Two Poems by Tonye Willie-Pepple

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy


Don't hold me back
Don't beg me "Stop"
For these our eyes
cannot annex the
great river

They've relished
so well, the tasty
soup, cooked with
our tears

Now I must leave to
take from them
the right hand staff
of our fathers gone

I will return
for these our tears
to seize from being
their ingredient,

We've cried enough,
Don't beg me "Stop"
Don't hold me back


Too Far

I remember in June last year
You plucked a man like pear
Ate him with your fists
Like Bingo does his bones,
And when I asked you why
You said he made her cry,
I said, you went too far,
You said, It was for your sister.

On a sunny day in March,
I really paid so much,
To get you out from cell,
Because I already could tell,
You would be sued to court
For using the head of a belt
On your mum's landlord's back,
For asking her to pay or pack.

Last night at Nkechi's bar
On ice-rocked juicy vodka,
I admired you for the way
You cared for your sister May
And your dearest mother too.
I even said to myself "Eketu,
Why are you so aloof
From the women in your life?"

This morning I was called,
To be told that my friend
Who loves his women much
Was caught by security torch
Raping another man's girl
With slaps blows and all,
Mixing his ecstatic shouts
With the most abusive words.

I must confess i'm shocked,
That one who seems to dread
A small bitter kola treat,
Can force it down the throat
Of another who with him,
Shares our planet's room.
Before you are taken away
To dance the tune you play

I have some words for you
About things you never knew.
You see that girl you ate
Hurriedly like stolen meat,
Is my elder sister's child
Abandoned by her dad,
I just began to care for her
Like you do, your sister.

I shall do to you
The things I saw you do,
To protect your sister,
When I said "you went too far."
For this fruit you roughly plucked
Will take time to be unlocked
From thoughts of men as wolves
And the prison of worthlessness.

Tonye Willie-Pepple, an Ijaw from Bonny Island of Rivers State, Nigeria, studied Computer Engineering from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri. His poems have appeared in Sentinel, Saraba, Kalahari Review and the Magazine of the Poetry Foundation Ghana. In 2012 he was shortlisted for the Orange Crush Prize for Poetry and in 2013 won the PEN Nigeria/Saraba Prize for Poetry. Tonye is an alumnus of the Fidelity International Creative Writing Workshop and lives in Port-Harcourt, with his family.