Category Archives: poetry

PIERCING WORDS: ‘Poet of the day’ – Niyi Osundare

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PIERCING WORDS: ‘Poet of the day’ – Niyi Osundare

Niyi Osundare is a Professor of English Literature in the University of New Orleans, USA, and a prolific and outspoken poet and teacher from the South West part of Nigeria. He is also a dramatist and vast literary critic whose works touches mostly on deep political issues; a very clear evidence of ‘artistic activism’. He has written poems, and has several books in print, which includes; Moonsongs (1988), Village Voices (1984), State Visit (2002, Play), Not My Business (2005), Random Blues (2011), etc.

He is a  holder of numerous outstanding awards, of which two of them are the Folon/Nichols award for ‘Excellence in literary creativity’, the Nigerian National Merit Awards (NNMA) for ‘Academic excellence’.

He once made a captivating statement which is able to awaken the conscious conscience of any Nigerian writer; spurring them into writing words that can mend the broken bridges of the failing Nigerian leadership style:

           “You cannot keep quiet about the situation in the kind of countries we find ourselves in, in Africa. When you wake up and there is no running water, when you have a massive power outage for days and nights, no food on the table, no hospital for the sick, no peace of mind; when the image of the ruler you see everywhere is that of a dictator with a gun in his hand; and, on the international level, when you live in a world in which your continent is consigned to the margin, a world in which the colour of your skin is a constant disadvantage, everywhere you go – then there is no other way than to write about this, in an attempt to change the situation for the better.”

Enjoy reading one my favorite of his collection of poems.

My Lord

Please tell me where to keep your bribe?

Do I drop it in your venerable chambers

Or carry the heavy booty to your immaculate mansion

 

Shall I bury it in the capacious water tank

In your well laundered backyard

Or will it breathe better in the septic tank

Since money can deodorize the smelliest crime

 

Shall I haul it up the attic

Between the ceiling and your lofty roof

Or shall I conjure the walls to open up

And swallow this sudden bounty from your honest labour

 

Shall I give a billion to each of your paramours

The black, the light, the Fanta-yellow

They will surely know how to keep the loot

In places too remote for the sniffing dog

Or shall I use the particulars

Of your anonymous maidservants and manservants

With their names on overflowing bank accounts

While they famish like ownerless dogs

 

Shall I haul it all to your village

In the valley behind seven mountains

Where potholes swallow up the hugest jeep

And Penury leaves a scar on every house

 

My Lord

It will take the fastest machine

Many, many days to count this booty; and lucky bank bosses

May help themselves to a fraction of the loot

 

My Lord

Tell me where to keep your bribe?

 

My Lord

Tell me where to keep your bribe?

 

The “last hope of the common man”

Has become the last bastion of the criminally rich

A terrible plague bestrides the land

Besieged by rapacious judges and venal lawyers

 

Behind the antiquated wig

And the slavish glove

The penguin gown and the obfuscating jargon

Is a rot and riot whose stench is choking the land

 

Behind the rituals and roted rigmaroles

Old antics connive with new tricks

Behind the prim-and-proper costumes of masquerades

Corruption stands, naked, in its insolent impunity

 

For sale to the highest bidder

Interlocutory and perpetual injunctions

Opulent criminals shop for pliant judges

Protect the criminal, enshrine the crime

 

And Election Petition Tribunals

Ah, bless those goldmines and bottomless booties!

Scoundrel vote-riggers romp to electoral victory

All hail our buyable Bench and conniving Bar

 

A million dollars in Their Lordship’s bedroom

A million euros in the parlor closet

Countless naira beneath the kitchen sink

Our courts are fast running out of Ghana-must-go’s*

 

The “Temple of Justice”

Is broken in every brick

The roof is roundly perforated

By termites of graft

 

My Lord

Tell me where to keep your bribe?

 

Judges doze in the courtroom

Having spent all night, counting money and various “gifts”

And the Chief Justice looks on with tired eyes

As Corruption usurps his gavel.

 

Crime pays in this country

Corruption has its handsome rewards

Just one judgement sold to the richest bidder

Will catapult Judge & Lawyer to the Billionaires’ Club

 

The Law, they say, is an ass

Sometimes fast, sometimes slow

But the Law in Nigeria is a vulture

Fat on the cash-and-carry carrion of murdered Conscience

Won gb’ebi f’alare

     Won gb’are f’elebi**

They kill our trust in the common good

These Monsters of Mammon in their garish gowns

 

Unhappy the land

Where jobbers are judges

Where Impunity walks the streets

Like a large, invincible Demon

 

Come Sunday, they troop to the church

Friday, they mouth their mantra in pious mosques

But they pervert Justice all week long

And dig us deeper into the hellish hole.

