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Scarlet: Poetry by Valentine Okolo


Come with me
into a city of red lights
where men kiss the succulent lips of Lethe
where girls with pointy breasts
float from the heavens, head down
with cannabis crafted wings;
the effluvium from their skins, ablaze
like the swansong of dwarf stars.
This is where the drowning
are left to drown
and the lost
to the sirens of sound.

Come with me
to this backroom of grey
behind a fortress of blood and steel,
where girls who would be mothers,
are carted away, codeine eyed,
to quest the Holy Grail on alien soil
by women who should be mothers to them.
Where their masters fill their bellies with cotton
and seal their lips with sellotape,
and turning on the music,
beckon on them to dance
on shattered glass.

This is where murder is born,
in a room sheltering six,
as they await processing
from a foreign consulate,
when the laughter is extinguished
from her teenage eye,
and the resulting silence
are names armed with blades.



Bind a strong man and take his yams
let him feed on the leaves of cocoyams.

Ogbojiri, the naked knife, knows no enmity in the home of grass.

Onye-kike, fragile wings fly willingly into waiting pots,
seduced by the siren songs of open fires.

Udene, the vulture drops from the sky once it spies a cadaver on the wayside.

Onye-kike, the day of reckoning is like a gun with restless bullets,
see where it points and know who pulls the trigger.

Amulets of power deceive those who wield them.
If you doubt, then ask the elephant.


*He who is strongest.
Poems © Valentine Okolo
Image: remixed

Valentine Okolo
Valentine Okolo
I am a poet, a film maker, and a social activist and my poetry has been featured in the literary magazines Apogee Journal, Origins Journal and other places.

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