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Amatoritsero Ede

Amatoritsero Ede

Ede won the All-Africa Christopher Okigbo Prize for Literature in 1998 with his Collected Poems: A Writer’s Pains and Caribbean Blues. He is Editor of Sentinel Online Poetry magazine, and in the editorial team of the online PONAL African literature site established for Carleton University, Canada, where he is based. His work appears in many journals and anthologies of African poetry. Ede was also Second Prize Winner at the May Ayim Award: International Black German Literary Prize, 2004.

Not in Love is  a excerpt from the forthcoming collection, Globetrotter & Hitler’s Children


   Not in Love   




                                                this slap-dash of wave on wave

                                                               thigh on thigh

                                                               groin on butt

                                                                as the tongue of water drinks the banks

                                                                            a sloppy thirsty mongrel

                                                                                  sucked   the nipple  

                                                                    howled    whined

                                                                           in lilt and lisp of wet-slippery ecstasy

                                                                                  licked by the waves in turn and re-turn

 how did it transpire!






                                not in love

                                                    with a skinhead

                                                                     who is not in love with christ or krishna

                                                                         the dog barked in one huge bound

                                                                                         upon a giddy crest


                                     and  behold papa hemingway

                                                riding  the lion mane of a tidal bore

                                                                                                         in sympathy

                                                                   his cheeks flushed

                                                                             from cramped watery grave

                                             windy hair blown  back flush milk-white    back into breakers

                                                                                      the waves unites us and hemingway

                                                                                      on the seaway

                                                                  he pleads   here is love                                                  

                                                                 which is life

                                                                                        struggling with a whale 

                                                                                                and a whale of a lot of sharks

                                                                               knife-toothed and soon to be

                                                                                      food for bigger fish

                                                                                                like Pi

                                        the thing that crowd his mind

                                                                       and that room      his life boat

                                                                                              was tiger     hyena

                                                                                                                        and sword-fish

                                                    dog howled

                                                                          the priapic hold of water

                                                                                                     tossed and buffed

                                                                                         by cleft-passion deeper than diver 

                                                 then  gargled papa Hemingway

 in the rood

rudder away rudder away

                           mercy for more room

                                  gaff!       there should be longsuffering

                                                         gone to its own noises

                                                        sea and sperm fuse

                                                        in amphibious incandescence

                                                                          the child was heartburn

how did it transpire!






                                     burnt      the dog barked



                                                                                   but  tumult of sea

                                                                                              or  chain-saw snap of shark                                                                

                                                                                                                            or neo-nazi

                                                                             is no classic of literature 

                                                                                   nor is the studded fist of a skin-head

                                                                                             down in dessau

                                                                                        a Nazi is a Nazi

                                                                                                 warned the waves

                                                                                   write ‘neo’ on sea-bed

                                                                                                as long as you dare

                                                                                                            in longhand or short

                                                                                          it won’t dent water






                                                not in love

                                                                   because the baby can be 

                                                                              a terror of water

                                                                  where a vegetable mouth

                                                                             should drink of life in sinful gulps

                                                                                         sift sun-seeds

                                                                     spit out the bitter grain 

                                                                                          the black martyr  could not


                                                                                      he fell on a knife

                                                                                           on the road to corn 


                                                                            under a iron democracy

                                                                                               in gehenna

                                                                                               rachel will weep and weep






                                         where did you so lay

                                                          your awkward angolan head

                                                                              to waylay stones  and rocks so

                                                           worry fist-cuffs  chain- and baseball bats    

                                                               knifed-boots and jack

                                                                                              why harass the sons of moloch

                                                         hitler’s children

                                                                     gentle in mighty mail coats

                                                monster-lambs   sworn to perpetuate 

                                                                                              the gory father






                         how did it transpire

                                                                   that you traversed

                                                              the ‘national free zone’

                                                                      your ugly black face in tow

                                                                                did you not know

                                                                                  of the head’s duty to the legs

                                             that the one  should

                                                                    not lead

                                                                           the other astray

                                              what is your rage      O adriano

                                                      that you must trouble these spoilt kids so


                                                                        rotten to the bone-marrow

                                                                                will have mother’s doting right eye

                                                                                                                             for dinner

                                                     they burst your left eye

                                                                     did they

                                                                       as masons break stones

                                                     break your bones

                                                                to build hate’s sanctuary

                                                                         they did

                                                            what is this amour    


                                                                                   men in armour

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