Khibar for Juma

I will come by the sunrise

By that tender path of my granddad’s fjord.

O my succulent avocado lingering under the eyes of a traversing light of transition

What receptors there lay to embrace the sun’s exposure?

What arts or fingers smooths your nudity?

Your taste I see like a mango’s juice

Or shall I say: the palm wine tapper’s chilly liquor drenching down a gourd’s mouth;

And him, he haunting to leak the leached ones but tongue-less like a snail.

I will come by the sunrise

To ease my pride upon that sharp blindness, the light to embalm my soul

To pride for being a tributary of the great sea of Sangamar;

That tributary leading to Joal and to the breast of the encysted Palmarine.

I will come by the sunshine

Peeping through the haze and see whether it is that,

That which I saw in dawn’s youth

Me, I or else: but like a second-old egg enshrined within the pillion of a spongy envelope,

Being traversed across your quadrilaterals like the nanas of ancient Ghana.

Music, love, blooms and a helm of freshness

From the Atlantic and River Sine, I will have my being molded into.

Feel it and I counter the scaly brows of your night and read through the furrows there from formed.

Then I shall be acquainted with knowing trust:

Embracing the sweetness in being cherished by a motherly palm,

Being branded for belonging,

And not like a society’s dropout; the voiceless servant of hallucination,

That struggling being, vagabonding.

Who therein censors how muscular an un-ravished melon’s seeds will be,

Or the brightness of death?

I will, I will by the pestering sun

And gaze through the opaqueness or the translucence therewith it alienates itself to.

Oh Juma! The spirit of a dove’s heart

Your palms, I heard are coined:

A brilliant horizon approaching,

Fervent embroidery surfacing the earth

And there, there, see those sprouting greens

See the brand of air produced therein

And know how life thaws or crystallizes.

I don’t know what kind of phalanges…ah! What hands touched you to be you;

Lean than the tissues in a baby’s cheeks.

In sight I see a mother and on her laps, slumbering babies

With their mouths plugged to her nipples

While the bosom of the night,

Opaque than a grave’s walls.

But still you I dream of

That mother,

Harboring a many of my kind: Withering tomboys without even a loophole to salvage themselves,

But am told that you,

That the crest of your arms are impotent to bruise a fetus’ cord

That I know not but can I sense in you;

But I will see; experiment and tongue.

Juma I will taste with my wholeness.

What a joy there

Embedded right here, in my bewildering mind.

The pulses are yearning for your eternity

In them are two thumbs, playing the Kora

Two pointers and the rest, little fillers rescuing the heart of loneliness

And embalming it with the lyrics there-from:

The airs carried out by those twenty-one cajoling strings of the djali,

The breeze carrying these solemn un-forecasted melodies,

Solaces the swiftness of the trees, their branches and leaves

Blazing like the noon sun

And one sees how transparent their tiny legs are;

Creating dust bowls amidst the triumphant crowd.

Listen, listen keenly my dear

To my tumbling throbbing heart

To the poems for Sangamar-

That wilderness,

That winnower undressing the chaff.

If the verses can sing,

Let the wind dance with you

And I, to lay my nose by the wind’s path

And feed by the perspiration of your alveoli.

What sensation is behind a light bag’s weight?

Trust, truth, justice or prejudice

Or the abomination of such sureties of pronouncing it:

In us, the men we have now are not us,

The pulses of men have melted;

Their services, are valueless than a tobacco butt.

We live, less flaccid than a sponge,

Our purses, we gossip,

And our palms, we know not the sum of their lines,

And we care not to know either,

Everywhere is the sprouting skeletons.

Ours, I mean those fleshes, we no more conceive

And the bloods, their bloods, painting our faces

Yet, we utter not a breath

But to dine on our ancestors’ weaknesses:

The cold silence we chose;




Barren of words;

But the trend of remaining deaf and dumb

Will eat up our tissues.

One by one, our turns are closing the wilderness.

Yesterday we cried to wipe out our occupants

And today, we yearn to get back ourselves

And we have ours by ourselves

But have we accomplished our mission?


“La liberation!”

Our poems of negritude;

Our pan-Africanism.

