for fela anikulapo kuti(1938 –1997)
in four kwansabas
he played an under ground spirit game,
he who carried death in his pouch.
his music was the massage, his medium
of social change. but dem sojas come-o,
dey go beat am. make him mad!
who no know go know am today-o
ah-ah! wait-o, make i commot my dress!
olufela, god’s glory, no be shakara oloje
his songs, bullets & he go say:
zombi no go go unless u tell
am to go. but him mama dey
go quench; throw her out the window!
throw her down for ground, na wah-o!
dis african man no dey carry shit.
him fight am back with afro beat
him send his mama’s coffin for head
of state! he dey waka, waka, waka;
he go many places, sef. for his
mama, he dey cry, for his people,
he dey cry, with tenor sax & shekere
endless grooves & yabis, he dey cry!
baba is dead-o! ibà á şẹ baba!
ma a gbo bi awon baba wa
se nwi; listen to our fathers’ voices
in the fatidic sounds of afro beat
in its bodings & its auspice, in
its bitter truth; in the memory of
he who carried death in his pouch!
© Joseph McNair