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Beast: Poetry by Nwachukwu Egbunike



You were
You are
You remain

Tears are for the dead
Joy is for the living
Dread defines the living-dead

Abeyance is ours to pay
Rituals route your path
Incantations are your prize

Those fingers were swords
That slayed their pride
Those brains fried their puns

Many mouthed the past
None dared say in the present
One wrote the past in the present

Sitting on the wheels
The throne of your reign
The thorn from words of your prophecy

The story
Above stories
The story-teller

Deep from antiquity
Dug out anew

The flames of immortality

You are Alusi!
Long live the homage
Long after your departure

See a death
Sets tongues apart
Setting pieces that were apiece

Can’t be death
Cadavers speak of death
Chants inebriate the undying

The final ritual
For the living Alusi
Thunders eternal

Alusi defies sleep

Though asleep
Immortally awake

The chi  guards the child
The mother’s milk
The child can’t repay

Eagle atop the Iroko
The chi of storytellers
Great Alusi

Accept our sacrifice
Sleep not on our pleas
Slip not your fingers

– Alusi are deities worshiped in the religion of the Igbos of South-Eastern Nigeria.
– Chi is the personal god in Igbo cosmology (distinct from Chukwu – the supreme deity). Chi is each person’s guardian angel (or demon).
– Iroko is a large hardwood tree from the west coast of tropical Africa.



On the spectral rail
Where books are made
On that ring roll
Where the taste of books was once sweet
Where the aroma filled the bridge
And the book kitchen was for the best
When the white’s burden
Handed worthy books to hands worthy

But now a beast lay forth
Age and times fly
And one who hates books
Has ascended the ring roll
And from the spectral rail
Kicks and slays all
It’s no more about books
But about bitches

Once the book makers had honour
That was before the dishonourable
For a bitch reigns as sovereign
From a pool of ignorance
Atop the saddle of might
And a great mess is made

The bitch has bewitched the beast
And the rot is rancid
What was once the bar
What was once the flagship
Has withered to a faecal sore
The beast’s bitch is a book thief


The Unending Cycle

Bring the pot
Break the twigs
Strike the match
Set them aflame
Fan the flame
Feast the fire

Stroke the story
State the facts
Strike in some fallacies
Garnish with falsehoods
Grate with hyperboles
Grant them a soul

Don’t just tell
Say it with conviction
Don’t say its hearsay
Shout that its intelligence
Don’t deny you are intelligent
Save that for the inventory

Start a cause
Need not know which course
Peer across the globe
Blindfolded to that within
It’s trendy to frame advocacy
Not trendy to be the advocate

Intone a shrill tone
Keep numb
Say nothing
Keyboard aplenty
Stay fixed on the screen
Keep out of the streets

It’s another death
The numbers rise
It’s far flung from here
Let’s play the blame game
Tomorrow we’ll forget
Day afterwards we’ll reset the cycle


(c) Nwachukwu Egbunike

Nwachukwu Egbunike
Nwachukwu Egbunike
Nwachukwu Egbunike is a blogger, book publisher and author of a book of socio-political essays, “Dyed Thoughts: A Conversation In and From My Country”. He lives in Ibadan, Nigeria.

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