Identity

No:

This poem was originally published in Marrow - a collection of poetry and prose by Sutra.

I once had an idea that shone over a city
but then fear came
with the body of the whole sky
and swallowed it.

This is a thing that fear knows how to do

wide mouth
and ten stomachs
always grasping

always.

But today
I said No.
— Sutra


About Sutra

Sutra is a Ghanaian-British voice of power, whose creative work is centred on an ethos of community, vulnerability and healing. From an early age, Sutra has been passionate about the art of storytelling as an act of individual and collective resistance. Sutra released her first body of work as a musician and a writer in 2015.

Entitled 'The Art of Being,' the mixtape was released on Soundcloud to rave reviews, and picked up a day later by BBC Wales. Its lead track, Where You Are, was played on the Adam Walton Show. In March 2017, Sutra collaborated with other creatives to co-direct and release her first music film, Waves/The Water, which has since been screened in London, Tokyo, and Yaoundé.

 

Image: Sutra.

This poem was originally published in Marrow - a collection of poetry and prose by Sutra in 2018, and shared with the permission of the author. All rights of the author reserved.

 

Self Portrait

A handwritten, unpublished poem by acclaimed South African poet and author Bessie Head, published by Rhodes University in 1996. This poem, dated July 1961, is one of Head's early and unedited work.

Idealist
And, low down,
Apathetic,
Indifferent earth worm;
Plunging, leaping,
Flickering, wavering,
Stammering, hesitating,
Bold, reckless, impatient;
Static, placid,
Of no certain direction,
Of certain direction;
Isolated, like driftwood
On the tossing, heaving ocean -
Flung to the top of a high-sounding,
Dazzling wave,
Engulfed in the anonymous depths;
Oh contradiction!
THAT is I.

Image: Alan Coulson.

This poem was originally published by Rhodes University in 1996. All rights of the publisher reserved.

 

Alabi Ọwala

A poem by Amore David Olamide.

Alabi, Labi, the apogee
The one whose marks shines and beam
Alabi, Labi Owala
The only heritage preserver.

Alabi
Those dashes that pointed on
Have given people various deception
Some said you gamely fought a lion
And those are the injuries you carried on.

Alabi
You go around with those imprinted scars
Arched at the hand of primitiveness
Alabi your advent has become resentment
Of bemoaned vexatious art.

Alabi
Makeup couldn’t hide your marks
And your academic credentials
Alabi, it is not a severed plague
To be revered with tribal tag.

Alabi
You’ve become the flag bearer
Of those prudent westerners
You’ve become the talking point
On people’s mutual tongues.

Alabi
Those lines; that are laterally laid off
By the unblunted tooth of razor
Have become your tainted flaws
And they have become what people play on

Alabi
They call your cheeks a plastic ball
Some cruely call it palm-frond
Alabi let your cheeks remain precious
With those marks that symbolised fashion.

Alabi
I don’t know if it was carved with an axe
Or with the butcher’s knife
I just had to eerily sympathise
For those people’s needless act

Alabi je ebure
The panegyrics of appeal divination
I knew you won’t like them at all
Subjecting this embarrassment
To your children and children’s children.

Alabi
Remember your forerunner
Lere Paimo and Akintola
They were gashed with a knife
Still they dished among elites.

Alabi
Let those marks not get you thwart
They have nothing against your potential
You can be cheekily awful
And you can be dynamite, too.
— Amore David Olamide
 

About Amore

Amore David Olamide is a revolutionary columnist and a poet that writes literally in parabolic style, conventional genre and sees scenes in epic dynamism of traditional epilogues, eulogies and captivating artistic poetry. He is typically known as Ajanaku for the words he trades cannot be neglected by mortals, gods or incubus.

Image: From the collection 'Hââbré: The Last Generation' by Joana Choumali.

This poem was published with permission from Amore David Olamide. All rights reserved.