This might just be the encouragement a budding writer needs.

Here I am very concerned for many who call themselves writers and are also clueless of the spirit of antagonism that drives them into feeling less of themselves as writers…

“This is for the last ones left; recipients of the torture, pouring sentences to keep the flame burning
Those who do this for something more than prizes, who write past rejection letters
As long as the universe moves there will be stories to tell, and this is for the tellers…” – EFE AZINO

Dear Young writer, I have had you in my thought for a few days now, and I want you to know that you are not alone in this ‘writing’ struggle. As you have decided to drag your writing to the fore, be sure that there are those who will come for your head because they feel you are just a joke when you scribble down your thoughts into these genres of literature. There is an unseen war going on, and I just thought to let you know or remind you in case you forgot. Daily you will be confronted by more cynics than critics. They will either come for your head directly or indirectly on all platforms, even in your dream state and most quiet time. But one thing I need you to know is that you have all the inner power to fight this battle by saying NOTHING! Just WRITE! Just keep expressing yourself.

One major truth you have to keep telling yourself is that you may not always get it right at first or at all, but your power lies in your ability to keep learning, reading and ‘finding your authorial voice’ in your works that someday the world would adjust to and eventually learn to accept. Don’t try to sound like any other writer. I will not cite any examples, but there are many who are not noisemakers and are doing great things on a global level. Remember, they do not have time for irrelevant bants/rants/wars.

Someone once said to me “Edwina, your mind can go as far as you stretch it. Your mind is limitless; make good use of it.” I have never let those words go. I want you to explore the possibilities of what your mind can churn out.

Do you know one truth about this war? Many who are with the sickle are only digging out their fears and throwing them at you. Don’t be afraid when they project their fears of them not being better writers. Don’t join that trend of trying to compare yourself with others. Just write and respect other writers, and be a better critic than a cynic. Show them that you are different and cannot be influenced by the tantrums that they share like bitter tasting candy bars.

Be encouraged and trust God to guide your thoughts aright. You are worth more than a billion words written as literary works.

I will leave you with these words ” No one knows everything. Even your so-called right answers are wrong. Be fair with your words after all…”

Sincerely Yours




Like the youthful consistency of a Swange dancer,

On this parallel line of life’s inconsistencies;

I see black and white. Pain and peace

All to a journey to self-discovery


I reclined in my thoughts and ask these questions

Upon this temple of liberation:


How do I skanky-leg my way to the truth

How do I dance uncontrollably towards peaceful protest?

How do I sway from side-to-side, smiling at the emergence of false reality?

Will this unsuspecting audience applaud my false bravery?


I reclined further, then I asked again

Why is the world a monotonous cacophony?


Why are seeds planted upon the earth, and not in our minds?

Why do babies announce their arrival with a loud cry and not a lullaby?

What is natural when natural is as natural as can be; organic?

Why do cows eat blades of grass and not spears of metals, guns or grenades?

Why does fire start on this dry land ravaging all in its path?


Why does biology determine the sex of an individual; male or female?

Why does social media teach our girls to be Medea against our boys;

boys who never cared if love is freeborn

Why does rain drown itself in its tears, flooding the earth?

Why is depression an option that blinds the feeble

pushing to sue men in death’s court?

Why do we spend years arranging alphabets only to spread them as suicide notes?

Are these men of letters the perfect voice for these lost boys who sojourned?


Why do the sun and the moon avoid each other before the strike of six?

Are their words like clubs and sticks by day and by night?

Why do children prefer moonlight but not the stories of old?

Why do they forget the history told at the footstool of our ancestors?

Why are the old too strong for giving up their weakness?

Why are the young now too weak giving up their strength?


What is this world without you and me?

Why does the world seek you and I daily?

How often should we fight the universe and the universe pretend to not exist?

Do monkeys go to hell for their selfishness?

Do snakes eventually have hands to keep the heart warm?


These questions are the meaninglessness of life

This life is engraved in meaningless questions

If you ask me why I asked these questions

I would tell you about the river drowning itself

I would tell you how the ocean came to its rescue;

Their bond is a challenge that is deeper than the eyes can see

This bond is a challenger deep not many can reach


These questions

are deep…




© NEO.Flo.Etry





Picture credit:



Remember me?

