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Beneath the drum of war

The mouth of a kongo drum spat out

my bones skittering along the tracks

of mud on the face of the tragedy

returned home. I embrace the silhouette

of his scars & pour water from my chest

on his shorn head. We sit under

a harmattan wrinkled tree, lick the lips

of small cups, waiting as the men help

our father settle with the sediments

of memory into the worn embrace of red

soil. He thinks it is wrong

that the concrete under his feet

has shown itself to be sharp sand

moulded with blood.

He thinks of the man that laughed

robust songs from his oiled belly.

I think of the walker by his room door

that dragged him about as he screamed

for his god to take him. We sit there

deep in the susurration of our blood

until the night cloths us & a

sonorous flute bleats a final lullaby.



In the spirit of full disclosure

I'm the chief bride of lies, a snake

in the grass, an hyena giggling

in the dust coloured veldt, a vulture

launching from a cracked tree of bones.

I'm carnage whispered sly as oil

into the ears, questing deep into

the brain to lick all sense from it.

I'm deeply entrenched in the roots

of your soul, holding you down

& away from the illumination just

beyond touch or reason.

I'm a web of confusion cast about

by the spidery intuition to con. I'm

the beast king sitting on a shelf

of scalped skin. I'm a lonely figure

standing in a middle of the dance floor,

glass raised to a window,

back turned to a wall.

I'm an untitled etching on a woman's skin,

a crayon drawing on a lone boy's book,

a sad song on a bitter girl's tongue.

I'm the bruise on a fist. I did

what I did & I'll do it again.

It was done to me first

in a morning, before sunlight,

before dawn bright, before bird

twitch. I'm a broken dream

catcher caught in the hands

of a lightning. I'm a rain of voices

on the kitchen sink when

the plumbing don't do right.

I do wrong all the time.

I'm the lie in each story that

a mother tells herself in order

to love her life. I'm the story

that doesn't change in a crime

fiction. I'm a dog of the city,

the wolf of a country.

I eat anything even my own damned body.

I'm the flesh & blood,

a grisly god,

the gristle & bile

in this potpourri of tragedies.

I'm a genre of pain,

the sweetest sucrose this world

has ever made.

I'm the lie in a confession

that you must believe because

you always need a truth.

All I have said above is true.

You just need to close your eyes

& you will see, I am who I say I am.

Osahon Oka is a Nigerian poet of Bini/Kwale descent. His writing  experiments with language. His works are up on Jalada, Ice floe press, Visual verse and elsewhere. His writing has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize as well as the Best of the Net Anthology.

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