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My mad uncle had the Burma jungle/In his head—burnt-out tracts of history/He’d stalk in ambush of his sanity”

My mad uncle had the Burma jungle

In his head—burnt-out tracts of history

He’d stalk in ambush of his sanity,

Becoming like the dead invisible.


An African, colonial invalid,

He hid from Independence in the bush—

Blinded to history like an Oedipus

On whom the rebel troops were billeted.


Biafra disappeared and so did he,

Still fighting out his fragment of world war—

And history, forgiving nothing, tore

Out its shrapnel from his memory.


Gabriel Gbadamosi is an Irish-Nigerian poet, playwright, and critic. His London novel Vauxhall, which was released with Telegram Books, won the Tibor Jones Pageturner Prize and Best International Novel at the Sharjah Book Fair. He presented the BBC Radio 3 flagship arts and ideas program Night Waves and is the founding editor of WritersMosaic.


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