I was the one created out of you from the creator

Remember, you were made with the finest of clay;

God’s ultimate achievement on the sixth day

You were packed with wisdom, strength, love, and care

Before time, you expressed creativity

You knew how to name things; and how to till the land

until the harvest came swiftly

You were friends with beasts; knowing no fear

Your boisterous resilience made you number one;

waltzing creation to your command

You spoke and things changed for the best, moving mountains

Birds sang at your beck and call all day

You were joyful, reigned in your kingdom; Eden

A hidden life clothed in the finest of gold

You frolicked with the expanse of the ocean; no flood knew you

and never run dry of option; fruitfully multiplying out of the

the abundance of a grateful heart

You created the perfect life you were made for;

King, ruler, Commander, General, CEO; employing all of the creation

to work in your stead

Nothing stood in your way, NOTHING

Somehow, you lost yourself

Don’t blame me. I wasn’t the spoiler alert to end your game

I won’t blame you for the crawling lies that lurked around me like a ghost

Maybe you got too excited

Maybe you compared ‘cos I looked like you

I guess you forgot to teach me how to be your true self; royalty

I guess you hid a part of you until death did nudge you apart

I guess you assumed I knew all that you knew as one flesh

I guess you guessed wrong of my take over plans

I will not play the blame game. Not to our creator.

Not even on the slithering one

But to the entrance of your churned out thoughts

The one that stayed deeply rooted in your mind

Remember I was taken out of you, inherited your fruitful faithfulness

And your fiery fears. I became YOU!

Never hesitated to bite that fruit that’s been stuck in your throat

Our action was forbidden before bidding with the enemy

We were naked and garbed in the false truth

We gave in to the lies, the hardship

the crime and travails of new good things

you gave in to the hurt and the pain

letting yourself go and strained;

we gave in to the death and forgetting how to replenish

Society gave you a tag; upper superior

Dragging me along, I was tagged lesser inferior

I was created out of you, remember?

Dear boy child

Retrace your root to God’s plan for you; to reign

His plans for you to be like him; creating your world

You are worth more than pleasant and precious riches

You are the boisterous wind clearing all negative forces

Being one with the tree of life; deeply rooted

You are strong, a king, add am to your present state

So, conceive, agree, speak, create and

manifest for this is good on the sixth day of life’s journey

and on the seventh day, have dominion, enjoy fruitfulness

multiply, subdue time in your favor, replenish all lost

inhale, exhale…

rest boy child, REST!














Food is one thing that is very essential to human life. It is the one thing that if it’s ignored can cause a lot wahala to your body, and can also cause damage when overeaten.


Let me tell you a short story.


When I was much younger, as far as I can remember, I wasn’t the foodie type of child. I was that kind of child that loved to nibble on sweets and snacks and wasn’t up for too much-cooked food. But somewhere along my growing up years, I discovered I loved to eat, and this came as a result of teaching myself to cook, learning a few cooking tips from my restauranteur aunt and my super mom. It was quite an experiential journey.


Throughout my university days, I only became addicted to cooking in my 200 Level, and I enjoyed every bit of it, especially when some of my neighbors in Fejiro Lodge (where I lived in school) requested to keep tasting my sumptuous cooking. It was like a set of winning jackpot numbers for me. I was always “scentifying” my neighborhood (according to my mum).


Back in 2002 or so, I was living with some of my aunts, and we had the whole family house to ourselves. One of them started a restaurant business, and it gave me reasons to always be around her. She had two girls then who shared in the duties, but I decided to join the train, even though I wasn’t paid in cash, I was sort of paid with an assured daily three square meals. Lol.


One day, she had to travel to the village, and one of her girls had quit, and it was just I and I the other girl left. I wasn’t supposed to do anything the next day after she had traveled, but I took up the challenge; went to the market to meet her meat customer, then bought other ingredients that were needed for the day’s business. I started out not really believing I could cook the same way my aunt cooked or let alone convince her customers of the food taste. I went ahead and gave it a try; steamed and cooked everything that needs to be done.


