Who must comes first,
males or the females?
This knowledge a thirst
that quenches with cells.
If what is common birth
forms females or males;
supremacy is their myth,
caged within each’s cells.
By Ahmed Yahaya Joe
Every man has a right to live
Love is all that we have to give
Together we struggle by our will to survive
And together we fight just to stay alive
Struggling man has got to move
Struggling man no time to lose
I’m a struggling man
And I’ve got to move on
As the sun lights the day and the moon lights the night
Struggling man keeps reaching for the higher heights
So we plan for tomorrow as we live for today
Like a flower we bloom, and then later fade away
Struggling man has got to move
Struggling man no time to lose
I’m a struggling man
And I’ve got to move on…….
– Jimmy Cliff (1974)
They always return like its shown,
Somehow better, on their very own.
When they were nothing, they knew.
And as they were begotten, they threw.
Just like such was predestined,
Man’s priorities shifts ascertained.
It was seen and again it will be,
Like again repeats all tides at sea.
They’ve always forgotten man feeds
Just like water kills and still it breeds.
The other day a lady teased me,
saying I’ve got huge man boobs.
Smiled and tried to make her see,
creation has one reoccurring oops.
Just like everything that is male,
My boobs are for my pleasure;
Not the upliftment of others’ tale,
For God’s a man in all His nature.
“God did not make all men in his image. He made just one couple in his likeness and gave them the ability to procreate. It is this couple that brought forth other people and all sorts of people tend to mess up a good thing.
“I’m making a case for why good Christian folks turn out to be mean to people in need of assistance at their door steps.”
“The garden of Eden and the forbidden fruit in the middle of it, in the story of Adam and Eve, is really just the bushy forest between Eve’s legs and her vagina right at the center of it.
“Satan told Eve about her vagina, which she had no clue existed before he told her about it. Then Eve revealed its bounties to Adam, who naturally allowed her to lead him against the wishes of the almighty.
“All that talk of fruit and trees is quite nonsensical and was crafted to hide the true identity of the very first crime of sexual intercourse.
“That may sound like the most absurd interpretation you have ever heard. It will like feel you with rage or amusement with the crafty twist in the interpretation of the tale of Adam and Eve’s disobedience.
“On the contrary, it is quite logical. How else would anyone explain the sudden need for the first couple to cover their nakedness?”
One of the most prudent things you should do for yourself in Nigeria today is keeping out of trouble. One of the worst things that can happen to a person is to be sent to jail in Nigeria.
Jail in Nigeria is halfway house to hell. Maryam Sanda will probably never be executed, most Governor’s do not sign the death warrant anymore. Orji Kalu Uzor will probably never serve full-time.
But still Nigerian prisons are like Nazi concentration camps. The food is calamitous, healthcare is none existent.
I have seen a prisoner holding his eye ball in his hand, it was still attached to his eye socket by a tendril. Someone used a spoon to scoop out his eye ball in a fight. The nurse was off duty. Nobody cared, he died.
I had a client once who was remanded in prison. He was HIV positive and did not tell me. Maybe that would have been further grounds for bail. He could not take his drugs and he relapsed. Before I could try to get him out it was too late, he died.
The food given to prisoners is not fit for human consumption, even animals should not be made to eat such rubbish. Meanwhile, huge sums of money has been budgeted for feeding prisoners.
Avoid trouble, infact, flee from trouble. Anything that will involve police charging you to court is trouble. If you can kill a matter in the police station, by all means do it. Stop shouting,
“I know my right!”
This is Nigeria. Your right and left can change anytime.
Police will definitely ask for big money, if you have it and you suspect your case is not very solid kill the matter there. Even if you think you have a good case, this is Nigeria.
If your lawyer is shouting,
“we will meet in court!” in Police station tell him to calm down.
It is your case, not his. The use of “we,” is merely figurative. He will not stand in the accused box with you.
Remember, it is not what you know that matters in court, it is what you can prove. Besides, this is Nigeria. Ihedioha can testify.
I was attacked once by a pedestrian in Lagos. The car I was inside brushed him slightly. I was not the one driving. I just told him to be more careful.
That is how the guy attacked me. He threw 4 punches, I blocked two and dodged two.
I had the opportunity to counter punch but I did not. I am not Anthony Joshua. A police man eventually stopped him. I quickly removed myself from the scene.
I was happy enough I was not going home with a broken jaw, neither was I being charged for assault. Sometimes it is better to let some things go.
I do not mean that you should turn to everyone’s foot mat, but if you are going to take up an issue, ensure you are blameless, or almost blameless.
Avoid wahala. If people are beating up a thief do not join, or even stand and watch, even if it is your property that was stolen.
If someone hits your car don’t start fighting because of that.
Do not lend people money. It hardly ends well.
Do not surety people you don’t absolutely trust.
Avoid too much night movement, and partying and clubbing.
Avoid people who cannot control their alcohol, they always start brawls.
Realize that a bad situation can always get worse, or better, depending on how you handle it.
Avoid people who talk too much.
Be wary with your speech. Do not talk about people behind their backs.
Always assume that someone is recording your speech and videoing your actions.
Even if someone comes with negative gossip about another person, do not say anything. If you talk, it is what you said that will somehow find its way to the person’s ear.
Stop saying things like,
” Do you know who I am?”
“I no dey fear anybody!”
“My yes is my yes and my no is my no!”
Finally, remember to keep your anger and ego in check, the world does not revolve around you, it revolves around the sun 🌞. Copied.
Most grown men were previously of the opinion that they should always have the major say in their romantic relationships. They realized too late that they had succumbed to female charms unconsciously. Like most people they discovered they aren’t built outwardly as they are inwardly. They lead themselves on with the false hope that they could blunt the sharpness that heralds the things they covet the most, like most women so pitifully do. Majority of men love the attributes of the women they end up with, not the women and that is their undoing.
Women aren’t on the same level playing field with men. A woman yields for the man to thrust himself into her life. When she momentarily refuses to yield and he persists forcibly, that is defined as rape. When she is coerced into giving in unwillingly, it hurts hers and she ensures it would practically displease him too in the long run. The woman wants favours and still wants equality, leaving her man with the vague decisions of what are actually his strengths, choices, rights and his initiated ideas. His admonitions and inclinations are shredded with all the belated unexpected outpouring that follows the subsequent sense of abandonment dimly registering in his complicated thoughts, when she gets her way as always.
Yet she will still hurl varied insults at his person, distorting and trampling facts. When the fragrance of the truth is confronted, it will always smell quite feminine. There are no legal statutes governing the woman’s natural strength sapping and ego violating antecedents, that always ends with a fuming fretted man.
Strenght of a Woman
Women can not but accept that they make a marriage work. The nature of the man is too proud, independent and selfish to make all the compromises a marriage needs to work. In the most traditional setting the onus is on the woman to do all the work for a marriage. She would think that she couldn’t do much of it without the male’s maintained cooperation, but really most men never had actually cooperated from the onset.
It is clear that the more independent the woman seeks to be and the more independence she attains over time and exercises in her personalized wishes in a marriage and in life in general, the more the marital proverbially boat rocks, hit the rocks and sinks. Then only the woman really loses out because the marriage institution best personifies her. The man would only instantly lose the joys of the woman’s attributes, all those many attachments that were always only really beneficial to him. The woman loses the marriage she was wooed into. It will hurt the man’s pride, take away the brightness in the pleasures he enjoys for the while. Then his face would beam, his eyes gleam with delight and his lips blossom into the fresh smile of yet another blissful union. Women mostly seek face value like their much belittled gender, racial and regional orientation expects of them.
Truly black women are practically more racists in their preferences. Though they are very hospitable and more selfless, they are collectively personal and quite tribal, and trivial in their general choices; preferring outward values above all others. The twisting effect of religion doesn’t change this trend as much as culture has affected it over time, it actually worsens it. Civilization merely inserted a dent in the trend but not altered in fully. A whooping resounding domineering majority of religious people aren’t adult converts but are actually circumstantially religious by some original orientation. Thus it has never been the quest of religious people to seek the rightfulness of another faith ahead of theirs. They are always schooled in the desires of their immediate needs and desire to put other faith’s principle on a logical pedestal. To remotely glorify different teachings is not even entertained.
They would ordinarily consider all others faiths quite inferior to theirs and oddly that poorly or wrongly conceives subjective ideologies but not guide any sacred insight like theirs would. In this line of thought they linger in, their need of it engulfs their bias reasoning, which is to belong firmly and remain so in their tight fitting world of faithful make-belief. Their near misses are actually searches and they are never real losers in the end, but endless winners that out number their victories. It is in these all too familiar marriages that the lingering incompatibility of each separate union comes true and freedom from that inner human loneliness couples look for is ever elusive, endlessly so. Freedom from humanly imposed regulations is the spelled out thought that holds them captive with its one tracked biasness. Then as the birds of marital prey are spotted and stopped from perching over human heads, they stay out of reach and fly over head with their very own intensions in mind and never that of another. The presence of freedom has the propensity to be quite harmful eventually too, just as does the absence of it. The case in favour of true freedom is that it allows choice, and choice makes the man. It is the main difference in humanity’s tangible essence over its adopted civility.
WILL YOU MARRY ME?
These intimate songs we sing
Blend aged dreams into a ring
That weds our gendered stew
In matrimonial oneness not new.
Strenght of a woman
this magical life and the process of splendor~ caterpillar eggs
…Our lives cover Such a tiny span Of this time’s Endless coil…
The pride, tentatively, walked to the water’s edge to lap up a cool drink on a hot night. Breaking the calm, water thrashed about, reaching forward, pushed by the violence, the spray lashed out in all directions. Each animal near the water’s edge instinctively reacted, as taut muscles sprung each escape. Missing it’s mark, the waters gathered […]
Written by Jacob Ibrag She wanted more than he could give her. He asked her to meet him half way. ‘Never, I refuse to settle.’ Walking past her peripheral, he turned back one last time and tried to remember every single detail of their night. Black dress with red trim. ‘Pink lips that I’ll never kiss again.’ Photographer Unknown
The waves continue to crash Insatiable, the passionate seas Their love burns, and in a flash they turn The lilacs and lilies to ash in the breeze.
Foxes have holes, and birds have their nests, I’m pretty sure we all know the rest; conquering hero, our very own Nero, fire and blood all over the place. Did she deserve it? what do you think… Your stink covers multiple sins, you cheated your way to multiple wins, millions of victims all over the […]
‘If you want to change people’s minds, you need more than evidence. You need persistence. And empathy. And mostly, you need the resources to keep showing up…’ Read the rest here. Do – it’s excellent.
In all of Africa, corruption is that quiet old pre-independence illegal small structure, built with dry wooden walls of sticks with a thatched grass roof. The earliest native semblance of civilized governments had met the frail hut and turned it into the big personal brick mansions in the outskirts of their villages. The post independence created democracies copied badly because they didn’t naturally evolve and the military dictatorships bullied their way in and institutionalized corruption. They renovated it completely into a massive block of high skyscrapers, with reinforced concrete walls with solid steel fittings and aluminum and glass trimmings, and site it in the middle of the big new cities.
Corruption has taken on a permanent imagery in Africa, much like natural mountains that had been there all along, like immortal living emperors of old reigning over frightened domains, showing love for their land by keeping their subjects alive only to work for them.
Fever: The Origins of Fever (Book I)
Fever: Rising Temperature of Fever (Book II)
Fever: The Appetite of Fever (Book III)
Fever: Gentle Aching Fever (Book IV)
Fever: The Coldness of Fever (Book V)
Vijay had always been quite fond of lawn tennis and he played it sparingly sometimes. Only he was helplessly useless with the racquet in his favorite right hand and even worse with the netted large batting instrument in his naturally less dexterous left hand. His aged tennis instructor would encourage him with poetry.
“I guess if you stick around long enough, nothing ever is but always was.”
Vijay was just horrible with his hands and had always wondered what good is human ingenuity if people had no fingers? Vijay was good with his legs, but then maybe he just had good football instructors and terrible ones for tennis. Vijay never saw the old man win a single game and had since concluded the old man had only managed to be a top seeded player in a grand slam tourney, when the game of tennis was played with eloquent words. But Vijay reserved his fondest interest for female tennis and there were loads of reasons for this. Chief amongst these are firstly, the girls’ rallies lasted longer, making scored points longer in coming. That however is the only technical reason for his preference, though he claims there are other technical reasons, all his other reasons were quite feminine ones. These include the cute umbrella shaped skirts the ladies wore when they played tennis.
As the female tennis server descends from a ballerina toed posture, the lift of her skirt exposes robustly fleshy or firm slim exotic thighs with is swerve, shuffle and swing. This presents the pleasant brief view that makes even keener spectators of most male followers of female tennis. At momentarily inactive rest periods, live spectators get to rest their stiff necks from the prolonged following of the furry small ball across the center net, from player to player. Yet male spectator wolfishly enjoy watching the resting players, sitting in their low stages like actresses, as they mop their skimpy clad bodies with thick towels at some green coloured pool side, seemingly oblivious that they are still a viewing delight for the casual on-lookers.
Then there is the buzz of watching the girls stretch out fully to return difficult low line-edged balls, to save a point. The regular flash of their finely tightened buttocks, which is a generous meaty picture beneath those umbrella shaped skirts doing more of a good job in covering their bellies and lower backs than they do anything lower. Vijay’s ultimate high are the moans, groans and shrill screaming, such that with ears plugged, shut eyed or reading an adult magazine as the ladies play, the sound effect would pass for the next door pervert loudly watching X-rated channels. With little imagination, the athleticism of the playing ladies could easily revert to a high stage performance, with handled vertical fixed stainless pole instead of racquets and with half drunk hooting men, swinging crisp money notes at the entertaining girls, encouragingly them to whack some furry balls.
(Excerpts from ‘Sporting Chance’ in ‘Everyone hates the English’)
All sports are really silly juvenile play in a sense. Partakers and spectators alike, love competitive sports because of its semblance of a life of manageable fun and the larger human drama it samples. It is a sequence of testing controlled effort against visible resistance in established circumstances. The thrilling mysteries in the unending sequence of match ups and the unpredictability of the results of all games, adds to the fun. The fun in sports is not suppose to make sense, all kinds of play shouldn’t. Play is fun because it is illogical and only saddists empathize with the naïve old Indian village Chief who thought he had solved a perennial football problem by comically recommending that the twenty two players on the pitch are given a soccer ball each to end their pointless running around like a herd of mad cows.
The purposeful running around is what Vijay loves the most in football. Vijay is crazy about football, considering it the king of sports with the best all round athletes in every regard. He agrees football is indeed a gentleman’s sport, played by hooligans because it teaches manners and tests character. Rugby truly likens the hooligan’s sport, played by gentlemen because it alters character and in its very physical fashion, it emphasizes brute force ahead of skills and intelligence. Golf is a long walk on the grass, cattle do that. Polo is the kings’ sport and only the horses are really skillful. Horse racing is for servants of kings, with the royals ever present to observe their subjects and domain. It is unfair to call horse racing a sport, unfair to plowing bulls and the slaving peasants whipping their beasts into line, without their fellow impoverished brethren betting and cheering in the trees.
