Poetry from Siraj Sabuke

i eat night.

i eat night as would a child a hundred year hungry
to quicken the arrival of dawn for he is the chariot
that brings my mother home from the abattoir father calls room
we are three children ‘in my father’s house’

i the oldest is twelve. what kills me at home
is my blossoming fear for my ten year old sister
as if fertilized, her breasts are so ample
she looks like the 17 year old girl next door

i fear for my sister because when i was 6
i fell upon father profusely sweating
on a girl 2 years  older than me, her breasts
are hardly three fingerful: thumb middle-finger forefinger

he stays away from home sometimes 9 months
when at home, he leaves before dawn
with nothing for mother to keep us
breathing and comes back deep in the night
drunk to fuck patience out the remains of life
from our hungry mother

but strange it is
that i see me preferring night to day
i love night and her darkness
because when she embraces earth
she becomes the nikaab
in which my mother
hides the wrinkles of sorrow
eating the fruits of beauty off her face

and here is my fear:
one day, i will wake up an orphan
protecting his second sister in this world
peopled by uncertain beings
because that day my mother will come home
find her husband fucking beauty
out of her 10 year old daughter, his daughter
with sorrow overflowing from her heart
she will attack him
he drunk, will fight back
bring out the knife he always carries around his waist
push my sister smashing her head on the wall
and then stab mother to death

and i will grab my 6 year old sister
run away, seeking path in this wilderness

a witches’ warehouse
(after Ile Ife massacre)
don’t sing me sour songs of sorrow
don’t beat me dreaded drums of death

don’t blow me fiery flutes of fatal ferals
don’t tell me teary tales of temperamental thugs

let me sit and swallow these searing images
that’d only be created by barbaric artists of yore

let me drown these dungs of dirges soiling my soul
and exhale these air of grief gagging my lungs

this poem is a painting of a gory grove
wherein gathered gangs of nefarious belligerents

singing stinking songs that whisper silences
and fury of eerie fumes deafening our ears

Ife, a heinous witches’ warehouse wherein
massive massacre of men awards trophy

a courtyard of carnivorous barbarians
whose dances of blood breeds burning

pints of piercing pain into the heart of humanity

tell these monstrous merchants of monuments of grief
tell them and all other deliverers of death-pies

that ours is a land leaning on love and tolerance,
a land living on diverse crops sown on same soil

tell the viperous vampires violating veins
that blood is not food for any human

tell them that it is no sin to be Hausa or Northern
tell them that scars are nothing like tattoos

Ife, blood flood does not fertilize any land
knives are for butchers and cutlasses for farmers

guns are companions of soldiers at war
and fire, fire is for sinners held in hell…

Ife, be not a clan of bandits burning
and thieving lives in marketplace


Siraj A Sabuke lives in NEW BUSSA, Nigeria. .  He has a great passion for poetry. He writes SUFI poems. He is influenced by many writers, most especially, Laura M Kaminski who nurses his art of writing. Sabuke sees writing as a life that must be lived.