By the next morning (5:00am) I was up to check on the overnight cooked white beans with firewood, which had already turned brown, then prepared the stew, boiled the rice, fried the plantains, fried the fish, boiled the eggs, cooked the spaghetti, etc. Before I knew what was happening, customers had started coming with their bowls, one after another, by then the other girl helped with arranging and setting up the tables and chairs. Some customers were curious. They noticed my aunt’s absence. They asked, and I told them she traveled. They were amazed, but then again complimented my cooking.


Did I cook exactly like my aunt? I sure didn’t, but I applied her cooking techniques.  Since then, I haven’t gone back, but then, I kind of hid my cooking skills, until…


I gave this short story for a reason. There are many people who’d read this and say “I want a woman that can cook, blah blah blah…” and they go ahead to focus their attention on just the cooked food and not the person. Cooking is good, but when you make it a point of duty to punish someone because you can’t eat a day old soup, then I believe you are being inconsiderate. Although most ladies don’t mind or enjoy that, I believe there has to be some form of balance. For example, once my pot of soup is four or five days old (in the deep freezer o), I become really tired.


I love to cook, but I can’t bear to cook fresh soup every day. That is very exhausting.



Picture credit:



Testimony time… Story time… History studies…


As a family, they gather together to share a word of exhortation or two. One thing leads to another and a long storytelling spree breaks out.


It is a hazy late Christmas morning. The harmattan weather is rather harsh on everyone. Father is coughing. Mother lets out a sneeze and a “Jesus is Lord!” outcry. The two siblings giggle at the sight of the dry and cold weather challenge their parents are facing.


“Somebody praise the Lord…!” Mother’s voice breaks into a ululating chant. She wipes of a spec of dried catarrh on the side of her right nostril with a ply of tissue paper.


“Halleluyah!” everyone choruses. Father is checking for a bible passage on his tablet device. He finds one, smiles, and asks in a sing song manner


“Does anyone have a testimony to the glory of God?”

“Yes. I have one…” the younger sibling retorts

“Me too…” Mother says smiling

“Okay, let us hear it. One minute each.” He says

“ONE MINUTE EACH!” the older sibling emphasizes. Mother shoots her an unreceptive look.


The older sibling casts a long wry look at both parents. She sits facing her younger sibling, as though to say “I hope this doesn’t turn into a long boring story o!” the younger sibling smirks her lips, sits pretty, adjusts her sitting position, and lets out a “Praise the Lord somebody!” in a soft feigned British accent.


Three minutes later, the older sibling is frowning at everyone. Father is typing away at his tablet device. The pings from social media notifications fill the sitting room. Mother on the other hand is constantly interrupting the storytelling testimony session with her own version of the past incidents told. Father is nodding his head, but not concentrating on the tell-tale session.


It is mother’s turn to tell her testimony of the “goodness of the Lord’. The older sibling begins to get oversensitive. She looks at the clock beside her. “Oh God! This is going to take FOREVER” She mumbles under breath. Mother likes to tell stories in a rather fascinating way. She is detailed and every scenario comes with a vivid description of past incidents and how “the good Lord never fails those who put their trust in Him.”


Five minutes later, the older sibling cannot contain herself enough to join in the morning prayers. Father is still typing away on his device. Younger sibling relaxes herself into the chair. She is sleeping. Mother picks up her phone as it rings out loudly. She answers in a low tone.


“Hello, please can you call me back in the next five minutes? We are having our family devotion.”


Father places the tablet device beside him on the side stool. He stands up and begins pacing around the sitting room singing praises to the savior of all mankind. He starts to pray in an unknown tongue. Mother joins in. Younger sibling is still sleeping, her mouth agape.


“Let us pray!” father says. He notices his younger daughter sleeping. He walks up to her, pinches her knee cap. She jerks back from her sleep.


“Pray. Thank God for giving us His son for this season… Pray. Pray!” He continues fervently


Older sibling opens one eye to look at her Father who is by this time deep in praying fervently. She takes another look at the clock. It says “9:55am


“Dear Father God, I know this is not right, but help my parents understand that I have to go out before 10:30am. Amen!”




Photo credit:



It wasn’t so humorous

When all I see is your silhouette

Taking careful steps towards my reach

Each stride reminded me of pauses

Like that of an unfinished note, the ellipsis;


You came into my fastidious life

Like the congregating soft rain in August

On a quest to soothe my towering pain

You vowed and strained all the way

To bring the distant sunshine to my face


How can I forget you?

