how to love your country
By Omidire Joshua
make your way to
Lekki Tollgate. placards in hand, songs on tongue.
when you see the hoodlums in uniform, don’t run.
ask them questions about the demise of your father
in the grave of poverty.
better still, send a letter bomb to their lords
ask them how you, a butcher’s son, feed on bones.
a. Lekki is the nexus between blood and water. the estuary of breath and silence.
the inexorable wheel of history wheeling on the oil of deep youthful hunger for depth and meaning
for a change in a country where stasis and regression take turns to lay siege to lights yet not lit and the lamps struggling for breath on the river of dusk
b. an owl perched on the stubborn ear of the bridge, clicked its eyes at eggs fated to be pelted with pellets. it’d wait till our blood becomes news; something to carry home to vulture.
c. even when they strip you naked and stack you in a black maria, smile.
d. if they cock their guns, don’t budge. breathe and be happy. bullet too is an expression of love. wouldn’t you rather die a lover?
e. even a fall is a love language. speak it. fall a thousand times. until you fall no more.
f. your root should say unto their branch, let there be fruit.
g. a mother spiced her children. served them in daring dishes to her faithless Gods
who knew nothing but hopeless sacrifices whose smoke stinks like a dead fly trapped
in a vial of oil.
h. mother’s Gods forked hearts, livers, noses, cheeks, eyes
and raised it all to deity of tongue where taste bud connived
with saliva, and dagger teeth
esophagus drew it all
down the hell
of belly’s abyss
i. Belly is the secret place of loot where palliathieves wrung our arms
where ptyalin mates with the starch in our thoughts
but we are indigestible
true love is a fishbone
in the throat of a traitor.
Omidire, Joshua Idowu is a vibrant poet, editor, blogger, and social media strategist. He studied English and Literary Studies at the University of Lagos. He later had his Master’s in Literature-in-English in the same Institution.
His poems have appeared in Footmarks, Our Legacy of Madness, The Sky is our Earth: An- thology of 50 young Nigerian Poets. He was the winner of Professor Eruvbetine’s Poetry Prize. He also won Professor Hope Eghagha’s Drama Prize in 2012. He has been published in Pulse, Ynaija, Praxis, Literary Horizon: An International Peer-Reviewed English Journal, etc. He reports for The Journal Nigeria.
He loves reading hard books, listening to music, and scooping inspiration from the stream of mundane activities. He enjoys playing with street photography, graphic designing, and photo editing.
2/9/2022 08:18:26 pm
This is Beautiful. Thanks for putting words to generations of silenced ones.
3/9/2022 07:49:06 am
This poem is so beautiful, it’s history skillfully twisted like a thick immortal braid in our hearts.
ALIYU, MOHAMMED ABDULHAMEED
3/9/2022 12:29:19 pm
Wow, nice piece of poem....indeed, we are indigestible!
3/9/2022 12:32:48 pm
Truth.....well done to the writer
3/9/2022 12:55:31 pm
Beautiful poem with the deepest meanings...
3/9/2022 01:20:05 pm
This is so lovely.It leaves a memory of that horrible incident that occurred at lekki toll gate.
4/9/2022 02:31:07 pm
4/9/2022 04:14:49 pm
This is so fantabulous... More wisdom, knowledge and understanding by his grace... keep it up.
4/9/2022 06:38:01 pm
Very nice poem, keep it up .
4/9/2022 06:47:59 pm
This is beautifully written. Well done Joshua.
Ayodeji Ojo Emmanuel
4/9/2022 10:53:35 pm
Such a detailed narration! Such a beautiful piece!
5/9/2022 10:39:36 pm
How to love your country by Omidire Joshua really instigate a true picture of what has been going on in our country. Solidarity on this script is inevitable.
6/9/2022 09:00:33 am
Great poem from a great poet. Keep soaring my dear. How you bring your thoughts to words is super. I really applaud your poetic talent. The sky is your stepping stone.
6/9/2022 10:54:53 am
I enjoyed reading this. A great piece.
6/9/2022 11:35:08 am
This piece made me feel so close to the event that took place at lekki.
6/9/2022 01:48:58 pm
This poem beamed a floodlight on the recalcitrant leaders and the victimised people of Nigeria.
6/9/2022 03:35:31 pm
It's the irony in every words for, replacing tears, regrets, and shame with happiness, pride...
8/9/2022 11:51:05 pm
Incredibly visceral, nuanced with history of contested claims to patriotism and framed within geographies of sundry denials and dispossession. The poet-persona as collective agency and voice inscribes the rightness and justness of mass self-immolation amid institutional carceral, panoptic crackdowns. The trope of "fishbone" is especially inspired in relation to the table manner of repressive regimes of power. The deliberate violation of conventions of syntax and morphology reminiscent of e.e cummings and other exponents of orthographic deviance is refreshingly bold and remarkable. Specifically,numbering the stanzas with lowercase letters as well as using lowercase letters almost through out the entire poem betokens a mood and method of iconoclasm, and,even, rebellion as a semiotic index of rage. In this regard, therefore, style echoes sense, and method embosses meaning. The poem has monumentalized the Lekki Massacre of October 20,2020 in our cultural memory and has transmuted history into popular folklore.
9/9/2022 08:46:45 am
This is truly incredible Joshua
10/9/2022 02:27:57 am
This is awesome
10/9/2022 03:15:51 pm
This is absolutely fantastic. Well-done. I enjoyed the play on words, sarcastic romance of words. Thank you for this.
12/9/2022 08:20:08 am
One day, I hope my country gets healed.
13/9/2022 09:55:18 am
This is an excellent depiction of the lekki tollgate massacre.
15/9/2022 03:45:28 pm
This poem is long overdue. Thank you for finally writing it.
17/9/2022 03:19:30 am
If anything, I loved the use of Sarcasm in this piece. Welldone Joshua.
13/4/2023 08:45:25 am
...."ask them questions about the demise of your father in the grave of poverty"
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