We Need More Poets

All the blogs don’t pull the plug,
all the chapbooks don’t fill the truck;
we need more poets for fucks-
ignite the fire with the logs.

We need more poets-
wash the world,
our souls have run out of words,
all heads have gone blind,

all brains have switched off
the sun has left it’s room up
to clean the stars with a mop;
we need more poets to bluff.

We need less police on the streets
less lights hovering our heads
less laws lying to us
no boards billing our purse.

We need more poets;
arranging our lives in lines,
messengers of love or God
hard hearts on the streets abound.

We need who will tell,
the orphans on the streets of hell;
their parents hover in havana,
preparing shelters with leaves of banana.

We need more poets;
in the third, our worlds,
have fallen apart-
lack of words play a part.

We need more words;
love and lilies don’t cut
It is thirst, it’s hunger that cuts,
we need more poets with fish and meat:

so the words can sink deep
to the bottom of the sea and sip
& in the thick thorns of bushes
our hunting poets mix the pills.

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What Does it Mean to Doubt, in a Country Where Everyone Believes? #2

Two scenarios to evoke our thoughts here…
One was a tweet I saw the other day, I don’t have the full details because I just scrolled past it, until after sometimes, it started reoccuring on my head. The gist of the tweet goes thus: “sometimes I feel it’s better I stay at home on sundays, because the church is the only place I go, where everyone casts me a judging glance”. (Make what you can of this, I don’t think it needs any amplification).
Two, a conversation I had with a group of friends about same sex marriage. It was a room filled with people, all praising the Nigerian Government for proscribing same sex marriage and activities. I stood there and watched them, refusing to get involved because I know my “deficiency of thought”, my tendency to doubt, in a country where everyone believes. Until one of the discussants started making unfounded claims on facts. For example, he said, same sex marriage was a recent creation of the west, and it was being propagated and forcefully imposed on non-western countries. He also said it’s a cult creation, used for money rituals and other forms of black magic. So I had to set the records straight.
I had to be very careful, knowing I was playing with fire. Supporting LGBT, or being sympathetic to them is akin to suicide in Nigeria. So I made reference to Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible and the people of Lut in the Qur’an, to show him that gays have been in existence since time immemorial. This point seemed to interst him and the others in the room. “You are right”, he said, ” that’s why God dealt with them mercilessly”. I nodded and we let it slide.
The conversation continued between them, and one of them raised a question, “how can a man be interested in a man, it’s just not possible, people who do it must have adverse mental conditions”.
An unthinking me quickly retorted “it’s something we have never tried, so we can’t judge them, especially since none of us knows first hand, how it feels” i continued not noticing that everyone in the room had stopped and was casting me the glance. “I have seen and heard a lot of reasonable and right thinking people come out as gay, they live among us in the streets of Kano, kaduna and Lagos. Our society has trampled upon them and silenced them, I personally sympathise with them, because, I can’t imagine a reverse instance of society forcing me to have intimacies contrary to my natural sexual configuration, how it would feel.”
I knew I had stepped on a landmine, the questions started coming, “are you sure you aren’t gay?”, ” this guy you are gay, that’s why you are defending them” and it went on and on, until I shut down my ears, and faded to the background.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of what it means to doubt in Nigeria.

To be continued…

Borrowed Eyes

 

I took off my eyeballs
And hid them in the vase
Borrowed my sister’s
Please save me the lens

With borrowed eyes
I was chased
Wall to wall, everyday
All men are cops
And these are what I saw

I borrowed the eyes of the maid
All I wanted was the dish
And to point and kill the fish
But I became the mermaid
It’s sad his dad was the dish
And him the fish to kill

I borrowed the eyes of the clerk,
the secretary & the hostess in the air
I wanted to hand the world
the books, the files and the bear
But I was the file and meal to tear

Borrowed eyes don’t cry
So I save my tears for the vase
Where my manly eyes protected lay
While my sisters’ always challenged

 