How can I not remember you who ploughed my garden?

You who planted seeds in me that never sprouted

How can I forget the hands that closed my doors?

How can I not remember that stormy day too?


For sure, we fought well

We loved hard, we did, but

The cracks in our hearts gave way…


No such memory would go away…


© Neofloetry




Photo credit: “modern love”

OCD (Clean Jane)

OCD (Clean Jane)

OCD (Clean Jane)

This is how it started

This is how it all started

I am not startled





I am here

I am there

I am walking forward



All this is in my head


This is how it started

All these must me p-e-r-f-e-c-t


I am not sorry

Kitchen; spotless


I have to check again. Please

Table mats; colors match!

Oh dear, I see a patch




I am walking forward

I have to walk backward

Door; shut

I am looking at my shoe rack

They need me back…






As part of its ongoing literary engagements, the Port Harcourt Literary Society will host, arguably, Nigeria’s biggest Poetry Slam this month.

And the Society has unveiled four award-winning and distinguished Nigerian poets as judges for the Slam, scheduled to hold in Port Harcourt on May 25.

They are Efe Paul Azino, curator of the highly successful Lagos International Poetry Festival whose recent project was the brilliant Heritage Bank advertisement, and Andrew Patience, spoken word Amazon and one of the founders of the impressive Custodians of African Literature, based in Jos, Plateau State.

Others are Obii Ifejika, winner of Nigeria’s first ever slam, and multi award winner and slam poetry master, Graciano Enwerem.

Chairman of the Slam committee, Edwina Aleme, says the Slam is already receiving entries from around Nigeria, promising to bring some if the best of Nigerian spoken word poets to the Garden City.

The PHLS Poetry Slam, the first major poetry competition in the Niger Delta region, promises it’s winner a whopping N100,000.00. The runner-up will take home N75,000.00, while the second runner-up will receive N50,000.00. A fourth prize, the first of its kind in Nigeria, worth N25,000.00, will go to a winner among secondary school entrants who have benefited from the Society’s PHLS-LIFT (Literature for Teens) programme.

“This is in line with our objective with PHLS-LIFT to nurture a new generation of spoken word poets in Port Harcourt and the Niger Delta,” Aleme says, “so that we help create a new narrative that our youths are not militants. We are a society of brilliant young people and the world needs to hear our voices.”



EFE PAUL AZINO, is a Nigerian writer, performance artist and poet. He is the founder and director of the Lagos International Poetry Festival, and the director of poetry at the annual Lagos Book and Art Festival. Azino has featured in a number of local and international poetry events and is a fellow of the Osiwa Poetry Residency…

ANDREW PATIENCE FINYE, known as AP, is one of the leading voices in creative spoken word poetry in Nigeria, with a debut spoken word album ‘I Am’ to her credit. She is the founder of Custodians of African Literature (COAL), a platform that promotes African writers and their writings. AP is also a broadcaster and media personality based in Jos, Nigeria…

GRACIANO ENWEREM (Sir Grrraciano) is a poet, writer, teacher and media consultant. A graduate of English and Literary Studies. He’s the winner of War of Words (Season 3), YOUPoetry Slam, War of Words Online Slam 1 and other prizes. Cofounder, Figures of Speech movement (FOS), the first online creative group on Whatsapp…

OBII IFEJIKA is a story-teller who made her debut in Spoken word at the maiden edition of Bassey Ikpi’s National Poetry Slam, where she was crowned Slam Champion in October 2012. She has performed in several poetry events such as the maiden edition of the NIBRA Awards, Wole Soyinka’s 80th birthday celebration and at the Theater Expedition Metropolis, Germany.


*How to enter:

Just send a 1 or 2 mins video of you performing a poem to . Entry closes on the 20th of May by 12 noon. Send the mini version on Instagram, then follow and tag @phls_openmic with hashtag #phlsslampoetry. All chosen 15 finalists will be contacted via email before 12 midnight on same day.

STAYING AWAKE (This Is America… Or the Black nation?

STAYING AWAKE (This Is America… Or the Black nation?

