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Tears Of My Drum

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Teats of my Drum …

Teats of my Drum
by
S, O. Adebayo


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  • 1. TEARS OF MY DRUM (A collection of poems) S. O. Adebayo, PhD. Department of Psychology University of Ado-Ekiti Nigeria. 1
  • 2. DEDICATION For her Who first fed me The rhythm of life In the cosy recess Of her sanguine womb. 2
  • 3. LUCUBRATION Love is ................ freedom from The fan of hate When cast out Like infested fagot By the ember Of your love. 3
  • 4. BASTARD They are bastards These black artists of white mind Lost their eyes, ears and heads In the scramble for western pottage Their paintings a grotesque Devoid of African spice Of black myth and valour Doubly amorphous Rorschach’s inkblots. These bastards They say I lack the eyes to see And the passionate nose to smell My eardrum blocked To the music of their batted canvas I say it is tasteless, spiritless, A hen’s scratch on sand. 4
  • 5. These lost sheep Look at African art contemptuously But their master, Picasso From whom they pilfer Was inspired by African heads They copy Picasso And become his shadow They detest blackness But they are black They detest Olokun They shun Obatala They are rude to Orunmila They become shadows Apes of western show These African bastards Who show their father’s house With the left hands. 5
  • 6. NO MORE WORD Leaking basket Betrayed billions of words ------Harbinger of lies-------- One word Minced sowed and smothered In fertile ears Ought sprout green on fecund hearts And grow roots and bear fruits In billions of folds A wanton dog wandered way- ward – ly From his master’s leash -------- A wanton dog lost in a wanton snare------- He pawed banana at the market square A wanton dog crushed by a wanton god 6
  • 7. Any rancid swagger Deaf to popular lyre Courts thunderstorm ------- Bottled fumes do become furious Battered meek do become ferocious When grain – less hen perches On supple rope ease fades out--------- 7
  • 8. ENCOUNTER WITH THREE NYMPHS I saw one in the dew – drop of a wet morn inside her fluffy nest a floor of polished brass she offered me And I said no For it was not doing me Like sleep I Met two In the gold ray Of a warm noon Amidst the verdant growth A mat of golden fronds 8
  • 9. She offered me And I said no For it was not doing me Like sleep I Held three In the moon- cream Of a cool night Before the giggling stars The cleft of her luscious chest She offered me And I said yes For it was doing me Like sleep And Deep down in that sublime sleep I heard the quivering lips Of the giggling stars Sing the annunciation 9
  • 10. Of the birth of another priest A priest whose sceptres Are the drum the pen and the palm nuts. 10
  • 11. THE DRUMMERS’ DRUMBEAT The slimy snail killed Our king’s hunch – back So the drummers drummed The four- horned flesh gorged Our king’s only eyes So the drummers drummed The drummers drummed Their drum of intrigue At Obatala’s high altar ------ Whosoever killed the king’s hunch – back Shall serve as Yemoja’s cold meal At the frothing riverbank Or Lakaye’s hot lunch At the blacksmith’s shed Or Egbara’s lukewarm dinner At the three footpath junction; The snail has killed The king’s hunch- back At Obatala’s high altar The snail shall serve as Yemoja’s cold meal 11
  • 12. At the frothing riverbank Or Lakaye’s hot lunch At the blacksmith shed or Egbara’s lukewarm dinner At the three footpath junction But the drummers are not our king’s tongue His highness must have his regal say -------- Whosoever Killed The king’s hunch- back Shall receive regal honours His head shall wear akoko leaves His body shall wear alaari pleats He shall hold the regal horse – tail And ride in the king’s entourage---- The drummers forgot their old song And composed again a new song ------We killed the king’s hunch- back We prostrate for our honours Our heads shall wear akoko leaves Our bodies shall wear alaari pleates 12
  • 13. We shall hold the regal horse tail We shall ride in the king’s entourage----- The regal police rounded them all up And lakaye had a heavy sop. 13
  • 14. ODE TO THE WAILING DRUM Gongon You the reincarnate of ayan tree The resurrect of sacrificial beast Your eyes, wide, penetrating like opele tray See into the deep groves of grumbling spirits The rhythmic echoes of those weird- looking strings Baroquing you naked juicy breasts Like the heavenly dress of igunnuko Are the sonorous voices of rancoured deities Of neglected ancestors in the gloom Of spirits vexed by their prodigal son Gongon When ayan in acrobatic gait grabs When kongo in ritual kowtow touches Your skin irritated, your eyes red And your spiritual mouth cries, wailing In baritone chant proverbial rhythm The foolish in the shackles of tasteless beer Wriggles like fly that falls in deep red oil 14
