Ekene May (Nigeria)

Ekene May (Nigeria)
Ekene May is an Award-Winning Poet, Visual Artist and Model. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English Language from Ahmadu Bello University. Upon graduation, she honed her skills and ventured into Radio production, and would later quit to be a full-time Poet and Visual Artist.
She has written and performed on stages for Action-Aid, PLAN, SustyVibes, Nile University, ECWA, Christ Embassy, OkangaLive, Agogo Music Festival, to mention a few. Her poems, Hall of Fame, got rewarded for Best Content by NYPF, Hair Regimen, was placed among the top 20 poems of the Eriata Orhibabor Poetry Prize in 2018, The Butcher, won her the International Castello di Diuno Poetry Prize, from Italy.
She recently launched her NGO, The Ekene May Arts Foundation, with an aim to take arts, to public places, for free, working with donations and grants.
She writes and paints from Abuja, Nigeria.
my journey to self realization,
is not as easy as some motivational speakers make it seem,
they say I have to remember where I am coming from,
to know where I am going,
what if I do not remember where to start?
what if I don’t know to climb the bridge of my mother’s nose,
but almost slide off when I try,
so to stay steady, I loop my feet into her nostrils,
hold on to her lower eye lids,
hands and feet apart,
hands and head raised,
I want to see her eyes,
I do not want to fall into her mouth,
and be silent forever,
I do not want to die behind her lips,
trapped by walls of teeth, brown and golden,
or lose my breath beneath her tongue,
when I regain composure,
I crawl to her cheek,
her ear seem a bit far-off, on the right,
I follow the fourth wrinkle instead, at the corners of her face,
away from her temple, it leads straight into her right eye,
fall into it,
and find home.
the butcher
This is how my father dresses meat,
he would carelessly place it on his chopping slab
raise his knife to it
and go
                                                   chop chop chop chop
flipping it every time to make them pot-size chunks
he is careful not to cut his thumb
he is not careful about the meat
it is meat
when he meets bone
he swipes his knife for a cutlass
this time he adds a little energy to his arm
lifts it a little higher too
                                                  chop chop chop
flipping it every time to make them pot-size chunks
he does not control the bits that drop off
the neighbor’s scrawny dog can have them
he lifts both arms when the bones become too much
hits a particular point and stays on it
gives it a dent for emphasis
lifts the meat and the bone
with a crease on his brows
he mutters do you have any idea how long I have been chopping meat?
                                               chop chop
he is careful not to destroy his slab
he will need it again
he is done
he wipes his brows absentmindedly
then his bloodied hands on his apron
offers the finely chopped meat to my mother
with a smirk and this meat is yours now
she is his only customer.
I am the meat.
It is a beauty pageant and I am collating bodies
‘57 feared dead’
‘numbers’, Nnamdi mutters under his breath, but his leg has a bullet hole in it
‘hmmmp, that’s a lot’, Ahmad replies, and he walks away, with men who have rods
the men in my dream shoot at sight, outside a mall while a women’s football match goes on inside its pitch
and I am collecting stories, bones, nightmares
collating blood on our flag and broken chords of the anthem
I am collating dust, slumped soldiers shoulders and heads hung in despair
collecting fear and bullet holes in the necks of bodies so peaceful, you’d think Oke were asleep
I am collating votes, that did not count, that will not count, that will not be cast
collecting palm fronds from women whose husbands mourned for in silence
I am collecting empty spaces
collating nothing, spinning, twirling
whirling history and more dust
no one is beautiful, no one is whole.

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