 

Nigeria is a huge corpse

With milling maggots on its wretched hulk

They prey every day, they prey every night

For the endless decomposition of our common soul

My Most Honourable Lord

Just tell me where to keep your bribe.

 

 

*Large, extremely tough bags used for carrying heavy cash in Nigeria

** They declare the innocent guilty

      They pronounce the guilty innocent

 
(c) Niyi Osundare
Photo credit: Sahara Reporters
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One Mic, Two Friends, and an Eagle

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One Mic, Two Friends, and an Eagle

1.
Standing before that mic,
their voices echoed ancient nuggets,
where generations find home, and
snuggle on the wings of dragonflies
in an archive of traditions and folklore;
a tale of hopefulness by sunlight.

2.
On the window pane
are two lives smeared with pain
hoping to find what is beyond hope
capturing ironies on five by sevens
and calligraphing metaphors in verses
telling of an eagle’s delayed flight
in charcoal and spice.

 

(c) Neofloetry

Photo credit: 2whyt
2/05/2017

THIS IS NO LUNATIC

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THIS IS NO LUNATIC (For Basiru Sunday Amuneni)

There is indeed a lunatic in every town…
.
.
.
Like Sunday, he comes forth; soothing.
He is like one ready to leap without a frown,
raising men with fiery words; chanting
conjuring spirits to awaken a new horizon.

This one is no lunatic warped with lunacy,
for he BAShes men with inherent lunacy.
His tweaks the heartbroken; spinning
laughter in their hearts with words.

His gaze upon tired italics, straightens weary sentences,
sentencing this generation to wrapping gifts
of one voice, in togetherness; filling surroundings
with correctional values.

He never goes down with the sunset;
he shines still, from the source of true light;
birthing dreams, living free
dangling the the gong of time, whispering
strong words to break the chains
of lunatics in every town.

 

©Neofloetry

LOVE IS FOR THEY WHO DARE TO LOVE

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LOVE IS FOR THEY WHO DARE TO LOVE

The three blades of my fan
reminds me of you…
constantly, fanning my embers of passion,
then
sending me to sleep
sending me to sleep
sending me to s
l
i
p
then, I slipped into
seeing your form in my dream; a picture
framing your name at my every unchecKed snore.

In My
D
r
e
a
m,

and in the flurry of mY own excitement,
i pick letters of your name like lavenders
growing happily in my garden.
Like a child, Ignoring love enders,
like a brown skinned lover,
hopping out of danger.

Love is for they who (c)are to dare
and for they who dare to surprise love,
but I know in all, love endures;
fanning off chaff of fear,
gradually waking me up
from my sleep…

 

©Neofloetry

14/02/17

SHE SAYS PERIOD!

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She says a thousand words,
Then ends it with periods…
Over and over her ramblings
ripple like several pebbles thrown in a lake PERIOD

She says periods are tips of pins
Pointing, piercing blank sheets,
and picking out errors in a conversation
when her words stay unspoken.

Periods are RED Period
Periods a like screaming PMS

She says nothing you hear
Your imagination is stilled for peace sake
For when a frown clothes her face
her scaling anger says nothing.

Periods are softly angry 😠
Periods are dual personality

When she says PERIOD PERIOD PERIOD
Receive what she says
For peace to reign PERIOD

 

© Neofloetry
08/03/17
12:18pm

NEW BEGINNING (For Amu Nnadi)

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it is dawn, and my awakened thoughts race,
driving me through a river’s journey.
i listened to the rivers speak of new birth,
and i am wide-eyed to celebrate
before the seas and under the clear skies,
as my happy thoughts stand naked watching the waves
flowing, and cascading like waterfalls of rushing emotions.

i surrendered my rainstorm of tears,
singing to this birthsong, like a mad note
burning within me; inextinguishable.
my feet found the theme of life, of beauty, of love, and dancing,
gathering dust on the soil of this grand land,
this revelation unscathed; an unfailing declaration
of a new beginning.

like the blossoming of flower,
and the succulence of tasty grapes; i see a sweet soul
like magic, enchanted; lightening all that is dark,
and all that has become religion;
like a poem simply written without questions of departure
or remembrances, or cackles of rambling.

when gods are possessed
love begins singing a tune to build a bridge,
connecting loves’ purity and hates’ ambiguity
you are never alone, like the clustering of sequins; glistening
your words are like a totem of new beginning
announcing your birth at the riverside of applause
somewhere in the forest of life
on march twenty eight.

