or an elegy written in May
For Deborah Samuel, and Harira Jibril, her 3 children and unborn child.
Tonite I am complete with all the deaths
my country has gifted me. & I shall be
a hedonist one last minute before it gifts
others mine. In the bus in Makurdi with my
empty plastic bottle to buy palm wine,
my face out the window, slapped by the
evening, I dream of escape, the final
touches to make on my manuscript &
send to a friend in case Nigeria decides
I am a rose. Now, I finally think of leaving—
of how I shall leave my mother, of my
final suicide in a distant place, my second
slave-coming. I take no grace in the arith-
metic of leaving, to un-be. My feet submits
to the trojan bridge that beckons me.
My thoughts with Lenrie Peters on many
things—“my two faces / move sideways /
groping for identity . . .” My two departures
mapping me—one, split from my umbilical
cord; two, dying, to live where snowflakes
are cold metaphors. To Chimamanda’s Obiora:
indeed, man has lost his dignity. Me too. It
is what my country has taught me. This is the
re-awakening, this is telling MLK Jr to
shove his dream up his arse. This is total
blasphemy; I, cursing Jehovah for not de-
fending me from lies. Who is my shepherd?
It is departure. What is his staff? A stri-
king snake. And what can I say? The year
of the end is near. Moloch cheers, Moloch
cheers, for the festival ahead. The bamboonias
are out with heavy erections to gangrape
any salvation. Tonite, I am complete with
all the deaths my country has gifted me. I
gulp a Trophy stout; toast to our achieve-
ment, toast to hideousness, toast to our bravery.
Toast, one last time, to the end.
Carl Terver writes from Makurdi and his forthcoming poetry collection is The Memory of Now. He is a culture writer, critic and editor. He is the founding editor of Afapinen. Follow him on Twitter @carlterver