Poet-Today ~ Bash' Amuneni ~ The Arts-Muse Fair

Pic: Aminu S Muhammad


The river song lifts the hoarfrost off a shadow
its melody bends water around jagged rocks-
like boulder, like mountain, like stone, like sarsen,
reach a sprightly bunch of near green shoots

to let there be light and water
kiss dawn, while fingers interlock to crown hope.
There will be eloquent regards; where palm meets palm
tracing fear that can curve a mind into something else

But we will not take–up the stupidity of the broken
we carry peace and truth on chapped lips
forgiveness falls out of our gorges , wrapped in laughter
so we do not choke here

Our tongues spool into balls of fire
with the message of healing.
Let the river-bird cluck a new day into animation
enshroud dark moons in a moment, until it bleeds peace

Earth moon, erupting with elation like a new mother
like morning, like song, like river, like forever.
We wear our conscience on our sleeves, we are bare like truth
this tune is sacred. I have a country and I call her a song.


Some memories hug you tight like a blanket
and some nights, you wonder how many whores
swallowed you whole like the city
city life is hot water
I never quite found the secret to drowning
I was never taught how to cry
is this what they call steam?


you will remember the sound of a bang at the front-yard on Saturday mornings
you will know the struggle in separating skin from bed sheets

and dragging your adolescent feet to the alter of a morning ritual
plucking frozen fish from ice and banter on

You will know sting from dancing flames at the back-yard
hot oil and thin cuts from sharp knives

you will know that when eyes are on fire they never lie
you will know the taste of your own blood in exchange for survival

you will carry survival in a tray, it is never light
this neck bears many secrets

my burden is my merchandise
you will scream for a living

on these streets that eat dreams
you will exist within a maze of

screeching of tyres
you will choke daily on burnt rubber;

we meander through traffic to sell fish
you will know the howling of a hustle

how it calls out your name every evening
you will also know the cold silence of a surname that evokes nothing


Bash' Amuneni is one of Nigeria’s foremost performance poets. His poetry is laced in love, memory and the dynamics of the human condition. He has performed poetry at various platforms in and outside Nigeria -  from the Lagos International Poetry Festival (LipFest) in 2016 & 2019 and most recently at KABAFest 2019 and the 23rd Poetry Africa International Festival in Durban, South Africa.

In 2017, Bash Amuneni was awarded by Abuja Literary Society for his sustained work in the development of Literary/Arts Programmes in Nigeria. Amuneni was also a guest performance poet at the European Union Human Rights Night in December 2017. In January 2018, he was a guest performance poet at the commissioning of The African Development Bank Head Office building in Abuja by The Nigerian Vice President. He had also been a guest performance poet at 73rd Session of Executive Committee and 41st Congress of Leaders of African Parliamentary Union in Abuja and the USAID IHP Program Launch.  He is the author of the collection of poems 'There Is A Lunatic In Every Town’. His forth-coming projects are a collection of poems and audio EP titled, 'We don't bury bodies ugly here' and 'Unboxed" respectively. Bash is also an Architect.