We chanted the names like Foroyaa-

In the streets

In the swollen factories

Even on our deathbeds.

But, we ourselves, we hate most.

We hunt each other day and night,

We hunt not broilers, but our own layers;

We refute by the pulses of twilight not the cola nuts, but our own eggs.

Tell me Juma, is this what we longed for?

For we said we are our own peace?

Leaning towards destruction, we need not raise eyebrows

To broth an enlightened man

But we know why hearts tumble or pulsate

And why we taste our own lymph fluids…

The sap feeding the faces,

Or those salty waters drowning our skulls,

Through the profuse perforations.

Tell me Juma, how succulent can there be seen

Of the paces and phases,

Walking against the leeward habitations

And caging the breast of the yearned mountains flourishing with fountains.

There then can we embrace the tentacles of being in exile,

A lace of menace

That waif. A man.

None will bewilder for the least when the tones of home chorus

Beautiful songs of whistling palm leaves, of the black ants’ lyrics;

And of the pelicans’ chants.

Facing the reality is a dirty realm:

In packing all our belongings

To part with the melted time.

In myself is no more the self

But a motherless-lamb bleating.

The airs, too soft to carry its melodies

And no ear within an inch away to sense the lyrics behind its gyres.

What herdsman’s corroded sickle serrated the lymph of its mom’s breasts?

What warm milk shall the babe fetch from life?

Juma, the lamb is my retrospect

And in the blind mirror

I see sorrow bathing my innocent face,

Its shadow, crystallizing my effrontery.

It is time I know

It is its turn, am sure,

That saddened moment to abreast our faces ahead but with our eyes behind,

Refocusing on them,

The land, the leaving, the route, oh abandoning the land we knew by birth:

It’s like blinking ones naked eyes in a pool of pepper.

See the river traversing my eyes’ bosom

And see how rocky the deserts are to leach them.

Why can’t oases sprout there from?

But see; see how pregnant the brows’ bellies are

And see how dry the sobbing cheeks remain:

Lest with the white traces of the waterways

Tattooing them to embrace man’s grief

Which by far is never blessed with even a hair?

Even a hair of beauty.

Juma, facing the reality is a dirty realm,

The sun has burnt all my glands

And in you, only you, I have seen

A flowing stream smoothing itself on a barb of fire;

Juma, cherish the commensurate,

Will the stream or the fire die out?

Or the fire will gulp him in her groaning mouth?

Juma, O Juma Ndela.

The blazing sponge, my being, and the stream your nerves.

Then embrace my nakedness

And let me slumber in your porch like a day-old kangaroo under the turmoil of winters’ blast furnace,

That deadly harmattan breathe,

What a tap on a brother’s back,

What a grim in a foe’s teeth.

The paces of time have surrendered their breaths

Upon another page

That some may there see

And the others, facets of darkness.

Yet those chanced with sight,

Wrong pages may be turned

Or the right pages, afresh.

But onto us between

None should in accordance taste of Lake Sleep:

Of the sins incurred

And the blessings acquired,

While the lines of the college, the shoal carried us through

So as to tally all the triumph

In death and beauty.

Feel the skulls of my eyes

And know the rivers therein; their fringes

Overflowing and the sands, pore-less;

The distance, an ejection of blurred worlds:

Their angles juxtaposed.

What brain lies by the smoothed way?

That carries a heart of dejection?

A menorah with mouths embodied by a mass of molten magma

And the tongue, leaking the snaking redness of the earth, the virgin volcanic liquor.

The time we had, shall we say has been seized by age,

For whatever breathes, wilts alongside,

See the simulation thereby

Then we, the beings are counting for ourselves

But the cow never knows how many furs forfeit the liberty of a fly?

So are our days.

Yet we know, we see how the flowers

Bloom and by noon they wither

And by the wisdom behind beauty,

We know, how it replenishes without the night’s permission to it.

Long, long myth

Long it might be encountered,

A journey to emancipate that feeble vent in my heart.

The mars we heard of is not that we have in our hands

And that moon, shining, nowadays takes not a blink to answer to our calls,

And we resort on it and feel rumbles aligning it.

For time, we heard

And time we know and have.

Does there lay any illicitness by his ageing?