 

© Neofloetry
(Scribbled thoughts from a collection of poems a river’s journey and a field of echoes by amu nnadi)

LOVE LIKE STARDUST

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I met him on a rather fluffy Sunday
His well-chiseled face lit like a thousand sun-rays
It burned softly, i couldn’t steady my gaze
My pupils went in a frenzy, am i in a daze?
His head moved this way and that
Just to catch my lips for a chat
But simplicity won’t let this time stand still
As the angry clouds belched and began to spill
We were drenched in solitude for stretched minutes
Not even silence could break it’s unplanned visit
My new found rambunctious wingless alpha male
Held me in his gaze till the day began to go pale
Then i took a whiff of the scented air around him
Debonair i couldn’t resist, his bass voice sang me a hymn
I couldn’t steady my gaze still
His eyes, spellbinding, looks that could kill
His hands moved this way and that
beneath the depth of my left breast, i felt a dart
It unlocked the gate where i hid my heaven
My true hiding place, my safe haven
Knock knock, i heard a swift soft burst
Love’s stardust sprinkled on me like I’m cursed
Bound by it’s supple chains for all eternity
His deep dipped brown eyes held me closer eternally
Silence finally gave in to the pressure of utterance
Words flew this way and that in assurance
He cracked a beautiful joke
His words enameled in love strokes
The heavens beckoned with claps of thunder
I looked up, smiled, my heart grew softer
I had never before witnessed this scene
But holding onto this sincere lode star won’t be a sin
So, i struck a never-before deal with my heart
To always cherish this love like beautifying stardust

THOUGHTS OF A POETESS (…of when dreams become reality)
(c) Neofloetry, 2015.

TECHNOLUSION

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Technology is an ILL-(yo)U-(tion) SHUN
Shut down your devices and look up, you’ll miss a good poSITion

We have lost eye contact with the ones we love
No more holding hands like hand-in-glove

Parents don’t know when their babies cry
Their family compassion has gone cold and dry

These very smart devices are so robotic
We do not know when an event is really fantastic

Social media is now our best friend
Our entire lives live in these communities; a trend

We no longer trust using the manual
We go on existing as well as nonfunctional

True relationship statuses have gone sour
Technology has absolutely come here to devour

What more can be said
After all you may have read

Think about the consequences
Then make the right choices

Technology is an ILL you will have to shun
It will never tell you when you have missed a good position

For every time you literally look down
Someone you love looks at you with a frown

THOUGHTS OF A POETESS (Smart devices, a probably dumb humanity)
Neofloetry, 2015.

THIS CHRIST MASS

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That
Season of mass is here again
When everyone looks out for a little or extra gain
A mixture of truth and righteousness, bitterness and pain
A period when a certain group drags their virtue or vice to one lane
A road so narrow with all the fine things in wrong packages they do not strive to obtain
A road so wide they cannot discern the error on that sugar-coated candy cane
They bubble and shuffle seeking for whom to dive deep into their pocket to extort and drain
Raking out all the naira, pounds and dollar notes in hundreds and thousands like a treasure box pulled out by a crane
Loading every stash of it in their own bank accounts; a maximum grain
Seeds they can’t sow into the lives of others, but for their fleshy selfish selflessness; a stain
A massive drinking mass for the eve of Christmas; their name tag says “Christian”
Wallowing in the vices they love the most
A mask covering the virtue they hate to host
Some hypo-Christians want to propose a toast
To their fake living that seem like a ghost
Floating in their heads are thoughts marinated with beautiful blurry pictures; all slain
None looking like the one on the cross they claim to worship only in the open
In their secret place their unseating bright light become dim light; a twenty watts halogen
Spreading its weak incandescence halfway into the deep darkness; a hollow in
Capturing a mass of rock upon which Christ’s cross was dug in
Visualizing the tomb where their savior once laid; not aborting
Not giving up on their sins wrapped around his body; he paid, they had forgotten
That He is the true reason for this season where His mass fills that empty space they grope in
Christians so dirty even hypo cannot take out their tough stain
I repeat, Christians so dirty even hypo cannot take out their tough stain
They celebrate him,
Blaspheme in him
Jingle bells when they sing a hymn
Ride on sleighs of gluttony for him
Get drunk to the brim
Then their lives reel past them like a film
See, how can you celebrate someone without inviting the celebrant to the team?
How can you claim to know him when he is not your number one dream?
Too many times we spend our lives on the wrong thing
A holy façade spreading casually in our habits we do not want to trim
Nothing profiting us in this season we seize in our thoughts deceiving
So, before you claim to have a good time while you are still living
Think again if the one you celebrate has won your heart enough to celebrate Him
Better still, while you go wild this Christmas, allow his overwhelming love fire-crack you to him
Better yet, see to it that the mass of Christ’s love fills your heart, so you’ll be merrier, knowing you’ve got Him