Then there is the similarity of the common footballer to everyone else in the world that wishes to excel in life. Footballers are typical average athletes, they are amongst the world’s most selfish people and their work is just doing yet another of the world’s selfish hypocritical jobs. They are talented and a bio-engineered reality that manifests as a combination of highly skillful performers and acting stunt men. Footballers have to make out they care about the billions of passionate fans who actually do care about them, their physical, emotional and healthy state. At the pinnacle of their careers, footballers are incredibly well paid to do what they would ordinarily do for virtually nothing in return. If they don’t get a penny for doing their jobs, they will still get the same jobs as unpaid players, until they can’t do so.
Like millions of their less fortunate colleagues who don’t get opportunities and fall on the wayside, all footballers still don’t aspire for anything other than a paid job. Vijay always knew he wouldn’t do anything else but play football and when he discovers he finds little fun in playing football then he will get out of it. But the truth is, he wouldn’t truly enjoy doing it if he is not being paid to do it. The thrill of the game is sublime yet as addictive as the gospel to a Jesuit. The referees can go to hell with their calls and the spectators can chew their nails to the quick with tension, but the world of the footballer is his alone, nothing else exists. Families must wait, friends must worship for notice and religion is best handle like underpants, you might have one on or not, it doesn’t matter. Life is the game first.
SPORTS FOR PLAYERS
The Coach isn’t selfless but human too,
He is the person with a plan for everyone.
With abilities as experience all learnt anew;
He is an optimist, patient as sure as the sun.
The Player obeys the norms and urge,
Enjoying the dreamt up living, yet real.
Dancing to all songs with a new surge,
Blinding days are lit with a light to feel.
The Sport is heartless and demanding,
All companies it keeps are envious of it.
Consuming lust filled, never satisfying;
On its sure ride it will keep every bit.
The Game is simple and easy to chase,
Embraced in choices to choose and make.
Stages of gains at every level of the race
Made the whole thing Sports for players’.
The Poet in the Poem
Strangest explosion rocks the Karachi international airport just as a massive deployment of US marines arrived the busy airport. Stories of the victims and their relatives, responders and their purpose, perpetrators and their reasons, unfolds a tale of current resolutions based on old conceptions. The narrative tells of the most diverse colorful global characters surrounded with a good mix of friends and foes.
There is David Holden, the English Doctor who loves humanity more than his origins. His idea of getting use to scarcity in the midst of plenty paid off in his later years as a charitable medical doctor with the United Nations, WHO and Red Cross, while working with refugees all around the world.
Abdul Kazaar Ali is Doctor Holden’s opportunistic aged patient who lives out his perception of Muslim norms like he desires. In Karachi, bearded old men must daily demand the honourable respect only reserved for them after death. Only the living can tell the honour bestowed on them and the dead, the judgment they spent a life-time waiting for. Abdul Kazzar wanted his reward on earth and his son; Umar Ali, held much promise after he ran off to England and started working in London to learn the lucrative wisdom of the English.
Aaamu and her mother Rael are Kenyans with Somalian origins. They live by their wits as their circumstances allow. Ladies always come first in typical English fashion and Rael Amu is obsessed with being first but there are very few things in which a young Muslim maiden gets to be first in. Rael passed on her obsession to her daughter and gave her all the tools she needs to be first.
Then there is Fatima, who is smart enough to outwit her sexuality but too human to resist normalcy. From a tender age Fatima figured out that she only got a better deal when she isn’t identified as Arab or Muslim. In America the distinction between the two is inconsequential. Fatima only had to behave ideally in the care of her uncle, Suleiman.
Suleiman’s wife is a delightful gentle half-literate girl named Khadija. She is younger than Fatima and imported from Yemen especially for marriage. Khadija came to Suleiman untarnished by western ways and speaking some English, just enough. Partially caged-in, according to Suleiman’s mildly liberal interpretations of Islamic rites, who ensured Khadija isn’t more exposed than her elbows. But Khadija discovered a lot more than Suleiman cared for.
Ruth is the young Israeli genius whose Jewish father; Avi Jonah, gave her a lot more than just his name. She was born in Tel Aviv and grew up there into a strong healthy industrious lady. Ruth had a pleasant childhood, unlike her controvertial nation’s. All through history every true super power took its turn in bullying the proud Jews.
Avi Jonah is more Hebrew than he is Jewish, that comes across in his lessons to Ruth and her siblings. It is the Hebrews forte to be proficient in history and like everybody else, their history is always opinionated.
Lee is Ruth’s Chinese boyfriend and school-mate in London, who is trying out his fantasies alongside his opinions. Lee didn’t talk much and hated talking about himself to anyone, Ruth was the only exception. Lee spent most of his leisure time, while growing up in main land China, learning what most enlightened minds in the world had to say about things. His brilliant mind was full of information about diverse cultures from every part of the world.
Professor Henry Benjamin is Lee’s octogenarian landlord, a world renown, multiple award winning, retired academician with many reputable publications to his credit. The steady presence of Lee and his equally excellent girlfriend was a big plus for the aged man with a very weak heart.
Then there is Sean Samuel, the Irish-American reporter with a huge reputation he constantly seeks to live up to, like his proud American nation. Sean wasn’t ever much of a fighter, with his uncles’ tough reputation he never had cause to prove he is a descendant of an Irish gangster from Dublin who migrated to New York city to continue being a crook.
A MUST READ
To some young single girl, married men are ever comfortably understandable, matured and polite in their fair and unforced disposition. However the wanton desires of these young girls never warns them that the intentions of these much older men does not always look as fair as they are always pretentiously justified to be, in their deceptively natured maturity. The woman’s all-embracing monstrous natural need to be overwhelmed by a man, who aim to get the better of her, justifies her consanguineous attachment to her eternal older brother, the man.
The honourable older married man always has the most desire to be secretive in such relationships. While the younger single girl would likely show some pride in her bigger achievement, the setting would hurt him with an odd sort of feeling afresh with old emotions of being an unworthy person. His older and more honourable world would notice his failures, even if it identifies with his expression of it. When he is certainly found out and has to confront his critics, the older married man could simply hold his head high and be proud of his shameful freedom while the world he has conditioned will fall silent snugly, presumable out of interfering in his business, as the public end up secretly more embarrassed than he ought to be.
WILL YOU MARRY ME?
These intimate songs we sing
Blend aged dreams into a ring
That weds our gendered stew
In matrimonial oneness not new.
The Poet in the Poem
The simple people are always confronted by the complex ones, who always seeks to tint their simplicity and make it more complicated. It is a tough struggle to remain simple, surrounded by a world of complexities. Personal lives have gone beyond live and breed.
And in all life, the most shaded lot are the people
THE COLOURED SHEEP
Bah, bah black sheep, they always point you;
Wolf in your clothing or something ever new.
Rainbow and gold pot in your closet is true,
If you’re concerned, skies aren’t ever blue.
The skeletons you cupboard are there for show,
Honeycombed for Bees, your Bearness will shoo!
The Poet in the Poem
Land has always been every man’s very own piece of the earth. What man keeps in store for the after-life is a myth on earth and every other acquisition are orgies that pass with their singular guided devotion, which suit the empathy that is willingly enjoyed at the very moment of their usefulness. But this is not always the case where personal land ownership is concerned and that is why it has a prime attraction. Land is always the first born of many others, no matter its place in the sequence of acquisition and ownership. It has a very distinct place of pride amongst all the other processions. And no matter how long land is owned, it always evokes the very same intense alertness that battles constantly within the spirit of its owner.
Land takes away the all conquering might of death. It blunts the weapons of war and quells the yearning within man for his endless lustful personal acquisitions like nothing does. Land ownership lingers till time ends recent history and starts another. But without the rightness of truth and the correctness in the lawful accords of honest justice, every executed act will disintegrate subsequently; no matter how ancient or how divinely branded it had appeared to be at its onset.
Oddly though, it all amounts to nought. The most precious land amount to nothing if it is not used ideally and like people, it could become utterly wasteful.
The heart is deceitful above all things,
Beyond cure and who understands it.
Cursed is he, who trusts man or his things;
For man depends on flesh and the strength of it.
Man whose heart turns away from Truth,
He will be like a bush in the wastelands.
He sees not prosperity when it comes forth;
Will dwell in parched places of deserted lands.
Dwelling in salty lands where no one lives,
Not like that tree planted by the water
That sends out its roots by the streams it lives
And doesn’t fear; the heat will not matter.
With the Truth, his leaves are always green.
He has no worries in a year of drought.
Never failing to bear fruit in any season,
Not like the wasteland he has made his lot.
Fever: The Origins of Fever (Book I)
The Poet in the Poem
Stories are teachers, they are molded to have an impact on young lives. They register morals that impart on character and norms. If they give off a trace of the forbidden in fair light, then culture and its future may suffer for it.
As the young grow, their paws seek everything. Their teeth playfully bite the soft or the hard with innocence and very little comprehension. They attempt to caress fire until it burns them.
You are only young once,
Blossomed to take your chance;
To scent the world’s spring
With the fruit kinds you bring.
Victors don’t flourish if their vanquished had perished and death can only lose. If the fear we bear of death doesn’t give death peace of mind, then what has death? Death can’t have us or keep us for he passes on only, going through us for the briefest of moments. Death tends to reveal the two most important lessons in our limited lives and these are firstly; Where there is a life, there are always lies. And secondly; Every road leads to the same place. Death’s power ends where it starts.
Death is always an unexpected familiar guest that steals from all.
Cruel, cruel death
We have never met.
I only just heard
Of the fear in tears you said.
You’ve been about the herd
And oh the wonder you fed.
Who tells if you’re sent
When you only just left?
The old woman’s maid
The poet in the poem
The tiny fetus that had been robbed of its life shouldn’t know regret for not ever living it, but certainly its murderers should know of it for its sake and their conscience.
One of the most treasured ingredients of the earliest part of life is in the lack of the full knowledge of it. It is an ingredient that feels like mist over the head of a blind man, who senses its thick moist presence but doesn’t determine it by sight.
When I felt it happen too;
Like I heard and saw it too.
I died that day that I knew;
I was just me and not new.
Then alive I sprout out again;
Living as all do, after their first pain.
The child learns to be his own person as he ages and develops his own ability to endure life at first and its worries next. But when he gets accustomed to enduring life and learns to numb out most of the sorrow he feels in it, he then acknowledges that living thrives out of form, if it discards its ordered laws and professes its rebelling need for rules. Otherwise that early instant knowledge of life and its subtleties would render a child hapless to a situation it hasn’t as yet mastered and make life appear pointless from a very early age. Just like a shooting star sighted from earth appears to hit no target, life will appear to serve no purpose but only serve a steadily distressing experience by all logical human estimation.
You are only young once,
Blossomed to take your chance;
To scent the world’s spring
With the fruit kinds you bring
The poet in the poem
The self-centered uncaring nature of the generality of people with advanced mental intellect is revealed in the way they treat their subdued and resignedly subjective subordinates, who are always less endowed. This unfeeling attitude is characterized with ignorant arrogance. It is too demanding to be civil and most certainly not effortless to be cruel.
There is always the need to be bias in being so, especially when treating or interacting with such perceived lesser persons. This is the case in every respect where there is identifiable superiority and inferiority, when physical disability is visible or intellectual disparity evident. Economic and social parallels, tribal and ancestral linage, religious and racial symbolism, and even age, form a basis for these perceptions.
The world breeds cheat in this way and it is so hard to tell who is true to their words or action.
To a mass we wore those frowns again,
Webbing lines on our brows with pain.
These insects spanned and trapped we are,
Drunken hulks with secular cheats we spar.
The poet in the poem
Women have the dirtiest minds if you ask me. I know because as a young lad I have been in lots of position to eavesdrop on men discussing their women and women discussing their men. While the men are normally conservative in their conversations, giving away little details, women tend to be very vivid, describing even their men sexual prowess like they would an piece of elegant clothing.
If you doubt this then consider this. You can tell a lot about people by how exhibitionist they are in their behaviors. While men find it difficult to look at one another’s private part, even when they ease themselves, women do not think much of stripping down naked in full view of one another to take a bath. (Straight men).
But when it comes down to it, it is really always about who is really more superior;
Who must comes first,
Males or the females?
This knowledge a thirst
That quenches with cells.
If what is common birth
Forms females or males;
Supremacy is their myth,
Caged within each cells.
The poet in the poem
“These classifications of races we use are flawed. They do not identify us like they ought to and are only popular by default. The term Caucasian got redirected to refer to the European race. It was devised as Caucasoid and initially only used to describe the people native to Europe and not North Africa, Asia, North and South America. Caucasoid was originally used for Europeans without regard to their different skin tones. It was used to denote one of the three manufactured classification of human races, the others being Negroids and Mongoloids. These three races are still in use, regardless of inaccuracies.” More pedestrians tarried and stopped to listen. Leroy raised his face and voice.
“The origin of classifying white people as Caucasians came with the discovery of the Georgian skull in the sixteenth century, it was used to hypothesized the origins of Europeans. Caucasian was coined by Christophe Meiners, a German philosopher, and got widely circulated in intellectual circles amidst criticism of its correctness. Meiners proposed only two races; Caucasians and Mongolians.
“In comparison to Mongolians, he described Caucasians as more physically attractive, with pale skins and Caucasians as more sensitive and morally virtuous than Mongolians. Christophe Meiners made further distinctions within Caucasians, deducing that his indigenous Germans are the most attractive and virtuous of all, claiming their region to be the epitome for the Caucasian race. His classification is not based on any scientific criteria. The classification was more subjective than objective. Meiners posed that Caucasians had “whitest, most blooming and most delicate skin” and Europeans with darker skin are “dirty whites”, tainted with Mongolians. Skin pigmentation is still regarded as the main difference between the races and Adolf Hitler had borrowed from Meiners’ logic.” The numbers of listeners grew. The black leather jacket steered at the back, his shaven head’s eyes narrowed. Leroy smiled and relished the discomfort he caused.
“Later the expanded human races were spread into five, based on skin colour, justified with scientific coincidences like cranial measurements and facial features. Caucasians the ‘White race’. Mongoloids, ‘Yellow race’. Malayans, ‘Brown race’. Ethiopians, ‘Black race’. Americans, ‘Red race’. Later still, the importance of skin tone was down-graded when it was observed that peasant Caucasians work outside and had darker skins through a lot of sun exposure and darker skins are a natural feature of Europeans around the Mediterranean. Still there was never any scholarly consensus on this findings. However scientists maintain racial categorizations of colour works. In the twentieth century it was increasingly used to justify political policies based on prejudice, like segregation and immigration restrictions.” Around thirty five people now stood in front of the sixty year old migrant from Jamaica, who has worked as a handy man in the same London elementary school for thirty five years. The attraction was swift and they listened with rapt attention, taking in his every word like the mild sunlight shining on them with little warmth.
