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He Was the Cobra (For Michael Jackson, 1958-2009)

(For Michael Jackson, 1958-2009)

He was the cobra
That stopped the
Nazi at Auschwitz;
He was the anaconda
That stopped the
Kamikaze at Iwo Jima;
He was the shore
Batteries at Onitsha;
He was the Ogbunigwe
Bombs at Abagana;
He was the unripe
Fruits of Asaba
That lined up a
Country soccer field
And were sledged
One by one by
Wrenching bazookas;
He was the lost
Ghost of Michael
That wandered lonely
In a London cloud
While a disheveled
Father planted a stone
At a hilly farmhouse;

He was the one-eyed
Pirate, an importunate
Wedding crasher of
Rime of the ancient
Mariner, who killed
A clingy albatross
And blessed a thousand
Water snakes;
He was the mockingbird
In the basement, whom
Everyone talked about
But none wished to see
At dinner table;
He was the bright fire
Burning at the window
Of the granite house
On Broken-Gun Hills.

© 2009 Obiwu

This poem is excerpted from the book, The Unspeakable Protocols of the Great Injunction (forthcoming, 2009)

Obiwu Iwuanyanwu
Obiwu Iwuanyanwu
Obiwu studied at universities in Nigeria and at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York. His books include The Unspeakable Protocols of the Great Injunction (2009), Tigress at Full Moon (2009), The World of Barack Obama (ed., 2009), Igbos of Northern Nigeria (1996), and Rituals of the Sun (1992). His essays include Roy Campbell and the Animal Father (2009), The 'R' in Hospitality (2008), South African Hunger and Literary Excess (2007), The Pan-African Brotherhood of Langston Hughes and Nnamdi Azikiwe (2007), and The History of Nigerian Literature, 1772-2006 (2006). His awards include the Charanjit Rangi Leadership Award for Faculty Professional Excellence from the College of Arts & Sciences, Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio (2008), Golden Key International Honor Society (2008), Resolution Recognition from the Greene County Board of Commissioners, Ohio State (2007), 'Applause' Award from Xenia Daily Gazette, Xenia, Ohio (2007), Phi Beta Delta Award for International Scholars (2000), and Fellow of the International School of Theory in the Humanities (1998). Theoretical Principle: Great Literature Rides on the Back of Historical Landmarks.


  1. Rich in literary allusions and fresh metaphors which concretise the satiric tone, but i hunbly feel that the title of the poem needs to be worked on to reflect the popular subject-matter more appropriately. Senator Ihenyen is the author of Colourless Rainbow: Poetry of My Childhood (forthcoming, Coast2Coast).

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