The line between music and danger is a lunar footprint plucked from dance. When the moon waltz around names till daybreak, it blows syllables into pieces. And sometimes, we pretend not to notice. But you have dared to define music as a symphony of errors, do-re-mi-files of migraine stacked like biscuits on palms of our fathers and their fathers and fathers. You have defined the tunes of metal gongs as a cushion for disjoined names and roots and war. And sometimes, I ask you if you’re not tired of writing and writing and writing bold poems that expose our soil to cold and scrutiny and you say you’re tired. You’re tired of looking for stars at night to bury your tongue in. You’re tired of reaching for the moon to borrow its whiteness and innocence. You’re tired of making a salty blancmange with pain and ink. But in the midst of your tiredness, you pick up a pen to unveil your anger for what is writing if not tiredness speckled with rage? We see your blood rushing through Women of Owu, pumping life into language. We see you explain that home is a chaff of radio waves, a TV ad, an expired pistol and in the explanation, there is an underlying anger frosted with helplessness. You explain that home is an album of laughs wrapped in white and black. Home is a duffel bag of tears and trash; a stigma of stars dripping with ash. Home is the queue at the country’s border. And sometimes, home is close to the moon, a grey castle wedged between foreign languages. Then we see music find home in Esu and the vagabond minstrels. Broken hymns stringed into war songs. Music emerging with blood and honor. Say, music is the horse on which both the victor and the vanquished ride. We see you flex your fingers and carve out the deliverance of a land under siege in lines, in music, under a moon tipping over with ash. And when the freedom comes, we cannot pretend not to notice.
Overcomer Ibiteye (she/her) is a Nigerian writer. An alumnus of the SprinNG writing fellowship, she is an editor at THREPOSS magazine. Her works have been published in several anthologies and magazines including Apex, Willows Wept Review, Iskanchi, Land Lick Review, Sprawl Magazine, and others. She is a finalist in the African Writers Awards (2021), the Calamthe Collective Prize for Unpublished Poetry (2022) and the Spectrum Poetry Contest (2022).