“Races are presently classified based on colour, skull collections based on cranial features and anthropometric measurements. Caucasian traits are accepted as a narrow nose, a small mouth, thin lips and a balanced facial angle. These features are recognized in contrast to that of others. Caucasians have minimal protrusion of their lower faces with retreating cheekbones, making their face look pointed. Their hair texture vary from straight to curly or wavy, contrasting the Negroid’s springy and the Mongoloid’s coarse and sparsely distributed varieties.”
Leroy tugged at the remnant of his bushy hair as he said ‘Negros’s springy’. In a classroom of six year olds, his hair will make a perfect teaching aid. But these are not kids, just misguided grown ups. Another thought flashed through his mind.
Leroy: People age but remain like six year olds till they die, still learning.
A review by Faye Diabel https://fayediabel.wordpress.com/
Yas Niger’s “The Man in the Moon”
“It is a fascinating tale of a culturally engaged street corner preacher, a usually misunderstood necessary oddity in major metropolises built upon colonial legacy – where the non indigenous culturally marginalized, some of them forcibly brought to build the same thing they, now, are blamed to have polluted. It is, a story said from its characters and supporting onlookers’ perspective, an insightful fiction.
“The character development focused on three actors who kept on yanking the story into motion. It is like a pyramid standing on Leroy – a self-anointed ambassador of a motley group that he himself reveals his estrangement from, depending on its state of affairs – as revealed by his following statement “… I much rather say I am black and proud, than I am a proud African …” Therefore, it is safe to say that Leroy’s sense of belonging, vis-à-vis Africa, is selective, although there is a dose of Garveyism in his preaching that all black people are from Africa. His consciousness, which was supposed to be the key to his inner peace, might very well be considered as the basis of his tragic state of being.
“Then comes Mrs. Gregory, the essential story spinner – a provoker Leroy couldn’t live without, who summarizes the bad and the good, the two sides of the coin, of western civilization – the target of Leroy’s preaching; and then Henry, a dog given a humane characterization, a dog with a mind, caprices, and feeling; he too helped run the story to its destination. As much as they get along, there is a deep-seated love and hate. To me, it seems that Leroy loves Barbara but hates Mrs. Gregory. On his fateful day, he accepted Barbara’s invitation – as Leroy the man, but Mr. Freeborn got ambushed by Mrs. Gregory’ Caucasian embedded anxiety about black men’s motives.
“I knew, and mingled with, some Leroy Freeborns; fascinating people to be with, While perching on their stage – under the bright sun, until it is time to get home, when the sea is done swallowing the sun and the moon’ reminder that it is time now to have an inner preaching with one’s pillow, to say the least, or the time to cuddle and nurture love ones; and then you wonder whether they would prefer that the sun will never set on their day to day reality. He is the man in the moon, while standing on his pedestal, fading into the ghost of his shadow just a step down from his makeshift launching pad.
(Some excerpts from “The Man in the Moon” Everyone hates the English)
“It is not an insult to call me black, it is purely descriptive. Africa is firstly a geographical location, an address. It is a continent with more than one race on it, Negros and Arabs are indigenous to it. Without the slightest risk of sounding the least controversial, you will agree that there are Caucasians native to it, that means Caucasian-Africans. So when you call someone an African-American, you are also referring to Arabs and other Caucasians of African origins. But don’t you only wish to refer to the blacks, when you say African-American?” Leroy shouts at the top of his voice. The opening remarks ought to be delivered loudest, so pedestrians can hear him clearly as they go by. But the words are as important as the volume.
“The origin of the term black for Negros is indefinite. It is easy to guess that Negros were the first to call themselves black. All through history, naturally occurring darkness with daily year round nights in the tropics, has been associated with blackness and it is ideal to use black as a synonym for extreme darkness. The trend remains still, even if black is considered improper. The degraded imagery deduced from the term black can only be expunged by the achievements of those who can not escape it, if they wear it and must live with it. Skin colour can not be removed like some piece of clothing.” Leroy was being just assertive enough to reel in listeners. The first few pedestrians paused and veered closer to hear more.
His next line determines if they stayed. It is imperative to retain the earliest callers, their interest tends to attract others and a steady increase in numbers builds more interests. People are habitual copy cats, they only linger if others do. The material he delivers will do the rest and Leroy Freeborn always has good material.
“The most descriptive term best suited for the Negro’s visibly dark complexion is black, just like white is best suited for Caucasians.” Leroy spoke forcefully, then he repeats a summary of his earliest words, for the immediate benefit of the new arrivals joining the first few who heard him commence his rant for the day.
“Even if a popular law stops the formal use of blacks to identify Negros in its entirety, black will still be used for those purposes it is best suited for. The truth is, Negros are best identified as blacks and the home of all black people is Africa, our proud mother land. But going by the recent expression of freedom in our beloved Africa, I much rather say I am black and proud, than I am a proud African.”
A collective groan from the dozen or so people already listening in front of Leroy’s small raised platform, greeted his last words. As usual, the indefinite insinuation of the shared groan didn’t fully register approval or disapproval.
Twenty five years of standing on the same spot on the broad sidewalk, with the kind permission of the late owner of the nearby toy store, under the blue morning skies of England’s capital city, every Saturday in summer, spring and Autumn has taught the sixty year old native Jamaican the ropes of the demanding talking trade.
Leroy appeals to the intellect of just anyone, from unkempt homeless bums to unemployed graduates, from housewives on shopping runs to tourists, who only speak enough English to understand directions. Leroy can work a crowd into a frenzy and answer reasonable questions or hateful queries hurled at him with the articulate elegance of age and much knowledge. He had regulars, some have heard him for over a decade. A few regulars arrived and increased the growing numbers.
Leroy acknowledges a few nods from familiar faces and continued his tirade. It was going to be an interesting day, the small crowd appeared genuinely interested.
“I own the name Black Man! It is me, I claim it as mine and my proud identity. But who are you sir?” Leroy points at a white man in the front, not one of his regulars. The man smiles back at him, amused. It was a normal response.
“Come on people, don’t be shy. Someone speak to me. Are you white, if I am black?” Leroy looked at yet another white man, a recent regular. Then at another, but still no answer was offered. They were being careful not to walk into a trap. They were there to listen to his harangue and not to engage him in a discussion.
“I am Caucasian,” a male voice from the back said.
Obscured from Leroy’s veiw, the fellow didn’t reveal himself but it was easy to tell the voice belonged to the man in a black leather jacket. His clean shaven head gave him away, not the plain uninterested mien he unsuccessfully tried to pass off.
Vital tip Leroy: Those crazy bald heads don’t keep straight uninterested faces.
When a bird sings,
It’s because it must.
What any age brings
Speaks for you most.
Age plays the most games with women than it does with men. This is mainly the case because the woman was apparently drawn up into the human picture and plan, to perpetually be the subordinate of the man, with the definite fate of being indefinitely shortchanged, taken for an eternal ride and destined to be cheated by the clearly better edged up man.
The woman would obviously always not be preferred to her brother. She doesn’t get a better deal than her male siblings, as a child. She is bullied by her own mother and all female relatives into becoming like them. She is made only an amiable play thing by most relatives and more so by the sympathetic but guarded and invariably laid back attitude of her male relatives.
She is spanned and toyed with by her male partner like figure, because of her presumed limited capabilities, mummified by the shackles of his marriage and her subsequent motherhood. She is used and reused for her immeasurable, recyclable and incredibly cheap worth. Then eventually buried in and with the intangible praise she lived a lifetime hearing, without experiencing or feeling.
Age would always deceive every single accomplished or failed woman alike. She would live on to recount her worries, those she had since forgotten or gotten quite used to, until they don’t bug her any longer when she is used to them. This is the curse of the woman irrespective of her people or their creed.
THE POET IN THE POEM
Think about this? It is quite human to be greatly annoyed by certain aspects of life, by an individual or group of people. People habitually associate exhibited characteristics with specific persons, people or their orientation.
For centuries the English have dissatisfied the most people across the globe. But as diverse as the reasons why Everyone Hates The English are, the world still respects and simply enjoy the English the most. The tales in this book say as much.
The stories in #EveryoneHatesTheEnglish will capture your imagination and steer your emotions like few other tales of books ever did before now.
Copyright 2015 Yas Niger
Everyone hates something and most people actually think; #EveryoneHatesTheEnglish #EHTE
It is conventional for one group to be dissatisfied with another they regard as different. Usually the displeasure is as a result of other people not conforming to expectations, not necessarily because they are different.
Being irritated or irked by certain persons is predominantly a personal feeling, which then builds over time and grows into the psyche of larger groups that share the same traditions, social and economic orientation and status.
Hating something or someone means being highly peeved and greatly upset by them, such that it causes discontentment and makes one continuously unsatisfied by these things or persons. It is a marginal feeling that builds into an extreme angered state, a perpetual disgruntled condition.
Everyone experiences this disappointed state of unfulfilled expectations for varied emotional, social, economic, political, cultural and religious reasons. As diverse as our reasons for hating others may appear to be, they all share two things in common. The majority of reasons people get offended and angered are personal to others and trivial to them. These are reasons enough to understand and respect others, or simply just to laugh at our reasons for hating others. But not summarily hate others because they are different or because we are just as different too.
Everyone hates something that displeases them. Let us start with understanding and respecting, or simply enjoying the English, while laughing along with the reasons why #EveryoneHatesTheEnglish or think they do.
Everyone Hates The English
By Yas Niger
Copyright 2015 Yas Niger
In SHADES OF BIRDS the English had just lost the American civil war and still managed to win over their best allies ever. In ALTERNATE D-DAY the English lost the second world war and got ready to take over the world, yet again. MRS QUEEN, MISS KING are a few simple letters that appears to speak for the popular English monarchy and its enduring legacy of detached respectability.
Then comes OPTIONAL SLAVERY and the wave of illegal migration from seemingly everywhere to almost anywhere in Europe, but good old England. And in England we meet THE MAN IN THE MOON, yet another economic migrant that is proud of the heritage he escaped from but didn’t really live behind. In the same city THE ASSASSINATION OF OBASANJO took place, the guests of the hospitable English gave them a tastes of life in one of their so many old colonies.
The IMPROPER CONDUCT that culminates in Karachi tells the collective tale of diverse individual offshoots of English legacy across the whole world, over so long a time. With THE THREE VIRGINS the English help merged three major people into yet another United Kingdom without a care for their preferance or indeed their reluctance. Finally a young Indian footballer got a good SPORTING CHANCE to be more English, just when he succeeds in being less English.
Everyone Hates The English
By Yas Niger
Copyright 2015 Yas Niger
So tweet it, post it and get everyone to read this unique book that will surely get everyone thinking about why #EveryoneHatesTheEnglish or think they do.
GET A COPY NOW!!!
People loose their own mark,
Showing off what they lack.
Each time brings its fear to us
And it shows in our every fuss.
Ours is made just as real,
That is not just how it feel.
For in giving what we have,
We only take like we gave.
Never really asking for trust,
For we do know what it cost.
Desire should make a picture
That should show its future.
The poet in the poem
It was dangerously late and cold outside. There were signs of an impending thunder storm too. The Call girl was obviously terrified by the prospect of facing those horrendous conditions outside. She hadn’t been lucky and didn’t catch the fancy of any of the male guests the previous night. She was so desperate to earn something that she waited till it was too late for her to leave and it would cost several times more to transport herself home that late and she could afford it. So she hid in a deserted corridor, hoping to stay out of sight until it was dawn and she could leave quietly, pretending to be leaving a guest’s room. The receptionist had discovered her tucked away behind a massive curtain and some decorative floor pots and insisted she left.
The stranded Call girl offered the receptionist a bribe in cash and kind, but the cagy young man wouldn’t play ball. Kengua found that last bit amusing as the Call girl reached out to the receptionist with loving probing hands, pleading with him to assist her. The young lad was adamant, obviously he was more concerned about keeping his job than he was about getting sexual favours. Kengua had to offer the receptionist some cash to let the Call girl stay. The young man agreed and the girl was relieved to be able to stay on within the secured premises of the hotel, until it was bright and safe in the morning. It hasn’t been safe around the entire country of late and the Call girl was more than willing to explain this farther to her rescuer. Kengua had no choice but to listen politely as she went on to tell him things he already knew about.
“There has been spades of night killings of local people, since ire Muslim youths went on a vengeful campaign in retaliation of the multiple bombing incidences, alleged to have been carried out by the local Animists youth in the area,” she reported in very good Hausa.
“The recent spate of violence had started when Animist youth were purported to have used a powerful locally assembled incendiary bomb on a Friday afternoon, at the largest Mosque in the town during mid-Friday prayers. The explosion had killed over five hundred men at once. It was the first bombing in the immediate area but not in the entire country.
“The other bombings of its kind had killed much less victims, but cumulatively the casualty rate was getting so high because the Muslim community doggedly refused to suspended their big Friday prayers, insisting it wasn’t an option. The fanatical local Muslim clerics kept preaching that those who died as a result of the Mosque bombings were headed straight to paradise to parley with the almighty God, his dead prophets and immortal angels for all eternity. So the more the Muslims refused to stop congregating on Fridays for mass prayers, the more the casualties.”
Kengua listened to her without saying a single word in reply.
“I’m not taking any chances,” she concludes.
Kengua deduced she is obviously a Hausa Muslim girl from the region of the country around the capital city where Kengua stays. She was only making a living the best way she could, in the part of her country more hospitable to what she had to do to get by. She was only marginally dressed in a flirtatious fairly large brassier she was passing off for a mini blouse top and in the highest possible white mini skirt. Her bright red panties kept showing in crimson flashes against her dark skin. No matter how hard she tried to keep her underwear hidden and from being seen by others around her, she was always doomed to fail because her skirt was too high up. She kept clasping her thick thighs tightly, crossing and uncrossing her short plump legs to no avail.
There were traces that she had attempted to bleach her dark skin into something lighter in the past but she must have given it up when she couldn’t afford the pricey creams any longer. She now had amber coloured streaks of stretch marks around her very visible thighs that Kengua found nauseating. It was obvious that she didn’t flaunt her thighs in the afternoon, only at night.
She had the most colourfully thick application of cosmetic make up on her face and it made her look more like a Japanese opera actress than a serious prostitute. It was little wonder she got no offers, Kengua thought as he kept his eyes away from looking directly at her. Dressing up and looking like that is simply just a necessity for her trade, in her opinion. She and her sort had been so badly indoctrinated over time and she was particularly too illiterate, to know better.
It is more than a shade easier for a girl to be corrupted sexually, than it is for a boy. A girl is naturally more endowed with the implements to lean back on and conveniently make a living off in the dark, more than her male counterpart. Besides, her clients are naturally conditioned to pour in, in droves. Most times, the girls are culturally pressured to play along when economically tasked. It is a merry go round legacy they inherit and grow up to bequeath to their successors.
