Bayo Aderoju

By Bayo Aderoju

Something about wanting to be the head of a headless mob
like the young activist who has never read Jeyifo, who said:
Frantz Fanon is a wretched name. Some are preaching positive
asphyxiation of some of the times that crooked this time, but dead
will still mean dead when my father’s name is mentioned.
My uncle is the cenotaph, the second of the unknown soldiers uprooted
from Idumota in 1991. Something about not wanting this country
to go 1966 when (god forbid, it’s a sacrilege to mention the dead until
the yellow sun comes full cycle or gets the prize and stops rising), to go
1967 when the general drove his cigarette butt into earth with his jackboot
and preached: even the dead will rise to fight for us. Gowon later built
a house that looked like his cap. There in 1977 when the poets gathered,
they didn’t remember Okigbo. There in 1977 when the nation gathered,
they didn’t say a prayer for Mandela. Kagame has been saving Rwanda
since no one dares drop genocide or journalist or history on the streets
of Kigali. Something about the new canon that can’t speak certain facts.
Something about the old canon that banished History from classrooms.
Before Victor Banjo was tried, the verdict had been pronounced. Before
the man could die, the prison bars had to break. Before the poet’s body
was interred, the general had fled. Before another general rises, this poet has fled.

Bayo Aderoju is a writer from Nigeria. His works have appeared or forthcoming in Agbowo, Brittle Paper, Stellium, Kalahari Review and elsewhere. In 2021, his short story, The Rainbow, was included in the Decade of Action Short Story Anthology published by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. He has been interviewed in Africa in Dialogue. He currently pursues an MFA at the University of Memphis where he also reads for The Pinch. He tweets @bayo_aderoju.