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    That night I walked away from
    Your queries and accusing eyes,
    The flap-flap sound of my slippers
    Played rhythms to the lone tone of
    A toad in the dark;
    I cried, paused, and cried some more.

    My luggage is heavy with clothes and complaints
    My new accent is penance for my sin in London’s winter.
    It sits on my tongue in discomfort, like one sits
    On a chair whose leg is broken and shaky.
    And who knows, my forefather’s gods might have
    Shed tears the size of Agulu Lake; vowing to twist
    My tongue back to shapes of riddles and proverbs.

    There’re more tales in the eyes
    Of a lady I met in Leytonstone;
    In the voice of a baritone for whom operas
    Are bittersweet politics;
    In the playfulness of a lad at Robin Hood School;
    In the bottles of beer that formed affections in Stratford;
    In the laughter of Kim Cheng whose English is Chinese;
    In the mind of my professor during a minute of critical thinking;
    And in the underground stations where music boards every train:

    There’re more truths
    In the politics of dying and survival;
    In the way death commands attention;
    In the nod of a lad whose yes means no;
    In the anguish of a writer whose ink is dry;
    In the bulala of a soldier whose love is cruel;
    In Fela’s saxophone whose riffs are prophesies:

    Listen to the belly of that child
    Whose meals are stolen;
    His yawns and tears are testifying:

    Listen to the pains of a sister
    Whose star cracked on the altar of rape;
    Whose shame, names, blames are badges
    For this terror that tears the soul;
    Whose voice is shut when voices speak:

    Listen to the anguish of a Grandpa
    Whose pensions are paid in heaven;
    Whose fruits of labour are laid
    On the tables of men whose motorcades
    And sirens stir more dusts that blind
    The eyes of a people:

    Listen to the breath of a brother
    Whose shoes have walked a thousand miles
    In search of a job that fetches a little or none,
    His stories are no news in a land that lends no ear:

    Listen to the silence of an uncle
    Whose life is taken by the potholes that rule the highway
    Whose death is one more name in the register of those
    Whose martyrdom is a dent on a flag that forgets its own:

    There’s a poem in the sound of nothing:


    It is with this poem that Echezonachukwu Nduka emerged Winner of the Korea-Nigeria Poetry Feast Prize announced at the Korean Cultural Centre in Abuja, Nigeria, on World Poetry Day.
    Watch video below:

    Musicologist, Pianist & Poet. Apotheosis Art House. Bronze Prize Winner of the 4th Korea-Nigeria Poetry Feast. Reach him on [email protected]

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    The every day pains of living…touching!

    Michael Inioluwa Oladele

    Being a Nigerian, I can relate.


    beautifully painted, and very relatable


    Literature at its best……

    Victor Chinoo

    Very well written. An incisive depiction of the Nigeria’s political maladies! Well done.

    Gilbert Mwangi

    Beautiful beautiful poem!
    Such delicious lines flowing with pain and anguish.
    I am so moved!

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