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

Forsaking monarchy

Embracing democracy


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


FB_IMG_1509945689925Bakre Fadil Adedamola is a 400-level student of Philosophy at the University of Ibadan. His poem “Mixed History’ won the first prize of the 2017 edition of the Nigerian Students Poetry Prize.



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

and mud.

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

to sound.


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

at funerals,

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

as dust.

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,

the guns,

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.

FB_IMG_1509945610332Ajah 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 Henry allows his life to be bothered by Christian Apologetics and a girl that is difficult to love.




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.

FB_IMG_1509945912323Bona 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.


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