Lest of his passage to mark the energetic faces of history.

Those that come to light must pass through the gates of nothingness.

But he, we know well, censors the breath of every event.

So Juma, my silk linen pyjama,

Count the pulses that pass through the airs saluting you.

And there, on a day, on a second,

You will see my pride relaxing in your boughs.

Long, long myth

Long it might take

A journey to emancipate that feeble vent in my heart.

Long, long have its manifesto aloud been read by history:

That a plank is never a crocodile

Even when waters turn soil;

And that, my Juma, am sure of.

Juma, my bloom, Juma Ndela

Will I sing?

I will sing a song ever crafted by man

They say she sings, that Yandeh Codu,

And they say he attends to her as if in paradise, that Sedar, that kinsman, that poet;

But Juma, my poems for you,

The lyrics of this wadding poet,

This drunken djali,

Will float the mountains of your crest.

This song, will sweetness itself gossip.

All, but for your nobility.

The patience you bear to listen to these coarse voices of my mucus less throat.

The suffrage, the frustration, the pledge, our appeals;

All you bear on your sturdy back.

And there I will lie

We will dwell

We will dine,

And those weak ones among us,

Will equally bask under your life-rendering sun.

O Juma Ndela, Juma room me to sing.

With my khalam

The four strings’ dancing will my keen fingers regulate;

And the smoothed paces of her affluence will flutter along in the coy air

Like a gulp of water passing through a tasty vagabond’s throat.

See the dance in the stars

And the smiles of the moon.

The pelicans, the herons, and the flies

Sharing the delight in your being.

And then the tone, thundering

For that staggering calabash, mastering its succulent task within that salt-water

Fixed in a basin twice its size.

My left hand seizing a side of its necklace

Then pulling it up-and-down

While the right with a thumb-size finger ring around the neck of the pointer.

Rattling upon its head.

Chai wai! Juma Ndela!

Chai wai lady!

Listen to that emotion,

How its melancholy mixes with the khalam and the concoction of instruments.

Listen, listen my Juma

Still to my energetic music:

The sabarr speaking and praising alongside my chants

For Jajan Njai

For Leo Sedar

For Abdou

For Kairaba

For Jilanka Jola

For Gaindeh Njai

Listen, Hai! Listen my Juma

Time is rolling by

And my being, decaying over the withering seconds.

And the finale

Of the fine-feather-chorus

Echoing from those mermaids of the drenching seas whose rhymes asleep a lion.

Hai! Chai Juma!

A man never is a woman

But other souls convert.

Chai woman! You are a man in our hearts.

Of you, the earth’s hands clap and its mouth dilates; and its tongue salivates

What then have I other than this little poem?

This scanty poem roving for words.

My Juma, my pearl under the tropical noon.

The music has talked

The fine palms of gods entrusted on man

Will never be frail in validity.

The music sang itself

A song bitter than the love I have for myself

And the sand dunes behind your crest

Are moving

Snaking around your emissaries

Dancing alongside the poor stanzas I have bounty of for you.

If I chanced still, I shall sail through it once more

And see how sour the tunes will reactivate your slumber-of-life.

Then ear keenly

And sit upon the shoulders of your bay

And eye majestically

How my songs’ frequencies

Are making your waters too to dance

And the fish too

And the sailors.

Juma! Oh the Juma of my mind!

I will surely come

As a pedestrian, then a hawker,

To market your tag throughout,

As far as to Walo,

I will travel, even if I am to dine on only moldy bread crumbs on the way,

Or to eat only salivated remnants of the bony dogs, I will travel;

I will come

I still will by sunshine;

Sailing through a troughed stem of gonga tree,

With my two palms as oars

And a sac from my shirt as my engine

And the wind, a soul fuel to energize my homecoming.

Juma I will come even if my coat fumbles and my boat tumbles,

It will stagger

It will shiver

But headlong will I sail

‘Till I meet the beards of Sangamar

And will therein sing again

I will sing that little, that feeble, that wordless song in me.

So my Juma,

Ear my coarse tongue’s fables.