  • 15. Not able to fly, not able to dance, not Able to understand the esoteric sob The wise, in palmwine wisdom, nods heads He has drunk deep the ripples of olokun Drank palm wine and salty blood with ogun Dined with the patriarch, orunmila And understands the proverbial echoes Of the dead, of immortal black spirits. 15
  • 16. RESOLUTION So the fig is plucked the fig is eaten i won’t outchrist christ who cursed a fig tree for its figlessnesss i would wait patiently i would tender caringly for the efflorescence of another fig. 16
  • 17. NOT FOR GOLD ALONE My peers once quipped ( pushed by the logic of crass materialism) --------- What crisp notes Has he to count For his obsession with numbers-------- I ruminated ------ I have Neither gold Nor silver To show for this lofty Business of numbers I have The halo Of palm nuts. 17
  • 18. ILLUSION The poetic eyes see the wonders of the world The poetic mind marvels at their worth Colourful flowers, butterflies and honey bees The starry stars and their constellations Litter the azure and dazzle like diamonds on ebony ears The caressing glow later become biting blaze The poetic eyes red, searching for almighty’s face Sudden darkness, glorious shower Thunder drummed and clarinets clattered Poetic mind engrossed in the greens The mushrooms and the climbers that creep Sheep bleated, lion roared Man born helpless, immature Poetic eyes closed darkness in the city. 18
  • 19. PHANTOM Like a wanton bitch She came to me Sniffing me from head to toes When i touched her With my inflamed nose She began to giggle But when i ‘tempted To dance the cosy dance that showed in her limpid eyes She breezed away 19
  • 20. PARABLE OF THE BABUWAS If you see the babuwas With bums big like zuma Do not frown Do not think they suffer From elephantiasis of the scrotum For they are merely answering The beck and call of their stomachs If you see the babuwas With mane like the lion’s Do not think they’re man – beast For they are merely answering The gibberish of their stomachs If you see the babuwas Bedecked in layers of multi- coloured rags ------- an ugly copy of the chameleon’s Do not laugh Do not think they have run amok For they are merely answering 20
  • 21. The tom-tom beat of their tummies If you see the babuwas Break dancing, beating iromi to its game Do not wonder Do not think they love the pains of wriggled waist For they are merely yielding The clang and clangour of their entrails For we are all like the babuwas With bums big like zuma With manes bushy like lion’s With rags coloured like the chameleon’s Dancing, wriggling to the gallery Of the buyers of our fake wares. 21
  • 22. EDIFICE I look at you all over And you flash you teeth Glowingly like sunlight I look at you all over And you swing your waist Gracefully like moonlight It is not to detest But to attest That I look at you all over Contours and crest This twin – balusters Of your front – yard So splendidly erected Their jingles are like belfry’s Beckoning me to the gallery Of a master- hand The gothic threshold Of your courtyard So assiduously engraved 22
  • 23. I can’t wait to traverse its loft That bay of your backyard So opulently baroque I behold it is there our world revolves I look at you all over With thought not impure I only revere The strokes of the rare sculptor. 23
  • 24. AUSTERITY Austerity Spouse to scarcity I implore you take leave of me You who pounded yam in gbegbe leave And cooked okra in peanut shell Millions partook in your prudent meal Hundreds become satiated Millions become frustrated. 24
  • 25. ENTRAILINGS They persuade for a spouse An assured social forceps To climb the pyramid of life The entrails tattoo Against the white – wash Of cam wood of approval That touches far ... far Not beyond the skin depth The entrails protest Against the hawking Of soap – vendors The entrails whine In sympathy with the pocket For its dearth of cowries. DRUM – TEARS softly 25
  • 26. my drum softly your cry softly my drum softly your tears do not ooze yourself dry yet when the maidens’ pots are yet unfilled softly my drum the stick hits gently softly my drum the sticks greets caressingly do not cry yourself hoarse yet when the moonlight has just appeared softly my drum 26
