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PORT HARCOURT: PHLS SLAM POETRY JUDGES UNVEILED

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PORT HARCOURT: PHLS SLAM POETRY JUDGES UNVEILED

PORT HARCOURT HOSTS NIGERIA’S BIGGEST SLAM

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.”

 

JUDGES:

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 literaryevening1@gmail.com . 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.

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

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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’.

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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…?)

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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: https://youtu.be/VYOjWnS4cMY

Watch the SNL stage performance here: https://youtu.be/m1xkLqd1wdU

THE DAY JACK LET JILL TUMBLE DOWNHILL

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THE DAY JACK LET JILL TUMBLE DOWNHILL

There are certain things that are better left unsaid when you are trying to get up the ‘dating relationship’ hill, with your pail full of joy and laughter, and all of a sudden you come tumbling down like Jill falling right along behind Jack, spilling off the liquid content you fetched from the well of friendship. That… will be… the very thing… that can open your eyes… if you do not shut them tightly because of the pain you feel on your knee cap. At that moment if you look closely, you will catch a glimpse of Jack trying to gain his balance and taking steps back up the hill without bothering if he broke his crown for your sake or if you are still tumbling downhill. While doing so, he is scouting for another to take uphill again… How weird is that?

*This analogy above happens every now and again when there is a little ‘scratch’ between friends or dating relationships.*

Have you ever found yourself being in a friendship relationship with someone you thought you were extremely close to, and just at the strike of some slight argument, you are left hanging like you never existed in the first place, then all the emotions come rushing in like pain assembling to awaken the fresh bruise you just had from falling? The questioning of friendship begins to jet back at you. You begin to have series of ‘self-blaming’ episodes, and why you shouldn’t have responded with an answer to a question you thought was not relevant at that moment.

I have had the opportunity to listen to fellow ladies or even guys reiterate these experiences, and I couldn’t help but wonder why things have to be that way, after all the sweet cementing of friendship, then comes a demon with the hammer to break off the sealing that has lasted for months or in most cases, years. That seems to be the problem these days with many.

There are too many questions that come to your mind, especially when it is observed by you or your partner that there are ‘several’ individuals in the background that both of you fall back on as a ‘backup plan’, without a feeling of remorse when something goes wrong. I mean, I am being real here. There are many guys and ladies who have turned into ‘hunters’, prowling, and establishing ‘relationships’ when they are in fact in a relationship that’s growing (this is what makes it easier for ‘Jack to step back up the hill, not minding if Jill is still tumbling downhill’). Whatever happened to true friendship?

Two mature adults… scratch that… two mature and reasonably sane adults should be able to communicate properly without all the blame game drama. Take for instance, if I create an environment where an unhealthy argument happens, I should be able to apologize and take responsibility for my said words that may have sparked that fire, and my partner should be able to do the same without any misguided sentiments. In fact, many will even choose to dish out the ‘silent treatment’ if they feel obligated to do so, thereby seeing themselves as the ‘not guilty’ one. Now, that’s some over-sentimental-emotional-torture-bullcrap! In my own open-minded and unbiased opinion, that’s gross irresponsibility!

Now, my major questions are:

  • Why can’t a reasonable adult point out another’s fault without having a hidden motives behind that action?
  • What happened the vow of friendship without selfish and egotistic sentiments?
  • Is apologizing without causing further problems with honest questions a crime to shut out your partner?
  • Why do many, especially guys dish out the ‘emotional torture’ and ‘silent treatment’ tactics to get back at their partner for faltering when in fact they just want out?

There are too many questions to ask, but it only takes someone with common sense and wisdom to be able to handle such a situation without turning anthills into hard rock mountains.

I have had my own fair share of these kinds of experiences, but how you deal with it without ‘self-blame’ or blaming your partner, and moving on with your life is what makes all the difference, especially when the guy or lady in question have several ‘open options’ to choose from. Jill, in this case, should not get uptight when she finds herself at the bottom of the hill, she should just get up, dust the dirt off her dress, pick up her pail and walk back home, with thankfulness in her heart. There are many unhealthy relationships out there in the world. What did Jack and Jill sign up for? This is all a stereotypical vicious cycle…

 

N/B: Jack could be a lady, and Jill, a guy. It all depends on which gender the arrow points to. By the way this Jack and Jill nursery rhyme has some sexual connotations in it… Lmao

 

Photo Credit: http://www.flatironchurch.com

MY AFRICA… THE GODDESS OF THE SUN AND STARS

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MY AFRICA… THE GODDESS OF THE SUN AND STARS

This Friday, i decided to feature a friend who i think his written piece is worth reading and paid full attention to. He is a Civil Engineer, and his assertiveness is what makes this work stand out for me. Read on…

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Many times I’ve tried to figure out this continent or at least lay a handle on the reality of this continent. Each time, I come out blank and I wonder what’s really driving us so insane.

