Poetry by A. D. Xavier

You are walking to the stream again
Bare-footed and shea butter-coated
To the banks where Europeans’ feet first docked
Before gathering hides
Brown-skinned bodies
And sun-ripened alligator pepper in body bags
While their blue eyes smiled into the face of

Eneke the bird
Hear me for the third time
You can sing all you want
The guns and canons are louder than your restless crooning
And if Abagana says it is more than a location
Let it save Jaja from losing his head
Okonkwo his breath

Here comes with the darkness another dreary
Nightfall in Soweto
And I am caught reading judgement off a page where colours
Hold the keys to humanity
Where White is marked as a green card pass
And Black is a three-horned abomination sauntering towards hell
I want to cry
But I fear for the colour of my tears.



En route to Jamaica

For Emily
In 1781 when peroxide hands bent my father’s, father’s, father’s, father’s back/ Over with a ton of alloy/ And turned his wife into a living grieving widow/ Mourning a stolen onyx carried overseas in the mouth of the Zong/ Fated to be spat out into the Caribbean sea/ The moon stayed milky/ Ijele still danced on Orie/ And the village square became a congregation/ For the shadows of their forebears and whatever it was that called it home

I was told by the mouth of an orator/ on one moon-flustered night/ That the first time we saw mirrors/ We screamed in utter shock and dropped it to the floor/ Watching it shatter like all the hopes we had of black equality/ But that didn’t break us because we thought we were human enough/ Till we asked for independence

It has been 60 years since they left these oil fields/ And sold us our freedom/ A new religion/ And pen and paper/ But Ahunna and my mother still pay them/ In sweat & blue currencies/ Oil & Blood/ Curses and tears/ Because we are taught each day in the prints/ That White is a state of mind and/ Black is only the aftermath of death/ Or ugly decaying things/ With a stench so horrid and vile caught fizzling out from its past/ And into the smoke-soaked body of its charring present/ Without cure/ Or a glimpse of salvation

It is early in the mid-2000s/ And I am en route to Jamaica in another mouth of a ship I dare not name/ All I can do is drop cautiously these litanies of my beaded tears into this sea/ Darkened red by the blood of my forebears/ Hoping it pacifies their tumult/ Soothes their aching soul/ And sets free their unheard farewells/ Water-gagged mouths/ Bloated bodies/ As it breaks the chains that tethers them to the memories of their drowning/ And death

A. D. Xavier is a perpetual daydreamer, constantly lost in his world of musing and make believe. With an uncouth worldview on sadness and misery he is drawn to adore sad, slow songs and obsess over black and evoking poetry. On most days he sits in the dark musing over lost love and unrequited affection and savours the moments spent in solitude and quiet melodies. He laughs over everything and hopes to find happiness someday. He is human and learning to forgive himself. He is Nigerian.