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Jos O Jos: Poems by Olumide Akinwumi-Oke

Jos O Jos! (1)

Jos, the plains ripple into the loins of the mountains
on our way to Bauchi
we slept in the parks as
we waited for the womb of dawn
to spill its light

we waited in the parks and smiled
in the sharing of a town asleep in its love
but now we fear that the content of our love
is dirty for the content of our hearts

Jos, just what did the politicians say
that rippled through the calm waters?
and broke the chords in the earth
just what galled the needles
that pricked out the bile in the innards?

we don’t know
O Jos, Find me my Jos!


Jos O Jos (2)

We rolled lazily over the matted green
Splayed over the hills, the talking plains
And laughed at the twosome camped
Close to the waterfalls that laughed
its pleasant tinkle in our faces.
A loud shriek and we looked again
‘He tickled her!’

She tickled us
Music rolled from sonorous winds
Eating from the gracious ambience
of our agreed tomorrows
We jiggled to the beats that
Helped our hands down our happy middles.
Panam tweaked  the guitar and we heard Jos.
Jos, lying in the belly of biblical words
Flowing in the main of Arabic injunctions
Yet all smiled like they were edges of the same sword
How could one trouble the other?

But they did!
The edges swirled inwards and met at the head
Tearing like teeth decisions sugar cane
Bodies branded with holes, spurting blood
Like new-fangled springs.
Now they are wrapped in hurried white
And laid to the colour of their creeds
Burning the floor with the redness of their angst
Shrieks long dead in the craziness of eager decimation

Jos O Jos
We spoke about you
When you welcomed our many hands,
Our many bands,
To the beauty of your ready braids
But the embroidery came off…
And instead dotted the cranes with the red grime
Of our shared disgust

We spoke about you
When they pillaged your hands
With the recklessness of their fever,
Aeons ago.
Now they have gathered again
And changed your name to the ardour of their vice

Names like the clattering sound of dropped Chinese cones;
‘Wanging’, ‘Janging’ and ‘Rwanging’ in Pams and Prams.
They were like imported sardines, lying ever so quiet
But this batch has props the skin of snakes, now
They gobble one another in the tin of their files.

Tin City
Now it’s thinning out
To chants they composed
In the cauldron of their partisan closets

O Jos My Jos…
Someone please find my Jos!


© 2010  Olumide Akinwumi-Oke.

Olumide Akinwumi-Oke
Olumide Akinwumi-Oke
Olumide is a great admirer of Wole Soyinka and Niyi Osundare. A graduate of Law from the Ogun State University, Ago-Iwoye, Olumide reads avidly and has a great love affair with television. He writes poetry, drama and prose.

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