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Patrick Uanseru

of

Lagos, Lagos State, Nigeria

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Mindsongs

by

Patrick Uanseru

I

I harvest this song
from the cemetery
of midnight hour,
songs of a troubadour sitting
and pouring out the venom
of an angry pen
midnight hour deadens
the heartbeat
of age long lullaby.

my pen knows the lyric
of midnight hour
as the talebearer gathers wood
to make fire for his mindsongs.

I harvest this song
from the verandah
of midnight hour.

II

the ink of my pen
flows like
blood of the martyrs.
the words dripping
from the mouth
of my loquacious pen
gush like tears
overflowing the creeks of ogoni
whose belly is cramped by marauding
hunger from the rock of aso

the teeth of my pen bites
the skin of this page sketching dusty
skeleton of poems like the hands
of rocky thieves signing away
ogoni agony
in drums of sweating dollars,

I refuse to stop scratching this page,
the anger of my pen will continue to fume
as the creeks fume with the PDP tsunami

III

in the distant crevices
of the night
cries of hellish owl
invade the sired carapace
of our soulless lives.

ghost of decimated
humans parade the eyelid
of the night.

who can tell
from the husky voice
of the night how far
the hand of the clock
has journeyed, now that
the cock has refused to crow?

the hands of our confused
aso rocked masters masturbates
the wretched penis
of the nation
as we lost voices to sing
the songs we had
before this tsunami

but the metaphor of this page
will grow muscles to wrestle
the cascading deluge from atop
the rock of aso

give us voices
to sing the song
we had before
let the metaphor of this page
grow muscles to wrestle
with the sweating biceps
of the gorillas in Abuja zoo

give us voices to
sing the song

we had before
the deluge of their tsunami

IV

the thunder wails behind the blue eyes
of a hanging cloud
the gun spoke once through the fingers
of a blind hunter;
a blind hunter, sitting, waiting and killing
acolytes of the oracle of six legs and twelve hands

a downpour of blood invade the gutters
of a dying nation
rivulets of anguish gather on an angry land

an empty calabash, but they said is full of wisdom
scatter upon the air like fart emitting from the anus
of beans-overloaded stomach
where can we hide the nose from the invasion?
who will take off the finger
of the blind hunter from the trigger?

we have began a search; a search for the carrier
that we carry the sacrificial pot for survival.

V
parade of worms saunters in our bellies
battalion of worms mounts guard of honour
for the famished land
scorching as noontime sun hanging
on the threatening sky, famished shadows
of 1970s Nigerians ebulliently struts
pavements of our hungry roads

verses of Malabo, hidden in the testaments
of calabar 1990s gather in the crevices
of the season of detained rainfall
as a mirage of rain salivate the wretched
bellies of a famished land.


morning dews

by

Patrick Uanseru

riverbank of tears
collected in the traversing
memories of yore
trace tribal incisions
on my face: signpost
of motherís dawn hassles
to keep me alive

alive, now you have
gone to embrace your siblings
departed in twilight
of their morning dews
you left without a word,
a word to keep me collected
in remembrance, but
death, you are not brave
do not think you are brave?
you could not dare
make the call
when strong bones
were are at alert

death, you are not a friend
you are an adversary
no one will welcome you
with kola nuts
death, the unwelcome guest,
you crashed in to take when
no one invited you
make up your face in shame
your eyelids reveal
you as a failed project.

abacha

by

Patrick Uanseru

your voice broke through
the hanging and dirty clouds
of verdictí83,
marching on your smoking boots
you led the parade of khaki vultures to scavenge
on the chest of our motherland
you tilted your beret
and rested your military
pot belly
in the peppersoup joints
of ibadanland

in the twilight of another dawn
your voice whistled the gap-toothed
march pass of maradona

you began to waddle
and saddle your green belt
with machiavellian joker cards

you murdered sleep
at the dawn of hopeí93
you set drums and cymbals
singing a dirge on the grave
of our hope

what an open grave
you dug, waiting to receive
corpses as landmark
of your blind madness

your stoned faced goggle
threatened the moon
of our motherland

you mowed our fathers
you drove our brothers
aborted the pregnancies
of our mothers
brutalize our sistersí virginity
with the nozzle
of your gun
your madness challenged God
you killed saro wiwa
enveloped ogoni
with blanket of agony
the Niger Delta, you irrigated
with blood of our sons

how can we remember you?
let your silent grave
speak about the agonizing
loneliness trailing your
path to the table of history.

