POEM 257: OHAMADIKE (For Nnamdi Kanu)

Cowards kept mum in the face of tyranny
You didn’t.
Indecisive folks played hide and seek,
You didn’t.
Elders ‘so called’ ate fat and belched loudly,
You didn’t.

The ignorant ones may condemn you
and say all manner of ill about you
but my pen, like a book of remembrance,
shall remember you
and write all manner of good about you.

You’re an embodiment of courage and dogged activism.
You dared ‘integrity’ with harsh truth.
You stepped on sacred toes and ruffled hallowed feathers.
You revived a dying dream and made us love this sleep.
You defied boundaries
and commanded an army of united purpose.

True, you had your flaws.
Isn’t it human to be flawed?
True, you were radically unbearable.
But who heeds to the plea of a roadside beggar?
You showed the world, we are not pleading to be respected in a nation that was supposed to be ours.
You made it known we are demanding a right wrongly stripped from us.

Today, I remember you and harmless unarmed young men
who danced in the market square with pythons,
but never returned with telltales
of animal invasion and human inhumanity.

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Ohamadike, even though the lady I love
frowns at the mention of your name
I shall loud it on rooftops
until the son rise again.

Ohamadike, even though religion says ‘hush padre’s son!’
I’ll hit hard my gong
until the deaf shall hear and run

Ohamadike, I know not where you are,
here or there.
I know not how you are,
dead or alive.
But I know where we are,
in the land of senile grandpa,
whose one and only source of pleasure,
is the oppression of my unarmed tribesmen
and protection of Fulani ‘headsmen’

Ohamadike, Igbo si “onye aghala nwanne ya”
for this reason, machefuo gi.
I’ll drop my quill on this verse
and hope your father, the king,
is safe and sound.


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Books by Jaachi Anyatonwu
Jaachi Anyatonwu is a poet, editor, and publisher living in the suburbs of Aba. He is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks and collections, and the Editor-In-Chief of Poemify Publishing Inc. Jaachi is passionate about discovering new voices and mentoring emerging poets. He is also a fierce advocate for the boy child and sexually molested.

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