from African, American


Oh God of creation, direct our noble cause
Guide our leaders right
Help our youth the truth to know
In love and honesty to grow
And living just and true
Great lofty heights attain
To build a nation where peace and justice shall reign


say it: say it is:
say true: say the just thing: say youth: say truth: say nation:
say it is true that the just thing to do is for the youth to know the truth
about its nation: say it is our right to know justice: say oh how much
 we love to talk about justice: say love: say God: say living: say right: right:
 say his creation build in vain: say guide: say help: say direct: say just: say 
just: say just when will our leaders get it right: say right: right: say you: say
youth: say honesty: say reign: say cannot: say attain: say grow: say grow: say
youth: say once (& again) say groan: say grew: say grown: say stay: say no:
say leave: stay: stay: say no: say brain: say drain: say leave: say leave: say still:
stay still: say no: say heights: say attain: say no heights attained: say still:
say cause: say leaders: say cause: say youth: say you: say you: say no: say no
 one: say blame: say no one knows: say no one knows the cause: say
you: say you: say you: say peace: say where: say no. say nowhere. say it: say:


[            ]



i’ve seen a man look fresh to death
 while rocking a gold chain around his neck
in the middle of a raised platform as he,
 mic in hand, is surrounded by a multitude
 of people there to watch him 
bring the heat & the mic is on fire

& this, of course, we call a good show

or justice, for is this not a public execution
how it leaves us out of breath


& i have seen too, a man
rock a flaming tire around his neck
in the middle of the street, as he, 
with the item he stole in his hand, 
is surrounded by a multitude 
of people there to watch him 
embrace the heat & the man is on fire

& this, of course, we call a good show

or justice, how we watch him slowly
lose the fresh of his breath to death

& after 
what is done is done,
the multitude leave & all that is left
of the man’s name is ash & bones
& the smoke continues to rise
to the skies
& there, in the clouds
is where 
you, the forgotten stanza,
have made your home
& how long have you been gone,
oh forgotten one?






Ayokunle Falomo is Nigerian, American, a TEDx speaker & the author of two self-published collections: KIN.DREAD & thread, this wordweaver must! and a forthcoming chapbook, African, American from New Delta Review. His work has been featured in print and online in numerous publications, including Glass Mountain, Berkeley Poetry Review, The New York Times, Houston Chronicle, Houston Public Media, Pressure Gauge Press, Write About Now, Mantra Review, Santa Fe Writers Project and Barzakh Magazine. He is the recipient of a fellowship from the MacDowell Colony, and his poems have been selected as finalists or winners for Fourteen Hills Press’ Stacy Doris Memorial Award, Flypaper Magazine’s Music Poetry Contest, The OffBeat’s Poetry Contest and Nimrod Journal’s The Pablo Neruda Prize in Poetry. He holds a Specialist in School Psychology degree from Sam Houston State University and starting in Fall 2019, he’ll be pursuing a Poetry MFA at the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program.

* “A LAMENT FOR THE SECOND STANZA OF THE NIGERIAN NATIONAL ANTHEM” is from Ayokunle’s chapbook, which was selected by Selah Saterstrom as the winner of this year’s Chapbook Contest and is forthcoming from NDR.