Fear of facts, fear of truth, fear of standing out. Fear of fraternal correction, fear of the hypocritical mob: "Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear." - Alan Paton I'm a teacher where the future flows from The ground. I water in the shadow of the clouds, As the sun fails at peeping at me, smiling proud. These tender blades look like mini green swords Although the arid air wishes to suck out the breath That fills their stomata, replacing it with death. Cool air rushes round my feet, as I side-step My precious lawn. Nature and I collaborate To heal the future, and watch it elaborate. But the clouds suddenly shift and the peeping sun, Like a Netflix nightmare, smiling at innocence, Paints them brown forever in masked silent violence (c) nyonglema
Immigration brought America its first black president.
Sitting with this pen between my lips, as dad
Said not to, I'm twiddling and thinking of
Tigers looking into a mirror.
Do they see just the beastly muscle to rip flesh
Apart, or can they see the black, gold, silver, orange
Calligraphy of a meadow, plucked to glorious
Melody like a guzheng serenading the prey
Before Medusa's magic mars their future?
Do parrots notice the pale sparrow's envy at
Its militarily-decorated plumage which holds
Divine discourse with the sun rushing past
The leaves to caress a masterpiece chirping
Away under a pale green canopy craving its
Variety splash of colors upon itself?
Sitting and twiddling this ink, I'm thinking.
Are "precious" and "scarce" synonymous?
King Midas turned everything ordinary to something
Now ordinary, and by returning them to their
Ordinary state they became precious.
Could this be why I now miss the hair I hated to comb
In painful strokes? Or why I would prefer scrolling
My Twitter feed than feeding off my son's glorious
Imaginary worlds whence crazy stories spring,
But which I miss, because this is here, that is there?
Could this be why thrust from misery, to slavery,
Then to a land of freedom and opportunity whose
Prowess the paler countries of the world cast
Envy upon, wishing the variety splash of colors,
And music, and glory, and gold upon themselves,
The American from Africa focuses on the "African",
Missing the "American" in "African American"?
Could this be why other Africans come to America
And seeing the plumage, seize the Value in "American"
Live the American dream walking to Pennsylvania Avenue,
Saying "Yes we can!": but most Africans don't listen?
Does the victim deserve justice or medal?
I'm in the confessionary as petals
Fall off the flower of my redemption.
The litany's long, but who cares if one
More sin piles on, for this cleanses all.
Knee caps listen to my sins as vocal
Chords chirp them out, petal by petal
Till the bud shrivels and browns away,
Promising me hope for a brand new day
In the death of what was, to what will
Grow. As my breath ceases to spill
I glimpse my sins start to melt away.
Now glorify, forget my worst crime days
And adorn you garments with my face.
Start frays, may your kids live my way.
Here lies Lie, who killed no woman nor baby: No fire was started, no life was lost lately The char was made up Not even one stray cop Was near Ngarbuh on Valentine's day 2020. (c) nyonglema
Who cares? The tears dry up into bitter red salt crystals On the petals fallen to this ball of water and rocks, muddied In lush vegetation trampled by boots, slippers, silent cymbals. They clang, but the ears float far away, like the soul halo In the backlit fumes of fresh foray against foe and friend, For revenge is mellow so that metal and more can billow. But who hears? The blue bird chirps its pain in arrows And hearts, and graphic designers design gore for that Yet the glass stays cold despite blood, char, and ash it shows. It stank to them who stole the pictures to horrid memory, But not to me. No phone can relay those chemicals to me Or the emotions that come with walking on war territory So I smile, and swipe left. Denial is the media's vial, Filled with self-loathing poison, the ministers love it too. More bullets, more fire, and less genocidal survival. (c) nyonglema
Spare the son.
But kill the father, kill the mother, kill the brother,
Kill the sister, kill the baby, and let the son get vengeful, and
Spare the son.
But kill the father, kill the mother, kill the brother,
Kill the brother, kill the dog, kill the baby and let that son get vengeful, and
Spare the hospital,
But burn the houses, burn the father, burn the mother,
Burn the cousin, burn the uncle, and let the healed get vengeful, and
Spare their buddy,
And let hell drop red upon the fuming ashes of fresh baked
Black human flesh in their wake, and let their buddy get vengeful and
Spare a cousin,
The voice of the people cry out in the wilderness:
"Prepare ye the days of the next overlord."
They dream of wild money and tarred net streets
But can only be guaranteed not a single day to be bored.
Cast your vote, like exorcism in a closed building
Where faith died! You know the head-spin
Is the moment the vomit spells your inevitable failure.
Votes mean nothing when owned by demons.
I dreamt of choosing a president all mine,
But that's not mine for the choosing,
And despair cooks witch spells in the back of my mind
To drown my dreams in dreary musing.
I dreamt of choosing the laws to rule
But one person rules the parliament supreme
And waves a wand if any should dare to speak
In his presence of the forbidden or of another team.
