The land comes to life
when the sun goes to sleep.
The orange glow in the sky at dusk
lightens up sable faces
worn but pregnant with anticipation.
Full moons are the perfect setting
to gather the children under the tree,
to dig up heroes, villains, and tricksters
of the good old days
when man was one with nature
and lion and hare lusted
after the daughter of the chief.
The next generation must know
about the woman who failed to control
her passion and was swallowed
by the choleric mud for laughing
at the spirits of the ancestors.
Shadows of darkness and hooting owls
are desired for painting reflections of the past
on the canvases of young minds.
Twilight zones are for moulding
courageous men and virtuous women.
The fate of dissidents and unfaithful spouses
is foretold in the dark.
Standing on the Edge
Modern day rites of passage
are the most depressing.
Black gowns stuffed with
heavy bodies and lean figures alike,
black faces of varying hues
shining behind dark veils
in the intense October heat.
Daughters of the brother of
my father’s sister’s husband
waving shoddy flowers they plucked
from heavy branches of jacaranda
confident that my ticket
to the Promised Land
will one day ensure them tuition
and decent health insurance.
I am standing on the edge for all I know,
I may triumphantly soar across
this valley of dry bones
and land on the other side on both feet
donning an opulent business suit
or I may as well plunge
into the bottomless ditch
crushing my head against the skulls
of fellow victims of the dream.
The Filth We Dump
She sits on the foul mound, full with child,
adjusting the plastic bag around her head
as the cold drizzle harshly sweeps
across the freezing atmosphere,
her strained voice humming incomprehensible tunes
that rock in a world of her own.
Her bizarre laughter and hand clapping
Scare off the decent ramblers
who give her a wide berth for caution.
A thinking man thought her the object
of his perverted lust,
planting the forbidden fruit in her imbecile womb,
feeding on the filth we dump.
The devil must be a walking man.
I adjust my eyeglasses
as I whistle across the deserted street
pretending I don’t see her.
Show Me Africa
Ask me where Africa is
and I will show you a land
vast and rich in nature,
endowed with the essentials of life;
mighty rivers and precious stones,
sprouting in technology and infrastructure,
a hub of knowledge and intellectual activity.
Tell me to show you Africans
and I will direct your curious eyes
to television, glossy magazines, and E-Journals;
Didier Drogba, Lupita Nyong’o, and Wole Soyinka
are children of the motherland.
Elon Musk, light as he is, is our own.
Our land is a rainbow community.
Ask the question I dread the most,
“What is African?”
and my mortified face has no courage
to meet your sincere curiosity.
We are a consequence of a vast history:
we are victims of invasions and discoveries,
intermarriages and miscegenation,
cultural primitivism and mass globalisation.
Our land is a melting pot
of cultures and multiple shades of skin
unknowingly reduced to the simplicity of geography.
I used to light fires.
Fetching firewood at the break of dawn
Mixing spices, herbs, and additives
Knowing the right amount of garlic
to pound together with the salt.
Chopping onions into fine particles
to blend with the stew
for an appetizing aroma,
maintaining the sweet taste of home.
Now I receive memos every morning.
Marked trays demand my attention;
IN. OUT. PENDING.
Either descending the stairs in high heels
or taking the lift impatiently
eyes glued to the hands on my wrist;
I should never waste a second
I should not miss an appointment.
I am the product of globalization
and minority rights.
Image: Janet 59 via Flickr