Three Poems by Muhammed Bello


to the boy who never heard his father speak 

                       memories fade, 
                       sounds suddenly become out of                                          reach.
                       but the most important thing is he                                    lives in your heart, 
                       in your characteristics as well. No                                    matter how small,

seeds of memory were harvested. 
there is something about the wind tonight
as it longs to tell a story 

mother tunes in to Barrister's* Ajuwe juwe
she said this used to be your father's top pick 
if only he's still here

tonight is for the body —
the one devoured by the earth 
as I sing praises in recognition of this body 

what could he possibly sound like? 
perhaps like soft. Like coarse. Like deep. Like high-pitch. 

what do you do when you long to hear the dead talk? 
boy yearns to hear his father talk. 

the land swallowed this body
down his throat 
as though he was eating 
some pounded yam with chilled liquor. 

the breeze that delivered its voices - don't depart from me yet 
boy long for the final word 
so boy can have in his poem & father says.

*Sikiru Ololade Ayinde Balogun, MFR, better known by his stage name Ayinde Barrister was a Nigerian-born Yoruba singer-songwriter and music performer.


Mere animal craving 

Tonight, the arrival of rain brought nothing 
just like the arrival of the bird. 

What song do you expect 
from a bird turned apart in its cloth?

Just last week, the man of god 
Stood on the pulpit & declared 

War “And ye are one with 
the Devil's hand parading 

in covers of little length
Found deserving of the punishment 

befitting the crime.” But what war 
will he declare on Villains 

burning through the Pleasure-villa-of-a-baby, 
turning lumps into dwellings quaked, 

into destructions by assortments of cinders, 
His roman has brought destruction upon 

Her Carthaginian town. In this poem, 
My sister is the bird whose cloth 

got torn by our father yet he expects 
The bird to sing at his appearance. 

the bird has declared its war;
“may your seed remain fruitless on 

the soil of the living, and your loins, 
the noose pushing you to your maker.”


This is how you love me.

A flying creature finds a home in the sky,
A home—where solace lives, 
where the syllables of my name 
is spread across its roof, finding
the syllables of love in the sky. 

I hear the chirps, the songs, 
tunes telling me that
home is the most secure spot 
where it can wrap its gold.
I'll jump at the chance to be feathered;
My home will be my heart.

Love me
Love me
Love me

as a bird would adore its home 
as a hen would shield her chicks from hawks
as God adores the world and gives his solitarily child. 


Muhammed Bello is a student of Education and English language at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria. He’s an avid reader who also writes prolifically. He was shortlisted for 2020 Punocracy prize for satire. He is interested in volunteering for charity purposes. He tweets @mobwords, and is on Instagram @mobwords 

Cover image: An original Kehinde Badiru illustration. 


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