SELF PORTRAIT AS A PRISONER IN WUSE II
daylight carries misfortunes
[in wuse II] with proud beggars
[in black uniforms] marching in my street
[like black ants]
i am a box of sugar
they climb my body like hills
[in turns] and lick off my sweetness
with their tongues
[and the thorns] [in between their legs]
i become a rag
flung aside after
being used by keepers
[of the law] who wear the night
on the wrinkling skins
of tender women
and they tell
i am fortunate
to be drilled
[by the law] and not the nozzles
of their guns.
our bodies may want to forget the name bestowed upon this city, forget
how we roamed about it and how its sun burnt our spotless skins. for
what good home wants to own us? what big hut wants to cover our hurt
and say that we are epitome of things confused and unconnected?
this city has not learnt the art of beautifying uncompleted buildings; it fills
them with withered weeds instead of flowers of many colours. at its entrance
our names might become billboards advertising race. race. here, race is not a noun.
race is a verb telling us to run away and look for our shelter as fast as possible.
race is a synonym of survival & stillness of life. a name for making the moon
stand still. at the heart of the city, our eyes might want to forget what this city looks like.
for what city doesn’t want to see the rainbow appear? what place pours petrol
instead of water? grows firewood and matchsticks? tyres? and curses from the mob
are articles of dead and living punctuations. the people are starving. their words are starving.
this city knows street lamps without lights, and rough drawings. at the exit you may want
the days and nights of this city as a memory turned into a living terracotta.
Poems © Temidayo Jacob
Image by CostaPPPR via Wikimedia (modified)