For many years, I have been one individual whose adrenaline pumps when I come in contact with controversial hidden messages in any work of art. I always do not let go, but tend to take a bite at the information I gather, then get pretty excited; just like what I recently came across on Instagram. The moment I saw that fifty-nine seconds clip; I drove myself to find what I can gather on Youtube. I was in awe at first, then I began to decode a few hidden significant meanings from first view.

Today, I am here to yap a little bit about Donald McKinley Glover Jr.  also known as Childish Gambino. He is an American actor (major Character in the TV series- Atlanta), comedian, writer, director, producer, singer, songwriter, rapper, and of course a DJ. He strikes me as an eccentric character, and that is what has drawn me to him. He is different, and filled with a lot of information like the ‘awakened ones’.

***   ***   ***   ***   ***

So, I have finally watched Childish Gambino’s THIS IS AMERICA up to 4 times or so, and I am still gathering information from the hidden meanings:

First my attention goes to the font in rage italic style this is America, and black background which shows its rough textured edge, from his shirtless body, grey confederate uniform pants, the yellow shoes, the eye-pop and Jim Crow pose, the first close range shot fired the guy whose head is shrouded in white and playing a guitar (this could be Richie Haven who improvised the song ‘Freedom’. It could that the black community’s cry for freedom may have been shot while they aren’t looking), the scarlet piece of clothe and maroon chair, the dancing students in grey and white (young people following his every step), and the masked people with their mobile phones (celly: a form of mind or social incarceration) that’s considered a weapon or tool and typing away their time and recording the chaos, the warehouse-like environment which also might look like a cell, the white and brown chickens (lily livered individuals who are not able to do anything, but just eat and watch) , the grey horse its rider and the police car towing behind it (a symbol of the apocalypse according to Revelation 6:8), the chaos in the background, the gayish mannerisms in his solo exaggerated dance steps, the gwara gwara dance in connection with South Africa… The struggle continues – apartheid? (embedded within too is a one-time popular shaku shaku Nigerian dance style… lol), the sneaking in to a church and shooting at the entire choir or students (the Charleston church shooting), the repeated verse “black man, get your money…” (entertainment and distraction), his hair shaped like the map of Africa (black man/racism), the guy that was thrown down from the first floor (murder), the circle dance (occult), the female voice in shrieking screams (continuous tears and pain), the daze mode and marijuana smoking, the dance step on the old model car, the chase in the end (payback time or an overwhelming situation that causes one to run from the problem without confrontation…?)

***   ***   ***

What could these statements mean…?


“This is America. Don’t catch you slippin’ up” – Staying awake to the happenings?

“Look at what I am whippin’ up…” – Gun violence?

“Police be trippin now. woo!” – Police brutality

“This is America; look how I am kinky now. I am so pretty” – the black nation, and focus on beauty

“on the Benz, on the Benz, on the Benz. contraband, contraband, contraband” – Stagnation

“Girl you got me shaking… shaking the frame” – America in an uncontrolled state of chaos

I think this entire video is portraying the black struggle stage in which America has come from, especially with the recent gun violence, which is very much prevalent at this level in its society. What happens when you have access to a gun and you are the bad guy? A lot of things will go wrong. There will be murder rates going on the rise at all times. This might also be the major reason for the ‘Gun control’ advocacy.

I believe Childish Gambino has succeeded in awakening the inner mind of America as a unifying, yet divided body. Like I always say, “America is a country that eats its own.” several thousands of miles back here, as other black Africans, we may not understand that there is gross porosity that has made this nation a ‘danger zone’ (not that I don’t like America, I do) for many who are in dwellers. The black community suffers this the most because there is the ability to be distracted by everything that that has been happening, especially the crave for fame in the entertainment industry, the crave for money, the excitement of gun carrying signature, etc.

In line with what popular Nigerian Afrobeats King- Fela Anikolapo Kuti said in his song “zombie o, zombie”, “suffering and smiling”, and one of Nigeria’s foremost lyricists- Modenine, stating this kind of distraction as the “happy feet syndrome”. I know these examples might sound a bit bland, but these quickly come to mind for me. On the other hand, I also think popular culture has played a major role at damaging the core of the society (mainstream media), and those who are most adaptive to this kind of culture are the young people who for some absolute naive reason are ultimately clueless of what’s going on, and the detrimental effect of being ‘zombie-like’ to ‘OBEYing’ everything damaging that comes to them. For example, there is a fight somewhere, and phones are whipped out of their pockets to take pictures or record without doing the right thing… Well, you might say “that isn’t supposed to be my problem. What if I get injured in the process?” I’d leave that to your conscience to answer.

