Why I End up in the Mouth of Gun
I end up in the mouth of gun
because my country says I have grown
lips outside its border.
The police say my skin is tattooed
with sins and my chain is a burden of proof.
On this side of the city,
I am the lamb
I am the sacrifice.
I have walked for decades
with my fear tucked underneath my soles
while the sun licks the rest of me.
The gun hounds me here every time
because my country says I am too young
to be a lake of happiness
and I must drink from grief.
I try to follow this geography
that leads up to the edge of Niger
for new dream, new salvation,
but to the north and south of my country
there is also a long cartography of sorrow.
Attention at the City’s Gate – 20/10/20
There is no honor for the dead here,
but blood-stained flags and more
bodies to bless the company of the ghosts.
Here is a city and a metal wilderness
a sky, red rain, and
an underworld of gods with no glory.
I live in a country with no honor
to its name. My tongue
is filled with dead cells, too heavy
to call my land a home.
What do we call this land?
A country or a graveyard ?
E Be Things
For street, boys no dey smile
even the breeze wey dey blow
hot so tey the blood for my body
dey boil. Na so so commotion
everywhere, and peace dey for higher
purchase for those who fit buy.
To waka for area na dream wey get cost.
E be things because
the wereys in disguise fit rope you and
say your body no clean, but nobody
holy pass. E be things because you
fit go missing in this country
wey you call home and na houseflies
go write your obituary.
E be things because rain wey dey fall here dey
tear my skin.
Everybody don become eagle wey carry
panic button inside skull, since
the siren of hope don turn that of horror.
Na by miracle me too never get lost.
Cover photograph by the photographer Nengi Nelson