“Africa is just like one stubborn child in whom so many people see potentials, but who constantly set herself on self destruct mode….”

I have a feeling that this continent is still the architect of its own woes…. Take a look at what happened during slavery. We keep blaming the white man.
*But have you ever stopped to ask yourself who sold the slaves to the white man?
*Have you wondered who helped them hunt for these slaves?
*Have you asked who set up markets where our own brothers and sisters were sold?

Real talk:
*Our fathers and warriors sold us for mirrors, beads and snuff.
*Our fathers were dumb and stupid and let the visitors play to their greed.

Well, for a moment, Africa survived individual slavery, and from within us countries were born. But did we learn anyTin?…. Oohh NO!! I’m not even going to dignify that with an answer.

A few voices of reason rose thereafter and cried out to us all. Those voices of heroes in our minds. Our Nelson Mandela, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Fela Kuti, and our Living legend Wole Soyinka etc. That to mention but a few. You know them, as I am not much of a historian. These men led us and drove us into a great continent. We united and struggled together. We fought the apartheid and xenophobia all together to this point.

Then, like that same stubborn child we went into self-destruct mode again. Civil wars broke. We killed our own flesh and blood for land and money. The smart ones used the weak ones to fight for their selfish desires. Our leaders got power drunk.

Then came the realization that Africa is rich with minerals and oil and food and wild life. But just as if our forefathers and warriors were reincarnated into new men. They started selling not just slaves as people this time. They sold our entire continent to their own greed. For just a few dollars our livelihood was sold.

Want to know how? The biggest companies in the different industries in Africa are owned by the white man. Now, my question is…
*Who sold these to them?
*Who brought them back?
“Its the rat at home that told the bush rat about the master’s fish.”

This is the latest form of slavery. The slavery of nations. Today we are no longer dragged off in chains to the white man’s land. Today we are made to work in our own fields. Today we are slaving in our own land. Today we are even slaves to our own brothers and sisters…

Oh, now I know u want to start blaming the white man. Don’t even go there. That’s always our problem. We are always looking for who to blame so that we have excuse to pick up guns and knives. (These are just businessmen doing business. So don’t blame them). Here is the icebreaker;
*We are the architect of our own woes.
*We called them

This is where we are right now. We are at that point in our animal lives where the food seems so little and we kill each other to have what’s left. All because nobody wants to think of how to make the next harvest plentiful. Everybody wants to have more than others. Almost every African nation now is at war.

I am afraid that point has come again. This time we aren’t going to fight with guns, knives and bombs. Africa needs just a few people. A few heroes and heroins. Men and women who can think and save us from ourselves. Men and women who are Willing to make sacrifices to save us.

If u are reading this and you do not have it in your mind to be a ‘hero’ for Africa, then I will tell you this “You are part of our problem”

If you cannot reject a few dollars to make good choices for the benefit of our unborn children “You are part of our problem”

If you still do not wake up every morning and stay up late at night, thinking of ways to make this nation better “You are part of our problem”

If you cannot remove yourself from the “Get rich quick syndrome”. I assure you that “You are part of our problem”

If you still do not see a fellow African from Kenya, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Guinea, Chad, Nigeria, etc, as your own brother and sister “You are part of our problem”

If even within a Nation like Nigeria, u still discriminate between tribes like Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba “You are part of our problem”

If the a young man or woman born in South Africa (white or black) still have issues with race and tribe “You are part of our problem”

If you take bribes, oppress and cover up robbery and corruption “You are part of our problem”.

The time has come for just a few men and women to come together and make a decision for this nation. Time has come for those foreigners doing business in our nations to genuinely decide to be part of us and help us grow.

This is the point were our movie industries should wake up and change the kind of things they show our children. For we want to hide part of our history from our children till they are old enough to see what type of monster we turned this continent into. We need to show them through our works and writings that heroes are born in them. We need to show them that all they need is happiness and that the wealth in the world can be theirs for decades.

Time has come for us to build a nation where our children can choose not to go to Harvard and still make great people. Time has come when our children should graduate from their choice Universities have decent jobs, without being tagged “lazy” or “unemployed”.

Time has come when we can build our own retirement plans and know that we do not have to worry in case we die and leave our children in the hands of mother Africa.

