After Cheswayo Mphanza


I was born in the cavern of a netted crib

And wrap with a shawl of orders,

My infant fetters were be calm, gentle

And be obedient like Samuel.

I have learnt to bow before sheiks,

Prophets, rulers and their shadows,

My tutor said they are subjects of a godlike


On a rainy day, I have gone fishing in a creek

‘With my brother, when the sea spoke of her

Vulnerability, a harsh lapping against a delicate

Dinghy, I have let the fishes slithered back into

Water, we went home a fruitless that ‘evening.

In a practical class, I have watched a girl bent

To pick to pick a pipette, her breasts poking out

Their sovereignty yielding me to her sexual allure,

I have looked away chanting astagfirullah,

Read psalm 51; a quick initiation into a

Religious purging.

I have added bass to my voice, stared at a cop till

He looked away.

At night, a lady’s warm fingers invade my bear chest,

I harvest with my tongue the paradise planted between

Her thighs.

I have walked naked outside the gate of my country, my

Fist punching the air with

My lips weaving a melody of a struggle effigy,

The song-

The song reminding of how a man only lives

By kicking shadows.




The agreement of metals on your sun-eaten skin

jerked my drinks lobe sending frizzle over my

body to a cold lager

shower because i became my flesh and hid in papers

when a woman naked palm fell into your face for

extracted water and added skin.

I anticipated a scene stage of jabs, or hooks, or

bobs until the truck driver

And the others burst into your laughter and calling

you coward because

Your face quivered in that quick series of lightening

at the spot where your body fell

Sending and collecting dust.

Somebody called her Madam, she was called the boss,

she was called amazon, a boy

Like you said you were lost and new and torn

From home.

At night, I became a man tormenting papers and wrote

of a porter boy 15 0r 16 who broke his neck,

Broke his back and became troll for lifting thirteen

instead of fourteen.




            Enoch Ojotisa

                       -separated by the sea

Here the city is calm in Ibadan,

And the mystery in the hue of this

cyclopean moonlight, an upper grace

Hovering over the downstreet

Celica nudged to my thoughts

Your subtle words of long ago


"My hands are freezing,

And you are the reason."


I was far wide away swallowed

In the opening of a bedding and

The embrace of a strange pillow

While you waited an innocent

On the naked street of a wintry



Atop the telephones were

Exchange of words that struggle

Delivery at the tyranny acts of a

jealous Interface,

Sieving each bits of memory

Into the triumphant hands of our

time difference.


A cock crow and the wall clock

said we are seven breaths, seven

Revolutions and Seven hours



I stood and was puzzled by the

Dishonesty of time, the impatience of

Nature and the inability of science,

That I blew you a kiss that

Was stranded between your

Left shades of dusk and our

First flick of dawn.





if you learn to sing this poem

In my mother's tongue,

You will undoubt the map into

This city is an adventure into vapour,

Giddy behind rails of dead rainbows,

Noon foretells prophecy and the water

burns in its shell.


In Borno,

Ambitious boys detonate reds to freckle


This is how you call a city its name and

see it answer you in flames, how

Paradise went missing the day a child learns

to find the face of God in the corridor of his

Mother's armpit.

How courtesy of booms greeting skins were

ways to see the cold face of God behind

bleeding skulls of school children painting

night with tired snores.


Arson recites gomorrah,

I tell the tale of a city caught between fire

and the smolders;

a city brooding in the shadows of a marching

flame, running into the waiting arms of

bullets, trying to escape death.


Fear crawl into chi like in Dapchi and

Chibok and lam us in the face.

The silhouette of a man peeing in the dark

resembles death threatening with a pointed


We sneaked into a night to certain death,

ugly cadavers staring at us like old enemies

with dirty grudges,

The blood dripping from a man's fingers

telling weighs of his loyalty to a god

thumbing him kudos to a brothel with

72 Virgins.


So long we would be seeing the white

Face of God,

So long we would be seeing his eyes

Whispering to us in silent rhythms,

telling answers to all questions that riddles

our mind as we catch our last glance of a

city rising up in smoke.




After the death of 26 Nigerian migrants who died crossing the sea.


How so could we breathe

When the rain fell on us that

We couldn’t when our skins fell

Into the sea?

Our beings became a serial chant

To the water that was long necessary

Before our mothers as our lungs

Became an opened swallows of liquid



In the cruel heart of the Mediterranean,

A sister echoes unto the lost soul of her sister

To see her own death rippling down a

Furrowed depth with twenty-five cold

Leaking women bodies.


And this was how we were coupled

With our own death,

Our skins denied our soft bones and marched

Our soaked entrails to the popping eyes of

Oyster shores,

Into the house of the mean goddess who

Smiled at us with her blood tainted teeth.






Soluble boy.

To him, the world was only a play, and although he was there,

he was never really there.  Although he wore loose chains,

ripped his jeans at the knees, bleach his lips into the pink

of hibiscus, dread his hair into tiny locks, speaks in strange accent;

the one he was taught to speak, those didn’t really matter to him.

His friends were like a mirage, they were there but he didn’t see them. And the girl,

he knew she was a ghost, but he kissed her, eat her skin like salt, pressed her body into

the crevices of himself, bit the tops of her nipples, of her brown handful

breasts until she screams his name into the expanse of the night, he knew it

that in any moment she could disappear into frosts of smokes; knowing

fully well that he was there, but never really belonged there.




Soluble boy is a boy afraid to love, he knew a boy would burst

when the music ripen in his bowel; his bones being a tinkling

of merry; the carousel of a night stolen kisses and half unfurled

warmth across the street of Chisco. The earth will touch a boy

skin when his body grow into salt and his tongue would become

a butterfly. What a boy thought love could be when it is sang in blues,

what a boy thought love could be when it is told purple flames.

This piece rendered my soul like water, at a beach in Lagos, I watched

a boy drown for calling the name of a girl too loud.



Dare Tunmise is a Nigerian Poet and Essayist born and raised in Ibadan, an old ancient city in West Africa. His works which mostly sought to be a Compass, a radius searching into the loss and struggles of others have been published or forthcoming on the Nigerian Voice, the Nigerian Tribune, etc


3089 2/27/2019 1:52:21 PM

This so very interesting and creative

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