Tenants of the Desert

(After a reading of Esiaba Irobi’s “The Kingdom of the Mad”)



Rogues knit systems

Of greed and parade

Dishevelled desires along this

Terrain tarred with congealed



Paupers bruised palms

Unfurl at

crumbs falling off the

Floor of airtight fists;

The weight of branded pain crushes

The tendrils of dreams,

dreams sprouting from

Poisoned pods


Cracked skulls flee from targets

Of shelling guns and retreat to huts

Thatched with cobwebs.


Missionaries incubate coups

and drown

Believers in bowls of brutal baptisms;

Vegetarians make meat of myths,

They mate with

Abattoirs and reproduce

vultures starved

Of flesh


Tonight, I

Stand on the

Cadaver of dreams,

Humming the songs that

Once cheered this bleeding body on…


Coloured Memory

(for all who did not taste the fruit of their labour)


Sleep on, brave potters

Sleep on

Now we know Earth has no shops

For the display of finished products,

No memory for the storage of

Treasured tears

Sleep on, brave potters


Sleep on, brave potters

Sleep on

The lips of suns have

Sucked the moisture in Life’s clay,

Leaving behind murmurs

From broken jaws

Sleep on, brave potters

Sleep on


Sleep on, brave potters

You who sacrificed your comfort

For doomed prodigals

Sleep on


It is the season of tides and


But I would hoist your drying names

On the pinnacle of walled memories,

Sleep on, brave potters

For now we know Earth has no

Shops for display of finished products,

Sleep on, brave potters

Justice Chikaobi Agoha is an emerging writer. He is a graduate of the English Department, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

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