Sitting next to the talkative girl most of the night, into the earliest morning hours, Kengua realized how stereotyped his treatment of Laraba affections towards him was. He reflected on the silliness of his assumptions and concluded he had no right to decide for Laraba before he told her his sexual predicament. He wasn’t even in a bad state and she would most probably be delighted by the experience. Meanwhile, there was no stopping the Call girl from talking on.
“I didn’t even know how to say the alphabets until I started this work. The very first teachers I got were actually members of a French NGO. They came to the brothel I worked to educate us on the dangers of HIV/AIDS. They kept making us repeat the letters ABC, which they went on to explain was an acronym for Abstinence, Being faithful to one partner and Condoms. We had lots of fun memorizing it but then they got a rude shock when they discovered we didn’t even know what the original ABC stood for or is used for. So they taught us the basics.”
Kengua learnt the Call girl’s name is Hajo, when she kept repeating her own name in her haphazard story telling. She sometime refers to herself in the third person as she chattered away, completely mindless and uncaring that her sole listener wasn’t contributing or enabling her with nods or even looking her way. She was simply satisfied he was awake and appeared to listen. Out of sight but still in the lobby, the loud snoring receptionist slept soundly on the floor behind the reception raised wooden counter. That also reminded her of yet another story she had to tell.
“The girl snored louder than this young receptionist throughout the night we were locked up in the cramped jail. We had to be locked up with some male criminals in the same tiny cell. It is the only one the police station had and the cops didn’t trust us enough to leave us sitting on our own behind or beside their open duty post, while they slept away their night duty hours.
“I was barely two weeks into this trade then, when we were unfortunate to get caught by the police men on patrol. The police had raided our regular hangout at a local bar to possibly round up criminals and it turned out that the proprietor of the place had fallen behind in his regular security payments to the local police chief. The raid was actually a timely reminder.
“Our fellow work girls who had enough money on them, had summarily paid their bail money up front before they even got arrested and those who had boyfriends amongst the raiding coppers, got off on good behaviour since they had good reliable character witnesses.”
Hajo giggled alone to her witty summation.
“There were twelve harden criminal men in that tiny cell room with just the two of us, off duty Call girls. The criminals waited until it was all quiet outside before they woke us up to the duties they had in mind for us, all night long. They whispered threats and demonstrated how they will snap our frail necks with their massive hands if we dare call out. I was terrified but the other girl dropped her panties and took a missionary pose like she was out to spread the gospel.”
Kengua started to find this story a lot more interesting.
““Hajo,” the other girl called out to me from beneath the first rogue that stepped forward and mounted her. Her name is Mina and she is a veteran from many years of active whoring.
““Just try to sleep.” Mina encouraged me but I was too scared to even look at her any more. It meant six hefty guys a piece and there was no telling they would stop at just one turn each. I just swallowed and braved up the onslaught. It was slow going and I stopped counting at ten. The men just kept taking turns at sampling both of us. They went about it silently and the coppers just a few feets away from us didn’t hint they knew what was going on while we had no choice but to resume work right within the belly of the law, under its protection.” Hajo giggled.
“I was soon very bruised, hurting and bleeding. That must have irritated them because the few that were still up to it, concentrated on Mina onwards and she laid back almost perfectly still. I was worried for her at first, scared she was unconscious. Not until I heard her snoring.
“She actually slept all through the ordeal and when the morning duty sergeant let us go by dawn, Mina simply stood up, yawned like she had a good night sleep and walked out as steady as a reigning queen. She certainly must have handled about thrice my portion without noticing it. I was really hurting afterwards. I walked funny in my anguish and wasn’t the least embarrassed to spread my legs apart with every stride I took, like a big slender crab. The criminals in the cell and the policemen had a big laugh watching me go when we were released in the morning.”
Kengua laughed politely too.
“Though I was bruised and couldn’t walk properly or indeed work for weeks afterwards, I got the last laugh. It became known that most of the guys we were locked up with were part of a notorious armed robbery gang that had killed a number of citizens and policemen in the area, running into a year before they were nabbed. And their case was swift and highly publicized.
“Mina made me go with her to the robbers’ well attended court case . Mina said it would be a therapeutic experience for me to see the men that brutalized my source of livelihood get what they deserve. Mina had become my closest friend after our common police sanctioned gang rape. She had been so nice to me afterwards and practically nursed me back to good health.”
Kengua’s thought briefly veered elsewhere. He was wondering if the priest’s wife had returned to her room. It was just a couple of hours before dawn and Hajo had been talking non-stop for more than two hours. Kengua’s mind returned to Hajo’s narration soon enough.
“The gang’s trial was held in a huge hall at the edge of town, not the regular courtroom. Three federal judges were assigned the case as the government made an exhibition of the trial because it was an election year and the politicians were in a very showy mood. The judges took turns in calling out the years of jail terms they were sentencing each of the criminals. They made it sound like the number of years they were calling out were just hours or even days, not years. Not 365 days or 52 weeks but a staggering 25, 30, 45 and 50 years were called out for each count, and there were as many as 12 counts for each of the twelve defendants.
“Each of the three obese judges seated behind a massive table on the raised stage had alternatively returned to called out the sentencing, until each judge had a fourth turn at it. Then finally the usual concurrent adage to the final sentence of the verdict instantly made amateur mathematicians of everyone in the court room, as a majority of the spectators in the hall tried to work out the number of years each of the criminals would spend in prison.
“Predictably, Mina had erroneously arrived at an incredible 150 years each and voiced her joy out loud but she was greatly disappointed when a elderly man seated nearby explained to us that concurrently meant none of the robbers would be in prison for more than fifty years. I was watching the youngest member of the gang closely. He was almost in tears. I wasn’t sorry for him. He had mounted me too and I especially recollect he was heavily endowed and tore me up. He sat back and counted out his own share of the decades of incarceration in one hand, with his other hand. He went over each of the five fingers repeatedly by briefly holding each finger of the first hand between the forefinger and the thumb of the second hand, touching each finger lightly.
“He starts from the smallest finger and ended at the thumb each time, repeating this six times over. He must have ended up with the same utterly wrong heart wrenching figure of over a hundred years doled out to him because he visibly broke down and wept. I felt sorry for him and it made me reflect that I was no different from him in many ways. We were creations of our last resort and just as he is physically endowed to be brutish, I was also hollowed to be whorish.”
Hajo had conclusively made a very salient point that resonates around what Kengua knew to be true. He felt sorry for her and as if he were paying her for keeping him company, he gave her a generous helping from the thick wad of the very low valued local paper currency he had in his wallet.
She wasn’t pretentious in her surprise when she received the money and offered to quickly give Kengua part of his money’s worth of service right there on the large leather sofa he was seated in. He declined and the disappointment he saw on her face was also quite genuine. She actually pleaded with him to reconsider, assuring him that she was safe and he wouldn’t be disappointed. He was adamant in his refusal. She was ecstatic as they said goodnight, though it almost dawn. She hugged him as he stood up to leave, before he was even remotely aware she might. He was stunned but didn’t cringe or feel repulsed. She needed the sympathetic hug.
The ashamed bitterness that hung in a hidden cloud over Labara’s immediate family for many years had finally dispersed with the birth of a baby boy. It was a long wait that is erroneously recounted as lasting just slightly under half a decade; the number of years between Labara’s immediate younger sister and their parents’ last child. That is a total of four long years, with four miscarriages for their mother.
Sometimes the four earlier tensed up years between Laraba and her immediate younger sister are included or further back still, the swift two years between Laraba and her immediate older sister is added. But in reality the long wait started from that impatiently hurried single lonely year separating Labara’s immediate older sister and the family’s first born. It was from this onset that the despairing clouds started to gather, when their parents’ desire for a son didn’t happen at the very next time of asking, since it didn’t select so do so the first time out.
As inconceivably stupid as it sounds in this more advanced century of Biology, it is still widely entertained that their mother was at fault. As such she had been made to live the silent shame of being termed responsible for that elusive male child’s refusal to grace them with his entrance. It agonizingly took so long that she made sure she doctored the final home stretch to suit her own circumstances.
Laraba claims she wasn’t eavesdropping but it wasn’t ever a tenable fact. However her version clearly reveals that she heard her mother twice talking to their ever fashionable and eternally unmarried aunt, about having the right sex on the very next child she would bring into the world. True enough, after each time she heard them talk about it, there was always an immediate miscarriage afterwards.
Aside from the two instances of note, it was rather odd that of all the four times Labara’s mother had miscarriages, before a boy finally came along to the relief of everyone, her mother’s ageless, unmarried, fashionable younger sister was always around just before it happens. It was too much a coincidence for even a kid. Though a lot of slack wouldn’t ordinarily be allowed Labara’s father in the sphere of general intelligence, but even he couldn’t be that naïve in these days when a fetus’ sex is clearly not its secret alone until it emerges with it.
Laraba is that sort of girl with more intelligence than conscience and her father is the complete reverse. He is that meticulous sort, whose timidity is deemed as stupid because he always uses proper, kind words. To him, it probably was inconsequential that his wife and her sister chose to misrepresent miscarriages to him, and quite rightly naming the circumstances while insinuating they named the procedure. It seemed his mind locked him out of common sense, but he is in fact only happy to let them deceive him, even as he wasn’t compelled to let them know this. He would have been quite prepared to let them go through with it anyway.
The family had latched onto the idea of having its own mini man before it actually did. The fervor of this heighten expectation was not the type to redeem if not realized. The family had been disappointed for so long and it not only rebelled mentally but with sickening good cheer, it admits this quite openly too. Labara’s mother rebelled secretly and did away with as many girls as she kept, making way for the boy she got desperately readied for, by the world she lives in.
As if by the perversion of natural justice, aptly termed as poetic, the alert and readied older sisters of the baby boy soon slumped into the reality of having their lives being lord over by a helpless new father they must cater for jealously. The family openly shifted all its focus to the new born king and this triggered off the demise of a once held indelible dream, which still dazzled them, up till the point when the sisters realized they had become second classed in their very own family. As expected it made them more receptive of the honest truth of their existence as mere women. The reality of the situation dawned on them farther as the boy aged. Hitherto every single one of the family’s four girls was a daily recipient of such wondrous, untarnished affection from both their parents. Then the illumination of the true character of things was ushered in, in the darkness of the ageless sexist periods of old, the red flag went up at the same time as the checkered flag.
The anticipated arrival of a baby brother came with the true realities they actually were born into. It dawn on them that his belated entry into their sweet world was actually a blessing because it made them recognize clearly their minority status. Inasmuch as the four girls’ parents tried hard to show some equality, it was always clear that their world now revolts around the baby boy.
The sisters just had to hold on, heave and spin their lives around for the boy child. This metaphor is appropriate in this context, because the girls’ demeaned world literally became the boy’s merry-go-round, without a shadow of doubt. The sisters’ basic needs took the back stage of servitude, while they indeed continued to be handled with laced laxity. But that wasn’t really their main worry, as they showered their own honest love for their sole male sibling while concealing the overwhelming debris of their envy for his gloried presence, that brought their own heady days to a labourious close. The boy presented other worries of crucial note.
Labara’s parents found themselves prioritizing every detail in a scale that heightened the value of their sole male child ahead of his four older sisters. They prioritized easily enough because they created these priorities. It was somewhat a belated redemptive measure they couldn’t resist in the tense atmosphere the late arrival of the boy had put them in, one that was pervaded by rumours and the like.
Oddly though, as they blundered along ignoring the innocent suffering of their daughters, their close and careful approach reduced their once quite glorious family into a nervy apparition. They wasted much time on trifles in the self-inspired troubled setting they didn’t have any real control over, as their longings yet grew into the same diseased craze eating deep into them. The family was slowly ravaged and it became a reflection of its once single oneness, bounded in mind and body. It took to functioning as if it was being eaten by a very harmful addiction, copied but not contacted from the world all around it. The parents rudely lost track of what the majority within it really is and the part this majority actually play in the life of the more recent revered existence of the minority amongst them. The parents thus created a young prodigal chap, as their only son turned out to be, making him the subtle arch-enemy of his four sisters.
The parents especially lost track of the uniqueness Laraba represents and her absolute manner of refusing to be subdued by anyone. This is a hugely expensive oversight since it is always Labara’s desire to scrutinize every available detail and employ even the most painstaking method to achieve her quest to establish her absolute authority. She is dogged in this regards, even it if it belittles all others.
There is no grudging the natural fact that the boy initially fitted into the scheme of things like any other new baby would, needing a lot of care. But because he is also a boy, all the possibilities showed through to their fullest potentials with time, as he was weaned, started to walk and talk. His older sisters’ soon reluctantly succumbed to the reality of his present and future assured dominance, though they still wondered why it had to be so. They came to terms with it with time, as all the experienced narratives they heard assured them it will remain so all their lives.
Even as a wee baby, their brother had the status of the dominant stag and the future assured them only the prominence of bereaved female mourners in his funeral cortege, as he will then as surely oppress them in death as he does alive. His ability to crawl into mischief wasn’t much of a worry but his fast increasing ability to speak meant he was able to state his worries and demand privileges, and these were always going to be those he learnt from his parents. His needs were always going to be those that class everybody in his immediate family; other than his father, as his subordinate. His earliest comprehendible utterances had that subtle speech impediment of children, but as he spoke more clearly and properly, the nature of his spoilt personality showed through.
Labara’s baby brother started to openly show his arrogance, it became more evident in how he spoke. He badly copied his father’s masculine manner of speech, only his words were more of scampered phrases and not clear cut sentences, but still they could be understood well enough. To those outside the family, the hastily gabbled words sounded like drowsy murmurings most times. But his parents easily condoned his deliberate rumbling and his older sisters had to adjust to it. The girls couldn’t do anything like hustle him into making an effort to be more comprehendible and God forbid they hit him. The onus was always on them to make the effort to understand him, as he sounded like he was struggling to read out badly written nonsense, which made sense but never makes pleasant hearing.
The sisters repeatedly got a glimpse of the future ahead of them with the little bits of mean things their younger brother arbitrarily does. They debated about ways to curtail his present excesses but there was always that looming reality that hung unseeingly just over the horizon, a burst of reality that assured of the piercing insight of truth in the form of a rising tiny star son that acts like the rising sun.
Everything promised the girls a lifetime of being permanently subordinates to their only brother. The three other girls took it in their strides but Laraba wasn’t done with fighting for her prominence yet. The four sisters would spend their hard gotten time away from their daily chores, to have prolonged chats about the very consequential matter of handling their brother’s excesses. And as he grew older before their eyes, they discussed his future dominance over them. They couldn’t revolt out of respect for their parents, but that only enabled him still.
The sister couldn’t come to a clear cut agreement on how best to handle him discreetly. They tried to avoid doing the numerous unbecoming things they needed to do, choosing not to soil their hands and conscience as they trash out the grey areas they never seem to conclude on. The sisters knew they need to be firm in their resolve but some of the girls actually believed their sole male sibling is messianic, like their parents ardently do. Laraba certainly didn’t, she was instead enraged that her sisters weren’t on the same wave length as she is.
