STRIDES OF MUSIC by Lucky Labaya

STRIDES OF MUSIC by Lucky Labaya


by Lucky Labaya 

That music should

pace as slow as possible.


That what should sail

into ears are stroked strings

of a guitar.

That haste in it means defiance

rides on its meter—


That if it hurries: it isn’t

of the rising dust of stamping feet.

That it isn’t good

for where cartilage narrows.



crawls out of some lips is: so

long it thuds hard and it is

impatient enough to pace

hurriedly, it needn’t be given

a listen.


What about the ones

that now broaden their cheeks from

years of bowing heads after

NF’s tune found its way

into their headphones?


What would have been of

them when they did make yeah

a refrain that overrode their thoughts

as they kept facing the ceiling while

toasting a dice on the floor,

contemplating what a single

squeal could do.

Source: From the Rebel Issue (October 2019)


LUCKY LUBAYA is a poet and fiction writer who writes from Zambia. He pens poems to have a better understanding of the world and to smear different emotions on paper and his word app. If not writing, he spends his time taking a reasonable stroll and finding delight in stuff that fits being art.



Drums, drums,
Play drums not violins,
Play drums not keys,
They asked me to play drums…
And I started playing drums
Though I grew up amid violins and keys,
Though I used to dance around cement trees…
Drums, drums,
Play drums they shouted
If you want our ears to listen,
And our very eyes to see,
And our fat hands to give…
And I started playing drums
Though I grew up with pride and will…
Drums, drums… I played
From dawn to dusk and from dusk to dawn,
Drums… I played like I never thought
The soft and silky hands of mine would ever do,
Drums, drums… I played
So that the future from its coming centuries
Could remember the cradle of the spring
Climbing the mountain restlessly…
Drums, drums… I played
Until my hands became strong enough
To fight elephants and hippos…
Drums… I played
Until I forgot the sweetness of violins…
Drums… I played
Until I lost my keys…
The African drummer and his drum!

The African drummer and his drum!

Drums… I played,
Oh Lord! Drums… I played
Not so passionately that I could close my eyes,
But so blindly that I would shut my eyes!
And shut my ears!
Drums… I played,
And drums shut my whole life!
Drums, drums,
Play drums not violins,
Play drums not keys,
They asked me to play drums,
And I started playing drums…
But they weren’t listening,
They weren’t looking at me,
They weren’t even there!
I realized when I opened wide my eyes
That I was all alone,
Half naked in the midst of the bush!
Drums, drums… I played
So much that my water ran dry,
And the winds and the times
Had drawn deep lines in my face…
There I was rooted in the past,
While they were relishing a stainless future!
Drums… I played,
Yes I played like a fool!
While they were giving their own sons
Violins and keys of the purest air…
Here I am… seeking the way to their songs
As the bush is covering and drowning me
Like a mere drop in the hidden river of a forsaken place…
Drums, drums… I played
For they said so.


My name is Théodore René Ndebi, born in Cameroon. I graduated in Banking Management. But what really makes me proud and happy is WRITING !!!!! I started writing around 1990. I write the most I can.

I mostly write for children’s future. As a child, I had always dreamt of a world where poor children and orphans could be happy as well. I have many unpublished collections in French: Chaque Jour Un Poème, Rêve D’un Soir, La Missive Du Petit Prince, Suis-Je Assez Bien Pour Toi… I’m also author of unpublished novels in French (Cierge Noir, Plus Violent Que L’amour, Les Fruits De La Tempête…). My first published novel; THE LAST GHOST/Son Of Struggle got published in 2013 by AuthorhouseUK; it appears in the LOS Angeles Times Festival Of Books Catalogue 2014 Page 8. Available online @ Amazon, Kindle, AuthorhouseUK, Barnes & Noble, Indie. I wrote numerous award winning texts. I am a Book Reviewer and Translator. I am a member of OneAfricanChild since 2013 and Co-Founder of Le Salon Du Livre Yaounde-Cameroon. You can check my works on: Ndebi on Facebook, @RTNdebi on Twitter, Facebook Page My Soul & Mon Ame.




I thought about all the musicians, carefully putting into account each of their stage performances I’ve either seen personally or watched on the TV. I thought about 2face in particular, that guy is just epic when it comes to live performances. Have you seen how he staggers like he’s high on expensive drugs? …or how he pulls the crowd along till the very end? You know that uniqueness in his voice, listening to him and at the same time, seeing him in person or that feeling you get when he jumps down the stage to poke the person right in front of you. Actually enough of 2face’s dreams, he wasn’t the only one I thought about calling for my divorce.