eventide

by

Patrick Uanseru

pulsating rhythm of pestle
on mortar
arouse slumbering boulders
of the village waist
as chickens
strut their feet
on carcasses of shit

sharp cry pierces serene air
breaking skeleton peace
covering the shivering bones
of the village

pilgrimage of goats,
chickens, people
and their flesh and bones
scamper to behold
the restless mind
of the palace
when flood consumes
the king,s palace,
is the anguish only
of his household?
as the eyes broke its dam
the nose mimic in solidarity.

night of manhood

by

Patrick Uanseru

dead night hour
battles the serene dark
as insects sing joyous lullabies
to put the night to sleep
in the echo of the whistling birds
guards of black axes
pluck the last seed
of courage
acolytes sang their songs
as crabs crawl to witness
throes of the uncircumcised
in the dew drop task
of initiation
such are the shadows
holding the white washed faces
of the men of Malabo republic
i jungled through the hills
of the night
to unravel the seed
hiding in the kernel of men of Malabo
in whirlwinds of rugged manliness
the jungle matures in Malabo
only for those who the gods
have sent a call of return

Untitled

by

Patrick Uanseru

a faceless agenda
ferment ashes
of the searching season
harsh whistle
of the flute
pinches the sour wound
of the poisoned season

broken soup pot,
in this season
of scarce condiments
who broke the soup pot?

the palace summons the populace
for another courtyard of soup thoughts

across the fuming atlantics,
aroma of another landís soup
tickles the estranged hairs
sticking out of our nostrils
is it the colours
of the khaki

that has broken
our soup pot?

the populace ask the palace
the palace ask the populace
_who broke the soup pot?
_who broke the soup pot?

crossroads of nagging questions
leading nowhere, but finding somewhere
as the populace hold talks
mottled ray of the seasonís song
clambered to the foothills
of the soup pot talk
how did the soup pot
scatter its contents?
who broke the soup pot?
who has the soup pot?
who owns the soup pot?
where is the talk going?
is it who broke the soup pot?
is it who has the soup pot?
is it who owns the soup pot?
or where is the soup pot?

Letter to My Brother

by

Patrick Uanseru

no address
how can I deliver
this letter to my brother
who loved all of us

letters in the hands of postmasters
riding on their silver bicycles brought
postcards of love from the bosom
of my brother who loved all of us
to the village school
the village school assembly ground
still reverberates with the sound of
the call of the envelope
my brother who loved all of us penned
my name which was sweet in his mouth

brother, you left us
without a forwarding address
you left without a good bye

still waiting for the postmaster
my fingers fiddle with the pen
as memorials to your sweet memories

since you left
the gathering of the seeds
of your fatherís loins
has been dispersed like seeds
in a dry season village forest
clash of words gather in the mouth
of vile teeth masticating
the broken walls
of the love you built

brother, since you left
my left eye has not seen
my right eye has not seen
fruits of the love seed
you planted
no water to nourish it
no one to water it
the seed is scorched in the hot sands
of hatred
of backbiting
of bitterness

brother, the walls of your fatherís house
has joined him in the great beyond
like the flatulence of deflated balloon
stand the ruins of your fatherís house

if you were
to live and die again
I will gather my wares and die with you
Dying with you will enlist me in your love world

Since you left, we have left
To live as one man who is greater
Than his own clan
How can i tell you in this letter that since you left
_..eyes can now cry
noses can now rejoice seeing eyes crying

this night am haunted by your voice
voice, so loving and caring
this night, i clench my teeth, gnashing the agony
your departure has brought to your fatherís house

will I ever see you again?
As I put words together to embalm your memories
Let the village postmaster ride his silver bicycle
To my doorstep to drop this letter at your doorstep

Brother, if you were to live and die again
I will gather my wares and die with you.