Listen to the sibilant silence,

Ear my throbbing heart,

Eye the confusion of the African cupboard,

Of the forgery in personality

Of the misinterpreted cultural orientation

Of my sober gesture:

The khalam

The sabarr

The calabash within the water

Their ways of playing

The chants of crickets for burrs,

The concoction of Arabic, British, French and American attires,

Which one carries my identity?




Then feel those iambs of the lyrics with your tender skin as lean meat.

Like the stream of blood that afloat my fire-river.

See how it sinks!

To journey that distance farther my life

Then seeing the bare sands in your lungs

Facing the streamlining waves downing

Like a gliding snake on a sheet of greased glass.

Which blood is denser?

Which lymph is thicker?

Which solution outpaces

Yours or mine?

Yet, the lane of hatred,

The stream of blasphemy,

The catastrophe of coal-on-coal,

Our butchering of one another,

Runs deeper than those kind waters piercing through the stomachs of our farmlands.

Juma look at us

We of the same breed but separated by that artificial line on a map;

Look at us, seeds haunted from the same bed

Born, bathed

I mean breathing the same airs shimmering from the Futa D’jallon to the Atlantic;

But see how divided we have become

When they drew a line between us;

A barrier coagulates our lives

That barricade of: Being a citizen of one artificial boundary,

The law, we have with us to separate us forever;

To create hatred among us for traversing that boundary

When I sit to watch destiny’s paces

I sense a blurred path

A naked burrow

Wherein my seedlings too will be minced into

Like granite in a well-seasoned concrete,

As of those arching my blood streams,

Controlling the beatings of the warm-hearted-throbs;

A cell with mosquitoes to spread the intoxication on them;

Then to the others;

Even any that a pint of my blood will run through.

All of two malformations: an undefined citizenry; and a lost cultural insurance.

Even though I know everything about this land; about them; about their forefathers,

Nothing is a secret to my being:

The sensual lines;

The customary frames;

The choirs’ songs;

The town criers’ drumming;

The humming bees’ prayers;

The howling owls’ hoots;

The donkeys’ brays;

The corrosive voices of thunders;

The congested sounds of the lightening;

The waggle dances of worker bees;

But I will still ask you, my Juma, is any mine?

Then there should be no cultural barricade;

No political syndrome or attire;

Should ahead be tagging us like a notched cow

Drowned in a herd of a million heads

Yes! Five out of one million heads

Both as black as the blood running down my skin of pride;

Of the heights of Siamese twins;

The he (the herdsman) will de-husk them,

He will separate poor seed varieties from five millions of their kindred.

If dead be, I am it once.

Then will the pendulum of my mind and soul be seized forever.

And that sword of Janke Wally

Will behead a many upon their mistakes:

For denying my fists of a cloth of soil

The blood of who floods nine-tenth of my valleys;

From that land spreading its wings

Like of a vulture on an errand

Eyeing all the loopholes of this globe.

But done that will my trend tally with theirs

Then will that wish of pepper to one’s eyes

Flourish than ever;

Not that I a coward is then

But a spilled milk to cleanse the hearts of the soils:

Off those corroding fallacies.

For: I as I in else will not show my real self,

A tranquil self of being oneself.

Now consider my fate

Your judgement upon my quest:

I pay a visit to you;

Then will the rising meters spell and swell…

“Kenaroheh! Kenaroheh gara! The stranger has come!”

Then will my fluencies in the native language be counted;

Laughter will dwell on the alignment of my tongue:

Its pronouncements

Its pronunciations, will all be a totality of strangeness to them:

The rolling of my tongue,

The positioning of my teeth,

The ejaculation of the airs.

Oh, what an orgasm?

What a bitterly omen?

Then feel the oozing blood

From my arteries and veins;

The sour taste there then

Its cries like a dejected baby

Lying briskly on a bed in a deserted countryside compound.

Hear how thrilling it throbs,

Smell how pungent its urgency is,

Breathe how coarse its airs are,

And then feel how feeble its bones are,

How sharp, how blunt,

How rough like a vintage road.

Dare you then to those: An undefined countryman ship;

A tainted milk of the mother’s breasts;

Oh! No country to pride of;

No culture to adore as a pride?


