Poetry

Shakara Salvation: Poems by Fon Tuma

SHAKARA SALVATION

A toothless, twisted old woman walked, hopping on one foot
muttering darkly, the lines of some scripture spiritual
repeating the psalmist poet over and over,
As a white iguana with a man’s square-jawed face stood
blocking her path, the giant unworldly reptile
gently swishing its scaly tail lazily back and forth,
flicking its twin-tongue.

Wormwood was eating up the sea and Cancer fed on fishes,
Tra-la-la some pretty thing sang out to the sunset.

Nigerian neighbours pounding yam after dusk brings on
the night. Uninformed of the iron-clad superstition
to beware hard work at night lest the bright moon come
to claim and take you away, imprison you in that silver orb’s
maiden-ness like the head-tied woman who can still be
seen in there splitting firewood forever.

Sanskrit volumes were found in the belly of Jonah’s whale,
Noah’s Ark rests tilted, atop the Pontiff’s house while
Anjuna stands before blooded men, preaching with illustrations
from the Gita.

To increase one’s dignitas and slaughter lawyers in the Forum-
square.
Willow was the wind in the woods telling trees
of levitating monkeys in the lotus pose.
Wicked whiskey was poured into the roaring fire of logs
sacrifice to the bargaining Lord, sly and hooded at the
Crossroads.

Safari Savanna brown with stubborn grass,
stretching far shimmering mirages in the high noon
where a doomed giraffe kicks fearfully wild, mad
at the gnawing Hyenas, mocking with tight laughs
while bringing slow death to the towering gentile Camel,
the spotted giant of the brown wilderness.

He journeyed for years because he heard there was
a beautiful woman in this village. He came for her and left
embittered, and was heard to scream in royal wrath as he left;
“I was brought news of a befitting beauty in this township
I endured the perils of three years in hard travel through the Back-lands
to come ask her hand. Alas I unveiled her just to greet a bag of skeletons!”
exiting in a flurry of flamboyant dress-robes.

An angel wrestled with a man through the broken night, struck
his hip and finally surrendered blessing to the mortal racing back
to Yahweh’s hold before Aurora opened her heavy gates, ushering
lazy Dawn from her halls. A piteous lot was Aurora’s: The sea-queen
who was ensnared by the enchanting strength of man’s mighty phallus,
who pled for ravage eternal.  Aha! But The Sisters Fate too have to laugh.

Cassandra, Cassandra bathe that blade purple.

Young gentlemen stood around sharing their bed-time stories:
“There was this girl from the lovely women of Coorg, I’ll call
her Lucky Lakshmi. Anyway, she swished that waist alive and
all manner of tingles stood attentive. We circled the other and
danced the dance; we conjured Disappearing Acts together.
Within the hold of invisibility we played at ‘This is me.’” to
guffaws all around.

The out-of-reach town rested at peace, evening fires burning low,
when weapon code – Dr Manhattan – was inevitably unleashed.

Louis says it simplest “You are responsible, when something happens around
you, you have to have a say” with Fela playing jazzily in the background:
“All ting na Shakara”, he cries. I passive-listen to this Astute American’s words,
while making imagination of what dark madness visited the nights at
Uni-Ibadan when Sir Kuti’s voice had shred through the night singing that same
song, and Shakara happened all around!

*Also used to refer to a state of anarchy, Shakara literally means scattered.
==============

POET’S PLIGHT

Your tremendous scars peel away,
next body is whole and pure.
Absinthe minds sway poetic psalms,
Belgian Hugo’s shank-like, slow
Rumble; his ‘vertical smiles’.
The first breath was light
that first speared the night.
Next body to go with prude
And pride – knock down those hurtful laws.
Your tremendous scars peel away,
next table is laden with shrimp.
That maiden is bursting with drips,
and arouse themselves no more.
Death-trap becomes those heroes
that prowl the earth so mourns.
And momentous FACT bars bridges
that summon the thirstiest dreaming.
The tempest skies flee away;
With intolerance thus impaled.
==============

SURMISE

pearls of murky silver,
fruits of animal labour
in the company of pigs
saved and guarded, for
the stream does not always flow.
an Attila at the gates
close, but never admitted
tried and tested,
then tried again.
“this is not your home,
begone.”
juice of yestereve
unaided by the genie
expressed a novice’s love
without hypocritic guile.
Alas! this morning is here
without ceremony
celebrant in its monotony
paving with stones, the road
upon which ten thousand shall march.
the heavy gourd prepared,
calabashes void of seeds,
seeds which sowed
might have bloomed,
yielded sexually mature children.
in these gallons sit the fuel
that Praise the Chase
always blessing
the Chase of Praise
albeit substance-less
for it is only human speech.

==============

YOU MIGHTY YOU

You,
beautiful womb of man
singular seed of speed
first in a million cells
– that raced –
first come, first born,
first breath.
No 1 in contention with
your peers that passed.

You,
powerful you
constructed unique from
muscle to hair tissue; from
head to tail made a power-
station, electrical and even
nuclear – as in exploded in
anger, went nuclear. Electrons
and emotions, signals sent
and retracted.

You,
magestic you. Composed
Alpha
Amazonian
Bestial
Earth-loved
Sharp-teethed
Cannibal.

You,
above the weeds of death
the slave-ship stops her song

You,
anchored to the armada of love
splayed before the chopping board
and nothing was

You,
the blade came roaring down
Immaculate You was flower
for from the pool beneath,
a single white Rose stood trembling.
==============

In the spirit of Black Language: Praise for Toni Morrison

Then we could go back to Solomon’s Songs
where the pen held no ink; the point was ball-less;
and there was no ignite to the gas. There where
“I love you is back”.
Shun me not Oh daughters of Jerusalem
Look not upon me, because I am black
For the sun hath looked upon me.
My mother’s children were angry with me,
they made me keeper of the vineyards.
We were with T. Morrisson to avenge
-the beautiful Macon Deads.
And “I love you is back”.
Where the silent scream goes unvarnished
with hate, the Duala river-folk arrive in Ngondo dress;
black loincloths trailing the wet sands.
Then we could go back to Solomon’s Songs
And the glass held no milk. Dusk –
the house was light-less; the caraboat no paint.
And “I told you so is back”, “No I bi tell you?”
To have known then what Shalimar had assimilated.
That “if you surrendered to the air, you could
Ride it.

==============

(c) Fon Tuma

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