*** This poem is excerpted from a poetry collection dedicated to the living memories of my late brother and friend, George Oaikhena Uanseru. Besides his passion for family and unity, he was loved for his infectious smiles and compassion. Although, he may have died physically, his memories bestride his grave. As I remember you in the lines of this poetry, may your loving soul rest peacefully in the bosom of the Lord.

OUR CLAN

by

Patrick Uanseru

we were

a clan

of brave men

whose biceps

breathes hope

in our hearts

we were

a clan

of running rivers

whose fishes

invites stomachs

to sumptuous meals

we were

a clan

of virile land

whose earth

mounts giant yams

on our heads

we were

a clan

of green forest

whose logs

held our roofs

in an accord

we were

a clan

of sweet songs

whose lyric

soothe embers

of our waists

we were

a clan

of buxom maidens

whose virginities

task hefty axes

of able bodied men

we were

a clan

of royal heritage

whose crown

fits the head

of uncommon men

brave men,

running rivers,

virile land,

green forests,

sweet songs,

buxom maidens,

royal heritage,

tales lost

in the mouth

of a storyteller?

Our clan

is a canoe

lost in the belly

of endless waters

without paddles

our clan

is wriggling

in tides

of common men

whose commonsense

is lost in looting spree

our clan

is shivering

in fit

of postdated surgery

whose gloves

is buried

in the womb

of the unknown

CLOUD OF LOCUSTS

by

Patrick Uanseru

stranded in the shores

of overlooted sea

sunk in the sands

of political predators

we wait as meals

set for their bloated stomachs

situation turns uncomfortable

the sea continue to shriek

savage season

of not long ago

khaki predators

prowl on the limbs

of time

crushing claws

wrapped around the noose

of time

keeping their

looting line alive

cloud of locusts

seize the breathe

of the sky

as the sun

climbs higher

squandering swarm

bares full scale

attack on the land

shutting down entire stead

in a mystery

unraveling a new generation

of locusts devouring

the heads of the wretched

a touching story

told from the depths

of amputated dreams

drowned by giant shadows

slowly, the scavengers

are assembled

like expectant mothers,

we count days,

it is a mirage

it is a nightmare

death faces life

in this delicate squeeze

of time

huge scavengers,

time tested embezzlers

relentless hunters

perching on the chest

of the land

spread mat

of perilous journey

only a few survives

gauntlet of predators

assisted by failing economy

shove the land through

hazardous wind

guided by unfavourable magnet

of inhuman policies

few count the sweat

of their labour

growth is sluggish

growth is brutish

change is standstill.

