Dike Okoro, poet, fiction writer, and scholar, is the author of two poetry books, In the Company of the Muse and Dance of the Heart. His poetry has recently appeared in the poetry anthologies, Magnum Opus: An Anthology on Universal Oneness (2019); Obama Menthum: An Anthology of Transformational Poetry (2016); and Fingernails Across the Chalkboard: Poetry and Prose on HIV/AIDS from the Black Diaspora (2007). His work has appeared in WLT: World Literature Today, Chimurenga, The Caribbean Writer, and elsewhere. His was shortlisted for the 2016 Cecile De Jongh Poetry Literary Prize. He teaches at Harris-Stowe State University.
Spare the moment a smile
if yesterday walks into us
in the middle of a debate
to turn men going crazy
into elders suddenly wise.
Our foundations of the past
were set on trials that made
no champion of a first-time hunter.
Risk made the failure better with time,
so when next the mocked hunter
returns with a giant kill
much is spoken to venerate his skill.
These words I lift to the sky by speaking aloud
since I brought no drinks but knowledge
to show my generosity in kind.
Metaphor for the Generation
Catch the blaze with your cellphones
Or with a flash from your cameras.
There’s insanity that’s unforgivable
In the act of violence,
The celebration of stupidity that
Makes the dimwit a hero.
Sit before a laptop, and
Surf the web for Sambisa Forest
And you’ll find the mating of acrimony.
Troubled souls stealing freedom from others
To glorify misfortune in history’s books.
Boko Haram they’re called,
But the sage knows they’re far from rams
Offered as ambrosia for their beliefs.
The killing of the innocent
To atone for the wages of ambition.
Telling it like it is
Each day I celebrate a major
Achievement, I am trying to
Tell my failures
To move out of the way
So I can teach my tongue
How to belong to an endless song.
Now we can care less about patience
but must reinforce our resolve
with the assurance of experienced messengers.--Tanure Ojaide, "Home Song II"
The minstrel strolls past the laughing gang
mocking the ousted ruler mourning the lost
election only he feels had betrayed his surreal
reign as king. After all, every life of expectancy
depends on a sort of state of tranquility threatening
storms to share in the mandate of sanity that assures
the beaten of respect in the circle of contestants with
trembling hearts and faces that reveal what the
present has refused to hide for fear of retribution.
But the flowers of the home ground are indiscrimi-
nate when in bloom and uncaring in projecting the
suffering many in silence who defy with tongues heavy
from interpreting wrongs as visible as night's glows.
It will be a spectacle of callousness to say a ruler is
deserving of a second chance after his dance in a
forest of ghosts leaves him short of one arm; but
who knows what devil he trampled upon to deserve
the standing ovation of a loser too good to accept
his days are gone!