Saturday, 12 June 2010

For a Dispossessed (M.K.O Abiola; In memory of June 12)1

this is memory

chanting and healing clots
of yesteryear's wound, from

shaming nobles wobbling
in Nigeria’s conscience cart


I remember you
not as the hero disrobed
in a fit of madness
but the madness death-robed
into a myth of valour
You've left a triple score
with gun trotting bumpkins
round cheeks
round necks
round heads
and round brains

Those smuggled historians with
square cheeks
square necks
square heads
and square brains

The lunatics plummeting,
drifting into bigger daftness

They have left no
grief but brief pain

you filled our numbness, and
rebelled against the yoke of tyranny
Now, the cheat must pay the cheated


In this ocean of evil
I struggle to the shores of atonement

with pledge, your side I take:
the fool must pay the fooled


Forget their forgetfulness
your heart is preserved

Their forgetfulness...
gathered demise for whimsies
victory for our incantations

They did not know forgetfulness
was the bane of the duck
it remembered not to part its toes

They did not know
forgetfulness was
the bane of the sheep
it left its incisor in its mother's womb….


Convention infuriates an insane
he’d wear clothes at night
walk naked at daybreak

you left venom in their midst
now lives are imbued in spite


They have become,
fishermen wishing to be firemen
farmers hoeing soils with the phantasm of the gunner
hunters preying to become hunted

In the demise of pride
these men eat yam tubers
sprouting from the lips of boys,
with loyalty shifted into bags of lies.

Even sons parade fathers
whose madness tow shame
to rumple the truck of peace…

Till the edges are smoothed
I will not forget.

(c) Jumoke Verissimo 2008.

*This poem was first published in my book, "I am memory".

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