DANIELíS JUDGEMENT

by

Patrick Uanseru

Meditation on the verdict of Edo State Election Tribunal 2008

1

thumbs of guns

edges of axes

blades of cutlasses

bottles of acid

hand in hand with

intoxicated madness

of chieftains and,

unrepentant stranglehold

of godfathers

conspired in their covens

to enthrone a godson

across the hilly forest

of Akoko Edo

in the thick vegetation

of Owan East to the West

through the plains

of Igueben

ballot rats empower

a rein of impostors

now that a Daniel

has sat in judgment

the anus of the hen

is thrown to the wind

revealing the stench

of their sores

comrade, the sweat

of your peopleís war

the fist of your struggle

is held high

by the muscles of truth

our throats thirst for water

from the pot of a new dawn

a new dance entraps the feet

of the hills of Futa Jalon

the sturdy landscapes of Udi

and Kanem Bornu is enveloped

in the dews of new life

as the chief priest of Ikpitan

high temple breaks the air

with a new song

***********************************************************

2

muscles of fresh news

bury their stillbirth

in the cemetery of history

as their barrel of tears

overflow in the rig

of limbless hope

greed boils in their blood

their vein fume with acidic anger

as the valley of their mouths

lost the pomp of official laughter

the tongue of the land

swagger in galloping

celebration of the epitaph

of their stolen anointing

*************************************************************

3

daring and shameless men

yawning in syllables of baking epilogue

build clouds of pensive silence

to infuriate the sky of a new season

their eyes are awash with alphabets

of political menopause

even now that chickens

incubates our eggs

and we count

our hatched chicks

they gather in the jungle

of their sinister night

rehearsing another dance

of the masquerade

*************************************************************

4

in this chapter

of a happy denouement

barking fear

fluster the shriveled

underclothes of their nakedness

from the ruptured

memories of their uninvited coming

i unveil this monument

dedicated to a known godfather

whose autograph

carve map of terror in the canvass

of annexed hearts

i am the grave digger

undertaking the requiem

of barren seasons

my digger knows the soil

of their graves

beyond the stammering dialogue

of toothless appeal

*************************************************************

5

the earth whistles

i canít swallow again

another corpse

of assassinated dream

now the drum has sounded

a new rhythm as we gather

to dance to a new day

a new dance to unmask

the bald headedness

of broken drums

*************************************************************

6

years of brutal conjugal

abuse of the landís vagina

in the daylight of smoking guns

and naira rain is lying in state

at the court of appeal

cocooned by the sombre silhouette

of unharvested promises the sky

opens her mouth to vomit showers

of dehydrated "a minute" silence

cutlasses, escorted by hardened

blood shot eyes that lost their books

at the foot stool of filthy lucre

quench their mournful disgrace

in gallons of helpless hangover

deep, deep in the vaults of their hearts

canticles of silence mock frozen biceps

manacled by the coming season of brains

7

i saw the sun descending

fingers of trees

brushing hairs of dangling hills

journeying to the belly
of dying dusk

i saw the moon dancing

dancing to the beats

of a silver lining

coated on the face

of the blue sky

dancing and dancing

wriggling her slender waist

till her legs threw dust

in the eyes of crying looters

i saw the stars smiling

smiling at the choreography

of the dancing moon

till tears flow down her eyes

like a broken dam

i saw ashes of sunset

baring its teeth on creasing flesh

of their callous conscience

as they bath in labyrinths

of hypnotic lies and deleted promises

For the MAN

by

Patrick Uanseru



for the man
who gave his all

for the man
who translated
my orphanhood
to fatherhood

for the man
who scraped scales
of deprivation
from my skin

this is
for the teeth
that shielded
my tongue
from bruises
of kernel bites

like a song
performed without
an intercourse
of drumbeats__
__this is
for the man
who shamed
the exploits
of coven birds
dwelling at the foot
of fiery iroko trees

for the man
who refrain
symphony
of my cradle cries

for the man
whose heart
is a community
of the world

for the man
whose eyes has
counted fifty seasons
of renewed rains

for you_
i disvirgin
the chastity
of silent drums
as the flute
of celebration
decorate your face
with mascara
of loaded years ahead

i am your maracas
of gathering rhapsody
crafted by
tidal waves
of unstammering wishes

THIS IS DEDICATED TO THE MAN WHO CLOCKED 50 ON THE 25TH OF JULY 2008, MR GREG OJEIU UANSERU.....in the abscence of paper power to spread these wishes on the tube for millions to watch, i find the corner of this poetry "hefty" to wish you, many wonderful years ahead

Tears of a prodigal pen IV

by

Patrick Uanseru

the monkey takes
after his father
i am the son
of my father

the bird that sings
at dusk
in itís belly
lies a message

I am a singing bird
hear the voice
of my pen

my ancestorís cap
is the wisdom
of my pen
hear the voice
of my grandfather

when the wise
unknots a riddle
fools broadcast
it atop rooftop

in my fatherís house
fire of one blood
is quenched like coals
drenched by flood

listen brother
hear me sister
this is the tears
of my prodigal pen
emissary of the ancestral
court

my pen
will melt the venom
of bitterness
the tip of this pen
will puncture the bile
of malice
my pen
will devour the imps
drowning the raft
of our stead

at dawn
I hear the whisper
Of the rain
My penís curiosity
Is the rhythm
Of my heart