I dreamt of choosing the mayors to ride,
But the Boss not mine defines the governor
And delegates another to give them orders and more,
And decides what moves, grows, or becomes manure.
I dreamt of a great nation in Africa's armpit
But got a snapshot of generations in the belly
Of the Beast. Maybe I shouldn't be dreaming,
Maybe I should just stand for truth; just maybe.
“Si ton père est alcoolique et bois de la bière pendant que vos voisins gèrent vos finances, il boira du Hennessy dès qu’ils lui laisseront le contrôle : l’impact sur la ration journalière sera nul.”
He was screaming at my bent head, louder and louder,
And I tried to hide my face from his words: “Make no excuses!”
I hadn’t realized my explanation of why I’d chosen Bowser
Over doing the dishes would get such a lame label. “Excuse you!”
I thought to myself, as he poured words out to change
My mind, but it had wandered off…
I remembered when the excuse for the pain that paved every street of my city was that the colonial masters wished it so. I remembered the same streets turned red so that this pilfering could end, that we could decide by ourselves. I remembered independence.
I remembered when the excuse for the pain that paved every street of my country was that the white man had taken our brothers away in slavery. Poor William Ellison, the prejudice done to him by the white man must be the reason why APGAR scores are lower around me than they are in his state. I remembered abolishment…
Only for the slavery to the white man’s land, for we kept up the lucrative business of selling our kind to the Arab market, where no abolishment was in sight. Yes, I remember partial abolishment.
I remembered colonial currencies. This must have been the cause of the AFCON competition being withdrawn from Cameroon, or the civil unrest in Sudan, and Algeria, Cameroon. This must be why medical doctors get jobs in non-existent hospitals, or schools look different on paper than in reality (especially when buildings don’t exist). This must be the reason for social decay, the bane of investors, the pervasiveness of corruption and officials stea…mean embezzling. I remembered the CFA.
That evil currency which prevents roads from being built, prevents hospitals from being built, and extorts pregnant mothers waiting to deliver in urgency. It’s the CFA that destroyed the educational fabric, let problems fester into mini-wars, killed all moral and ethics in business, and stabbed the future à-la Julius Caesar.
Now he was screaming even louder and louder
But I just stood there, head bent, seeming to hear it all,
But my thoughts meandered off further and further,
Remembering it all, then dreading our persistent fall.
Le moustique chante dans ces oreilles pourtant pas endormies,
Qui guettent les pas des ravisseurs qui tour à tour font
La garde. Le silence est tel qu'on peut entendre les fourmis
"…ma reconnaissance au peuple camerounais de m’avoir renouvelé sa confiance…"
Erigés sont les poils des bras à découvert dans ce froid macabre,
La peur a laissé place aux sanglots qui se sont effacés par l'indifférence
Face à ces murs en terre battue … ah ce mot "battu" "battre", "abattre"
"… en prenant des mesures nécessaires pour préserver l’ordre public…"
Battues et coupées du monde, les larmes salées semblent laver le tartre
Comme un plâtre qui se brise laissant la fracture à découvert. Ils saignent.
« … Porte atteinte à notre Constitution… » « … d’être mieux
Associées à la gestion de leurs affaires … » Les lueurs d’espoirs s’éteignent
Avec l’arrivée du soleil. L’odeur d’Hadès parfume la rosée sur les jeunes fusils
« … nous avons maintenu notre cap vers l’émergence. » Il n’est pas 2035.
On se gratte la peau, on nettoie les cils. On boit de l’eau infestée de typhii.
Avec l’arrivée du soleil, l’odeur d’Hadès parfume la rosée sur leur règne
« … continuer dans la paix l’œuvre de construction » La guerre ajuste son masque
Ils se grattent la peau, et ils boivent du Lestac, dehors sous des corps la terre saigne.
It all starts with the “genos” part:
If there’s no race, it doesn’t exist
So history gets braided into little kids’ hairs
Till they remember only the victor’s tryst
With death, in order to save our forebears
For graves never wrote history. A cyst
Of truth is hidden deep where the death of fear
Meets the death of youth at the barrel to the sun.
Lifafa is wiped with the shroud of Um
Till “genos” is but a word in beach sand.
And with no “genos” there’s no “cide” :
Self defence is the panacea of every atrocity
Little children with gaping brains
Young girls’ cocoons bitterly maimed
Young boys disappear to be brutally tamed
Humanity at the end of life gets hastened
And propaganda is Elvis doing a pirouette
On a 60s world stage where truth was left
In the cold of the theatre’s steps.
So no “genos”, no “cide” and the UN higher-ups can tuck their kids in cosy blankets, with Winnie the Pooh splayed along the left creases, give a forehead kiss, walk to their own bed, sleep and prepare for another non-eventful day at work.