Obododimma Oha

Geographies of Difference

Which North still nods a religion
Which South dares shout a farewell
Which East eats its anger and wants to have it back

Which den is then
A safe home for strange others?
Which friends defend the end
When affinities lift stones to throw?

South East & South West reluctant for a handshake,
Many worries therefore to a dreaded embrace?
A Far North & a Deep South not too sure they like a common history.
Just to say how far one Nigeria moves away from another!

The deep divides running across a Nigerian dream,
Cracking, shifting, shattering;
Turning it into one terrible nightmare.

Winding Path


Wore bruises, badly stained with stalins and hitlers
Lucky if some village still knows its heroes
Not the grass that has taken over your brow
Not the quick march and sudden speed of speech
Forties fortified, yet kept the heart empty


Homed a new boy in the colony, bonnets of authority
In habit of the empire horse
Here is a wiser African asking for his stranded future
From the halls of gramophone waltz and twist
To the conference halls where tunic argues with the turban
And something sits incorrectly
On the wings of history, frowning still


The avatars their parted hair
A growling rhetoric, stiffly learned in latin.
Sixties were the restless, testing and tasting.
Sixties were modernity, Pounding here, Elioting there.
Wore Prufrocks.
Spoke Zarathustras.
Somewhere in America, a Vietnamibian was born,
A melting pot in his hands.


The postcolonial could always undo his post, writing
Neither here nor there,
Neither this or that,
Writing back as he reads from.
The poverty of his untamed wealth so loud,
Crude flows of misery
Where high hunger sits eyeing vulgar banquets
The divides the dividend of a national fiction


The village square changes, and drank vernaculars
Tipsy a little with sudden wealth
Every grief flowers at the khaki talk
Africans, then Africants seeking exile
Over booming troubles of the internal colonials
If only these new identities were made in Heaven….


Fast racing towards an ellipsis of becoming
Information now the carrot, now the virus
That eats the time.
Look and see how infants devour their turning point
A millennium about to unfold its artificiality,
After all, here we learn to measure fictional distances
Beyond imagination, beyond science
Oh time traveler
Have you not espied the webs of things
Present in their hallowed absence?

The Race

A cock is chasing
A hen in my garden;
Seriously chasing a hen.

The hen is running,
But she doesn’t mean it;
The hen is running and singing.

The race is   part
Of an act;
The race is part
Of   the fun, part
Of   the plaisir.

It is over.

Obododimma Oha is a professor in the Department of English at the Univerisity of Ibadan, Nigeria. His poems have appeared in several e-journals, including Otoliths, Shadowtrain, Fogged Clarity, etc. He is a blogger and his essays are available at

Obododimma ( http://obododimma.livejournal.com )
X-Pens ( http://x-pensiverrors.blogspot.com )
ARTitude ( http://edutitra.blogspot.com )
Ulomkpe Okigbo ( http://ulomkpe-okigbo.blogspot.com ).
Email: obodooha_at_gmail_dot_com.
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