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Totems of A New Spring by Tunji Olalere

Reading Time: < 1 minute

(For XX/X/XX)

The yellow moon is a wary eye
on the antics of the evening
and time folds into shape
for the ears that stalk it

Shadows lean into shadows
cross-pollinating chaos,
the boughs of heads convulse
in the gale of melody

We are here with our kind
and tomorrow is another lie
un-promised to us
in an infinite series of mockery

We confer with one another
and with the scriptio inferior
of the fork-tongued lyrics
on the palimpsest of harmony:

We are the footnotes to footnotes
in the charter of our own destiny,
an italicised gauntness
an addendum to meaning


Light is not welcome here
where tears flow freely
we dance to shame set to strings
as the horns hurt the darkness

We are the carrion of the creeks
half-chewed morsels of machine guns
the disjecta membra of desert pottery
crushed underfoot like bombed-out debris

The Nephilim of the confluence of rivers,
we contemplate our heirloom
in this catacomb of sound
where time cannot taunt the dead

We are the scrambled letters
in the anagrams of Faiths and Lore
From the Bight to the Lake
we beseech history for redress

But history is the honey-brushed paté
of a giant submerged to the jaw
in a morass of forced -forgetting


The High Priest is perched on a caryatid
the singers are wound round their chant:

Eyes squeezed shut, necks flared
dreadlocks so wanton, they bare their fangs

The refrain is relentless
we raise our fists and sing

We are totems
Totems of a new spring

We are totems
Totems of a new spring

We are totems
Totems of a new spring.


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