Poet-Today ~ Ojo Olumide Emmanuel ~ The Arts-Muse Fair

the steps to play lie is-
not to smile;
chew all the tickles below your jaws
even when it pinches you to laugh
at the fools you’re fooling
kick your legs on the ground
dazzle your eyes in rolls
hold your tummy on a long cough-
the same way mince-pies collude
call sweats to your face
in many drizzles
place your handkerchiefs on a hay day
and allow those around
to greet sorry in many miles-
sleeves and pity
allow them recount their tales of pneumonia
and survival
garner truckloads of sympathy with wails and blames
after all
 the world is for those whose tongue-
appear in folds
a hand apart for the tip
a waist line for the blade...
 in abraded manifestoes
and in denial.

some solicitude saturates-
from the marrow to the vein
others turn scalps, scars...
i heard my mind say:
those who die in wars are not the only victims
they are only casualties of numbers
the dailies and the government in long-
comparison of accuracy notes
four score fatality, two score injured
no! wrong reportage
one score, ten broken teeth...
those who survive to tell the stories are the real casualties
they live with ghosts in their sitting rooms’
at times these ghosts mannequin parleys in their minds
yes a boy, a ghost
 seeking his kite in the cold
a girl crying of her flower trampled by boots
lacerated into puzzles
bones fleeing from the flesh
on a last charge...
like blue litmus in acid
a metaphor of when men dipped-
their hearts in jars of chillies
the land is ploughed in reds
and miseries... death is the harvest
our lips are dried of prayer
and amen seems a ten pound weight
i don’t remember where i heard it that-
adults are the problem of the world
for in this long queue of despair
children are innocent pieces of scrabbles
shuffled into unknown places.


Ojo Olumide Emmanuel is a writer, teacher and a spoken word artist. His Poems and Essays have appeared in magazines, journals and anthologies. He is a member of the Hill-Top Creative Arts Foundation in Minna where he is a Mentor and the Librarian. He is the Curator of the Monthly Wakaso Prize for Poetry and Abubakar Gimba Prize for Short Fiction both administered by Hill-Top Creative Art Foundation, Minna.