Time has come to stop pretending its none of our business
*Will you start finking. Will u do what Abraham Lincoln did for the United states.
*Will you risk staying behind bars for many years just for your people’s freedom like Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela ‘Madiba’ did for South Africa?
*Will you be the one to sing the kind of ‘conscious’ and ‘national awareness’ songs Fela Anikolapo Kuti sang?
*Will you be the next great African writer like Chinua Achebe, the author of Things Fall Apart?
*Will you surrender your guns and knives and start looking for ways to save lives instead?
*Will you be the next man that will betray, and sell this entire continent completely to get just mirrors and snuff…?

I think, i have said enough to awaken my brothers and sisters. Let’s look inwards to bring forth the best for our beloved continent- Africa. She is my Africa. She is your Africa…

I call her ‘the goddess of the sun’, because the sun rises and sets on the planes of its lush and vast land of plenty. Africa is greatly blessed beyond man’s imagination. We are within her as the countless stars. Let’s not dim her light.

 

(c)Engr. Udochukwu Onuegbu Eric

 

Photo Credit: http://www.globalresearch.ca

 

A SEA OF EMOTIONS (Big Brother Naija 3)

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A SEA OF EMOTIONS (Big Brother Naija 3)

“Hurting people hurt people.” Is a very catchy phrase that no one should consciously ignore. It is in fact supposed to be a personal wake up anthem for your everyday living. Once you have been hurt deep enough, you begin to hurt others in a certain unpleasant way. I have never been a super fan of the phrase ‘emotional wreck’, although there are times when our emotions tend to take the better part of our budding lives and turn it into a wilting flower (it takes the mercy of God to keep us back on track so we don’t die off). I have seen many being commandeered into being labeled such an individual, and in the long run, people begin to avoid such a person like a plague. Once they know that he/she is about to make a grand entry about a matter, everyone takes cover. Yes, everyone takes cover! Except for a few persons who are bold enough to confront, and or speak in a soft tone just for peace to reign.

Let me digress a bit. I remember sometime late last year when the BBNaija ad was up for this Season’s show, and a friend of mine said to me “you know you can go for this audition? If you eventually make it into the house, that would be awesome.” I smiled a bit, then got scared because, I am one person who avoids the larger public eye for so many reasons. I shrunk in my mind at the thought of being in a house filled with different people. The thought of how I’d cope if I found myself in an unpleasant situation. I never liked un-called for fights and arguments (I easily would want to make peace so that I can breathe normally for energy sustenance). I looked at my friend and smiled, then started boasting a little about what creativity I would push forward. But in my heart there’s no way for me to proceed further. The Port Harcourt auditions happened, and I was at home eating pounded yam and freshly made egusi soup. What is my own? I can’t come and kill myself jor.

When the Big Brother Naija Season 3 began, I wasn’t glued to my TV set just to know who the Housemates were; their names and what they even looked like. I wasn’t worried either. I was just minding my poetry business until one fine evening, I and my eighteen-year-old sister started the BBNaija discussion. Prior to that day, I had snooped in on my Instagram account to check out what was buzzing. I had seen a few faces, but didn’t give it another look. So, that evening the remote was ours for the evening since ‘General-Dad’ (sole owner of the TV remote) wasn’t home. I began to get myself acquainted with the few housemates my eyes captured; first, it was a sort of pairing I noticed. I noticed that some of the ladies were clinging on to the dudes like they were in a relationship show. I didn’t worry much, but then, i thought about the ‘double wahala’ tagline. Housemates were cuddling and making out, and all what-not. Well, I didn’t bother. I quickly decided to watch the game at least 3-4 times in a week (excluding party nights, and including eviction nights). It was fun, and the tempers were beginning to rise.

Weeks passed, and I had already picked out my favorite pair (BamBam and Teddy A fan). I loved the aura around them, even though were miles away. I loved the two. Miracle and Nina were the next two, but I still couldn’t understand their stand, Tobi and Cee-c were always in people’s faces with all the emotional rollercoaster, Lolu and Anto were just vibing with too much wittiness and what-not, Rico was standing alone, but loved the kitchen like no other, Ahneeka and Angel cruised on the wings of cupid but failed to admit they had been shot, Bitto and Princess…. Uhmm *scratches head*, Leo and Alex had an unsure quest going on for them, but…, then Dee-One and Vandora almost killed us with cunning dry jokes, and as for Khloe and K-Brule, the back and forth drunken prattles kept bouncing off like ping-pong balls, while Ifu ennada bathed us with her creative sides. Hmmmmm. Such showmanship on display.

