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Uchenna Oyali
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Uchenna Oyali!!

UCHENNA OYALI (uoyali@yahoo.com)

 

Uchenna Paul Oyali is a native of Oko-Ogbele in Oshimili South Local Government Area of Delta State-Nigeria, was born in Benin-City, Edo State He had his early education at St. Mary’s Primary School North Bank, Markudi, Benue; Ezi Ogidi Primary School, Ogidi and Boys Secondary School, Ogidi, Anambra State. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Language of the University of Abuja, Nigeria. He wrote the poems in this collection when he was an undergraduate.

 

THEY COME YET WITHOUT SHAME

 

 They come without a single shame

They never come with one

They come rest assured of success

Because they cannot fail

Not with the bags of naira notes

Given generously

To those men ready to thumbprint

Against the gods’ logos

 

Your life of misery though age long

Will soon become a myth

Soon will you turn fresh and robust

You won’t regret your vote

Eggheads will flood your families

Because education

Will not be far from the grass root

All your children will smile

Communication lines will reach

Even those in ghettos

The world will become a village

To the people I serve

 

So they breathe streams of promises

As palpable as smoke

And when the polls draw near again

They come yet without shame

 

 

 

 

 THE VOICE

 

The voice of the parrot crying in the air

Prepare the way for His Excellency

Make clean and majestic his path

Destroy the old woman’s tripod near the road

Lest she pours hot Akara oil on His Excellency

Remove out of sight the roadside tables

Those peppers, tomatoes, onion, fish and ugu

Surely will mar His Excellency’s sightseeing

Will ruin his excursion

Prevent from coming closer the hungry children

Their tattered clothes and dirty bodies

Will detract His Excellency’s majestic benevolence

Do this and receive via the radio

His Excellency’s generous donations

To those he serves.

 

 

 

ALONE HE WENT TO JAIL

 

He came around with a new bike

‘It is mine,’ he claims

But how he got it was not known

Even to dad and mum

 

Everybody saw his talent

And all, his praises sang

Some saw themselves as nincompoops

Because they’ve got no bike

 

The next hour the police came

Their quest a stolen bike

And all at once his grace denied

Alone he went to jail.

 

 

 

DEATH

 

When life seems blissful

And worry far off

When friends palliate loneliness

And the world turns rosy

You strike

Punctuating the aura of freedom

Instilling fear of the next minute

In mortals

You make life worthless

And vague the essence of living

The shock of your strike

Lingers long after your visit

Was that body ever whole?

Did it smile in good company?

Did it…?

So will all mortals one day be

           II

Kings and slaves to you must bow

And same for the young and old

The nearer your target

The sharper the pains

The greater the loss

The bigger the vacuum

Look if you can at the faces of the bereaved

And spell the conscience

That hatches another visit

The certainty of your cut

Makes no less the pains

Now we live with memories

Of days together spent

Today fresh like a fresh cut

Tomorrow faint like smoke

Memories that die when our bodies

Lose their substance.

 

 

 

 KADUNA MARCH {2000)

 

Heads were plucked from their roots

Like mango fruits

Stomachs were designed the way

A farmer does his cocoa pods

With his machete

Oh!

The irony of acid and alkaline

 

Who are these migrants?

What festivity calls for such traveling?

Christmas? Sallah?

They don’t come with eyes

Short of brine

Nor with mouths tired of wailing

Producing only loud whispers

There are no eating and drinking

No love songs and sweet dreams

 

But scenes of children

Relishing the image of their father

Showing the heavens

The content of his bowel

Of fathers savouring the sight

Of beloved ones

Succumbing to the embrace

Of “go-to-hell”

Of wives widowed

In their honeymoon

Of elders performing

The funeral rites

Of the younger generation

Of natives stranger-like

Enjoying the ducks’ company

 

In the market square

While the clock chimes!

Oh!

The gains of religious nationalism

Of the peace-fight between

Peace-preaching institutions.

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