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Icicles: Poems by Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku



in the deep night
round about my eyes
from far, far in the ears of my mind
echoes of a million crickets – chirruping
–  a million crickets?
–  a whirring questionnaire of dogs

for formless spectres
faking the activity of the quick.

but to the query of the dogs,
yes tell them if not me

about the Wall Street of the night
about the ecstasies you steal from their centres

what barricades have you built against the sleeping child
that make him snore like an old man?

tell the dogs about the suddenness
of how you sneak by and by and buy

an inheritance bequeathed sans kobo
how you hurry in to snack a strangled day-old chick
garnished with palm oil, cowry and village chalk

and pick up the souls of men in pennies
left where three roads siamese

should you always be lured up by this lullaby
of drums beaten by paltry fingers to incantations

hurled at the moon with arms outstretched,

sought by lasers set at the deep horizon
above the raised and flaming calabash?
telling them to steal from the narrow centres

but you must to answer the dogs if not me:

– answer the dogs

will you often stealth with the night?
will you float above like the wind?
on streets that are silent and bereft?


Brown Snow…

Quiet creeper vide crevice and crack
Settler on my brow things you cannot see
Invisible to the bareness of my eyes
Even though you are visible on my white caftan
Freshly starched and ironed,
And clinging to the eagerness of my troupe
Like a child, crying after a mother leaving
Like a stowaway, you ride
Right through rust and shine
On the hot dusty bumpy road
And you do not hide…

Your kingdom topples our kingdoms,
Your palace forces itself in our homes
You dine you wine holding court in our halls,
You throw a feast without celebration
Forcing us to scuttle to the shade
With neither blizzard nor hurricane in your tow
And even though you are not stinking
We reach our hands to our noses
When you hurry by…
Like a masquerade without a shape

You have been there all along –
Exercising your birthright with the worms
Held fast by the tenure of the trees
Forming a cluster by the roadside,
Mixing with the coarsenesses of the sand
Finding your way by us
As we furlough through the thoroughfares
Of your comminlings with the rain –

You have not a cold given me
But you take the crispness from my sole
You have not my roof blown off
But you devise a halo for my head
You have not our trees whitened
But your brown covers my blanket –
No skidding cars here,
No whitened trees here,
No mufflers, no muffins, no scarves…
Save the colour for the earth
Resting on the road
Feeding on the trees…
Climbing atop our rooftops


Poems (c) Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku

Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku
Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku
Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku, author and poet, works at Bob MajiriOghene Communications as editor and publisher.

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