I thought about the Mavin crew. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that Don Jazzy’s voice has some traces of codeine in it. Well, I sincerely don’t know the effect of that codeine, but his voice from the background or it’s combination with the Almighty Dbanj’s. Okay, I rest my case.

I thought about every other musician…the effect of the twins on stage. The effect of the wiz bro (yes, I called him a “bro” because… Well, he should actually be a bro). The effect of VEC, phyno, Chidinma, Omawunmi… But I just couldn’t get enough from my thoughts.

Then came the menu of the day. I thought about pounded yam, if you have ever eaten “pounded” yam, then you’ll understand me better. I thought about Amala (even though I’ve never tasted it); the thought of its flexibility overwhelmed me. I thought about jollof rice (those ones are just spectacular when made for parties). I thought about it’s fried equivalent, it’s coconut and it’s Chinese. I think I’ll just skip the white. I thought about the eforiro soup (it’s just most of them don’t taste as nice as they look these days), the edikang-ikong, the ogbono, the ofe nsala. I thought about everything; then about the cakes. I thought about chocolate cakes (of how very quickly they melt into the mouth and then you crave for more) I decided my cakes would be ordered from “cakesbykisses”, who wouldn’t want a cake image brought to life. I thought about every edible; small chops, fruits, coleslaw, drinks…etc. I thought about my divorce.

The scream for a divorce

The scream for a divorce

I didn’t remember my union; I couldn’t even explain it if I was asked to. I didn’t remember how I got involved in the first place, before the thought of a grand divorce came flying across. I didn’t remember the journey, and I sincerely didn’t want to. All I thought about was my grand divorce; the one that will once again free me from the unbearable union.

Yes, I envisaged a grand divorce; where even though the musicians refuse to turn up, my music library would give me the much needed joy. Talking about my music library, I thought about all the songs I had therein and figured it wouldn’t do the magic I really needed. I started to think again, to think about the divorce.

My divorce… So many to wine and dine on. There will be no invitation cards (I hate segregation); everyone will be invited. I have to give gossips the privilege to carry first hand news. The ones that have never wished you well. The ones that always prayed you never went into a divorce (trust me, they don’t wish you well). The ones that always hoped you never realised you were even in a union. I thought about giving them lots to talk about. I thought about the side attractions… I thought about lots of souvenirs…I thought about the happy faces… the sad ones. I thought about all that I hoped for… All that I prayed to get. I thought about a grand divorce, the kind that will keep lips sealed for long.

This was about my divorce with the most humiliating factor in my life. The one that made me feel useless for long. The one that never made me stop feeling inferior. The one that instilled fear in me… The fear of being me… The fear of moving on… The fear of holding on to the good things of life. I thought about my divorce with unhappiness; it cannot win all the time. I cannot be destined to be sad. The unhappy feeling I get just when I’m about to make it in life which shatters every main dream. I thought about my divorce with unhappiness yet again, and then I smiled because for the first time in a long while, I will be free again. Free from all forms of sadness in my life; from all forms of fear. From the shackles of failure, the standstill of destiny, the abandonment of acquaintances. Unhappiness will not win this time because I intend to move on, to be happy again… happy to enjoy life the way I used to; happy to move on without the fear of hate. I intend to be happy… Just this time, it will last forever.

Have you had a divorce with unhappiness yet? Now is the time, you should wait no longer. I wish you everlasting joy in your life, now and always!

…And for my thoughts. Well, they ended up becoming just thoughts. Though now, I am as happy as I can be.

**First published in Inspirationals segment on bilkissesblog.


Osomo Bilikis Omosalewa, also known as Bilkisses is a talented Nigerian writer, blogger and caterer. She is a well-focused, emotionally-
stable, and a hard working young lady whose penchant for excellence and youthful drive makes an asset wherever she finds herself. She started blogging in 2012 under the domain name “Bilkisses blog” and has not stopped thrilling her fans with her mostly fictional stories.

As a storage biology graduate of the prestigious Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria; Bilkisses currently owns “cakesbykisses”, a bakery which constitutes a team of experienced caterers who bake cakes to life.

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