December 27, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

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Kelvin Kellman




A Land Not For Sale



[The Price of liberty is eternal vigilanceChukwuemeka Ike]



Somewhere, between today and a hundred years, Sri Lanka, passing on their ports and shores, will embrace vassalage. Slavery designed by new marauders who come in the guise of bilateral trade but in truth seek to plunder. But now that the plunderers extend limbs beyond Asia,


Who will stand and sing of Zambia, when her voice is stolen by signatures instructing all and sundry to call the Chinese master?


And now that her power and media are near in hold of new slave drivers, Kenneth Kaunda is sure six feet in crypt bleeding tears.


Owing to varied crooked histories we measured sunset men in full askance, and jihadist Arabs with third eyes, even so, oblivious to those in East Asia lurking in the blind spot, waiting to annex our ancestral lands—but it was they who once warred for the occupation of their lands.


How do we sing Angola Avante, when in lieu of the onward march of our stanzas, we’re in reverse march, pulled by strings from Beijing?


Or declare Ee Mungu Ngunvu Yetu, when for strength China stands in lieu of God in Nairobi where they now they call men black monkeys.


Like wildflowers they sprout far and wide demanding lands and reserves from deals designed to go south: from the mountains of Ethiopia, to the grasslands of South Africa; the basins of Congo, to the rain forests of Cameroon. And now that we’re bound to folks not only after our lands, but our tomorrows in their wanton scramble, we have but these doddering jesters in office to hold—crooks moonlighting as head of states whose heads repel insight; creased profaners whom for exchange of retirement hilltop mansions and paltry millions, sell our birth rights through predatory loans in opaque contracts to those offering debt-trap diplomacy.


Even now Lumumba cries and Awolowo grumbles, Kenyatta moans and Selassie tumbles, pondering, how could these fools have let this happen?


But we shall say this for all to hear,

without shadow, without dread—

even if it means our blood spattered

over ten thousand fields in a thousand

lifetimes—that: ours is a land not for sale!






A Pursuit of Happiness



You listened with distended eyes, with tuned-up ears, gulped

all told of that gilded distant shore where pain is ever wanting.

Thence, after numberless embassy queues and visa denials,

you touched down at the airfield of your stretched fantasy,


thanking your chi for gaining you Passover; holding taut the

thought that by and by, mansions and SUVs in your name will

cram every space of your desire, and butlers will wait on you

without retire, overlooking that life as wont, dictates her tune.


Now you grind three chores to appear happy, remitting nearly

half your harvest in dues to keep a house you barely inhabit.

And in your one moment, you would wonder if this pursuit is

same as signed in the Declaration of Independence. Now that


folks homeward make requests, you slide into puckered brows,

wondering, when’s this gonna end? Now you’re near the brink

of grey, you still wonder why nothing in your migrant existence

through the years, vaguely resembles a portrait of happiness.






Kelvin Kellman

Kelvin Kellman writes from Nigeria, he’s had works featured or forthcoming in The Stockholm Review, Leveler, Peacock Journal, Pangolin Review, and elsewhere.

Editor review

1 Comment

  1. Stephen Lukoh December 27, at 16:42

    I love your choice of words in the two piece, they’re quite encryptic and thoughtful.


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