Each time Laraba tries to emphasize her grievance with this blatant regime of inequality they live out, the sisters end up with heated quarrels about a dispute they all actually do believe is stacked against them. Soon she got tired of trying to win over her sisters and assessed the precarious situation on her own. She has had her fill and aim to end their kid brother’s relished humanized God-ship status.
He pretentiously appears and acts a lot frailer than he looks or feels. He became increasingly snobbish, making his many demands known to every one of them in the rudest way possible for a child, a mere six year old. Even the parents were not spared the starkness of his disrespectful excesses. But obviously because the parents were quite tolerant of him in the presumptuous pretext that they only just love him and not worship him, they condoned him needlessly.
The two older sisters grew a lot less preoccupied with their parents’ obsessive affection towards their youngest sibling. But they still limited their expressed disparity, as they were secretly quite vocal about their displeasure. All the sisters equivalently loathe their brother’s ways but their main concerns were still unclear in a fuzzy way, like sight in a dark night. They all cast aspersions they couldn’t defend as they mainly chose to let the uneasy peace reign than tamper with it.
The annoying boy wouldn’t budge from his lofty perch when urged to do so. His refusals were always spiced with the most degrading insults. He repeatedly gets his way since parental rebuke is literally absent or is presented as some form of subtle pampering, scavenged from within the conscience of his parents, empty of the venom it needs but full of contrite promises that indirectly hurt his sisters.
Man envies other fauna’s
So ordered chauvinism;
Governing sexes’ manners,
Which he lost to pessimism.
His most domesticated flora
Flowers in care and abuses,
Beyond its feminine aura;
Winning just as he looses.
The good old Goose
Lost her lone Gander.
Proudless of her loss,
Matured beyond order.
Living with only them,
By the hedges they grew.
For that edge over them,
He still says, ‘Grâce â Dieu!’
Good for the goose
The indigenes of the region are vastly non-Muslims and Animists. The festival they came for is an annual celebration, when local pagans made merry and feast all day long in honour of their symbols of worship. Kengua and the driver had to make twice the normal effort to find a local who speaks the uncomplicated Hausa they were familiar with. They were lucky and got a lot more than they had hoped for when they stumble into an English speaking fellow, seated alone in an old plastic chair. This fellow was only too happy to answer all their questions.
He is amiable fellow with a loud voice and the befitting cheery nickname of Bantimu. He offered to show them round and be their guide the next day too. Bantimu had gladly offered Kengua and the driver seats beside him. He gave them cold drinks and introduced his beautiful wife when she came over with the drinks. Bantimu and his wife were a delight to watch together. She mocked him for being a baby because he wouldn’t let her burst open a swollen boil on his knee. Kengua especially loved hearing Bantimu translate his wife’s words as she teased her husband incessantly with humorous gaily jibes. His translations got quite the rapturous laughing admiration of his impromptu guests and farther encouraged his wife to pester him some more.
Finally Bantimu succumbed and exposed his leg by raising the lower edge of the long Arabian robe he had on. He revealed a visibly inflated knee, to let his wife attend to the shiny turgid boil dead in the middle of his right knee. Bantimu’s wife sat on the floor in front of him, with a pin and some cotton wool. She pierced the boil and Kengua sort of enjoyed the sight of Bantimu’s brave facial expression as he dealt with the first wave of pain from the pin prick. He was however not as successful with the increased pain of the letting out of the pus from the boil.
“Good boy,” Bantimu’s wife coaxed him in her good mimic of her husband, imitating Bantimu rather than speaking English. She giggled as she stood up, after letting out most of the milky bloody pus trapped inside her husband’s swollen knee. She didn’t apply anything to the deflated boil before leaving the now gashed wound open to heal on its own, naturally.
The quite lyrical beauty of Bantimu’s conversation skills began to show as they sat in the fast aging day, sipping cold drinks and enjoying the view of the busy neighbourhood.
“Everyone’s life is like a swollen boil, isn’t it?” Bantimu started off on his first of many thrilling monologues of the day. “Many years ago, as a child, my friends and I had the misfortune of relying on a braggart older teenage fool to teach us how to swim in our local river. We had no idea he couldn’t swim either but because he was a lot older and taller than we were, we assumed he could. He would walk firmly but gingerly, with his feet touching the muddy slimy bottom of the not so shallow waters. I can’t remember his real name but everyone in our village called him Dada, because he had a natural growth of tightly dreadlocked hair. Well, we all thought it was only natural that a fellow like him should swim like a fish.
“Dada was a very tall fellow for his age and was able to barely keep his chin above the water surface with just marginal difficulty, as he almost effortlessly momentarily leaped and bounced off the rather close water depth for him. The lad simply tiptoed with the long reach of his strong athletic tall legs beneath him and moved with relative ease. He beat his arms through the water surface as he pretended to swim when he was actually just walking on the bottom of the slow flowing river. We couldn’t tell what he was doing because the greenish shade of the water made the rivers depth hazy and we couldn’t see beneath his chest. We merely saw a brave swimmer.
“Many months later, Dada lost his footing and slipped one day. The slight current of the river carried him further into the slightly deeper part of the water. When he got back on his feet, he had a shock. His head stayed submerged even when he leap. We could see his frantic waving hands as he gulped down large mouthfuls of water with each time he tried to call for help.
“Oddly, we had all become more capable learners than he was a reliable teacher and two of his best pupils swam over to his rescue. We pretended to accept his story about his feet being tangled up in some underwater reed and only laughed behind Dada’s back about the incident, more out fear than respect. He was a lot bigger than we were and could beat us silly.”
Kengua wished he had come along with his mini tape recorder, as Bantimu concluded his short story telling with a philosophical flourish.
“Two of us saved Dada’s life that day. If he hadn’t held us up in turns, inside the water almost daily, while we beat our feet and arms in swimming motions as he stood firmly up on the river’s muddy bottom, giving us his bogus lessons on how to swim, he would have drown that afternoon. He invariably saved his own life because he had taught us how to swim.”
Kengua naturally wanted to know if Dada ever learned to swim as they grew older. Bantimu shook his head negatively in reply. It is a common way of answering in the mid-west of Africa.
“He actually never did. Dada was too proud to admit he didn’t know how swim. It became increasingly difficult for him to reveal this as each one of his old students became very strong swimmer. He actually stopped going to the river all together.
“Dada’s life story likens my boil, doesn’t it?” Bantimu concluded. The philosophical end to the story’s message wasn’t much, but it was sort of worth the short wait, the smiling Kengua reflected. They stayed with Bantimu until early in the evening, when they returned to their hotel.
This poem is not about money & wealth, but about people & their sexes….
Heat maketh we both;
Rich soil’s own waste.
Woke us to its breath
To breed it and eat.
The furnance is bold
To have and to Gold,
Mere crucible to hold
Silver crusts it fold.
Stallion run over care,
Strife lil’ earthen mare.
What stages we share
Sow values not fair.
In starting such covert ventures, having an accomplice is helpful. But at times the accomplices can jeopardize the whole thing if not selected rightly or protected from their own naivety. It is imperative that the selected partner doesn’t revert from being beneficial to being detrimental to the entire scheme of things. As such, a full disclosure of the plans to a willing partner would be best only when deemed absolutely necessary, even if they prove to be the staunchest allies ever.
If timed well enough, this delayed exposure just could expunge all the apparent worries that loom over the issue, before they even start to surface. Doubtlessly so, finding out what Labara’s plan is about is ever imminent, in any case. The tacky thorny bit is apparently when Laraba chooses to entirely expose her plans to her chosen accomplices. Early disclosures would naturally breed some reluctance in some of them and this needless hesitation will eventually sire remote contempt.
This would mean a pointlessly diversion of scarce resources to convince them and her being sidetracked. This could jeopardize the entire operation before it even starts. It would then be advisable to merely keep the accomplices sort of appraised, living them somewhat blameless but sweetened by the deception of the empty shallow knowledge of the plan, but not the details of it. In such cases, the devil is not always in the details but in revealing all the details. It is really a small deal, much like getting them to assist in digging up the small grave but not letting them know if it is for the difficult dog of a neighbour or a six year old male sibling.
The accomplices should be allowed the disillusioned luxury of plausible deniability at the earliest stages. This ties up and strait-jackets the setting, such that their choices remain with the whim of the real owner and harbinger of the full secret. For the safety of the secret and its future revelation, the prevailing reason for keeping them in the dark never fully diminishes until at the very end, when the swinging hammer hit the nail on the head, with the already aptly prepped up accomplices set to hold the nail and assist before being brushed aside again.
In such an atmosphere that cheapens the necessity of prompt urgency and contradicts the veracity in the essential reason for the measures sought after, disputes would hold things back and finally bring disrepute to the whole enterprise. Hence only the sudden bold intrusion of the final deed, without considering the ever present alternative views of all the others, would be appropriate. Varied views are too conflicting to be instantly practicable. They guide trustworthy ventures into set pitfalls of incompletion. The winds of sudden change are so turbulent that they make dazed people fall bottom first on their own familiar rain slicked home streets.
The ever changing facet of truths has always taken on a vague shade that proves to be too relative to the circumstances leading to its revelation. Thus it is the one demerit of all kinds of human counsel that it tends to confuse more than it really truly assists with it generous overstressed tilt of opinions. The repressible clarity of advice is largely inscrutable in its nature. Investing so much time into it is most time an act tainted with the grossly comical attempt to respond to other peoples’ personalized overtures. Their suggestions would more than often not give the initial direction needed. They would make more pronouncements on trivialities as they hamper on issues that were originally being disregarded at the onset. The advisers’ own personal desires would make them exercise the choice of either being proponents of the views proposed or not.
In the crackling bonfire of subjective emotions and coy disguises of logic, the objectivity that truly comes from the reason that originates the entire issue’s derogatory sounding aspersions, are more acceptable to its aspirations. The remodeled views suddenly appears more traditional than previously proposed or already in use. Just grasping the truth will thus become the main interest under the circumstances and not the urgent need of implementing an unpopular action.
The very disagreeable venture of sampling advice before implementing very passionate ventures is, to use an abrasive phrase, coldheartedly irresponsible. It most times literally makes its ill-advised partakers resort to a sort of hasty crafted solution. In this context, evil is best served early not late, when it is expected.
Myth tales of great Bayajidda
The stories’ author of all Hausa
He trophied a serpent in Daura
Which made thirst of their well
And married their crown bearer
Prince of mighty Baghdad
City of the most sacred race
Fleeing his so furious father
Across the vast dry expanse
Like a worm he left a trace
Bastards ever begat bastards
This prince did have fourteen
With the crown he had seven
And with loose maids another
All formed lands legitimate or not
With a faith embraced in force
The tale sought to erase history
Legitimizing its apt ascention
Without due regards to facts
Either traditional or customary
Tales the child tells his peers
After he has compared origins
That pride and great honour
Like Ishmael’s became a nation
And the swords crossed palms
Driven on downwards earlier
Off northern homes by Berbers
In flight also they meet Tuaregs
Brought together in their fear
Two races like fated and destined
Much time of harmonious peace
The races naturally yoked here
As they settled to live and bred
Their half-castes knew ease
And such a mere life they led
Traditional in past and faith
Makeri of so great a repute
Islam’s sword left its sheath
And a mere life was made mute
So became the land and its
Ashamed of all its culture
That the sacred didn’t nurture
Hiding from all the nights
And clinging on rootless future
Denied are all that is right
Sons of the soil, Bamaguje
You breathe this land and its
Homeless children, Bahaushe
The stench of you is too real
But Bamaguje is the Bahaushe
The poet in the poem
It must be the first, like the light;
Sunny rising summer, all so bright.
The height of the moods pick its reign
When the temperament is sanguine.
The confidence predominates over all,
Its bloodied florid hopelessness stands tall.
Then in that order sets in depreciation;
With bare windy Autumn’s desperation.
A sluggish retrogressive mood, so apathetic;
Displays the temperament as phlegmatic.
The unexcitable disposition throws up its palms;
Receive unemotional bleakness that never calms.
With the mood at its least hopeful state,
Gloomy winter’s horizons hide living fate.
The sad presentation of it is so symbolic,
Revealing a temperament so melancholic.
Its mournful dejected air doesn’t let out
That around the corner linger what its about.
Its about life going on, resurfacing yet again;
Like spring returns to mellow out the pain.
The tasty fruits of a weather so irascible,
Its passionate choleric temperament is unstable.
Speaks volumes of man being never mature
And how he resembles the seasons in nature.
The poet in the poem
The priest’s wife knocked on Kengua’s spare room door with his late lunch. Her baby wasn’t on her back this time and she was a lot more relaxed. She returned his salutation with a very slight hint of a smile, balancing the flat tray holding a covered plate of food and cutleries. She left behind the tray on a reading table. Kengua had expected the Revered to look in on him with the food himself because Kengua had heard the very heated exchanges between husband and wife earlier. He feared that might have made his situation more difficult with the wife.
It would appear they fought over everything, they looked like that sort of couple. The priest appears like the type that queries even the side of the table she places his plates of food on. That incidently was the cue this time around. As an ardent lover of the tradition heavy African dishes of succulent molded solids and thickly well spiced vegetable soups, the priest treated his meals at home with such ceremonial panache. As it is traditional, he uses his bare right hand only when he ate and with the full compliments of two deep plates; one for the solid and the other for the rich soup. It is strictly forbidden for anyone to use their left hand to eat, which it is the same hand that wipes excrement. The process of eating requires him to cut an average mouthful size of the solid, dip it in the soup plate to caress some of the richly cooked assortment of ingredients onto the lump before carrying it into his open mouth in a smooth continuous flow. Hence the process usually would be more comfortable if it commences from his right side, move easily to his left and then ends up at his mouth. In this sense he prefers the plate of solids are placed on his right and the soup plate to his left. This means he wouldn’t have to go across his body when he lifts the soup garnished solid to his mouth and risk soiling his clothes in the process.
Somehow the priest’s wife tends to repeatedly mix up his left to hers, when she is facing him and this complication again causes her to confuse the side she places each plate. The priest mumbled complaint had reached Kengua clearly across the thin walls. His wife had ignored his initials angry words at first. The baby had started to cry so she had walked away to soothe the child. The baby was hardly quiet when Kengua heard the priest choke on his food. He must have gobble down the hot food while talking and then noticed she forgot to set aside some drinking water for him. Without any water to calm down the burning pain and agony of the wrongly channeled food, the Revered coughed profusely. The priest’s situation came across clearly to Kengua but his wife didn’t respond, even to the priest’s angrily calls.
The Revered father accused his wife of deliberately doing this, of plotting to kill him. She answered him with equal venom and like two rival cockerel they were soon at it.
“Do you think I am one of your silly alter boys who loaf all around you at mass?”
“What is difficult in just getting me a glass of water while I eat? Don’t you know you could kill me?” They went on like this, asking each other question after question and not answering any but asking more questions instead. They didn’t use any real abusive word, but they were always at the brink of doing so with each statement like question they spat at each other.