  • 27. the stick beats hard now softly my drum your tears well up now softly lightly cautiously dripping the witches mother is dead softly my drum the stick beats painfully softly my drum your eyes red stressfully which mouth shall tell that the khaki pocket is soiled with oil 27
  • 28. softly my drum the stick beats rudely not borne of disrespect but of unbound mouth of a youthful mind that long to say all that eyes see softly my drum show your rhythmic grace yeepa must you call them vermin call them scavengers conmen who call the thieves to despoil and call the owners to arrest conmen who sing the thieves songs of escape before the owners arrive their farms must you call them scavengers call them vermin 28
  • 29. you town – crier what my drum what shall you call them our teachers whose mothers were witches but wait whatever you call the vampires who parade as teachers in verdant khaki remember one drum that sounded too loud just yesterday when drum stick beat too hard just yesterday the drum was badly torn just yesterday caution my drum 29
  • 30. caution or how shall we treat the vampires who stand us up at fang point I DESERVE YOUR PITY In the land of poetry i sought you 30
  • 31. Orunmila and i with searchlight equipped too Where did we not scoop among the constellation? The search made with meticulous elocution Orunmila saw your footprints and taught me poetry Poetry arouses passion, intellect and reality Like whirlwind you showed with sympathy Orunmila grumbles, what a lukewarm empathy I shuddered and took consolation in a footpath meeting But no footpath in a crowd’s rattling I implored the cyclone of telepathy To bare my restless mind with emphasis Among the lilies and roses i peeped I saw colourful butterflies and not bid Took a protracted look at peahens Odumare save, i didn’t perish in vain forest And one misty morning in ebony forest i found you When the birds in protest refused to sing The animals for want of warmth stayed in caves And the wind was still the trees refused to bow The river between us numbed my nerves 31
  • 32. When an odourless face was shown to me An odourless face with high a neck And a body- gait mighty and high Sneering Sneering at me, a poor fool of nature I heard your psyche, i heard its songs I heard its beats, i heard your tongue I heard your villainous psyche proclaim in silence ---------- i have won this psychological war------- The vanquished be a cadaver for all you care But i deserve your pity in a wane love. DANCE OF THE FICKLES La La Laa La 32
  • 33. They sung their specious songs, the sophists Tom Bam Tom Bam They beat their spurious drums, the casuists The fickle danced to the tune of illusion And become frenzy before the flute of deception The sophists sang in falsetto The casuists beat incognito In frenzy the fickle danced On their heads a veil of trance Like mosquitoes thirsty for blood Or bloody bugs that stick to dog Sophists stuck to fickle’s bodies With suction- pipe dipped in veins The fickle wriggled as if in pains While casuists blew soothing balm And ate deep into flesh of rams In pains the fickle yelled Like birds in groan they fell Gasped for breath and for bread 33
  • 34. But the rats still hopped around And the mosquitoes bit around December, When ferocious hunters came Rapacious rats ready not for the game Met in the relish of fleshy booty Sucking mosquitoes became panicky With ease rats were rounded In peace mosquitoes wings maimed Fickle awake from marathon languor Yawning in praise uniformed saviour HALT! HALT!! No spurious song to dance to Nor specious slogan to blow Ferocious hunters clamped on them all And the fickle minds became empty At the noon of the fantasy And they longed for the sophists And they clamoured for the casuists To blow and beat and bite. 34
  • 35. ELEGY Alas I have gone to Ogun to launder 35
  • 36. Alas I have gone to Osa to launder I returned home Without my jumper My eyes oozed water Profusely, profusely Alas I have paddled to Osun for fishing Alas I have paddled to Oya for fishing I returned home with a rotten fish My body shivered Violently, violently Alas I have walked to Ila for palm wine Alas I have walked to Ife for palm wine I returned home with a broken gourd My throat gasped Thirstily, thirstily 36
  • 37. Alas I have gone to Iginju for hunting Alas I have gone to iginju for hunting I returned home with a fetid squirrel My stomach rumbled Hungrily hungrily hungrily. COCKTAIL BANTER A brother, dear in thought and in poetry Broke once, when caught between the webs Of the scourging flame of philosophy And the sensual tinge of profanity Precious porcelain 37
