Finally I Know You

Finally I Know You

  • For ESIABA IROBI

I have finally discovered you

ESIABA IROBI

I that longed to paean about cracking laughters

and large hearts

From your rocky roots in Futa Djallon

Through  the humps of this rugged earth

To your first ejaculates into the Atlantic intake

Itself the uptake of vaster melodrama

of lounging waves and man-tides and –  

I have finally discovered you

 Not hands locked by wine glass

 telling Chimamanda how – by way of praise –

you found some page of  Half of a Yellow Sun sexually stimulating

at the Okigbo conference at Harvard

in two-thousand-and-seven when Achebe and  Soyinka

regaled captive eardrums with tales of stolen chicken at Fiditi

along with their wives, or then-spouses

As our own nods sealed us as accessories in that chicken catch-and-cook

Way back in the Fiditi days …

  • Mind: I speak nothing here but poetruth

I saw your teary eyes

When Achebe did the icho madu* ritual for his buddy

Christopher Okigbo

Denied one in his homestead when 

 the sound of flying bullets that trumped the hum of  war drums

finally drowned out all evidence of birdsongs

You could not stand his searching dirge unconstrained by wheel-chair

Still I did not know you, ESIABA IROBI

UNTIL…

I found you in these verdant verses

In the good old pulp

 eye found you in the pages of your entreaties

to implacable gods, of this millipede-stubborn life

in your quest for embrace, for earthunion,

and, unknown to you, for canonization

by the white smokes of the puritan conclave  

and your lust for JANE BRYCE’s ‘feline prose’

you are probably the reason I returned to town

Ile-Ife

this town that grew me up in deep lores

still sentient  with ancient newness –

to be tickled by the slim beauty of your  Inflorescence.

This repudiation of a well-made poem

Purring its beauty out in the

Crumbs left behind after  the king termite had feasted

in pulp-and-pageANTry

Ah, ESIABA:  If only you could see what goes for poetry now!

NOTE

*Icho mmadu: part of Igbo funeral ritual. Achebe organized what is believed to be an impromptu one for his buddy Christopher Okigbo at the Okigbo Conference, Harvard University, in September 2007

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s