rise Africa rise

i carved out the barks of the tree of life
made out of it sculptures of bleeding hearts
hoping this art will scream for voices unheard
rise Africa rise

i raced across the Virunga mountains
its volacanoes could not endure this agony
the soil mourned for every parted step
howling beasts reechoed the whisperings of the wild
rise Africa rise

i sailed a skiff through the Nile, Congo and Niger
these bodies of water burble and trickle
they carry with them the cries of distressed generations
rise Africa rise

the spirit drum bangs and throbs
acquatic life dance to the tribal tempos
these enslaved hearts are freed of their misery
their voices heard accross distant skies
rise Africa rise

Image by @rcupidore

be bold

be bold
uphold your values

be one
hymn to the slogans of liberation

be fearless
let the earth tremble
let the blood of the dead attest to your unheard cries
let this change be an epoch that’ll be etched on minds of those to come
let it ting, let it jar
let your selfless anthems make it to pages of history
let them know complaisance is not a word we ever agreed with
let your demands be chanted
let this bondage cease to end
let your hands veer minds into doing what is right

be invincible
be a moutain of hope to those treading the path of disarry
let your guidance blaze their trails
let belief be restored to the hearts of the defiant

be a wave
recite the bitter verses of this modern reality
let it reecho to the graves of souls departed
let it be known their fight was never in vain
their pain is rooted in our veins
and that we will not be veered off this lane

be just
at all times
let justice not be only a word seen on paper
“for true peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice”
let it resonate in our acts
let it be embodied in us, by us and for us

be loved
and love
let your heart overshine the sun’s radiance
let it be soft and embrace each other’s diversity
let it be as it is
for love conquers all

be bold
uphold your values

be one
and proclaim this struggle

—Salim Ubale

Image by Dreamstime Stock, Pinterest


i’m hyperventilating, not because i ran on a 50 mile track, it’s an entirely different reason today. the stifling air in my lung’s thick with a smoke-like rage sweeping me into a vortex of my emotions.

pain (n)
how peculiar pain is, it comes from distinctive sources and makes its way to your heart causing arrhythmia.
death, heartbreak, divorce, a blow in the face, failure, all these connote pain.
it seeps through your bones, through every fibre of your soul setting it afire.

rage (n)
pain morphs into rage and thrums it’s way through you, it is fuelled by anger, anger at things we can’t change as much as we try, anger at those we care for who seem not to look into the subtleties, outrage over the state of the world’s affairs, these build a pressure in our souls, in our hearts, waiting for the right time to explode, waiting for purgation to occur.

release (n)
a cleansing phase we undergo, it vents through our tongues, though our fists, though our legs, or our fingers as we write about our ordeals, it gives us satisfaction, a feeling of contentment or regret for what we’ve experienced. the fury abates at this stage and we wear an unbridled smile or a cloud of sadness. a maelstrom of gratitude rises high and takes over our minds
an appreciation for what we’ve been through.
a catharsis.

image by me


i pledge allegiance to…

oh did you think i would say flag?

or did you think i’d pledge my trust to leaders with deflated egos?


i pledge allegiance to pure justice

to the struggles of our ancestors

to the battles of the mind, body and soul that made real impact

i pledge allegiance to the truth

to the likes of Jamal Khashoggi who perished for questioning a biased status quo

to the mind liberators of our generation

to political correctness in the face of aggression

i pledge allegiance to bravery

to the likes of Gambo Sawaba who fought for the rights of her kins

to those being persecuted for voicing out against our oppressors

to artists who subtly enlighten us with persuasive paintings to address despotism

i pledge allegiance to those who remain not silent in the face of adversity

to the likes of Fela Kuti, who stirred revolutions and fought for something bigger than themselves

to those who ignite sparks of emancipation in us

to the ones who rip the ulcer that eats and decays our society

i pledge allegiance to our fallen heroes

to the likes of Lt Col Abu Ali the vanguards in the quest for our salvation

to the oath keepers who selflessly serve for no other reason than honour

to the chain breakers who fight to restore our peace and to enjoy the glories of freedom

O my people think!

you look blindly and swear fealty to dishonourable leaders

you support the occupation of a people and reprieve yourselves when called to answer for your crimes

you listen to the truth and call it treason because you benefit from falsehood

you walk down paths of wretchedness and call it the path to salvation

O what hypocrisy!

O my people think!


for i pledge allegiance to you

to humanity, to my people

-Salim Ubale

this poem was published in a newspaper. you can find the link at https://www.dailytrust.com.ng/poet-of-the-week-salim-ubale.html

image by Creative Market


sometimes you’d wish a thing you did or failed to do or stop never happened, it’s called regret

regret is more than a feeling of guilt due to inaction, it’s a darkness that seeps through you when you close your eyes in search for peace, it hunts your soul and consumes you till you give into it, it lies awake staring down at you hoping for a counteraction, hoping for change

regret has nothing to do with honour nor pleasantries nor viciousness, it is unbiased and eats up the hard-worker and the lazy and the candid and the devious in similar ways for different reasons. it swallows Kings for not defending kins and destroys killers for slaying victims

regret has no rhythm, it has no crests nor troughs, it’s neither sinusoidal nor collinear. it makes its way through whether there be barricades or not, it cares not about time for it’s relative to ordinary actions and peculiar inactions.

