God And The Dictators

Oh God, you're doing it again
One more dark war, the nightmare played
In blazing sunlight, on your stage
Of fertile soil, the fallen mango putrefying
Bodies in the cane
Limbs peeking from the elephant grass
Beneath the felled transmission lines
Village life and aspiration choked
By the spill of blood and oil
Leaching into, sucking out the soil.

Oh God, you will not stop
Your crony army, sunglass-dressed
In sharp Parisian suits, high office uniform
Where supplicants surround, bowed down
By levies that you load onto their backs
And suffer them to haul
Across the weed-stained railway tracks
Into your stores of bribery and gold.

Oh God, not come to shame
Or fear to face your judgment, on the day
You grace the church with presence, then the mosque
With patronage, the part time workers fix
The long sign of your name, the epithets and appelates
That children learn in school, under the scrawny trees
From teachers who rent out your books to feed their families
Your face on every storefront wall, beside the Cola sign
And green words of the Prophet and the State.

Oh God, you have not yet
Bent low the knees of dictators
In something more than pain, the chord and flex
Of deep acknowledgement, they sink
Down as the music stops, beside the frozen clocks
Of poor stunted constituents, rehearsing all
The prayer-like slogans of their penitence.

But which God has the right
To forgive them for the days they turned to night
The harvests that they burned, the lives they turned
To death and ashes as they drank, crowing delight
In all the workings of their years, the blight
Of fear, the corpses of all innocence
Left sacrificial in the fields
The tracks behind their heavy wheels?

by Frank Bana

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