The priest said she was lazy and inconsiderate. She said he was snobbish and ungrateful. Given the chance, Kengua thought he would have exchanged the descriptions. So it came to him as a mild surprise that she was more pleasant when she served him his lunch. Maybe being able to vent at her intended original target had eased up the pressure on him somewhat. Instead, it was the priest who looked tensed when he peeped in to remind Kengua of their departure time.
The priest gave Kengua a Christian clergyman’s shirt and the white collar band he was to wear in disguise, as they headed out for their eight hours night long drive to the Niger border. An hour later Kengua had finished eaten, cleaned up and dressed up in his borrowed clergyman’s short-sleeve top-shirt, with the white plastic collar fitted into the flapless collar.
Kengua stepped into the sitting room to meet yet another round of argument between the couple. The priest was dressed like Kengua and the woman was heavily dressed in very thick textured textile material, which she wore in the conventional blouse and wrapper style unique to West African women. Her head-gear was of a completely different leathery fabric and she had it flamboyantly tied on her small head like a loose-fitting turban. There were assortment of shinny bangles on each of her arms and a very thick string of corral beads circled twice around her neck.
“You look like a Christmas tree,” the priest threw at her.
“Thank you.” She replied, indifferently.
“What?” He asked, not sure she had actually agreed.
“I said thank you, sir.”
“It wasn’t a complement.” The Revered giggled and looked at Kengua, hopefully checking to see if he shared the joke too. Kengua made sure he angled his face away from the lady, so she didn’t see the polite smile of agreement he offered the priest. But she sensed he had smiled and had seen the flesh around his jaw twitch as he did. She didn’t say anything but her eyes misted up with sudden rage. She made sure Kengua saw her face and heard her loud hiss of contempt. Kengua cringed from the sound and immediately thought of Laraba.
The priest wouldn’t let it rest at that, he never ever does.
“Why are these our Nigerian women always so overdressed?” He asked no one in particular.
“This is a married woman with a baby, about to go on an eight hours long drive to one of the hottest places on earth and she chooses to dress up like a circus clown on opening night.” He looked at Kengua as he spoke, then decide to addressed his wife directly next.
“With all these many bangles, trinkets and rings you are labouriously adorned with, all these different facial colourings and inches long artificial eyelashes, plastic finger and toe nails set in long curved fang like settings, all brightly painted and matching your bright clothes and wide head-tie, make you look like a masquerade. You look worse than a clown.
“Actually, you look like one of those European weird hippy sorts of old, with their thickly styled starched and braided hair, deliberately disarrayed and in four contrasting loud shades, their belted high heeled boots, leather mini-skirts and matching scanty jackets all well strapped up in some kind of personal harnesses with tens of buckles, all in shining well polished silver. Believe me you look no different right now. You are so coloured up right now in bright and dull like a cross between a badly made up Christmas tree and Santa’s reindeer pulled sledge cart.”
Kengua wasn’t quite successful in fully suppressing his laugher at that last bit about Santa Claus as he watched her pick up the baby and walk out. She walked accompanied with the varied jingling sounds of her bangles and neck beads. Kengua enjoyed the joke and secretly thought of what a hilarious clincher it would have been if the priest had started to sing out loud the words ‘Jiggle bell, jiggle bell, jiggle all the way.’
The priest’s wife’s dressing reminded Kengua of their cleaning lady back at the Lara ken Inc. offices. She is fat old lady with a reddish skin that made her look like a coloured albino, but she was just a normal black woman with a skin colouring impairment. She was overdressed most times and loved it, whatever the occasion. She didn’t care for all the jokes made of her.
With her reddish glow, she looked like an overdressed open injury, a wide bruise over an over laying multiple fold of fattened flesh. Some days the obese lady would be wrapped up in clothes that she would appear to be a wound, still bleeding like an unstitched bleeding slash set in much bandaging that has yet failed to clot and hold back the seeping flow of flesh and blood.
Two birds perch on a tree;
One a he, the other a she.
Like any such human couple,
They couple into love’s trouble.
They take off into the sky,
Together dancing as they fly.
Like the early romance,
So full of sweet substance.
Returning to a common nest
Gives stability, if not rest.
Like marriage does at a stage,
With emotions and with age.
When they’re off in the sky,
In opposite singles they fly.
Like your everyday spouses;
Submerged in life’s sauces,
Then one bird perches alone,
Anyone of the birds on its own.
Like any spouse takes its turn
To wait the other’s solo run.
When the other bird is back,
With a petal tuck in its beak;
Like its partner it will find
Its affection swallows its kind.
Justice isn’t always what it seems. Justice isn’t always meted or aborted in human terms as local authorities are of the wrongly guided opinion that justice is best served on individuals based on communal terms and not general human ones. But it is reassuring that justice tends to resurrect subsequently and put everything correct again. Justice is enduring and it places destiny in both the hands of the particular individual and still puts fate in the unclear whirl and thrill of luck.
It is thus proper to let certain persons impose and administer their particular version of justice; oriented in a principle reasonable to them in their limited perspective. True justice is within the single individual’s intangible faculties, in their oriented conscience. It is what is said to the mind in the secrecy of the inner self. Once it is equally imperative for everyone to respect it, justice thrives. Justice is not misplaced when ignored, but still quite tenable. Justice can be ignored but its influence is always still very evident, even when it appears to be absent. Justice has an all encompassing grip over a person’s conscience, which can never be missed.
The recent international phobia and fear for justice; where a quick spade of peace is sought without having a thorough redress of the injustices already done, is the main reason why renewed cases of injustice are increasingly repeated. When leaders keep the peace by failing to seek out erring parties and force retribution on them, then they endlessly need to make temporal peace in an increasingly violent, lawless environment, authorizing common folks to take the law into their hands.
The genuine disciple of the law is required to sustain every remote morsel of justice. But because of the sensitivity of good justice, in a society that wants to attract credibility in its leadership by bringing in more pretenders than blunt realists, these best laws are denied the ideal national acknowledgement, respect and recognition they deserve. The society is heavily dependent on a failed system of justice and its civility lives on in a sort of peaceful anarchy as a result of this.
Civility endures the pains of justice when it is denied. It suffers the roughness of its course on a terrain it has no exact control over and must still live in. It is unfair but just, because it appropriately states its case by the kind of prosperity it finally attains. Whatever definition people might choose to accept for civility, it reflects a reference that would do it the justice it requires if different stands give and their perspectives don’t agree in the same society. If the same people remain bias to their oriented principles, principles will always be personalized.
Without compromise, bad laws get repeated over again, most times shuffled at unreasonable discretion, without pity or fairness or justice, with inscrutable considerations. Life would then indulges itself with ill timed prognostications that would remain unwarranted and righteously cruel by any logical standard.
(excerpts from The Whore; Chapter 7)
It is amazing how often the common man quite easily gets intrigued by complete rubbish. There is no doubt that well spanned out worded wool of bullshit as easily catches the fancy of the most intelligent people as it does the most gullible ones. But it is a lot easier to deceive the more naïve people on the street that the more learned ones. It usually takes little to exploit their hapless sensitivities, hurt their already dissolved pride and incite their very selfish imagination.
When the people have been unconsciously indoctrinated to accept every action of their leadership as dubious, then it is quite reasonable for them to be suspicious of their leaders. It is after all true that their leaders are from within the people and are products of their community. So when they refuse to be sympathetic towards the difficulties that are apparent in leading the nation, the people refuse to be remotely understanding of the sacrifices the leaders also make.
Occasionally, the odd set of good leaders would appear out of the blue like prehistoric birds soaring up in the bare skies overhead, with the landscape beneath them ravaged by volcanic lava. Everyone looks up to them to provide that elusive succor. The relatively safe animals watch from their trapped tree tops and rock summits. They watch the flow of hot burning lava overwhelm and destroy the unfortunate multitude that could not even afford mere safety. But the safe ones end up in one of those odd states of mind, as they watch others perish.
This group would naturally complain less. To them, it is like terrible things only happen to others. But it only makes their own miserable state appear brighter because they humanly thank their good luck it wasn’t happening to them. Their silly grumbling will be a pin prick to the others’ gunshot wounds. Their silence is an act of perseverance as far as they are concerned. But then the sudden appearance of these good looking credible leaders doesn’t always deliver the things it promises. Subsequently all leaders get real lonely indeed on their high perch. They are only surrounded by a lifeless hedge of followers. These people feed them only the praise-singing goodies that will keep them comfortable. This would ensure the leaders dish out chunky helpings of the nation’s wealth to keep their close clique of cronies living in opulence and unimaginable affluence all around them while a huge majority of the rest edge a living in squalors.
Soon the unimaginable happened out of the blue. A swift bloodless military coup d’état brought in prehistoric apparitions out of the annals of the nations old history. In one single elabourate act of mutiny the entire armed forces of the country secured the nation tightly. This enabled members of the civilian styled police force to take into custody the entire executive and legislative arm of the current Nigerian government. It was executed in one swift faultless move, with such meticulous precision that not a single member of the expunged government was missed; both at federal and state levels. And with very little surprise the nation woke up to the announcement that the new imposed civilian Vice president of the Nigerian republic, and chief of all Armed Staff, was the retired military intelligence colonel named Sylvan Inalegwu.
Installed as the President and Commander in chief of the republic, was the former amiable federal minister for finance; Tanimu Lawal. He had only quite recently resigned from his exulted influential position as the man in charge of the nation’s finances to allegedly further his studies abroad. But the popular media had hinted that he was actually secretly forced out of office because his public utterances had painted the government in bad light. There is debating that no single Nigerian is oblivious to the fact that a drastic change was required to put things aright but the victorious feel to this sort of change was lost with the excessiveness of it. The sheer veracity of it ominously infiltrated the measured restraint of the people, such that it numbed their once eager expectation. Emotions cannot always be controlled but deliberate actions can be managed.
The new leaders simply appreciated their condor regardless. This played right into their realigned prominence but didn’t sway their perspective. Those individuals, who before coming into power had viewed all others around them as minions to be belittled, will still see them in the same light when they come into power. The military in whatever guise fits this bill distinctively.
It is this reservation that Laraba and Kengua had jointly put out in a brilliant piece which Matters carried. They had researched and set out facts without recourse to sampling the opinion of the men put in power by the military. They didn’t consider that omission essential but they didn’t feel like they were withholding any vital information. As a result of this they were summarily summoned by the most powerful men in the country. They didn’t panic. They instead treated and approached the summons like they would have their next interview assignments, without dread like any other person would have felt. They were hurried by policemen into meeting the displeased military installed political leaders. There were well positioned black suited men with cotton like plastic stubs stuffed inside an ear each. This had short stringy white cords sneaking from inside these ears and down into their shirt collars, like tiny cream coloured lifeless worms. They appear to whisper to themselves from long distances, with their eyes hidden behind dark sun shade glasses as they looked around their indoor positions. They kept scanning their immediate surroundings like an amateur local thief would, before picking his first pocket.
Kengua and Laraba instantly recognized these men to be secret service operatives. They appear placed more for show than for security. The seemingly spurious drama that usually accompanies these security arrangements prevaricate the actual purpose for it. The domineering stature of the security around these big political persons is so extravagant that it overwhelms all visitors to their presence with unnecessary pressure. It is such that it turns everything upside down in their minds, if they are not focused and thick skinned. They need to be tough breeds.
It gives the impression that most of these hyped up security arrangement is deliberately put there to intimidate and not really secure the big personalities it hedges in. It merely compliments the conspicuous air of superiority that these big persons relish. It is the initial step in formative stages and the appetizer that whet the appetite of the arraigned guest. It is the guests’ first whiff of aroma and first glimpse of the supposedly massively grim presence they are being marched into facing. But Laraba and Kengua couldn’t be made of tougher stock. They were well fitted not only to foresee such plots, but to also expedite their own sublime psychological measures towards surmounting them. Their fervent dedication to a quite demanding professional calling has always been preening them for such moments. Their integrity already had an incalculable value and their distinctive journalistic worth is of clearly superior definitive form.
They were the sort not to be puffed out of words by these lavish fads and their silly childish ploys. They both saw this superficial show of status genitals as mere stupid substitute for sincere comforts and it is more an exception to the rule that the norm it was peddled forcibly as.
They were ushered into a well-furnished massive sitting room, with eight identical huge cream coloured couches set in rich leathery-suede upholstery. President Tanimu Lawal and Vice president Sylvan Inalegwu were already seated comfortably in a couch each, beside one another and exchanging genial chit chats. The two journalists’ hurried entry wasn’t acknowledged by either of the men. It looked like the two eminent men already seated in the huge room, had with that simple act insinuated exculpating the rude trespassing into their momentary time of leisure.
Laraba offered some salutation, just as one of the nine unarmed police officers that had come into the room with them stepped forward. He did so carefully, stooping low in an unsteady tipsy mannered that is supposedly meant to show reverence. Veering to approach the new Vice president from behind, the police officer stopped just short of Inalegwu’s right ear and whispered a curt inaudible sentence to him, then stepped away smartly to joined his fellow police officers in taking up scattered positions at the numerous entries into the big room.
Laraba’s greeting remained unanswered as Inalegwu appeared to repeat the officer’s words to President Lawal in another inaudible whisper. Kengua had remained silent. It was unlike him not to have expressed an opinion already, Laraba was thinking. He was however checking himself and merely being mindful of an overreaction. He was willing to let the whole thing play itself to some point when his hasty words wouldn’t digress from the real purpose for bullying them into this highly unconventional meeting with the President and his deputy.
Laraba was still immersing her thoughts into unraveling why they were summoned like this and what it could all lead to. She wasn’t feeling threatened any longer. Once they had been brought to the presence of these men, her fears abated. Their exulted offices must have treasured their glowing hearts with overt civility, at least within the visible sphere of things. They weren’t going to be caught dead doing their own dirty work themselves, certainly not when it concerns these two high profiled journalists standing before them and not exhibiting any fear.
President Lawal barked an order in Hausa and one of the officer turned on his heels and marched out. His steps registered with continuous squeaks, like he was walking in ankle deep mud, with dirty water oozing up his loose fitting leather boots. Still without acknowledging Laraba and Kengua, who were still standing at one end of the big room, Lawal and Inalegwu simply continued their interrupted discussion. This time their voices were quite audible as they talked about some big shot in their government making some obscure mistake. They had continued conversing in a preachy manner until the officer who had left a few minutes earlier on some errand returned. He reappeared with two others, dressed in plain civilian clothes. The police officer rejoined the rest but the new men sat down together on the couch nearest to the Vice president and looked the way of Kengua and Laraba, without a word. The President and his Vice then suddenly kept quiet, without any notable act prompting them to. The interior of the big room had that air conditioned residue icy odor. The muffled hoot of a refrigerator somewhere in a room nearby continued and added to give the atmosphere in the room an eerie feel.