I still will count my paces by the sunrise;

I will come by sunrise;

Engulf the dwindling courage;

And gulp the shattered sorrows;

And settle to re-instate my sovereignty

Then re-name me Juma:

Pound the white rice and mold them;

Gather the elders and children;

Dig pith by the main door of my re-birthed room;

Hold me up…upright within the palms;

Show me the four corners of Palmarine

And praise the heart of Sangamar;

Scatter some pounded rice into the pith;

Give the juveniles their shares;

And let them shatter my nakedness

And with whiteness like the curtains of the sky,

And their fine songs of noise

Flutter the whole airs’ slumbers;

Call my name now…Korrmak;

And allow the sekat, bassi and dang smile fervently within mouths;

And the penglerr, lam and ndambu shower the ears and souls with breezes as of drumbeats of august rains.



Yesterday was my birthday

I think you could remember

And today is my death day

I think you may know

In my cell nowhere:

Do you still remember that man with the many homes: Pacholing, Deya, How-Ba but tomorrow, uncertain?

Yes Damirog of disillusion.

Can you remember?

I think you are with me.

In my little cell down there:

Can you still remember that man?

That brother of dejection

With the name: “adhere to god”

And with a gold-colored ring dangling by his left ear

The bi-sexual by look?

In my little cell right here:

Am sorry my dear,

Listen to the wonderful story

But halt!

You need not to outstretch your hands to embrace

Neither should you flatter by it

Nor to grief or cry to its rhythms:

Just listen

Just have a handkerchief dry by your laps

Oh! Where should I start?

But give me chance

I will think over and you will dine well.

Yesterday by the noon was my death day

They said so

That I was ready to die

Oh! I said not

But they said so

I mean I was to return to them in Folonko;

And in the deep sea of Kabla;

And in the forest of Bateling.

And there, I would meet them

Mirang, Teneng and Manlafi.

Oh! Not them they said

But those were my names when I visited:

At a point

I was a plump girl with red eyes and a thin head

And always salivating like a sea snail

And they called me Teneng for I came on a Monday morning.

At that point

They said that I was a devil

For my mother got me from the farm

Where I was exchanged with the daughter of Sangamar

While she was working in the paddy,

And I, left in a basket sleeping under the wild kola tree.

It was there they said that I was stolen.

But it was Fafa they said was the best marabout

So he was able to send me back

Or my mother I would have eaten.

He poured some holy water on my head and I got ashamed

And I looked no more into a stranger’s eyes

Nor of my mother’s.

So I had to turn into a cobra

And that I plunged into a deep well

So I was buried in it finally.

At another point

I visited as a boy

And they named me Mirang

For thy said that my cheeks were smooth like a calabash

And my skin, fairer

And my eyes shone like pearls

And everyone loved me

But they said this time

That it was Aroko, my stepmother

It was she who bewitched me

She visited my mother at dusk when she was pounding rice for churah

And Aroko claimed to be begging for salt

But she found me laid on a mat at the door step

So she touched my forehead

And she exclaimed that I was handsome.

So the next day I developed headache

And at dust I passed away.

And at another time

I came as a girl

And they reserved Manlafi as my name

For they said that I didn’t like the earth and its people.

But my eyes never saw what the world looked like

I never coughed

Nor tasted the air.

And this time:

Woman listen to me keenly

This time I am here

Yesterday by noon was my death day.

I hope am right.

Yes my re-birth.

My umbilical cord was summoned

My gums were tattooed


As they said that it was too red for me to shine it on Ngoneh

She would shy away

And at the wrestling ground

I would be alone

My name would not be praised by any

For none will dare sing a song for me.

My left ear, notched

And the gold earring is hanging.

In my former visit, it was my right

But this time, I have it on the left

For they said that the right gave a bad luck.

O! See the pain

The blunt metal pierced through my lobe,

And on my seventh day, my being was shattered in the garbage bin

And they danced, cried and prayed

Naked! Naked I was. Stripped of pants.

O the nudity of my soul was battered.

And I finally chose life with a sinful name: Damirog.

Woi! Feel my proximity to death!

And now I am still here

Not gone. Pegged. No return yet.

And my being shouldered on two forces: friends and foes.

God forbid! Halt! A slip of the tongue

Rule a red on the foes

And make it: friends of an eccentric survivor.

