Too Much Dobrum for Words

(Too Heavy for Words) / anbegwon atuire

Anipok-nisomoas's hut

Sits close

To the tanner's section

In the market square


Under the cover of a decaying thatch roof

Amidst the smell of dead animal skin

And strong red dye

The old woman's hut unobtrusively rests

Eyes red in ready battle

Against the dust of near sightedness

This old mother

Talks not much



In the shade of the mahogany tree

The talk floats fluidly and knowingly

To brief rest

On the predicament of the old woman


That she gave birth to many

And lived to see them all die

Is no lie


That she recently buried her husband

And now has to accept the inexplicable death

Of her only grandchild

Is no untruth either


Flat on the ground

Hands folded on her bosom

Head bowed into soul

The wise old woman sits in her hut

Her sparse, soft, dignified, grey, and uncovered hair

Greets the mourners

Who have swam in the early morning maglim (dew)

To come and pay their respects

The old woman lifts up her head

As if to make a single response

To all the greetings she had left

Hanging in the quiet air of her hut

But only a soundless wail

Escapes from her dry lips

To sit alongside the sobs of the mourners

In the otherwise silent hut

A few hundred footsteps away

Under the shade of the mahogany tree

The talk circles back

To the old woman

And all the talking heads

Sitting in the shade

Nod in agreement

Anipok-nisomoa's life has been one long funeral

To Abelikpien - A River of Laughing Tears

/ anbegwon atuire


Crossing your waters always remind me

Of the laughter of babies

I hear ripples of joy

Emanating from the toothless gums

Of a thousand infants

In the rhythm of your flow



Wading in your waters remind me

Of my father

How he would close his eyes

And laugh at anything funny

As if to avoid seeing how close

Joy and sorrow sit together

On the stool of life


We have walked your river bed

Many a time

My father and I

We have breathed your damp smell

We have dipped in your life blood

Today he lies in the earth

On one side of your banks

And on the other side

I sit down to write a verse



You bring me memories of joy

You bring me moments of sorrow

You give me laughter

You give me tears


You remind me of the complexities

Of this thing called Life



Cold Land - Cold Hearts - Cold Food / anbegwon atuire

Sit on a frozen bench

Along a cold sidewalk in Felikteng

Feel the core of your bones

Shiver and tighten from the killing cold


Think about wokta dzenta

Floating on sa-tuili

In a Bulsa cheng

Well greased - with dziksa kpaam


Feel familiar particles of saliva

Take nagela steps

On the threshold

Of your tongue


Lift up your head

And spit

In the faces of the racist swine

Casting cold glances at you


Back Home

People are kind to strangers

Back Home

Even the Harmattan

Is kinder to her victims