not a man. I am cool in cool places. I am a luxury. Yet with your serpentine tongue You swipe me. godless and afraid of tomorrow. how many of your kind Have a hold on me? I don’t mean in Sudan Where the Nilotic are flayed for being Nilotic While the world probes the semantics of genocide Or the Chad where in the tidy apparitions of their president. in the swamps of Isale EkoIn a thousand Nigeria. gilted pride of iron. Hunger is just a tool of propaganda Or in the perennial scrawl of death clinging To the jagged face of the African hearth I mean in Nigeria here. Our God was the centre of the universe then. I hate it when you form a cicatrix On my dimpled face like I am one of your Ibadan kinsmen Except for a lustre ever so faint. our cold god of iron and stone. famished. and clang my graceful nape I hate your marks.Spoon One day an old long-suffering spoon had a stern word or two with his boss. I hate to shine.when they finally see the goddamned thing They fall to with their hands like pigs… 77 . An unbearable lightness of being. A whiff of smoke. not a showman. throaty idiot? I am a tall. But you? Who are you? Who owns you? What is he made of? You are nothing. you coarse. in the gigantic Lagos slumopolis: In Ajegunle. I do not rush over food. To you I am eternity. And though my neck be crooked and bent There still lies the power of the timeless ore of pre-history When nature hadn’t succumbed to this vertigo of speed and death Goodness was good and the bad vigorously bad.
78 . sensuous inner walls Make a big show of caressing me. Wipe me primly and properly. be sharp about it and Never you forget that my God will outlast yours! Bear a billion years laden with chicken peppersoup Into your mouth with piety.You present thing always filled with warmth. slime and colour. start a discourse to calm your nerves. Lift me daintily and insert into the steaming thing. Let me teach you order. let me teach you how to treat ancient historyWhen you see the food. Do not let your soft.
And the blood still sucks. Scrawny like a rheumatic fowl? Have we snubbed the offering existence made of him Or have gratefully accepted it. I hope life has been good. have our rotten teeth Not sampled the yaws of her thighs. Health and wealth In the name of the maternal breasts. Wishing it could have been better and Eyeing covetously his fat. Cracking his tired bones and slurping the marrow.Witches’ Canto To all my sisters in the four corners of the earth. diseased mother Who is only spared because she is also of us? What has happened to the girl of fifteen Just seeing her cycle. Have we been up to the times’ command? Have we been blessing Humankind with our handiwork And the pleasure of our tongues? How many foul blood have we drunk today? How many accidents caused on tumescent roads? What about that anaemic child At the turn of the shack at Mushin Who is fed Garri and coconut. Feverishly guzzling the freshest fertility Ever before the advent of the slickly gun That froths creamy white in fleeting exhaustion? 79 .
bare our breast of uncaring milk To the thirsty mouths suckling at dust and chewing bile. fanning wide. it is our destiny to torture them.We say we have done all that and more Yet. 80 . the wide world lies awake. accounting for The foul end of foul beasts in foul times We are the nemesis of the hungry. whose rulers Have ensured a sordid existence. To serve the guilt. Who cannot sing in their own voice And dream in the language of their forebears. naked in sin and filth Are we not the settler of hash? Let us move round. To do the storehouse of woes and syntax Of blame in the epic of an unending misery. Let us show them that we are of the earth And like the earth. Yes. Who have shunned the imaginations of their past And unlearnt the skill Of their heritage. Let us the witches finally shut the lid On the ubiquity of anguished cackles Sucking air in alienated confusion. The nightmare of the depraved and deprived For those who are blind.
Yes she has passed on to a croaking song And lineal motifs of stone in Front of the female hostel. Oluorogbo In the streets of triumphs The Igbo struck. the remains Being thrashed up and down by local Politicians. they chronicle her tragic 81 . A mere ram and the sweet whimpering Of a mere child.Moremi develops airs In unusual places. The lords Of Ife had grown soft on art and Their women’s bosom. It was a mere joke. She did What was to be done and her son Is no more-was it a deal of Mother courage selling us the history Of her own contrivance? Anyway the song is redolent still when the Agogo weeps for just a mere goat. they Razed the hearth and scared Classical bunting out of Brown gods relishing fine Bronze heads But Moremi was just being No-nonsense.Moremi In Ile-Ife where The street cobbles are Forever whetted with lonesome Passages of provincial gods Moremi grows her corn And thinks of the lonesome Passages of her son.
Beauty in Cuba, they raise doughty Women in her name in Bahia, People Swear by her in foreign tongues reserved For flowery virgins and effusive whores But where can she be now When trussed and trashed in Little corners, gossiped about, Killed, sicced on by chimerical Mosquitoes, even the Stone is cracked in the head, The one in front of the Female hostel in Ile-Ife, The dawn.
When Your Legs Bear You On those unforgettable Pathways Of Spirit Acid Mordant Incubus They call… you are called No One Knows My Name Scrawls the jaded being No One Not Even Gaia The Chameleon of my death And They Call It 83
Wrong They scream an impotent caterwaul No Amount Of Blood Shall Make the pate shine No Death Can Bring Light To chaos. And no man. None
The yolk that spits seed and fire must fix itself A meal of origins from the condiment of alternatives There is no beginning, there’s no end No scratchy grain of sand No chaos, no slink of words… This, in a nutshell, is the road: A bubbly wind is imprisoned in a boundless mirror, The wind breaks tinsels on the oblivion pate and syrups fastidious atoms, Atoms mothers supersonic algae…algae scatters tassels of life Without eyes or malice- ultimately, we do not choose our friends or our death. Or the dire outcomes of Nigeria. No one knows tomorrow. The yolk that spits seed and fire must fix itself A meal of origins from the condiment of alternatives This, in a nutshell, is the parallel road: No word. No earth. No life. No fruit. No fire. No germ. No breath. No death. No constant Northern star No convoluted dances In the market square With all whirling in the motion of sweat, love and being.
no? No.The yolk that spits seed and fire must fix itself A meal of origins from the condiment of alternatives But we took the road. The road was not totally taken Because of a stain in scarlet man. We incinerate We make art Pontificating perspectives Over the million skulls of green tendrils There is no camphor to make an even keel We rely on the gulph of laughter and forgetting To leaven the mother memory of the earth. The yolk that spits seed and fire must fix itself A meal of origins from the condiment of alternatives 86 . A little crack in the earthenware And harmatia so We kill We make love.
the death motif Eschewing true apprehension. The avarice motif flourishing in The heart of the commonwealth. Pick It up and expunge the alien daemon. I asked Odidere how he shall sustain His lambent street and he told me he is An old soul. Go and dream the little changes at The delicate corners of your world. My world shall survive. he said. gut it out.Epilogue As I left the city of Amnesia Odidere gave me gift of sacred Gourd. Drown it in The searing wisp of song. 87 . In my world. He is the elusive bird with embers Of chaos. Chameleon will.