Sorry! Sorry for now!

I am getting too rude and shameless.


Come count me

Count the manhood in me

I am in love

Woman, I say see the brows on my chest

And hear the depth in my box

I now talk like Korrmak.

Then allow me to a semirr:

I will choose a well braided sweet corn with milk teeth;

Tag her hand with a piece from around the vents of my heart;

And labor for seven tactile years

Each, with a coos farm, a rice farm, or firewood fetched

To revolve round the sun’s waist;

Then to the jaraaf

To splash the tying spirit, the glamorous water, upon her back;

Oh! Mine at last!

And will be carried to them

Old folks of the lifelong avenue

For ndutt

And will the countryside songs off fanjah murmur

While the atoh impregnates the wombs of the keen airs

There then will their brisk sways smile like my hearts;

And then passed to me alas! With the omoteh

And she will fallow a year with the brand.

Then to articulate with the furrows of Sangamar:

“Alley wayy! Fata rett!”

And the kippirr will exalt in might

Till the trousers of the canoe are wetted;

And I will be in the fore, the kohorr,

Then by the tenderr and the olalass;

With the ogam

Will my sight on the retina tranquilize an honorable signal…?


Juma Ndela!

Fatajoff bo faww!

And let the kind paces of the airs

Salute the brisk hands of Sangamar

And kneel henceforth to

Let the dusty shoes of his

Be cleansed thus

To a shiny boot of a calf.



Well, it might be awkward when some readers, in this work, come across some words or statements strange to the English Language vocabulary.

Sorry! As I really don’t mean to corrupt that language but to definitely allow the messages directly reach  their actual destiny…he who feels the pinch. Obviously, to translate the words within the poem will rob it of its cultural vitality and message. Therefore, I decided to write some of the words this way, as a native would pronounce them. Yet, I would crave your indulgence to consult the glossary herein highlighted.

Alleh wai an expression used for cheering up somebody doing work.

Atoh a calabash with a small opening at the top, used by Serer women as a drum for a special part of a marriage ceremony.

Bassi a type of food prepared from broken coos.

Benachin a popular Wollof diet in the West African sub-region

Bo faww forever

Bolong a tributary

Burr king

Chai wai an exclamation for praising someone

Churah a liquid diet prepared from pounded rice and groundnut

Damirog adhere to god

Dang powdered white rice with sugar been shimmered and molded

Domi son or daughter of

D’jali a praise singer

Fanjah a cultural Serer song similar to those of initiations and sang during ndutt.

Fatajoff let it be straight

Fata rett let it go

Fato bala by the root

Foroyaa freedom

Gara you have come.

Gayindeh Njai a lion

Gonga incense tree whose stems and branches are used for boat and canoe construction.

Jaraaf women group leader responsible for the making of marriages possible.

Kanjeleng a woman being adopted by another family for her to get a child due to the death of her previous children

Kenaroheh stranger

Khalam a four-stringed guitar used by the Wollof

Khibar news.

Kippirr to take the boat down to the water from the beach.

Kohor the person in front of the boat who makes signals with                                                       either the head or by talking to the other crew members when in sight of fish. He also cast the net and the spear.

Kora a Mandinka musical instrument with twenty-one strings

Korrmak old man.

Lam a big Serer drum that produces loud sound and is used in ceremonies like naming, wedding.

Mushiba an exclamation that means danger or catastrophe

Ndambu a short Serer drum used in collaboration with the lam and penglerr.

Ndutt a traditional Serer marriage ceremony conducted only by women. In it, they sing fanjah and beat the atoh. Men are forbidden to attend it.

Ogam a long spear with a long rope at the rare used for hunting big fish.

Olalas a person at the back of the boat who controls its direction.

Omoteh a dress for a Serer bride covering her whole body and worn throughout her first year of marriage.

Penglerr a Serer drum similar to the sabarr.

Sabarr a Wollof drum

Seekat a traditional Serer food prepared from thoroughly grounded coos.

Semirr an in-law

Tenderr the person in the middle of a boat who paddles in collaboration with the one at the back.  He also removes the water that gets into the boat.

Wantai hand fan



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