regret every so often says “slowly but surely” although it has no sense of spans and will consume you in a way a blackhole consumes a star, so all i can say for now is regret is the deadliest asphyxiant



music is life

it’s the cry of a newborn as it comes into the world, a cry of a new soul, a melodious cry of life

it’s the pitter-patter of a 2 year old baby crawling it’s way across my carpeted floor

it’s the motion in the last two seconds before the sprinter crosses the finish line

it’s the tweet of bird at dawn and the hoot of an owl at dusk

it’s the pip of a chick as it hatches its way through its shell

it’s the crunch of my Grandma’s wheelchair as she moves across our gravelled pavement

music is pain

it’s the voice in your head telling you not to give up when all you see is a tiny thread of hope

it’s the joyous remark your opponent makes after he beats you at your game

it’s the pop Mr Jay’s knee makes after walking 5 miles to put food on the table

it’s the laughter of Dr Q’s three year old that passed away last month resonating across my ears

music is death

it’s the palpitation of a loved one on a hospital bed

it’s the crashing sound of two automobiles from across fifth street

it’s the swooshing of the charming brown autumn leaves

it’s the silence of the graveyard i visited last Friday

it’s the rattle a dying soul makes when his last seconds catch up on him

music is love

it’s the cackle of the two lovebirds across me in the café

it’s the cry and wiggle of my dog anytime i step my feet in my home

it’s my mom asking me every now and then “have you eaten”?

it’s the sound of a handshake, a sign of trust

it’s the squish of fabrics rubbing off against each other as two people hug

it’s the sonance of a peck, of a kiss, a validation of love

music is so many things

it is art. creativity. feelings. sensations.

music is very little things too

music is what you define it to be


our feet move languidly

past ashes we once called home

and pulverised spirits we called family

leaving behind oceans of crimson


the shoreline witnesses

creaking while we mount death boats

the desert sympathises

as we tread towards camps

that reek of blood and pain


you refer to us as “displaced”

after you devoid us of our lands

and have stripped away our freedom

but our journey comes to no end

for hope is our only raison d’être

in this abyss of ruins


In honour of millions of refugees around the world. My thoughts go out to you, and i hope for a world free of war, persecution and apartheid. A world filled with love, compassion and justice.


Image source: Pinterest

A thing

This thing called love. It started like magic

and like the spring causing roses to grow,

it was highly romantic.


It became classic

and like the radiance of the sunny summer that makes your skin glow,

it’s nature became strikingly exotic.


Out of the blue came the panic

and the autumn appeared causing the loss of the rainbow,

a loss that was tragic.


Then it turned out dramatic

like the coldness of the winter and the death of the lovely mallow,

this thing called love. It ended traumatic.

I Am


I am the owner of the patched up trousers

I purchase my meal with the free vouchers

I eat the leftover food in the fancy restaurant

When they don’t let me in I move to the bin

I am the worker with the sun burnt skin

I am the man with the worn out flip flops

I am the dude with the sun dried lips

I sleep on an old mattress with a tattered sheet and when it rains my ceiling drips in excess too

I wear my socks with its rat eaten holes

I am the worker who cannot write his name

I am the one they point fingers at and sometimes they say —whaaat a shame

I am the husband with the bedridden wife

I have a wallet that has zilch in it

And when I have 2 coins I don’t forget to split

That’s the way it is I have to strive

And may be one day I could thrive

Yet, I smile when you look at me

And I end my day with a sip of tea

This hardship is what I chose

Don’t judge me until you learn to walk in my shoes.

Mixed Feelings


  • Do u ever feel like your heart has been shredded into tiny threads?

Like your arteries distribute the pains to your other body parts

Like your feet do not belong to any part of you

Like giving up when there’s so many reasons to hold onto the rope of hope

  • Do you ever feel like you’re staring at a stranger when you look into the mirror?

Like you’re a nobody in the midst of those you care about

Like the pebbles on the precious soil you step on look like lofty mountains

  • Do you ever feel like a slave to your own mind?

Like your ego overpowers your humbleness

Like you are lonely, choking amidst a crowd

Like you are not being heard even when your voice is loudest amongst all

Like there are days when you want to pour your heart out to someone but you hesitate because you feel they may not understand or they may not even give you a listening ear

  • Do you ever feel like a philosopher as you question the meaning of life and why the world is the way it is late at night?

Like you have no control over your own decisions

Like a historian as you try to remember your past while missing or regretting it

  • Do you ever feel like the whole world is closing up on you?

Like you are alive yet feel dead deep inside

Like suffocating albeit there is sufficient oxygen

Like solitude is your escapism from chaos called “life”

Like there are days when you just want to block everyone and everything just to have your life inundated by drops of ‘peace’

  • Of course you get these feelings

When there’s too much noise. Too many choices and too many voices. You’re stuck and the entire world is racing

When your heart is torn into fragments of grief and tears profusely flowing, drowning you in an ocean of pain

When anger spreads in your whole body like a cancer, consuming every crevice of your being and sadness devours you like a virus

When you want to scream at the top of your lungs in anguish, feel hopelessness in your solar plexus, and just want to disappear

When the feeling of loneliness finally wins its battle against you and you surrender yourself to tears and anger of what seems like a hopelessness

Days when you fall to your knees with no intent to get back up again

  • Because it’s during these moments you have mixed feelings.