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A Hole in Hell: A Poem by Sola Osofisan


this story has no hero.

The frantic leftovers of discordant remembrance
carrom in the pain-giddy recesses
of my naked shame,
(rusty nail in the frothy manufactory
of stainless pins)
even the serpentine trickle of sweaty footpaths
can not wish away the barbs bucking
like untamed steeds in the wash of my streaming eyes,
for Ashamu splintered the offering word
promises poured as oil at the altars
of the galaxy of unnameable gods
lurking by the whirl at the beginning of the
unfed behind the wall at the end of the world.

was it not my future I saw in your brown eyes
fondled by those bubbles of blushing air?
It was the future, Ashamu,
I saw my tomorrow in today’s squinting gaze
But you lurched left at the crossroads of our discarded vows,
leaving me to lick back to life
the many-mouthed ooze of suppurating wounds,
trapped in the choking embrace of lost moments,
last moments…
The scattered strands of unfinished melody
stinging mementoes
timid shade haunted by the dillapidated house
was it not my clear-cut path I saw in your brown eyes?

Ah, ashamu!
The miracle of you once paddled the canoe
of these cupped palms on a wavy moonbeam
at the horizon of untainted fires…
then you were my flower
the very power
the sun-kissed tower on the firmament
of our desires
But Ashamu broke the egg laid in the otherworldly
presence of spirit eyes
soaking me in the scathing rain
of the outcast’s shame…

No hero here, Ashamu,
no victor chock-full of unsteady faith
no vanquished cankerworm sucked into inner space
no memory for yesterday to construct his-story
no tomorrow for an eternity to come
for the present shall finger an erasure sun
forerunner of the stampeding asteroid
primed to shriek through this season of exploding sores
The mutant moon of Ashamu’s night
singed the guileless feet of naïve moments
and even the gods that have no shrine
insist the stealers of the innocent’s sleep
shall be hounded around the frenzied clock
by the preying beak of tyrant time

And so I spit you out, Ashamu
I scream me out of the cobwebby corners
of an incidental world
I shove you hard
out without the blistered arms
that once sheltered your limbless night
from the invading eyes of open skies
Rusty nail in the frothy manufactory
of stainless pins
I scream you hard
out of my dreams
and smother you in dust
the evildoer’s scourge
And no lament shall be strung together
from the rush of monosyllabic curses that hustle
a lonely destiny for unsung corpses
And I stand upon this silent earth
And I call upon this silent earth
And I swear upon this silent earth
it shall no more be well with you.

As for you, Morenikeji,
the secret scars of night are bared in the sun
would you recognize the agony
of a locomotive derailed by the
bludgeoning boulder of a passing fling?
No… No.
May the simmering spittle
from the unreined tongue of the dying
corrode the umbilical bonds binding morenikeji
to the apron of the fertility goddess
The stealer of another’s rags shall wallow
in the bruising hollow of cross-eyed skulls
lost forever in the labyrinthine emptiness
of the sucked out existence,
the lost shell of the last shame…
Morenikeji shall not have a boy
Morenikeji shall not have a girl
Shame shall droop heavy on her haughty breasts
and the burden unwieldy shall usher Morenikeji
on to the deformed pathways that lead
only to the nowhere world of fractured ghosts
haunted by dillapidated houses…

this story has no hero.


– (c) Sola Osofisan

Sola Osofisan
Sola Osofisan
Sola Osofisan is a writer, screenwriter, filmmaker, and founder/editor-in-chief of His movies include 'Unbreakable' (2018, Screenwriter, Co-Producer), 'Over Her Dead Body' (2022, Screenwriter, Producer, Director). His award-winning radio play, OLD LETTERS, was produced and broadcast by the BBC. A three-time winner of the Association of Nigerian Authors national awards (prose and poetry), he is the author of DarkVisions (Malthouse), Darksongs, The Living & the Dead (Heinemann), Blood Will Call and The Simple Joys of her Final Days.

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