Anyway, these housemates had it all together, I guess. They all took turns in diving into the Sea of mixed emotions. Some got me really pissed, while others warmed me up and made me excited… can you guess? I was getting fed up with this one Character who saw herself as higher and better than the other housemates. Her squinting eyes and famous eyelashes and hair made me cringe most times. I yelled a lot of times, while other times I just felt some sort of pity for her. She is human; very fickle, but the ‘toxicity’ was too much for many like me to bear. It baffled me how she gained such massive support. This only told me one thing (many human beings are drawn to ‘drama’, and they confuse it for realness). My question is “what then is realness?” does it mean that the other housemates were not being real? As far as I was concerned, every one of them was being ‘real’, but all jumped onboard with game strategies… Duh! Emotions began trickling from the inside, thus causing a verbal war on the outside. The Social media space was buzzing with abusive and verbal huffs and puffs. Team this against Team that. This whole enchilada began an emotional outrage! This was all madness. Yes, MADNESS! Everyone took a deep dive into that sea. See? (pun intended).

The BBNaija Season 3 ended for me when BamBam and Teddy A were yanked out simultaneously. I was pained, but I felt the kind of peace they felt when they escaped all the hate from within the house. Their bathroom incidence made it worse from most judgmental viewers. I am not saying that what ensued between them was right, but hey, they are human beings, and things like this are bound to happen, besides, the cameras brought it to the forefront, otherwise, not one viewer would have known. What about the ones not shown from other ‘sneaky’ housemates? Anyway, who am to analyze?

As it stands, the heat is turned up, and a caucus has been formed after fifteen successful evictions/disqualifications. Tolex (Tobi and Alex, Miracle and Nina, excluding King Cee-c who drowned in the sea of her tears today). Tobi and Alex are very much fond of each other, and I’m super sure Cee-c isn’t happy about it. Miracle and Nina had their fight before eviction night, but they seem to have grown deeply connected. Voting lines are still open, and this is the final week. Viewers/fans are voting like never before. It is a mad world out here; everyone rooting for their best housemates to win, because, 45 million Naira is at stake, but all I can say is “May the best man/woman win.”

 

At this point, we need our youths to focus their minds on the getting their PVCs, and prepare to vote in the upcoming 2019 elections.

 

(c) Edwina ‘Neofloetry’ Aleme

 

Photo credit: saatchi art

 

 

 

 

WHAT GOOD IS A KISS…?

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WHAT GOOD IS A KISS…?

WHAT GOOD IS A KISS…?

 

Today’s atmosphere felt really congested. It reminded me of the days of broken hearts flying everywhere like glass splinters. It also reminded me of when these pieces pierce an unsuspecting boo who will keep thinking that shot was from cupids’ bow, but end up being hurt all over again. This reminder is amply overloaded with ‘stories that touch’ from the past. Hmmmmm!

I started my morning on a rather low note. I wasn’t sure what it was, but I just couldn’t get my eyes off my ever-so-annoying wall clock. First, it was my phone’s alarm waking me up at exactly six-thirty-one a.m. These sleepy orbs of mine kept prowling my entire room until I couldn’t take it anymore. I sat up, and still a bit unsatisfied with my four hours of sleep from last night, i wanted to just go back to bed. But my clock just reminded me that it’s almost seven-thirty. I didn’t grumble, but I mumbled what I thought was a ‘Good morning’ prayer. While I sat on the edge of my bed, these words “what good is a kiss, especially if it’s not with the one you truly love…” from a a movie WAITING TO EXHALE soundtrack came flying into my mind. I paused for a while and allowed my mind to wander around this, and I quickly concluded that this could be an act of ‘kissing the enemy’. How disastrous can this be to any dating relationship? Hmmm

I pondered upon this, and It just hit me that it is very obvious that a lot of singles are in fact, actually kissing someone they have absolutely no business sharing such an intimate moment with. I couldn’t get my head around why that just happens. I have been in that kind of situation where I deliberately and naively put myself under that spotlight. It wasn’t a prim and proper kind of entanglement, you know. It only gave way for unwanted relationship thorns to start blooming. Trust me. It’s not a pleasant situation, except you are a master in the art of being a shady lover. Many ladies like me are still practicing this act, whether we agree or not. It might not sound nice if I tagged it ‘a form of desperation’, but at the same time, I also think it is just a way of getting out of the label of being ‘single and reserved’. I hope I don’t get a thousand female eyes shooting at me. Hehehehe.

