Saturday, December 26, 2009


There is a postcard from yesterday on my desk
that tells the story of a yester-Christmastime,
of a village air taut with the aroma of burning hair;
goats' hair, cows' hair, and sheep's hair licked by
frond fires - in rears of houses where the animals
bleed from slit throats into the gullets of the earth.

Outside the African food shop in Woolwich, where
I shop for miserable portions of Oha leaves,
icy winds there hit me like a thousand knives -
winds that bear no clouds of beautiful tropical dust
raised by dancing feet of festive masquerades
and of women swinging to Nwangelenge xylophones.

Christmas will arrive tomorrow and London streets
will fall asleep, empty, like an endangered city
evacuated on the account of a plague.
There are no girls modelling Christmas clothes here;
pulling targets of on heat boys with fresh haircuts
asking of everyone, 'Dance Christmas for me.'

At times like this I wish to stand on a mountain
with a placard that says "MISSING TIME: CHRISTMAS
hijacked by the heathen, hedonised, violated."
Jesus the Christ's birthday party has transfigured,
and is now a carnival of Visa and Mastercard tricks
of over-eating, over-drinking, over-sexing, over-everything.

- Nnorom Azuonye
London, Christmas Eve 2009

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