My pen
Is witness to my heart
Tamed by silent agony
Sitting at the foot stead
Of my fatherís house

My pen
Knows the secret
Of the uncircumcised
Who is proud
of his long penis
but the penis is ashamed
Of the dirt hiding in
The foreskin

My pen
Is shivering from rain
Of bitterness
Malice questions falling
And disappearing foundation
Of my fatherís house

I call you again
Brother, you are
Now an ancestor
I call you again
At dawn
Your stead is apart
Agony of desolation
Hangs on my throat
As I remember
With tears
The beauty
Of your song

Is there no way
You can stop
My heart from crying?

Tell your father
Tell your grandfather
Tell all the ancestors
Tell them that venomous
Pangs of homeless lies
Has ejected tincture
Of joy from our eyes

I call you again
Is it not one sun
That shines over the earth?
Tell your father
To send one love
To shine over our hearts

For My Mother

by

Patrick Uanseru

-1-

death came in calicos of cold
as I heard from the mouth
of those who made the trip
of life before me.

it steals through clenched teeth
and folded palms taking away
your breath that we miss
so dearly with a sigh

at a tick of the clock
you were gone with the unwelcome
messenger ;

quenching my infant hunger,
my mouth still suckling away
on your breast;
as I heard from
the elegiac wails
of crying eyes

mother, ashes of many years
counting to four decades
have died in the dunghills
drying our tears but your memories
lingers in the crevices of our minds

at the count of my fingers
the seeds of your seeds
has four less than two dozens
even I; last seed of your womb
has climbed the ladder
of fatherhood

-2-
if I shout at rooftop
that will not bring
you back to tell me
bedtime stories
that death stole from
your mouth
if I cry rivers of tears
will that make up
for the lullabies
that death deprived
my ears of?

if I sit at the feet
of your grave
gnawing syllabic dirges
of my orphanhood
will you come back
to tell the story
of how you met
my father to begat me?

if I go on asking
will answers come
from your mouth
that never spoke to me?

-3-
when the elephant
embarked on the journey
to its in-law,
the antelope asked:
"when are you coming back?"

mother, you are not
an elephant, your in-laws
you do not know and
your in-laws do not know you
I have not come to ask;
when are you coming back

mother, I have come now
to tell you that, as you have
gone so early
your seeds will go very late

though we shall meet again
but none of your seeds
will join you soon,

-4-
in the coldness of early dawn
I unknot the riddle of your name
locked in the mouth of arcane pouch

"ebaikpenegbe", mother of six seeds
living to carry on where you could not
I undress the meaning of your names
In the shelter of my poetry

"as close as we are ", buried in the belly
of your name is the meaning of life
though your life was brief, in its briefness
lies the distance between unity and disunity

your name is a loud cry for unity
your name is the soul of brotherliness
your name is the colour of human currency
without which a tree cannot make a forest

-5-
a day in the life of an orphan
sitting at the bank of the river
hosting drinking water and home
to guinea worms,

an antelope crosses, and her babies
following behind;
mother and children attending
to the needs of each other

am that orphan, searching the soul
of time to excavate the reason my mother
left me so soon,
did I envy baby antelope?
did I miss the cradle songs
of my mother?

when I open the page
of another poem
I will pour out the
musing of an orphan.

-6-
mounds of earth
dot the cemetery
of St. Marks Anglican
planted in the heart
of ikhin

inside one of these mounds
lay the dusty skeletons
of my mother

who can point
to the exact grave
of my mother?

where do I plant
the epitaph of my mother?

as I scribble these verses
for the memories
of my mother
my mind rove through
the corners of the cemetery
hoping to hear her voice
loud: "here I am"
so that I can post a requiem
on the grave

This is for you; Christiana Ebaikpenegbe Uanseru, Nee Aigbokhai, who went to join those who came before her at a time i did not realise how it happened...you are always on my minds.