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Chaos Incognito: Poems by Kayode Aderinokun

Lagos Slums

Chartless mongrel,
rejoicing within
glades of famished aura,
poised amidst
a yam festival
on delicate stiletto,
perched on rivulets
roaring to nowhere.


Chant of the Rhapsodist

Give me the arrogant tuber
that transfigures in a twinkle,
let maidens pound in sweat and song,
and bossoms heave to grind the paste.

Rid the barns of cornheads today,
let the damsels fashion the magic,
for us to reap the finest lump
of sweet and savoury eko…
It is Jisafe’s feast.

Drums beat…
He takes his tenth wife,
Jisafe, man of valour,
Lord of townships, Pride of homesteads,
Raging elephant, roving solely
conquering the forest,
as foes tremble,
and foes crumble.

Give me rich sediments,
Prime sediments,
Those settlers
at the keg’s basement.
Tailpieces of
fermented with siesta.
Only the best befits
the stalwarts’ fiesta.

Slayer of tigers,
Whose might silences
the roar of lions,
whose face bears tattoos
– a feat not feebly done
by listless hands  –
His exploits with
demons in hundreds
are verses for fables.

Radiance of manhood!
When he bathes in the stream
price of crude soap rises,
and maidens tumble
in the river of elan,
offering their hands,
offering their soap
to him in desire’s hunger
for a smile…
or a word.

Jisafe the great,
So chivalrous
he turns the romance of concubines
into the passion of princes.
So chivalrous
you ponder and wonder
if he hungers for women.
Jisafe, Lord of a harem
filled with nine.

who comes from the lineage
of valiant hunters,
lavishes cowries that stretch your wonder:
Has he a mint
hidden within
his ample

Give me vegetables…
Those green hosts,
dancers in dainty steps
with mashed melon
on canvas of flaming cauldron;
Royal leaves richly anointed
with red palm oil,
like choice offertory
on a deity’s altar.

Vegetable sauces wait nervously…
Hail the royal wedding
with pounded yam
the king of dishes,
Prime imagery
of the charmed rhapsodist…
I chant this Rara
To Jisafe… on a tenth nuptial.


Chaos Incognito

When the maestro swallows the verses,
who consumates the music?

When the deity vomits poison,
who stops volcanoes?

When the eyes of virtue are blinded,
who appeases us with kindness?

When our hapless history bleeds,
who prevents pestilence?

When the ink of nature dries up,
who decorates the hibiscus?

When the felines stray away,
who curtails pesty rodents?

When hunger ravages the stomach,
who remembers incantations?

When the voice of the wind becomes hoarse,
who serenades the valley?

When the sky refuses to weep,
who gladdens the tomatoes?

When the wind Spins in skips,
who springs the Sail-of-Life?

When the chicken roosts with glee,
who sates the hyena’s greed?

When all the sages slump, comatose,
who Scripts our poetry?

When our shrine of taste is shut,
who secretes saliva?

When the teeth of love drops,
who grinds the grain of affection?

When the soldier’s cannons choke us,
who protects the land?

When the muezzin sounds war-cries,
who mediates man and Allah?

When the catechists impale the devout,
who anoints the promise of heaven?

When billows strangle the fire,
who remakes our future?

When heroes hawk our faith,
who conjures dreams for the foetus?


(c) Kayode Aderinokun

Kayode Aderinokun
Kayode Aderinokun
Born in Kano, the cosmopolitan commercial headquarters of Northern Nigeria, Kayode Aderinokun was educated both in Nigeria and the United States. A regular contributor to national newspapers in Nigeria, he is a successful businessman with interest in banking, mining and commerce. And poetry of course! A past chairman of the Association of Nigerian Authors, Lagos Chapter, Kayode's maiden collection of selected poems, Inferno In the Rain, has been described as 'a remarkable achievement.' He lives in Nigeria. Kayode is happily married with children.


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