Niger Delta Blues

You don’t know what it means to live unknown,

to smile in the market square as a stranger

haughtily spills your mother’s name on a pig’s head

and you become a boil on Miss World’s lips.

This is how a mangrove lives without prop roots:

 

a branch is starved until its pregnant leaves become

ghosts of IDPs walking backwards to Oloibiri Well 1.

def.: Oloibiri is the longing of a surrogate mum

e.g.: She died birthing crude oil for the outsiders.

 

You don’t know how it feels when a foe

owns your child and you bow calling him, Lord,

while your neighbours cut your neck with snail shells;

 

you can’t protest because your life’s a nursery rhyme

of CH4 NOx VOCs SO2 CO2 PAHs PCBs HFCs

 

and the other poisons that eat me away daily.

mm

Tim Fab-Eme

Tim Fab-Eme enjoys playing with poetic forms and the themes of identity, exploitation and the environment; he loves gardening and sometimes thinks himself a farmer. Tim hopes to revisit his long-abandoned prose manuscripts and treat them the way he treats his poetry manuscripts. He lives in Rivers; his work is published in The Malahat Review, New Welsh Review, Magma; apt, The Fiddlehead and FIYAH, etc. Tim studied engineering at the Niger Delta University, and is presently pursuing a BA in English Studies at the University of Port Harcourt.

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