I am not here to criticize any society or anyone, but it is just the obvious that has caused an awakening. You might say “well… that’s America.”, but trust me, we need a lot of Childish Gambinos in the world to awaken us from our slumber. Nigeria is also in a place where we need to remain AWAKE 24 hours round the clock. How much information do you know about your environment, community or nation? The world is sleeping, and so is the entire black nation. Some are awake, but not all are WIDE AWAKE! Man know thyself.

There are lots of ‘adlib’ distraction techniques in this song and in the world today. STAY AWAKE!!!


(c) Edwina Amakievi Aleme


Watch the original video here:

Watch the SNL stage performance here:

Poet of the week: Victoria ‘blaq ink’ Botimi

Poet of the week: Victoria ‘blaq ink’ Botimi

Hello friends, it’s a brand new week, and nothing gets me more excited than having to take time out to celebrate and encourage people in their chosen field of art. I will not consider myself a life coach, but I enjoy calling out the best from every individual that crosses my pathway in the course of their life’s journey.

Today, I will be featuring a young, shy but vibrant spokenword poet. Hol’ up! Let me fill you in from my ‘story bank’. The first time I met her, sometime last year, she struck me as a very intelligent young lady. I made an attempt to scan her, (which is my attitude whenever I am meeting someone for the first time). I loved the slightly loose vintage shirt and and skinny faded blue jeans she had on. The brightness of her face matched the yellow, green and orangey floral scarf she beautifully wrapped on her head. Somehow, I knew I have made another interesting friend.

Several times I had tried to drag her to the forefront to perform her poems without fear on stage, but today, she is one bold kitty before the microphone and prying eyes of the audience.

Botimi Victoria whose alias/pen name is Blaq ink, is a freelance writer, and a poetic member of the “INKERS BREED’. Born in the month of July 30, 1996 in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. She is a Public Health graduate of Madonna University, Elele (2016). She lives in Port Harcourt, Rivers state. She is also considered a spokenword poet, and has graced several platforms with her thought provoking poems on dating and relationship struggles of young people her age. Currently, Victoria is a Social and Health volunteer, and a strong believer that anyone can be what they want to be in this world. Her all-time favorite slogan is “be you!”

Do enjoy reading her poem below.

***   ***   ***
I saw love, or… so I thought
I drank endlessly from its’ depth, yet unsatisfied:
It was sweet, then, salty.

I felt it, then lost it, maybe It was never mine for keeps

But, I could swear it was in every moment we spent together,

irrespective of the distance between our geographical location…
It was in those fights we had that led me right back into your arms,

sweating and panting after sessions of painful, yet pleasurable body wrestles

So, while you walked down the aisle with her, I was basking in pure reminiscence

it all seemed so real, but all a floating mirage above like tired clouds…

Those times under the bed sheet, when we pulled off sheets

put in shit and pull out shit in dark places our eyes couldn’t see;

leaving us to our sixth sense.

Those moments you whispered you couldn’t ‘live’ without me,

because I was your ‘cure’, did you actually mean that I was ‘the cure’ to your Marvin Gaye disease?
Did you mean i was your resuscitation nurse, call me a sexual healer…?
‘Cause as I speak emotional gibberish, I watch you live on, even though you died in me.
When you said that I was ‘the one’, Did you mean that I was just one,

plus the others you had locked in to your side?
This left me counting time on this table, multiplying the number of times you told me this love is able, yet you left me… like broken turntable; a broken lyric note…

As they say, “this table you’re shaking has a lot of Nigerian kings on it”,
but, i will shake this table shaking it till they all fall off like wilted leaves;
their spirits fleeing the sight ’cause my heart stopped beating in sync with yours…
I felt the konjition you put me, now i have lost it;
Maybe, you, all to myself was never mine for keeps…

©blaq ink


*Conji or Konji (congeal) is a well known Nigeria pidgin slang word for being left alone for long without sexual relations.