Religion and Nuisance

I beat myself a hundred times before I got the guts to write this.
Last night was a night of nights for me. I have always read and watched debates on how religion could constitute nuisance, but as a follower of religion, I only paid lip service to it, but last night it came raining on me, like a dilapidated building collapsing over my head.
I live in a hostel accommodation at the Nigerian law school, Kano campus. My hostel stands adjacent to the mosque, which is about 15 paces away or less. Last night/ morning I went to sleep after a very hectic day, midway into my sleep, I was yanked awake by the call to prayer from the mosque, it was as if the stereo was placed directly at my earlobes and bombarded from every corner. I swear I felt like taking off my ears, nay my head and throwing it into a lagoon. I know I’m supposed to be used to this since from childhood I have always heard calls to prayers at fajr, but it has never felt so disturbing. Maybe my ears have never been so sensitive, or the mosque has never been so close. Well yesterday I was able to listen from a different place and different ears, and I couldn’t stop myself from thinking how many people’s sleep have been interrupted and frustrated.
But that wasn’t all, I sentimentally had to overlook or better still overhear the call, and when it stopped, I went back to sleep. Less than 30 mins later I was brutally (yes, brutally) awoken again, this time by my roommate. What was he doing? He knelt beside his bed and was chanting loudly, what was supposed to be prayers. It went on and on and was accompanied by claps and yells. It was weekend and I desperately needed to sleep before the week tasks begin. God, I have never felt so bullied and deprived. I kept turning, kicking and straining my eyes to sleep. The sound went on and on, it was finally complimented by the resuming sound from the mosque’s stereo. There it was, from within and without my room, sounds I dare not myself call nuisance, because they were barking the name of God, and I live in a country that uses God as offense and defense.

What it Means to Doubt, in a Country Where Everyone Believes. #1

 

I couldn’t stop myself this time from scribbling something on how difficult it is to doubt in Nigeria. You see, in Nigeria, everyone is so sure and so certain and the culture of correctness runs, through households, bloods and every corner in the streets. It is so serious that, whenever there is a false alarm and you don’t respond, you stand out as weird, and perhaps unwise.
So when you see people, on a long queue at the polling station, they don’t necessarily represent people who are ideologically inclined to the political principles of the politician they seek to vote for. For example, during one election, our father literally forced us to obtain our voter’s card, and made sure we voted for a particular politician because he believes the politician was the best option for the country. I personally don’t reckon that politician, but because he is my father, I couldn’t doubt, for a start, talk less of taking a different cause of action.

This rightly explains our political culture and the tendencies for a collective candidate at elections. This collectivity isn’t borne out of a careful process of selection, rather, of a habit to not doubt when suggestions have been made.

What then does it mean to doubt in this ambience?

To be continued…

A Love Kill to Muse

What happens when we die
He summons us to his inner chambers
looks at our friends list and family tie
No threat of hell, but he commands

What happens when we die
another family or friend dies too
He serves us a plate of pie
A pen to chose who is next to

die in the hospital after a heart cease
or back from the mosque on a Friday
or back from the bazaar after a please
after winning a lottery on payday

What happens when we die
we kill a loved one with our hand
when we tick from the options that lie
on his table of books piled

When we die we are given a chance
to help one person cross the sea
to accompany us in the house of peace
Peace is not a promise of bliss

I chose you, yaay to shortlist
I told the angels to stop your heart
gently when you wear your favourite
black. It’s euthanasia, don’t fight it
when you die you will wake
In a pool of honey and hot cake

& He will summon you to
His inner chambers too
hand you the pen to choose
A love kill to muse.

 

I am not trying to interpret this poem or any such thing…

But I feel I should narrate my state of mind when I arrived at this rather soft poem…

What happens when we die? Every household on an average, or, every one of us, on a reasonable average, loses a loved one or/and family member yearly.

It’s only reasonable to ask, how does He go about the permutation of who dies, when and how? I put myself in His shoes, and this is what I would do:

Upon welcoming you to the “hallowed” chambers, each newcomer will be responsible for choosing who will follow him. He will have to chose from his household (family and friends). That way, you save Him the stress of having to kill(choose) himself…

Some people choose the family member they love the most others choose ones they hate and others pick randomly…

And this is the trajectory his death selection takes. This is what happens when we die…

This is an aggregate of an inconsistent thought of a lowly man in one corner in Nigeria. I know.

 

 

 

 

Miracle Indescribable

 

How I deleted the whole page
And started again like a sage
Miracle indescribable
So it ended with a parable

I tell my ears when
I get too careful with the pen
The beauty of words I swallow
I can spit them out like an arrow

How I walked into the room
And swept my heart with a broom
From the cobwebs of love I unknot
And build myself a brown nest

When it’s spring I unnest
And fly away along the west
Built a new nest for my eggs
The gift of love is in the wings