There was once something Special Here by Tom Jalio (Kenya)


You can tell by the shape of the pieces

The trailing blood and the aura of warmth

That there was once a heart here

And the winds of memory floating by

Still fan the flame that raged in it

You can gauge from the markings on the walls

The piercing font and the scrambled letters

That a name was etched by cupid’s arrow

And the sunset glow of the text

Still hints of a golden history

You can sense from the tremble of the chambers

The undying pulse and the scent of a beloved

That the heart once danced to a dreamer’s beat

And the hollow ring of wedding bells

Still haunts what could have been

You can taste in the beads of water

The pouring rain and the salty puddles

That tears are words the heart can’t express

And the cloud that sheds them

Still leaves “goodbye” behind

You can see in the drag of finger prints

The gathering mass and the mist of sweat

That someone is slowly collecting the pieces

But the feeling that used to live here

Still hides in the shadows of the heart

Tom won 1,000 USD, an autographed copy of Wheels by Kwame Dawes and a trip to the Storymoja Festival in Nairobi.

THE NIGHT SANGO CAME TO UJAGBE. By Suleiman Agbonkhianmen Buhari (Nigeria)

THE NIGHT SANGO CAME TO UJAGBE. By Suleiman Agbonkhianmen Buhari (Nigeria)

Electricity and Firebrand Christianity came hand in hand

To my village, “Spirit of Fire” churches and electric poles

Were erected simultaneously throughout Ujagbe.

And in their bid to prove that our old gods were made of myths,

Clay and nothing more, a group of recently converted fanatics,

Doubly charged by Real-life and Television preachers, ran through

Our sacred shrines, smashing figurines and declaring an end to paganism.

Our people impressed by their audacity and emboldened

By the lack of retribution joined the insomnic fanatics

As they marched through the streets declaring “Ujagbe for Christ.”

A few nights after the desecration, Sango came down to Ujagbe

In a blackout-preceding surge, in a vandalistic thunderstorm

Whose howling winds swayed trees, unthatched roofs,

Pulled down poles and mangled antennae.

Some say Sango’s robes were red, dyed in the blood of sacrifice,

Others said he looked fluorescent clad in a lightning emitting white

Some say the Orisha walked alone,

Others said because he was an Alaafin of Oyo in life,

A regiment of howling horsemen still heralded his coming

In death and it was the prancing of this cadre of Ethereal Equestrians

That made the holes in our roofs through which

The windswept water came neighing into our rooms.

Some say they saw Sango axing down the electric poles,

Others say the poles Doba’led; laid prostrate in his presence,

As he calmly strolled through Ujagbe, towards his desecrated shrine sildenafil citrate 100mg.

And when he got there he ascended in a bolt of Reverse Lightning,

Whose reverberating thunder rippled through our village

Shattering windows, Drinking glasses and Television screens.

Leaving behind a trail of Glittering glass and the seamlessly

Reassembled figurines our people bowed to in the morning.