You remember when
we were too beautiful to smile?
savoring the tears for another day?
How we search our breath
In our nose?
You see the prophesy was true;
we will all die
But my lover’s death
took away my spine.
I crawl all night and wonder
about the shadow of a man
buried inside a plank—The day I heard his demise,
I thought it was a prank
Until I see tears from my eyes.
How long have you been cold?
I buried my pain inside my gaze
looking through our memories
I heard your voice inside my speech,
& when the clergy summoned me
My words become flaccid
Like this I know how
much death took from me.
Her silence has words burning inside her
Same as a letter on a wreath,
A girl that laughs to the river to bathe her
Alone without a cohort returned with light
patches of gloom.
Maybe darkness remembers her,
& every tear she sheds begs for rebirth of
& I look at her cries, hopelessly searching for signs of her fear.
Tonight we will ask her again, if truly the red
We saw on her skirt was flowers—Sigh—she pointed to the moon,
& the mucus on her nose bloomed,
& she touched her thigh to play a sibilant song of
Then she stood and raised a finger,
muttering some curse and walked from epoch to
Like a geld without a memory.
She gallops melancholy towards me,
& seethes my soul with her fears,
& my soul runs back to the river to ask the
pebbles what they say to the waterfall:
My sister was Raped.
You’ve to listen to me,
Maybe I didn’t wail much when they
put their knives on my throat,
before breaking a prince into a slave.
Now my body is a fiesta:
There is prayer, there is Demon . . .
No, No prayer send demons to me
Each having a price on my head.
Only if I am somebody else,
If only I am the boy running naked
In my mother’s eyes yesterday —
Yesterday I was young,
Free like the wind
Young as the morning,
Buy today my body is not mine,
Not my mother’s either
All I become is filth like my dead father,
They will kill me for who I’ll become
My Kadara is a game
They hunt me . . ..
*Kadara means Destiny
HOW god ARE YOU?
How are we able to drink up the sea
& lighten up our lantern in daylight to seek God’s face?
The first contact a child will ask about God is
by piercing his eyes into the sky to search for God’s face when he comes home late.
Such a man in Gida alighted from a bus and found darkness in his pocket,
he tore his mouth into cries and shouts
“O God how hast thou forsaken me”
“Hast thou died”
A begger in his scornful smile lay howling on the pavements of a weary
“god has died, his putrefaction is oozing out of decaying bodies in Nigeria.”
Batunde Babafemi is a 25-year-old Nigerian poet who will always come late to the party. He has been published in the Nigerian Observer newspaper, Pangolin Review, Tuck Magazine, Labrythine Passage, and elsewhere.