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“Buhariyya / Buharism” by Sada Malumfashi

“Buhariyya / Buharism” by Sada Malumfashi


When We Speak

It is like the effortless flap of wings
Of a dancing rainbow butterfly
Like a stuttering fit of coughs
From the collapsed bridge of Grandpa’s mouth
Chiseled from an appropriate weight of breath
To form rivulets of sounds that gallop over silence
When we speak

It is the wording we struggle to release
Lost on the tip of our tongues
We can feel it
Converse with it
Its delectable taste taunts watery saliva
Digesting its oral texture in our heads
But then we only release a stream
Of fiery silence
Like meek whispers of a shadow
When we speak

It is the weight of the words our tongue grapples with
As if sense were fried in foreign cuisine
We can feel the marshmallow of the words
Hit rough edges of our tongue
Immerse within taste pores on its roof
But we still find it difficult to switch
And nod our head in appreciation
Of the complex artifices of Language
When we speak

So we transport ourselves back to the familiar
To the conscious structure that disperses thoughtlessly
In the naturalness of its diversity
Without a formal instruction of ingredients
We can brew this blindly in our heart
Pound it with an instinctive rhythm
From within the shackles of the rails of teeth
Spray it out from beneath the bed of the tongue
With an enormous difficulty to subdue
When we are silent


Wakar Muhammadu Buhari

Shi kam Janar ko ya zaka ko bai zaka wa
Farin jini Allah ya bashi, ga daukakawa
Mai gaskiya gamzaki, huska tai abar haskakawa

Hantsi, ciro mu cikin wagga karangiya, mai gazawa
Baba mun ji mun gani, lallai kana iyawa
Gaskiya dokin karfe, aniya abar yabawa

Sun ka ce Buhariyya wuya kuna dandanawa
Mun ka ce Jonatiyya ta fi guba kashewa

Kun yi Buhariyya can can da dadewa
Ta mu Buhariyya, sabon tsire muke gasawa

Sabon fage, sabuwar alawa, mu dade muna lasawa
Inuwa ma’abociyar walwala, mu zan hutawa

Tsohuwar zuma warke jiya, warke yau, har mai gangarowa
Ya Allah ka sa Baba a gangara, ya kasance mai kamantawa


For Muhammadu Buhari

Even if the General falters on this last step
He will be a revered flash, forever sending budding rays to our hearts
For sincerity emanates from his face, crowned with the stars of the night

Be our refuge, save us from this growing whirlwind of misery
For your will of purpose is a giant, crushing misery into pebbles
With a thirst for the truth, and a cool well-heeled passion

They say Buharism will be the doom you shall taste
We say Jonathism is a disdainful poison that kills even its conjurer

For you had tasted a different Buharism, basketful of ages ago
Our Buharism is a fresh date straight from the rosy tree

A generation gone, now a generation comes to revel in serenity
In a shadow of heaven’s cool bliss we rest our gnarled feet

For a tried, tested and trusted General of yesteryears and future to come
May the Lord guide Baba the wayfarer in this quest to sweep away injustice


I chew scrumptious flesh
From the repertoire of a dream

Ever muscular tongue recoils
And dialogues with damsel teeth

There is a disagreement
Witnessed by a clot of blood
On the tuning of Language

From the birth
With a promise of wings
Teeth and tongue
Tune and clack
For a fine frequency
On melodious radio of Language

Omen of death begins
Chasing the sit-tight dawn
As teeth and tongue
Sue for peace
But nonchalant saliva
Like fresh palm wine
Sticky, like latex of a tree
While moisturizing erect beards
The seven days of mourning
In anticipation of the demise
Of old stuttering language
Now too rickety to escape
Years of unending click-clack
Of tongue and teeth

Feeble tongue lolling
And the battered bridge
That is teeth
Cries out a dirge
A lament
For the mystery of sound

Sada Malumfashi (@SerOverall) is a writer and poet from Kaduna, Nigeria. He is a Pharmacist by training and some of his works have appeared or are forthcoming in The Kalahari Review, The Deepwater Literary Journal, Praxis Magazine (USA) and This Is Africa. He blogs at

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