Is it our culture? / Poem by Nnane Ntube

Poem by Nnane Ntube


Is it our culture?

Our hands are itchy
And we make them stingy
We take and take
Taking is in our blood
Fingerless our hands but we manage to pinch
Even what is not meant to pinch
What is for Paul’s son, Agbor
We take and take, not blinking our eyes
Agbor has to swallow his voice
His father, Paul has no choice
He too took from Suh’s sons
Who are now dying of hunger
They are grinding their teeth in misery
Their hope is hanging in revolt
Lum told me that bags of money came in last night
Is it true?
She also told me that a letter came with the bags
And that the letter was for us
We, who peeped through dusty Windows to witness the Big boys carrying the bags in rusted wheel-barrows
They took the bags with them under dark sky
Yes, who told you your father is not aware of it?
How can he speak when a thousand franc notes are piled before him?
Did you hear Papa Atika, the talkative, speak again?
He is now a faithful follower
The church is always full when choir mistresses wiggled their buttocks
If you like, listen to these pastors preach
Don’t wake up in the morning and tell me you’re broke!
I’m not refuting your point. But don’t be carried away by their beautiful voices!
All is for one motive. That you know.
Look! The preachers are richer, the followers are poorer
Didn’t Akum follow Nnï last time? Akum is no more healthy. Where is Nnï?
… That’s not my point!
I know you can understand. I understand your twisted tongue
There are back doors everywhere.
The police can’t do anything. They opened the first back door, then the others were flung widely open
You know that I know, that she knows, that they know what’s happening
Since you seem occupied in buttoning your shirt for a meeting with no agenda,
I’ll retreat to wallow in ponder

©Nnane Ntube


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