  • 38. ----------- Should a wise cock make a peck for corn Amidst hot coals----------- A bouldering pelt in the ocean tide of my wine His broken porcelain I offer ------------ The cock that pecks complacency Only in the grains of known ground Lives a life impoverished of knowledge That which glows also in the grain of hot coals Courts death opulent of experience Better to die of opulence of knowledge Than to live in poverty of experience Sweeter to drink hemlock of philosophy Than to eat honey of profanity As my bawdy gourd. JACKSON’S SYNDROME Give to me a chisel and a hammer Call for me a tailor, bring a pliers My nose too black for my black face Let me have a taste of aquiline nose Absurd? 38
  • 39. Nonsense White I’m in mind Black my hide And what’s absurd In a white mind With a white nose On a black hide? It is Jackson syndrome Uncanny novelty in uncanny world A man looked at his hair, kinky Uttered disdain Looked at another man’s, silky Total longing Rushed for palm oil For pepper And for salt With these condiments equipped for a frizzle Conflagration as his hair sizzled Burnt scalp Bald head Goat’s hair 39
  • 40. All is Jackson’s syndrome Uncanny novelty in uncanny world Let the spotted leopard That shows disdain for spots Be soaked in burning oil Let him become de- leopard spot Or de- spotted leopard Let the unproud lion With mind transsexual His mane be barbed Let him become de- mane lion Or de- lioned mane Let him be sapped of manly juice Let him become yolk – less lioness De- leopard spots Or De- spotted leopards De –mane lion Or De- lioned mane Symptoms of jack son’s syndrome 40
  • 41. Uncanny novelty in uncanny world THEIR DISEASES DIFFER She brings her porous chants To cause ripples in the oil-peace Of her homestead Woman of hundred books 41
  • 42. She strums new slogans Stringed behind her spongy ken Woman of hundred books She is the female spider That looms large over her partner Woman of hundred books Her man folk run for dear life From the carcinogens Of her frothing fancy Woman of hundred books Yet woman of hundred books Dead to the sniggers of her soul sisters Blinded by the toxin of her own clamour Basks in the water- surge of her own grandeur Pontificates on a ponderous snap Of macho – cast shackles She clamours for A man- baby- sitter A man- baby- feeder 42
  • 43. A man- baby-singer A man whose soft servile songs Makes the baby sleep, the woman free She clamours for A man- food- cooker A man-dish- washer A man who garnishes so tastily For her to devour so hungrily She clamours for A man who shows dexterity In the wash of dirty panties Who are her followers? Who are her admirers? Not the soul sisters Who commit hara-kiri for husband’s pleasure Not the soul sisters Who rest on two knees To serve husband’s delicious meal Not the soul sisters Whose joy of womanhood Is found in baby-making 43
  • 44. Not the soul sisters That sweep the floor And split the wood that make mighty mounds That prop up the roots of bulging crops Not the soul sisters Too eager to play the ridden horse That welcomes the fuss Of whipping twilight Woman of hundred books Wants a man-dish – washer Her soul sisters Wants a man-bed – warmer They are like monkeys and vultures That are not alike in their festering sores Vulture is bald on its head Monkey is bald on its bottom They both need soothing balm Of the physician. 44
  • 45. REMI You, ( a lady) Full of grace Gave me dreams Full of quixotic fancies 45
  • 46. Till The scales Fell And dawn dawned on me - I a mere fool Riding On A cockroach’s back TRANSIENCE I, sentinelled In the drizzle Of a time Wet---------- Like a drake 46
  • 47. Without a nest Trembling ---------------- Like a lily At stream- side Till you beckoned And gave me shelter In your dome But When a deluge Chased the drizzle And the sky hounds Sanctioned the chase You chased me out Into the cold. REQUIEM The well wrought scale of Rectitude Smelted in the furnace of impulsiveness Sword of Aurora Recast into swagger sticks Archetypal voice of orunmila 47
  • 48. Choked with treasures from mammon Hydra- headed Octopus Decorated with sceptre of Obatala Rectitude himself Murdered at the high altar of solipsism Situational ethics Adorned in the toga of currency Behold! Yesterday’s Barabas Proclaimed as today’s Kristi. AMAZONOIDS At the freedom square they all gathered In various colours in various hues Some in skirts that wept for blouses Some in blouses that cared less for boobs Some wore trousers that made men stagger 48
