Two Poems by D.M Aderibigbe


Holy War

What’s the use of teaching
Young ones how to shape love
With their mouths? Let the elders
Touch their own lips, let them feel
How dry they are. Could you stop a flower
You don’t water from withering?

There was a dilapidated house
Behind a garden where we plucked
Orchids to buy our girlfriends’
Lips—an Arab boy lived there.
We prayed not to see him:
His skin reminded us

How little time God spent wrapping
Black flesh around our bones.
Today! His skin is carnivorous—
It eats his brothers’ and sisters’ skins.
On the TV, Pharaoh’s fall continues.
His descendants descend on

One another in their Holy War:
Bodies burn, houses smoke.
In a new news update,
Al-Assad’s sad story blows up
Inside my eyes. A girl cries—
Fire licks her mother into ash.

The green khaki of America
Flexes its muscle, ready to wipe Syria
Out of our eyes. A boy cries—
Smoke from his father’s body
Hangs in the sky. And here,
In Lagos, in my sitting room,

My ears are wet with my crying sister’s voice.
Her thumb drips blood like the juice you get
When you puncture a mango with your teeth.


Black Pope

For Kelechi Obi

The last time I watched TV – chopped
Heads, desiccated,
Like those fried fish we used
To buy from that red kiosk to augment
Garri for lunch—these heads,
Piled up in a street of Mogadishu.
Flailing cars fleeing from terror crushed
Them into liquid. I wonder where the
Headless bodies are – could they have
Been sumptuous delicacies
For vultures? Their flesh wickedly peeled
By honed beaks, their families
At home, waiting at door mouths

Maybe you could bequeath
The rest of your life to God—
Become a Catholic priest—your penis
Castrated by the Holy Spirit. Isn’t that
The dream you always dreamed
Before you read the no-sex clause?
Under perforated palm-fronds,
Where sun passed through the holes
Scattering warm stars on the ground,
The picture of a black pope glinted
on your lips.

At the National Cemetery in Abuja,
A Catholic priest prays over
A barrage of bodies, firewood
Lit by the fingers of local terrorists.
Survivors surround the steep grave’s mouth.
You clench a bunch of flowers,
Crying, praying. My friend, listen—
It is time you gave your
Sperm to God.


About the Author:

D.M Aderibigbe is a Nigerian undergraduate, who currently studies History and Strategic Studies at the University of Lagos. His work appears in numerous print and online journals around the world including Canary, Rampike, Anomalous Press and B O D Y. Plus a number of anthologies, including the Kind-of-a-hurricane Press Best of 2012 Anthology Storm Cycle. He thinks God loves you.