For The Sake Of The Next Generation

Can you say, that if you must part with

A few drops of truth or honesty
To put bread on your table
Or a cover on your nakedness
Or a roof over your head –
Be it thatched or corrugated –
That you’d rather remain destitute?

Can you forbid saying sir to a cow
For the lust of flesh and pomo* –
Be it in form of Gucci or Versace,
Or a community of metals and plastic
(Better known as a car by humans) –
That you’d rather remain destitute?

For you see, my friend
Both poverty and property
Are stamped with an expiry date;
And virtues lost in the pursuit
Of the passing pleasures of loot
Are never, in this life, regained.

* * *
Pomo is a hide eaten as food in Nigeria.

The Born-again Tyrant

They put the words in my mouth,
And, with their invisible golden goads,
Bid me spit them out, passing them off
As mine, for all to swallow.

They dressed me in borrowed robes
From my bald head to my age-worn toes,
And declare me a repentant Democrat;
But it’s all my eyes – it’s all but paint.

The Hand-out Spirit

Lecturers made you feel
That without their hand-out
You wouldn’t even have a pass;
So you rushed to buy yourself one,
And quickly wrote down your name
And, just to be safe, matric number too.

Then the night came,
And the morning too;
Now you’re a graduate
And you’re made to believe
That unless you’re employed
By the government, you’re nothing.

Then the night came,
And the morning too;
Your uncle got you inside
A government office as a clerk,
And they said to you: be wise, man;
One plus one must be eleven if you’d be rich.

Then the night came,
And the morning too;
You landed in the church,
So that the seen and unseen
May be in harmony for your success;
But pastor quotes the scripture off-hand.

Chains For Change

We yearned and yawned for change;
And the heavens heard.
But somewhere along the way,
The Prince of Persia intervened,
And exchanged the change for chains:

We carried it, unwrapped, delicately,
Till it became too cumbersome
For a Serendipitous bestowal;
So we removed the metal foil
And then we saw the mischief.

A Baby’s First Gleet

Daddy, daddy, daddy!
I think the under of my tongue is leaking!
You need to call the doctor!

Baby, baby, baby?
Don’t be silly, you’re only salivating.
There’s nothing to worry about.

But mummy isn’t cooking daddy,
So why would I be salivating?
It jetted out in a stream as I yawned!

Do you mean to say my cooking is bad,
Don’t you devour my food voraciously,
Whenever mummy isn’t around?

That’s only when I’m starving,
And mummy is not around, daddy –
And it’s mostly noodles and egg.

Lord have mercy! What an ingrate!
Anyways, you were only gleeting,
You may proceed with your home work.

The Whole Earth Is Composed Of Water

The whole earth is composed of water,
Declared the fish with a near-scientific
Exactitude, as it swam to and fro in the river.

But the fisherman would have him learn
The hard way, the result of his stark ignorance,
By inviting him to have a taste of dry land.

So the fisherman placed him in a bowl,
Filled to the brim with water and said,
Now my friend, you are in a bowl of water:

Then the fish laughed and laughed and laughed,
Didn’t I tell you the earth is made of water?
Even your own bowl bears witness of the fact!

Then the fisherman threw him to the ground,
Sprinkling water every now and then to keep
The errant fish alive to enable the former gloat.

Now your back is to the ground, does it feel like water?
The fish replied, even my riverbed is made of sand,
When will you tire of your foolishness, teacher?

The fisherman lit a bonfire and dropped the fish,
The latter moaned softly, now you may retire,
Your foolishness has brought you to hell-fire.

He Is A Pious Man

He is not given to purloining,
He only adds zeros here and there,
Now and then, to round the figures
And also fill his belly to the brim,
For he is a pious man.

If you chance upon him in the mart
Be assured your goods are safe,
For he pays for whatever he picks –
But as his Baban riga sways,
It may hook a smoked fish,
For he is a pious man.

He is the symbol of fidelity –
He frowns at promiscuity;
But every night he prowls the brothel –
Come on, it’s not what you think!
He only inhales the air to relish
The pungent smell of adultery,
For he is a pious man.