MIXED HISTORY | Bakre Fadil Adedamola
We lived happily in our world
Till the deified invaded our land
Turning daughters against mothers
Sons against fathers
We have traded in local goods
Till black gold became our modern good
Turning our waters into graveyard for fishes
And sorrow, our only tale
We were happy till they came
With violence and the grace
Guns and the scriptures
Conquering our innocence
We have become strangers in our world
Created with sweat and blood
We have accepted foreign ideologies
And given up our mythology
Grief has been the only thing we serve
Via leaders steering a nation off course
Celebrating mediocracy, enjoying lunacy
And condemning hard work
They have obliterated our memory
Turning us to a people with no history
But plenty misery
In a world we used to live happily
SONG OF FREEDOM | Ajah Henry Ekene
We wrote this song when our brains
were white with the purity of time
and free from the slavery of this place.
Me and Uju.
Uju, then, was an orange, ripe,
freely falling in sand and rain
In rain she flowed like water, frozen
only by a sound;
the sound of thunder,
the voice of good rain,
a reverent pause.
Sound was air to us.
We breathed it in the morning and
sniffed its lullaby at night.
Mother told stories the wind
could not tell in sounds,
of how we came to be,
in riddled wisdom which
gave us wings, and made us
The rain too washed us dry
of the things that do not bend
Sound was life to us.
The humming of Mama
in the kitchen, nightingale-y.
The whistling of Papa in the ban.
And the rhythm of drums,
and flutes, and guns
dum dum dum
following the masquerade.
Everything around us spoke
in sound, so we knew our destinies
were written in sounds.
Dum dum dum
The gun went off
the masquerade molesting the earth
with his legs
raising memories into the air
It was then we wrote this song,
and knew it’d always be accompanied
by the sound
of a gun.
When we moved to Borno
we swallowed this song.
The sounds here,
are stripped of innocence.
But we knew we’d sing this song
It was the day we sang this song,
immixed with Kibaku,
in school, at Chibok,
that you came.
A gun sounded, then
guns sounded, and we
were on our way to Sambisa,
never to sing this song again.
Ajah Henry Ekene, a final year medical student of the University of Benin, Nigeria, is a lover of God and words. He was the second prize winner of Nigerian Students Poetry Prize (NSPP) 2017. His poem was longlisted for the maiden edition of Okiki Prize for Literature. Some of his works have appeared on Brittle Paper, Kalahari Review and AfricanWriters.com. Henry allows his life to be bothered by Christian Apologetics and a girl that is difficult to love.
BEACH CHRONICLES | Bona Solomon
Everything has Changed
A bold reason to smile…
I could walk a thousand miles,
I wish to dream a million times:
Just to feel what I felt those nights
Those nights of extreme chills…
Cheeks overstretched from smiling without regrets,
Voice hoarse from internal screams of satisfaction,
Laughing with the hope of being heard by the ocean…
Counting stars with all admiration
A complete star I hope I become
Always beautiful to the one who named me
Forever thankful for the awesome thoughts and adoration…
The feeling of being loved…
No level of heat can amount to the warm embrace:
So tight, received with gladness and attachment
Unspoken promises become clear in my head: I smile again.
Experiencing the best feelings ever…
Never letting go of what is real
Never doubting what is real
Savoring each moment deeply so as not to forget.
Kissing becomes a love potion…
A potion so effective, the magic kicks in immediately
The war of tongues fought with pride:
There’s no death when it becomes our addiction.
An addiction carefully wired, but so electrocuting…
The waves are not the only lapping sounds you can hear:
But the silence of feather-kisses and light touches…
Heated, gentle, passionate, but firm caressing of the lips.
Two young hearts secured like the depth of the great seas…
So deep, so wide: exploration is the only solution
The direction of the wind is all that matters
With you in front of me, I think I’m right…
I found solace on the sticky sand…
With the sand beneath my feet
Under the dark blue skies,
Twilight assures me like my best friend-
The arms around me will forever protect me:
I know this, ‘cause I can feel it when I taste the French on your lips.
Memories that will linger for life…
I’m doing that smiling thing again –
When I zone off, looking like an idiot
Now I have a good reason to smile…
I wish to dream a million times,
Just to feel what I felt those nights.
Bona Solomon studies Guidance and Counseling at the University of Ibadan. Her poems were featured in the UI anthology book 1. She loves the concept of life, which she believes deals with freedom and self-comportment. She derives solace from wielding the pen. Bona’s poem “Beach Chronicles” clinched the third prize of the 2017 edition of the Nigerian Students Poetry Prize.