The entry of the two casually dressed men had squelched any hope of this turning out to be just a simple chatty gathering for Laraba but Kengua wasn’t yet frayed. He instinctively decided to attempt taking some charge of the proceedings before it commenced. He planned to stop it from taking another form but he hasn’t the faintest idea which form it was going to take.
Kengua broke the uneasy silence and he wasn’t stopped or interrupted. He went ahead to say that he felt it was necessary to remind the small gathering that he and his colleague are members of the press. He said they owe it to the general public to report whatever transpired after they were openly dragged off. Laraba got a hint of where he was headed, got her wits about her and contributed. She added that if they were to be bound to some confidentiality oath, then they might as well be exempted before it even commences. But Inalegwu was ready for this.
The Vice president smiled in his usual modest manner and waved the journalists closer, but they didn’t move, remained standing right where they were. One of the police officers behind them stepped forward and physically nudged them forward. He urged them to move nearer to Inalegwu with a combination of his stern mien, a barely audible grunt and sheer gut renting will power. When they were a mere three paces away from where they stood earlier, considerably still farther off from Lawal and Inalegwu, the VP needlessly cleared his throat before speaking.
“Sorry to disappoint you Mr. Hoe, but this gathering is not just some casual meeting. It will soon break up into units, set up to examine both of you and Miss Thomas separately. We plan to cross examine both of you on certain sensitive issues of national security your international magazine has chosen to treat with such carefree laxity in its recent publication.”
“Are you interrogating us?” Laraba almost grasped.
Lawal smiled at her, almost fatherly like, before attempting to clarify.
“Your choice of word is old fashioned, Miss Thomas. I assure you we are only going to ask questions. But we have every intention of using whatever you say against you.”
It wasn’t as reassuring a response as his smile meant it to be. Laraba flinched from the gory thought it made her conjure up in her roving mind. It wasn’t helpful to her discomfort.
“Very well,” Kengua said. The anger in his tone wasn’t disguised. He looked straight back into Inalegwu’s steady stare. Kengua clearly wasn’t scared yet and wasn’t showing he was.
“By all means let us commence this examination.”
Lawal stood up. The grace was absent in his movement but that urgent deftness remained, Laraba thought. The President looked like a man trying to hide he was beyond his depth. Inalegwu was naturally a whole lot more comfortable in his composure as he also stood up to join his standing boss, who was actually increasingly appearing more of a stooge. Kengua toyed with the description of a puppet being stringed erect before the puppeteer emerged. Then the puppet spoke again, in the same poor fatherly impersonation as he attempted a somewhat ill-befitting farewell. He consciously kept his tense gaze away from the journalists’ eyes.
“I will suggest you use your cell phones to call your families before we confiscated them. We wouldn’t want them worrying about you needlessly. Indeed most families worry a lot, for families are synonymous to worries. Worry is synonymous to pain, pain to other conscious feelings. Ultimately, conscious feeling means being alive. So please cooperate with our men.”
President Lawal turned and walked out without another word. Inalegwu stayed and kept his firm gaze on the journalists standing before him, both now visibly uncomfortable. There was a hint of pleading in Laraba’s eyes, she was clearly broken. Kengua’s expression now looked rather unsure, but still doggedly resolute and not scared yet, Inalegwu thought. Inalegwu then made a ditched attempt to ruffle the wits of Kengua before he left it to the casually dressed men still seated beside where Kengua and Laraba stood. It looked all but halfway done.
“Relationships are the heaviest weights we carry, my dear friends. We each have responsibilities to families, friends, colleagues, neighbours and fellow citizens. In your case, it is also to your readers. And in our own case; as a Government, it is also to the entire nation. It so happens that these are the same group of people. We have the ultimate responsibility to ensure they aren’t miss-led away from giving our common efforts their understanding and support.”
Then Inalegwu paused and suddenly, in a different tone.
“Mr. Hoe I understand you are quite the stud.” He smiled and winked at Kengua, who didn’t indulge him with any visible response. Kengua still kept a straight face.
“Well, you must have taken time to consider what we guys put into a romantic relationship. That is the fun part of courtships that intrigues me, quite massively. Surely you do understand what I mean, don’t you, Kengua? I am referring to that uncanny way the guy thinks he is chatting up a girl, while in the actual sense it is the girl that has the upper hand, almost always.
“After that, the manner in which such relationships take their good chummy comfortable time to go up north, it is usually unbelievable how fast most of them tend to go down south in such a short time afterwards. Makes you wonder then if really these couples and their onlookers alike, weren’t just reading the maps of these relationships upside down all along?
“I mean, they could unconsciously be making the South Pole the North Pole, without the slightest clue. This is really the authentic summary of the relationship between the Leadership and the Media on the one hand, and the public on the other hand. We are the couple and the rest are the concerned stake holders and onlookers. They are our families, friends, colleagues, neighbours and fellow citizens. They constitute the entire nation we owe a responsibility too.
“And how do we each handle it? The Leadership moulds its facts to make it commendable and acceptable to the nation, while the media manipulates its own to simply make a profit.”
Kengua’s confusion got the better of his vocal cords.
“Mr. Vice president, I am at a lost as to what is it we are supposed to have done here. Is there any particular thing we had written or printed that your government considers not factual?”
Kengua was pleading now it seems. At least his words were taking on more of that fetching tone, to insinuate so. But still his eyes weren’t hinting fear yet. Inalegwu ditched his attempt and made to walk away too, certain that his operatives would easily tidy up the knotty end he had just undone with subtle dexterity. He was sure he was turning over to them a mentally frizzled and emotionally frustrated pair. Surely even Kengua’s logic was in a state of rancor now and it was a matter of time before budged, buckled and concedes. Laraba was already ready for the picking.
“I’m afraid I must leave you all now; national business awaits me.” Inalegwu concluded. He looked away and walked off with what appears to Kengua and Laraba as the last chance of common sense and their final reasonable appeal to any sense of civility.
“Like his Excellency explicitly instructed earlier, do strictly ensure that they both call their families first, then confiscate all their personal belongings.” Inalegwu addressed his men.
Laraba couldn’t take any more of the subtle torture and oddly enough, that was the last straw for Kengua too. They rather gave in almost simultaneously, as exhibited by their joint call for the departing Inalegwu to tarry a while and let them talk things over. Laraba added a loud please.
They were made to wait alone for three gruesome hours afterwards. Inalegwu had reacted to their plea, and ordered the two still unidentified casually dressed operatives to leave the journalists alone for a while longer. Then Inalegwu sparingly requested that he is allowed time to enable him finish up some other business of state and return, before hearing them out. Laraba and Kengua were kept in separate rooms, away from each other and they were given only a glass of water each. Their personal items weren’t taken away but they couldn’t use the toilet. They were allowed to make any number of phone calls but strictly within the earshot of their guards.
Inalegwu received them alone in the same huge room he and the President had met them earlier in the day. He was more cheery and inquired if they were able to contact their families.
“Your loved ones shouldn’t be left in the dark to pine unnecessarily about your wellbeing. Their feelings speak for the relationship you share. Without feelings, the human mind would simply become a living lifeless vacuum.” Inalegwu clearly enjoyed the apparent displeasure his guests had suffered while they waited alone in the separate rooms they were kept in.
They had suffered that torturous moment more because they had little faith in Inalegwu’s merely insinuated assurance for their safety. They weren’t ignorant of what he is capable of. Ignorance is a symptom of faith and since they knew they were being taken for a ride, they feared the worse. They had lost faith in any hope of being let off easily. They sensed that the President was a shade uncomfortable about all the arrangement concerning them but they were certain he wouldn’t contribute zilch to secure their freedom, if push got to shove. Thus any hope outside the one Inalegwu offered dried up for them. But the bigotry and subtle prejudice represented by Inalegwu snatched away any expectation of honesty in his offer.
Laraba felt a little groggy from the emotional toll of the wait. Clearly it had drained any resolve remaining in her. She had already been more than a little daunted by the earlier meet. The usual arrogant individual within her, who exerts and wields such authority, was completely gone. She now repeatedly nods to every word that came out of the Vice presidents mouth, when he speaks this time around. It was quite obvious it wasn’t by some intellectual decision. She was by now too scared to think straight. But Kengua wasn’t clearly as terrified.
Kengua spoke with a faint stutter this time around. But it was more like he was someone given little choice to make a case for himself, not because he was actually guilt ridden. Someone constrained by the knowledge that he has been found out on some lie he couldn’t wriggle himself out of, no matter how hard he tried. The usual enticing free rein he allows the language of his speech appeared to have suffered a huge change. The gust and vigor of euphemism was entirely missing, in its place was a rather pedantic and finicky disordered logic in his utterances.
Inalegwu had sensed the changes early and set out to capitalize on it. He offered them cold drinks and instructed one of the secret service men to leave for some, even before either of his uncomfortable guests spoke or hinted they wanted any drinks or not. Obviously, he already had a very good firsthand experience of how people responded in such situations. Neither Kengua nor Laraba knew if they wanted drinks or not, and were naturally slow in remotely hinting either.
Inalegwu made an elongated face by pushing his chin down. He looked almost reptilian as he started to speak again, carefully slurring his words with deliberate emphasis.
“It is unpardonable that Matters is painting the honest efforts of our government as fraudulent, with no basis for such a drawn conclusion whatsoever. Your recent publication chose to delve into the sensitivity of this matter without any recourse to giving us a say. Your writing tampered its bias perspective with a complete lack of consideration for us and our concerns.”
Inalegwu looked at both of them expectantly, from Kengua to Laraba and back to Kengua again. Laraba cleared her throat and shifted in the big couch she had seated her petit frame in. This time they had been offered seats by Inalegwu as soon as they rejoined him.
Without any clear distinction, such a person like Inalegwu would have ordinarily been a very boring fellow to hang out with. He is the sort of person who glorified in other people’s misery and revels in making them sweat, relishing their discomfort. Vice president Inalegwu is a brave man and his bravery has been tested countless of times. But he easily recognizes fear only because he has felt fear numerously. He had merely learned not to let his will power fritter away by avoiding fear and instead confronted the reason for his fear head on each time.
How else does one know bravery without first knowing fear? That ought to make sense. By every definition known, for anyone to be termed as brave, they must first be afraid. Thus conquering fear is indeed the indisputable act of bravery.
The drinks arrived just as Laraba offered some sort of general apology for their oversight. Kengua chorused Laraba’s words and echoed her exact thoughts with additional words of his own for clarity. Inalegwu sensed Kengua was merely paraphrasing his female companion’s words with some hidden malicious intent. So he swiftly went on the attack once again.
“Both of you appear to still be persistent about the way you have handled this. You fail to see how damaging you and your magazine’s position have been. It is unfortunate that the damage has been done already and it appears unlikely that there is any way you can convince us that your intentions was ever honourable in this regard.” Inalegwu paused to allow time for his words to sink in. then he shook his head without meeting his guests’ eyes for the first time and as expected, that sent shivers down their spines. Laraba stuttered as she responded.
“You couldn’t be more wrong Mr. Vice president. I assure you sir that our intentions were strictly honourable and I am sure we can make appropriate amends to any damage.”
“Amends, make amends?” Inalegwu almost followed the words with an unconscious spray of spittle because he was just about swallowing when he spoke. He swallowed.
“Yes your Excellency, we could retract.” Kengua offers.
“That is you idea of redress? You want to publicly retract your publication after visiting the Presidential Villa and supposedly threatened by our security operatives to do so? Sorry guys, gone are the days went stupid governments fall for that ploy.
“We will not give you the undue satisfaction of being viewed as glorified heroes for the course of press freedom. That certainly will not happen on my watch! I am too versed in the intricate nature of the free world to fall for that.” Kengua made a mental note that Inalegwu had unconsciously let off that he was giving the instructions. That wasn’t ever in doubt but it felt good to confirm it. Kengua was quickly snapped out of his brief triumph as Inalegwu went on.
“When a free Press puts out its highly opinionated views of sitting governments, with no independent body objectively checking on the media or closely verifying these facts it incessantly puts out, it doesn’t occur to anyone that the Press is wielding such rued power as could be equated to that of any authoritarian government curtailing the freedom of the Press. It is merely two sides of the same coin that cannot be weighed separately.”
The immediate past slip by Inalegwu, which confirmed that he is indeed in charge, had somewhat boasted Kengua’s courage to take on the Vice president. Kengua never chickens out from a hinted intellectual debate, not from a colleague, a mark or even a prosecutor.
“Mr. Vice president, the Press is a merely a medium for information, instruction and examination, then entertainment. It is always at the disposal of government as it is to everyone else. The Press merely gathers all the data it gets its hands on and summarily puts it out there for everyone to use as they deem appropriate. Hence, this is all put out there for any entity, within the same sphere, to utilize for its information, its instruction and its examination.”
“That is merely hypothetical and you know it Kengua.” Inalegwu allowed himself to be dragged into the debate. “But what really happens is that both sides of the divide flex, spar and fight over the sentiments of the general public. And since government isn’t actually set up for that function, it ultimately loses out and the media almost never does.
“Government is at a huge disadvantage on all fronts. It has only a very limited existence against the endlessness of the media’s. Governments function within shackling administrative structures against the media’s impish nature. And then most importantly, governments must be accountable to the general public against the media’s mere moral choice to do so if it pleases it to. It is a NASCAR race between racing dogs and cars, with the dogs caged in one section of the track and the cars free to go round and round; refuel and take breaks and such.”
Kengua didn’t respond, checking himself quickly and reminding himself of the larger picture of the situation he and his colleague found themselves in. His brief outburst of intellectual anger was so short-lived this time that it was comparable to the life of the slowest gnat feasting on the hide of a Monkey. Laraba attentiveness to the debate was a lot shorter. By comparison, her concentration to their brief debate had the entire lifespan of a bug flying too close to an open fire in the wild. She brought the entire session to a final head rather impatiently.
“What do you want us to do to make this right, sir?”
Inalegwu smiled. The scepter of the conquered Monarch has been offered to the victorious invading Army in total submission. Inalegwu was glad the session was being recorded by hidden cameras. When they review the recorded tapes much later, it would certainly be lovely to see the reaction of his much younger ingénue colleague. It was purely for politically reasons that military had seeded the exulted office of President to the far northern region of the nation. This was designed to principally win over the most gullible section of the country and true to the known characteristics of the dominant people in that part of the nation, they had quite readily approved of an imposed regime, mainly because President Lawal is a northern Muslim.
President Lawal had clearly seen the political puddle he was walking into and he had not only stepped into it but stood in it, consciously. He made out to view absentmindedly at any implication that he was merely a stooge. All insinuations to that effect were regarded as cynical shots at the homogeneous stability of the regime. If Kengua and Laraba needed a clear pointer to the fact that Inalegwu was in charge, they were just about to get it, as explicitly possible as it could ever be. But Inalegwu appeared to hesitate first. He seems to have only briefly stopped smiling at a personal joke in his head. His first remark after Laraba’s insinuated submission kind of returned back and around the way they had come with their discussion, rather pointlessly.