  • 49. Some held cudgels to maim only flies Some held bows with arrows to shoot Some dressed trenches to swallow archfiends Amazonoids Gathered at freedom square Eve- wits Asking for freedom Cudgellers of flies Asking for freedom Shooters of darts Asking for freedoms Dressers of trenches Asking for freedom? The songs for the bedroom They sang at boardrooms ‘of friends that had stayed too long on top Fiends that felt not what The back- ache does the nymph When the baron is on top thumping hard 49
  • 50. They gathered At freedom square Waiving cudgels Maiming flies Chanting solidarity songs Against the fetters That the masculine world Has cast Amazonoids! MANACLE Muezin’s allaah........... Imam’s fatiaah............ Ladani’s amplification Jaamoh’s genuflection Lumutu drops a cadaver 50
  • 51. Ladani turns a scavenger And imam recites mantra for mammon. FLASH FLIES (1) Ayandele tell them With the mouth of your drum Tell those who yearn to walk But detest to crawl 51
  • 52. Tell them There is no short- out To the lofty neck of the palm (2) We are the prodigals Who ate with ten fingers Under the glow of their festive sun And now that the festive sun has set Here we are Trying the knot of cocoyam leaves To enrobe our naked public (3) There are many knots My child- like eyes could behold Many knots My child like mind could untie A woman’s cunt on a hawker’s tray Is one knot Beyond my child-like mind 52
  • 53. (4) The breath, that fresh breath Breathed into a people Who have genuflected too long Looking skyward for their bread Breath breathed into them By bods who cherished salvation for their folks Breath breathed so they may this time Look bad crowns in the face That fresh breath is now decreed foul breath By taskmasters Who have their ways with the gun. CONDITIONALITIES OF LOVE So like IMF Love too has its own conditionalities It took me so long a time to know this. I first thought you accepted me for what i was --------- a poor village teacher 53
  • 54. Who lives on nine naira and fourty kobo (victim of our warped reward system) But two takes solace In turning out brains; graduates Who may one day breeze back to campus In sleeky cars like Benze BMW Daewoo Lexus Pajero Or any other flashy coffin That moves on four legs Experts who may one day look down on their village Teacher and his nine naira and fourty kobo income With disdain------ I thought you accepted me for what i was And it ment much to me than you really could know But one afternoon You brought your own thesis That lagos is where opportunities abound Where we too could catch the silvery smile of fortune 54
  • 55. Where like corporate masquerade i could wear tie with Bright plumage and cuff links and tie clips and braces And suspenders to match And we too could ride our own sleeky car like Benze Bmw Daewoo Lexus Or pajero Or other elegant coffin That walks on four legs I gave consideration to your thesis And i started to beg to apply for dubious jobs In dubious establishments I applied as chief messenger to the MD of a backwarding coy And also as an executive market researcher in another coy That goads people to buy what they may not need I also applied as an expert liar who can wrap lies In golden papers and as community relations officer To an oil scavenger whose gluttonous phallus has defiled Some communities’ virgin land I begged to apply for all kinds of odd jobs in all kinds 55
  • 56. Of odd companies to please your thesis As luck would have it All my prospective employers spoke with one voice. That i may not be needed in their dubious business First i have stayed too long In the noble profession of turning out brains When the experience they wanted is manufacturing lies Second i have stayed too long in the village To know the Wiley ways of lagos and port- Harcourt and Other big cities where fortune smiles in generous ways Third i have become the dry fish whose back may not bend To learn new tricks So one evening when you treated me like a failure And chased me out in the cold I then realised that love like IMF Has its own conditionalities. TYRANY OF LOVE Funmi, When i had not met you I was a person who could work And eat and sleep and wake Without the thoughts of love 56
  • 57. Then you came And sowed the seed of love In the fertile soil of my heart And i became a man Whose work and sleep and awake Depends on the thought and touch And care and caress of you And when i become so used To the thoughts and touch And care and caress of you You uprooted the shoot and planted it In a strange heart And i became a man Who keeps awake by The thoughts of the loss of you love 11.3.94 3:15am 57
