By Olabisi Akinwale:
The Guitar Girl Thinks About My Country
as a slab you cut water with knife
& watch news bulletins creep into your vein
& slower the music in your blood,
& as a broken dream stitched with butterflies flying across cities on fire.
she pulled a string at the brink of twilight
& on the street of Lagos, bullet break boy into fragment of stars
for stretching his voice beyond his body without a bulletproof,
a mother groan in pain for losing her backbone to potholes
on a road tarred with glass promises & contradictions,
then the night empties a village into moonlight while God wept.
in a song, she said there is fire on the mountain,
we made excuses for the sanity in her voice
& tent our hopes in areas prone to earthquakes
till the rains come hitting our roofs in sad notes,
& the cuts on our skins tell of dreams fighting to stay alive.
survival is sleeping on a bed of stone & waking each day
with a story trailing the sun over your head with torn limbs,
but I tell you, my countrymen are spontaneous with gloom,
they war each day to walk across sunlight & not break,
they hawk their ambitions treading on a knife edge
with a mind in flames, a verse of the scripture or a bottle of beer,
something must keep a man in tabs with his soul
even what threatens to fade him into a whisper.
at the cranium of a dawn that holds empty rooms,
she pulled another string & the clink of glasses
measures the spaces between a bomb & a bone
where a city fails to rise with the sun.
again, the guitar girl thinks about my country
as a graveyard of wings, starlight, colours
& of things that do not die, but multiply.
© Olabisi Abiodun Akinwale