“Just yesterday I was convinced I couldn’t get you to work with this government. But now that we are at the verge of coming to an understanding I admonish the awesome healing might of every single new day. Every new day is unique and timeless, isn’t it? That is what is special about today. Tomorrow starts it all over again,” a philosophical Inalegwu offered.
Kengua had picked up the offer first. His expression said he was just waiting to hear more. But Laraba said it out loud as soon as she realized what the Vice president had just said.
“Did you just offer us some sort of a job?” She asked and Inalegwu answered loudly, stressing out his drawn out words like he was talking to a pair of deaf retarded children.
“We. Want. You. To. Work. For. This. Government.”
The look of astonishment on the faces of Laraba and Kengua froze and didn’t relax long after they went through the habitual rituals of looking at each other’s faces. They appear to be repeating what they clearly heard Inalegwu say in their minds. They exhibited that baffling skeptical hope that seems to imply the statement uttered might somehow change itself, if repeated for the speaker.
“In what capacity will you fit us in?” Laraba mused.
“What of our jobs, our magazine and our business?” The clearly much more amused Kengua had quickly added. His light complexioned face further illuminated by the reddened glow of amazement that took hold of its usually more cheery expression. Kengua’s face changes colour with his spades of moods. The change was swift, like the alteration in the hue of diamonds in a moon lit night devoid of any natural light after the slightest flash of artificial lightening. This gives the glassy gem some colouring momentarily, as did the switch in Kengua’s mood.
The vast experience Inalegwu has in this regard has taught him to rely on reading facial expressions on people, not their utterances, so he kept his eyes on the journalists as he spoke.
“I am a business man myself. I am part of a big lucrative private military services partnership, you know that. There hasn’t been any negative change in the fortunes of my business since I became part of this government. Rather, my business has grown steadily and even blossomed remarkably.” Inalegwu recognized the confusion in both faces before him.
“I don’t know, but sometimes this arrangement pans out, sometimes it doesn’t. This is especially true with the latter when there is conflict of interests.” Laraba found her conviction.
“Are you insinuating that it is morally wrong for my military versed business to bring its expertise to bear in the way we have handled the disastrous security challenges of Nigeria?”
“No sir. Clearly only a private set up as yours, with its massive international influence could muster that kind of support. You were able to use this vast infrastructural capability to solve and literally quash the major security threats the nation had prior to you coming on board. Most of us feel we probably wouldn’t have a nation by now if you hadn’t acted as you did.”
Kengua felt the need to butt in and end Labara’s eulogy.
“Sir, what ehm… we are trying to say is, as journalists we are bound to our moral obligation to be seen to be objective in our calling. This we clearly cannot do if we end up reporting for a specific section of the polity, in whatever guise.” It was more of devolution rather than the diplomatic evolution of the crux of the issue at hand. It was too blatant and rushed that Laraba feared Kengua might have just reversed the state of their present case by not letting the general idea of a refusal sink in gradually, like she had set out doing. She wanted it to evolve.
Inalegwu smiled inwardly, allowing himself the pleasure of personal congratulation for insisting Kengua and Laraba weren’t allowed private time to discuss together. They hadn’t the foreknowledge of what they would be confronted with or the time to put their acts together. They were disjointed mortals, in utter dread of the assumed power of a mere phantom of an idea. They could only play along with his plan together or allow the fabric of their union to crumble fully.
“I’m of a contrary opinion and I think I hold not a spoonful but a lake to your mere bucket full of experience in this regard. So hush it!” Inalegwu feint some impatience and totally enjoyed the sight of Kengua and Laraba’s tensed faces secretly.
“I will not kid you with insinuations of some secret plot. I like to be plain. We intent to clearly show the world you are a part of this government. Give you each spelt out offices and portfolios and not play the old pathetic ‘You have a hidden agenda’ game of regimes gone by. So either you join to play your parts in building the nation or we clip your speech and do it alone.”
And there it was, clearly put by the man who held all the cards and owned the tables. All of Inalegwu cards were on the table, very blunt and plain. Inalegwu looked away as soon as he finished speaking and beckoned the nearest aide to him. As he whispered agitatedly into the security man’s ear, clearing maintaining the impatient act, Laraba and Kengua looked into each other’s faces. They were mentally comparing their own held cards to what was before them. They had the next move and it was by now apparent that they have already lost this game.
Kengua realized they had to slip into damage control mode. Laraba opened her mouth and made to speak, as she looked for some sign from Kengua. Inalegwu was looking in the direction of Laraba because she had motioned to speak and thus missed, as did everyone else in the huge room, the spilt second wink Kengua directed in her direction.
So many years of working together had taught Laraba to trust the instinctive judgment of Kengua. She has since learned Kengua is never wrong when he gets one of his sudden brain waves in tight situations. Laraba didn’t speak, instead Kengua cleared his throat. As all faces turned towards him, he played their cards but in a rather inscrutable manner. He appeared to have also rather cunningly suspended the game at the apparent end of it.
“Believe me Colonel when I say the last thing I want to do is set your government down for some back biting plot.” Kengua had started out with his expression taking on the serious confident dim Inalegwu had long ago sparingly identified with his sincerest state of mind.
Kengua wasn’t putting up an act either. He has since also learnt from his past brief association with Colonel Inalegwu that the retired officer’s intelligence is not to be meddled with. He must be treated and handled with the utmost respect.
“The exigencies of our work will not allow us the luxury of hypocrisy. That is the stock in trade of politicians.” Laraba’s heart skipped a beat when Kengua uttered the last word.
Inalegwu only grinned and allowed Kengua to finish.
“Please don’t misconstrue this to be some abnegation of your offer. Pardon the soliloquy but I see loose ends that need tightening up. It is necessary to ameliorate things or else such an arrangement is porous and dies from avoidable maladies.” The use of big words is conscious.
The smug smile that now spread across Inalegwu’s face said he was even a lot surer of himself now than he was earlier in his drive to recruit the two high profile journalists seated with him. It was quite obvious Kengua, like a massive majority of career press people, didn’t like the disconcerting idea of even aligning with a serving government, talk less of working for it.
Their agitations for a steady lifetime of incessantly finding faults and not actually correcting them, is expressed covertly in their persistently subdued worded mutiny. This is constantly a contentious issue between their perceived sense of patriotism and the nonconformity to this by fragrant rebuke of the efforts of the representatives of government to exhibit theirs.
Inalegwu wanted to show he was on the same page with Kengua. To reflect this and to reveal he fully understood that Kengua’s inhibition is a perspective considerably clear to him, he offered a vaguely appropriate Shakespearian quote not quite familiar.
““Poor and contended is rich and rich enough.””
“William Shakespeare?” Laraba deciphered.
Inalegwu nodded with a smile and allowed Kengua to finish up. Kengua continued to speak with a strange kind of stutter. It wasn’t deliberately respectful as before, but it seemed to have resurfaced and strained the confidence in his words.
“We need other people’s opinions to define our own. We need their thoughts to align ours and their feelings to distinguish ours. Just like we need to see our reflection at least once, to know what we even look like. It urges us on by clearing out our excesses. This enables us to boldly assess government sincerely. If it is any other way, it is a sham and tilts credibility.”
“My dear friend, people like you tend to always underestimate the massive capacity of the human mind to accommodate all sorts of changes. Even after repeatedly experiencing the gross dynamism in the capability of people to adapt to change, you not only still doubt it, but you pretend it isn’t there entirely.” Inalegwu had jumped in after he has had heard enough.
“Well the ravages of time tore up your worries over this your Cowboys and Indians, Police and Robbers approach to the Media and Government relationship. It certainly hasn’t made either of our roles any more proficient than it ever was and hasn’t made us serve our nation any better.
“Both the leaders and led are bored of this endless war between those who are physically doing something to better our livelihood and those who say they know how it ought to be done but would not step up to the wild rodeo bull and do it. And we all agree that to be boring is the privilege of those advanced in age or status or both, because they can afford it but the masses aren’t ever able to. So we must join hands together. This is what we offer and refusing is clearly an act of hostility in your case. It is that simple. What will it be, finally?”
Inalegwu moved in his seat impatiently, Laraba and Kengua looked at each other yet again.
Kengua smiled and Laraba’s confidence returned into her eyes. She knew he has got this and something in her heart told her this was a special occasion. The odd sense of exhilaration her nerves suddenly felt revealed as much to her, hence her renewed confidence. They withstood the mental out lash, as the VP aired his perceived good views and emotionally tasked them all afternoon. It had initially taken a heavy toll them but it looks like it was their turn to turn the table around, letting him hug the source of his worries at his peril. He had called this on himself.
Where is the bird that hatched this egg?
Flying above the world, up so very high.
And the monkey the farmer wouldn’t beg?
Laughing up a branch, he threatens not near.
Will they ever marry their ideas, so very big?
As always they steal, flock, eat and do share.
Flying above the world, up so very high,
The bird still returns down to hatch its egg.
Laughing away harmless threats if not near,
The monkey’s hunger for the farm will beg.
Their ideas created their world and it is clear,
That strength of the woman gave marriage a leg.
Strength of a woman
Through eventful years the sticks ever pile,
Hopes with the trunk that vomits emptiness.
The mighty broom swept so long a mile,
Still dirt abounds as its proud fruitfulness.
Mourning tears leave this feeling of numbness.
Eras of evolution has not changed the egg,
The needs of man same and ever will be so.
Maybe a broom will kill lizards on a clay keg
And not break it too like the stick did before.
In this concoction only soluble particles’ temperatures soar.
Promise of the lands are all pointing,
Yet the future is hot food in the mouth.
Bodies buried and alive, had and are, waited and waiting,
For the joy in swallowing and satisfaction they sought.
Over hard filled years waiters without appetite rot.
The dogs in this story are the traitorous pigs,
Their patriotism is fake like sweeping grains with a rake.
Locusts that plunder the field leaving tiny dry twigs,
Their determined whispers stir reasoning ideally fake;
These dishonourable gentle heads that ache.
The locusts ate the grains, the rake wasted the rest.
The broom was left so little in its fold.
In this farm, pigs serve dogs for it’s their best.
The egg will likely shatter in hands that shouldn’t hold.
They chest indifferently the agony of the rest in the cold.
(excerpts from The Old woman’s maid)
If comparing the seasons with the butterfly’s famous serendipitous life stages is clever, then certainly to liken it to the life of my landlady is more appropriate. From a young age, she was the type to identify her blessings as they came and not scale them with measurements, or glut at how better off she is or isn’t or such. If she had bothered like most others around did sickeningly so often, it would have stunned her to see the scale floored on the plate of blessings gone. She had loads of reasons to complain about how life treated her, but she never did. In the neediness of her struggles she wasn’t lucky to be perched high up in the safety of height, to prey on time with that sort of impossible patience not real enough to be innocent.
She simply detached herself from all the cruel remarks and lived on. Over the years, she didn’t copy those who only humbled themselves because they were powerless. With the increase in her age, she had proven that what matters most is the destination of the being, surely and certainly burning itself out with time.
The stakes are always too high to falter and bother over inconsequential trivialities of daily living. She stuttered on the way here, but never strayed. If she couldn’t fairly satisfy people, then she most certainly cannot satisfy God, who is poised everywhere as time and patience; all in one sameness and form.
She embraced humanity like a mother does when saving her only child from drowning. Struggling along, she identified the invincible arms of inner peace from the deceptive entangling ropy sea weeds of wrongly labeled evil. She kept away from the many harbingers of this negativity and thrived into a good person.
My landlady has six children; three boys and three girls, all from her first marriage. She gave everything to her first husband but their marriage became the predicament it wasn’t meant to be. It demanded and got her best always and at the end, it was all worth it. She entrusted what little faith she had on the limitless hope she covered herself in. Her life was fair, it is hard to apportion any blame.
Her late husband was a good man, if there ever was one. It had nothing to do with him but with what he had done. He ran away into the lifeless embrace of another entity, when it was obvious that he was financially ruined and going to be socially discredited. My landlady found herself widowed still relatively young, with six children after just ten years of marriage. She struggled on after the finality of her spouse’s rude escape, her coldest season ever. It was harsh and as concrete hard as winter at the Poles. Her senses repelled this tough monster. She pegged her faith in hope and the future, in her children and the roving power of change and it paid off ultimately. With time she actually won, outlived yesterday’s difficulties and found herself poised for a successful today. Change made sure of that, but like all sweet fruit surely go stale, her bed of roses had its share of thorns.
Her children grew into an attitude that wasn’t of her own making. In a subtle manner they claimed they weren’t indebted to her or to their father’s memory. If she knew their minds as beings she had some help conceiving, if only she knew where they were then and could reach them? She wonder if a pact would have been reached with them. As it turned out, she couldn’t tell if they wanted to live, to want and wish and need. She only knew what she and her husband wanted when they conceived to have children. Like every conscious parent, they knew what they wanted and planned for it in a broad sense, if not in every detail. They had their wish and it was satisfying their personal need to have children. They got this with the birth of child after child, six times over. With every new child they appear to achieve extended immotarlity. They unconsciously kept making one relationship after another take shape like taking small baby steps on a continuous staircase of a lifelong ascension, that will most certainly end with one final fatal drop.
As parents they had thus unconsciously stepped on their individual off-springs to get to the next level of their aspirations. They fed onto an old idea and refused to nourish a healthier new one instead. They fear that when too many new ideas are being mooted out to replace the older ones in use, they are being changed merely for being old and not for being obsolete and utterly harmful and unhelpful.
As my landlady’s six children aged, each child revealed their own unique personality. Each child’s wants, all their separate wishes as well as their needs, were all made clear with time, in its slowly piling essence. These same things that the couple didn’t know about each of their six off-springs, before the children became their true selves, were clearly revealed. No one could tell their hopeful aspiration before they took form in them and were stated in their words and deeds. They are lost now as then and ever, as is the vagueness of their knowledge.
My landlady’s late husband had been incensed by the traditional logic behind being successful in the amassed might of being remembered long after he was gone. He queried people’s endless pride in the living assets children had become, she didn’t. When they argue, she averts her eyes respectfully in the traditional fashion. He considered that as rude by his enlightened European standards.
He was out of sorts in most other ways, his mental gaze followed the local crowd but he walked alone in his logic, like a harmless funny madman in a crowded market at dusk. The market people will look on amused, but still stay at a safe distance away, remaining only for the entertainment and not hurrying home.
Her children went to good schools at her expense, slaving humiliation and her selfless sacrifices. Now that they are all established, with spouses and reasonably comfortable, they all turned away from her over powering love with a diplomatic apathy that always seems to uniquely speak for younger people when it involves their much older kin. She continues to live alone with none of her children offering to her take in and savour the ever present love she yearns to drown them all in.
‘The old woman’s maid’ available at the following links:
What claims have dreams, each on its scale?
One solemn day they all see and they fail;
The egg they lay carries another’s shell.
Thank goodness for a glance at posh’s hell,
When lust toyed with life’s curtains’ rail;
Behold the widowed dreams yet trail.
The poet in the poem