A tale of thirty six brothers sandwiched side by side, Pitching tents from the grassy plains, sand dunes and beyond the ocean tides, Each tribe nestled in its mapped out niche, One man's language is another man's gibberish, Each clan laden with deposits of nature's gifts, The spoils of the land given to us to feast on become that which unseal rifts, When your neighbour says kedu, or inakwana, it is heavily tinged with fear, Your brother by day wears the killer's mask at night, wielding pitchfork and spear, The oil lamp is left aflame as we sleep one eyed to be wary of stalking shadows, Tempers constrict like narrow pathways as war chants reach a crescendo, Intolerance like genetic defect has cast a curse to render us colour blind, Unable to see the beauty in the greens and white that make us same of a kind, The North East winds envelop the South Side with dusty glamour, The South West winds reply with intensity of chilly coldstone vapour, While we try to keep evil forces at bay, The internal demons rear up ugly heads to put us in disarray, More than sixty years of standing up to the crown, New wars rise everyday sealed with the blood of our brothers in which we drown, Our knees are bruised with long hours spent facing the sun in supplication, From where can help come, is there end to endless stanzas of lamentation? Until we begin to see one another as one body, one perfect symphony, We would keep vibing in discordant tunes to the cymbals of ethnic hostility, There's a uniqueness that comes with being different, Pairs of contrasting colours when placed side by side always complement, Like distinct colourful patterns, weaved and warped to create a single design, This oneness we share we ought to redefine, ripping out the lump of disunity now it is benign, Like different herbs boiling in a soup pot to hit a threshold of sweetness, Let our strengths be forged together from that which we saw as our weakness, Like winds painted the different colours of the rainbow, From the sprawling mansions on hills to the dingy shacks in the ghetto, From the flowing white jalaba to the Yoruba Demon in agbada, To the Isiagu that go hand in hand with poise and our sacred George wrapper, We are like that single voice in the wilderness, representing a confraternity, Screaming beauty in diversity.
by Dera Udochukwu
Udochukwu Chidera also known as Queen Deraa is an award-winning writer, pharmacist and model. She won the 2022 Movement of the People Poetry Contest, the bronze medal in the 2022 May/June Shuzia Prose contest, won first place in the May edition of the D’Lit Review poetry contest, the 2021 Deborah Itohan Poetry Prize and the 2021 School of Pharmacy UNIZIK Poetry Contest. She was also a top ten finalist in the 2021 Feb / March edition of the Brigitte Poirson Poetry Contest and a two-time finalist in the 2020 and 2021 Parousia Christmas Short Story Contest. She is also a contributor at Mystery Publishers Ltd and her short story Keziah appeared in their Our Stories Defined Anthology. She is also a contributor at the Tush magazine, a digital online magazine where she was a finalist in their May /June 2022 contest. She is also a contributor at Shuzia.
photo credit: Mike van Schoonderwalt