  • 58. TALE OF A POPULAR GRIOT A griot Pregnant, Heavy with Baby woes Stripes 58
  • 59. And Swaggers; Ravisher In Verdant gown Raped And Poured Syphilitic semen In His bum Griot Courted With four fancies Bared bum Like cheap homo Unaware Of two jokers Dangling below the belt Bomb dele And 59
  • 60. Fuck the griot Sap the masses And Fuck the griot Lock gani And Lock wisdom- house And Fuck the griot Lock wisdom lips And Fuck the griot Pain Not pleasure Now the wriggle of the griot In labour pain Griot pumped heavy By sadistic cock We wait Chin in palm For the birth 60
  • 61. Of his cantankerous fume SFEM The giddy peacock Pawns his plumage At the market of fox He has sapped off fear Of egg- drop syndrome 61
  • 62. And coccidiosis Of aspergillosis And the plundering hawks That hover from the west Eleven peacock feathers Now exchange for a crow’s Indeed the phoenix Has found his peers In the market of death. RUMINATIONS ON THE TWELFTH MOON The twelfth moon Has shown its snow- white teeth To bless the maiden toils of lovers But here i am still gropping, still hoping 62
  • 63. If only your coquettish smiles Did not entrap If only your flirting Did not deceive If only the diamonds in your eyes Did not attract If only the fires from them Did not warm a cold hearth If only your bright plumage Did not raise a comb If only the rules of your game Were down to earth I’ll not still be bending at your post Toiling, mincing and smothering the seeds of feeling 63
  • 64. In the infertile soil of your heart This twelfth moon, i’ll not be at your post Waiting, hoping to harvest a leafy feeling Planted eleven moon ago in your heart (2) If i have the wings Of an eagle i’ll fly Fly, fly from your snare I’ll fly from you Over the niger And the nile I’ll fly Limpopo and Zambezi I’ll fly to touch the gems of the sky I’ll fly away from you Over the meditarania And the red seas I’ll fly over the atlantic The pacific and the Indian oceans I’ll fly over the Victoria Falls too I’ll wrap my body In the warm velvet of the sky 64
  • 65. If i have the wings Of a dove i’ll fly And free myself from your snare But why...... Why fly at all When i know i’ll return To still plead for your love (3) Why so cold Like the soup in aluminium pot Why so deaf Like the boulders of ikare hills Why so unfeeling Like the wind from sahara Why so unyielding Like the loins of iroko You who were graceful like the gazelle 65
  • 66. Why have you become so conceited Like the snake (4) See what you have Remoulded me to A mere rhymer of love rhymes I have sacrificed The vibrancy of my art At the altar of your pride Loud voice Powerful rhymes Poignant rhythms Conscious themes I have lost the biting strokes of my quil At the altar of your pride I have tempered anger with love .......... are you so deaf So callous So unfeeling Won’t you listen to my song still In the glow of this twelfth moon? 66
  • 67. (5) So self- centred Like the cyclone So sorrow- striking Like earthquake Your inconsideration Burns like fire Your coldness Spreads pneumonia If Eve was Half cold to Adam as you They would not have populated the world With their love It is the twelfth moon already When will you turn a new leaf? (6) And you too The twelfth moon You too sniggering at me You too chorousing with eleven moons 67
  • 68. To mock my misfortune And you too The twelfth moon You too refusing me your pity You too joining the eleven moons To dance at my failure And you too The twelfth moon Laughing at my folly You too tangoing with her Because i mistook These glazed leads For diamonds And you too The twelfth moon (7) Moon You sit down there smiling But why is your smile So gay today Is it to mock My going home downcast 68
  • 69. Like a vanquished in a fence Go on, open wide your silvery teeth And mock my dropping head And my broken sword Mock my shredded sheath And my broken shield Mock the wound i incurred from fencing Mock my manly quality So unmanly as to lose in a fence Mock my poor manly quality So little to fill The thimble of our junior eve (8) Obatala You are a failed artist Your art is not inspiring This one mistake you commited Has removed the rhythm from your canvas Why did you paint 69
  • 70. Her head with sand Why not experiment With fried cassava grains Then the movement of your work will show As i pour the hot water of my feelings on her head Obatala bring yourself down from mountain ife And learn a thing or two From my mortal strokes. 70
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