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from the October 2012 issue

When Can We Be Sane?

We reel shamelessly in joyful shrillness
For the gloomy glimmer of blinking lights
Nursing our failing consciences
In the cold slab of childish ego
I remember Coleridge’s sea 
Without a healthy drop to drink:
We have them here.
Otovwodo gas plant,
The biggest gas reserve in Sub-Saharan Africa
We have them here.
Erhioke Oil Field in Kokori-Orogun
A precious oil meadow that churns out
Bent and Sweet Crude
The best they told us.
We have them here.
Otorogu-gas plant in Otu-Jeremi
The largest of its kind in West Africa
Seventh of its kind in the world
So they tell us.
We have them here in the withering heart of our Delta.
But here we are.
The light we lack
Beams through the bare trees in the far forest
Chasing away our game,
They cough away our gas
And theorize our existence
In the classroom of knowledge 
Of everything, of nothing.
They lay siege to us
The terror of terrifying arms
Demonizing Orovwori’s blessings
In the shore of our dwelling
How can we be sane?
Go ask Malaysia 
How oil palm showed the way
And crude blocked our path
Turning us to a dark lake of suicide
In the mist of our tears
Shall beam the sunrise of smiles. 


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