Unyierie Angela Idem

Unyierie Angela Idem

Unyierie Angela Idem

The call of the drums

The tamtam, the drums!
Rolling echoes in my head.
They beat a sad note.
No accompanying Kora.
No praises of the mighty whose
Carcasses mingle with the desert dust.
Listen! Wailing women!
The king is dead!

The tamtam, the drums!

Dead? Did you say dead?
No, the king never dies.
He lives on forever,
In the minds of his people.
Haunting memories, daunting dreams
The drums beat for you.
You are the dead.

The tamtam, the drums!

Listen! The still voice calls.
C-o-m-e! C-o-o-m-e!! C-o-o-o-m-e!!!
Eat the dainties of the ancient
Carcasses of the desert dust.
See how they wait, arms open
To tear your immortal soul apart,
To keep forever and ever.

Bus ride Lagos style

Tofu, tofu, tofu-o, tofu-o-o-O-O!
Thick grey smoke bellows from
The back of rickety tin box buses.
Overburdened yellow mounds rumble
Through Lagos streets discharging
Their human cargo in daily madness.
“Oshodi, Oshodi-e-o!
Ten naira bus, Oshodi-e-O!”
“Cele ‘Lasa, Cele ‘Lasa, Cele ‘Lasa
‘Ol yo twenty naira change-i-O!”
“Orile-e-e-e! Orile-e-e-e! Orile-e-e-e!
Commot for road. A no go Palmgrove.”
Deafening cacophony of rag-clothed bus boys.
Ultimate confusion for strangers just arrived.


Ramshackle huts perch on the roadside.
Stone pillars and crossbars straddle the road.
Marks of a post hastily erected.
Blue-clad helmeted men, cocked guns
Pointed, flag down approaching
Cars from both directions.
Deafening screech of brakes as
Weary hands drop crisp blue notes
Into black-gloved phalanges.
“…Tion Sir”, fingers rise to the
Forehead in normal salute.
Exchange completed, cars blast off,
Their forbidden bounty unchecked.

The myth of a Black man

The myth of a Black man
Is the myth of a Black man.
‘Cause that’s who he is,
A man and Black, in search of the
Demythification of the myth imposed
On him by a mythicised other
In the presence of all mankind
To resolve the myth of myths
Foretold in the past, and
Retold in the future in the tale
Of myths from the land beyond
All myths ever imagined that
Must be demythified for the
Sake of the Black man
And generations unborn to
The mystery of the myths.

Green berets, white caps

One by one they had their
Military turns.
One by one they want their
Civilian turns.
The generals are back-
Great burly alligators
And wiry giraffes.
With a wave of the hand
They dismiss the past and
stake their claims to the rocky
seat of power.

In the name of democracy,
They work their magic to
Earn acceptance by the
Masses they once trampled.
We thought they had
Learned their lesson.
Oh, how time erodes the
pulse of the mind!
Short term memory is
the adversary of the soul.

What then do we say
Of this transformation, when
starchy evergreens morph
Into boundless flowing gowns?
What will we tell our
children when their puzzled
Looks question this insanity?
That we had collaborated
To create a dragon whose
Fiery flames we couldn’t escape?

Unyierie Angela Idem teaches English as a Second Language (ESL) at Holyoke Community College, Holyoke, Massachusetts, USA. In her free time, she reads and writes poetry on a broad range of issues from personal to social and political. Recently, she has participated in faculty organized poetry readings and class poetry workshops at Holyoke Community College. She has been a guest reader at public libraries in Massachusetts, USA.


3 responses to “Unyierie Angela Idem

  1. Wao! The prose and rhythm here and on the link below are awesome and oh, so topical! “Brothers” would say “on point”.


  2. tunde dada

    Smooth , simple, flowing flawlessly and invariably faultless. Well done

  3. Saade Walter Idem

    A concise episodic narrative of our roots. A delight to read!

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