WARRI

Cold green voyeuristic eyes
Rip your clothing apart bit by bit
Heigh you!
Cat calls
Snatchy nervous glances.
In the streets of the oil city
Girl, you are a walking Yoni
Nothing more.

You walk on
Past the dwarf houses
With browning zinc
Past the caravan streets
And a taxi pulls up
Asks Where?
Very unusual
For here its worry, hurry
Nothing more.

You chose to ignore him.
A torrent of vicious abuse
Hits you from the rickety cab
Spluttering along its penurious way:
Something about, dirty fucking girls!

A dog on heat creeps up
Panting foul breath on your neck
He's booked a suite somewhere.
Between their craving
And their acted dislike
Falls this shadow
Animal in its depravity.

Momentary distraction:
Two drivers speeding neck to neck
Screaming abuse at each other
Until one falls dangerously behind.
Legions of two-wheeled demons
Belching clouds of fumes and fury
Thunder after, terribly close.

This is the oil city
A tense, tense world
Baiting, daring one another.


SAPPED
The worms fight greedily for the corn.
Making me muse and muse.
Suddenly, the ground moves.
My hands clutch the door post
Pounding heart tearing the painful head.
`Lord, spare this struggling life
Next pay will be food first
If I've not learnt too late'

At the buka, the changeless topics
`SAP has marginalized us all'
Mama Put has learnt
So many new words already
`When will the universities be re-opened?'
`When will Gani be released?'
`Have you heard that... blah blah blah'

The voices reach me from a distance.
I toil through the salty soup.
Gradually, strength returns.
The foul tang of bore-hole water
Stings the senses ...
I am my society's oblation.
Lost, the will to complain.


STAKERS
Wk. 22, Nap 10 & 11
Wk. 22, X26X sure banker
Wk. 22, 18 & 42, hot pair
Shacks of mocked hope
Glittering like imitation gold.

Within, weather-beaten faces
Twice bitten, thrice desperate
Strain still at cabalistic signs
Strain still at elusive only-hopes.

Old boy! Old boy!
I have a game for you

In this world
Every strange occurrence
Is the long-awaited messiah.

Yet shades of skepticism
Cast by hard experience
Shades of doubtful hope
Wrestle tortured sinews
On harrowed face:
Behold thy redeemer.
The wrestle, the long silent look:
Behold thy redeemer:

Week twenty-two
Smoking hot, fifty-five
Twenty, and fourteen.

Pardon, can you call that again?

Fifty-five, twelve and fourteen.

Are you sure?

Double sure, that all numbers
Lead alike to the lustrous mirage.

Behold thy redeemer
In the shacks of mocked hope.


PICTURESQUE FACE

Through rear-view mirror
Picturesque face
Returning the rude stare
Steadily
Unflinchingly.
Frozen beauty.

Love eyes.
Tender, but for the film
Of hard experience:
The calm soliciting call
Without passion;
Practice, not weakness,
And the faint smell
Of many years
Of street-walking

Discernment dawns
Almost imperceptibly
On picturesque face:
Not a customer's stare.
Disinterest is absolute and final
And withdrawing back
Into mysterious depths
Picturesque face
Frozen beauty
Beyond redemption.


RESURRECTION MORNING

Morning is sweet delight;
The new world
Warming gradually into my sleep
Through the opaque windows,
Morning is sweet delight.

Morning is deep regret;
The dark dream world
Holding up fragments of dead visions
In melancholy melodies:
On the Day of Resurrection
There were tears, O Lord
There were tears and wails
And mourning
There were tears, O Lord.
And the refrain affirming.

But this from the singing brethren:
On the Resurrection Morning
Soul and Body meet again
No more weeping
No more sorrow
No more pain.

While mourning multitudes
Gnash their teeth
And alleluias burst from raptured souls
The truth of this morning;
Delight and sorrow,
Go on for ever.
Other Poems
Warri. Sapped. Stakers. Picturesque Face. Resurrection Morning.