As crazy as this might sound, some relationships are nowadays more or less like a ‘try-your-luck’ kind of situation. I have been in a place where I hear most ladies yammer on the fact that they no longer care if these dudes love them or not, or whether these ladies like these dudes or not. They just want to be in a relationship. They just want that fine glass of wine without checking the bottle for the amount intoxication effect it will live on them. They certainly do not care if that box of chocolate is for them or not. All they want is the whole container. Who am I to judge anyone? I have had my own fair share of the wahala in the past.

While all of this as a trend is ongoing from the female side, I think the male camp also have their own ‘shoot your shot’ kind of situation going for them too. As much as they wouldn’t want to admit it, this whole “I just want to get hooked” might just be like ‘a-little-boy-in-a-games-resort’ thing for them. It is not a crime to be picking and dropping toys until you find that one special toy, but where it is wrong is when it is applied in the relationship kinda thing. No one likes to be picked, used and dumped. Ok, I get it! You just want to ‘taste and see’. But why taste before you begin to choose to see if the Aunty is right one? I would rather the Aunty is befriended first before you decide on the ‘tasting’ part… *rolling eyes* Anyway, not all the Uncles in this camp are like that sha… I admit it. There are just a few good men to salvage the situation.

Meanwhile, in my own camp (my very own personal camp), I have decided that this is not my wahala. All I can do is try to wrap my head around this whole situation, and begin to live a stress-free life when it comes to these kinds of entanglements. Many singles out there have what works for them. They have decided to live like that, while others are still regretting why they decided to share a kiss with the one they do not truly love. What is my own? I am only a ‘partially single’ observer (don’t ask me what that means).

Let me just fix my gaze on what makes me happy. Adios!

 

(c) Edwina ‘Neofloetry’ Aleme

 

photo credit: wikihow.com

COMING OUT; A BULLY’S TARGET?

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COMING OUT; A BULLY’S TARGET?

I come online, and i can’t get past three posts without this name embracing my optical sense. He was last seen on the 1st of June; kidnapped by unknown persons who reacted to his recent essay on being Queer. He is a good writer; a facebook friend. I had no idea. I got concerned and snoopy, then decided to read his 15th May article on brittle paper titled ‘We’re Queer, We’re Here’, and almost immediately i had a flashback on my final year project “COMING OUT” A DRAMA ON MALE HOMOSEXUALITY IN NIGERIA’S TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS. In Act III, Scene II, the gay protagonist faces serious bullying by some homophobic undergraduates in the same Department. His roommate eventually finds out, and also tries to help him seek psychological prognosis in the end… Did it help him?

 
I remember a certain time when a young man; a junior colleague was almost picked up from our Department’s car park, a few months before final year graduation, because he is a queer kind; and with slightly curvaceous hips like that of a lady. An alarm was raised, and he was rescued from the danger that had awaited him that evening. Four guys in a Toyota Camry almost snatched him away from school. I couldn’t come to terms with why i would want to hurt another person because he/she is of an odd behavior. Where i feel funny is when i am not being able to relate to when this goes beyond just feeling different from within. I have respect for every human being because God created us all, but something evil seeks to destroy what God has created beautifully and wonderfully, hence the disorderliness.

During my project research period, i lost the plump weight i had gained during my third year, due to the vast information on this mind boggling issue. The more i researched, the more i began to see beyond the reason why i shouldn’t hurt anyone because… I began to understand the medical, psychological and emotional sides of these sets of people. I developed a better heart in the long run (I had never hated them, but only wished such will just go away and not put them in great danger. I can’t stand people being hurt for not knowing why they are the way they are). As a believer of God, all you can do is just keep holding them up in earnest prayers, upholding them before God. Truth is, God didn’t create anyone like that, this only happens when a child is born into a world were the spiritual evil rules the earth. Anything can happen. How do you explain why a child is born with a hole in the heart? Thank God for medical science, but how…? It only takes the spiritual good to overcome such oddness.

Gayism, like i wrote in the Abstract of my Final year project paper, states that it is becoming a widespread practice among youths in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions, and it is gradually taking center stage, and many young people are still facing bullying. I went on to quote the author of CHANGING HOMOSEXUALITY IN THE MALE, Lawrence J. Hatterer. He opines that “One who is motivated by a definite preferential erotic attraction to members of the same-sex, usually but not necessarily engages in overt sexual relations with them.”

Most of these individuals sometimes ‘helplessly’ choose to remain in this because they can’t come to terms with why they are this way, especially in a society where such is strongly kicked against. They earnestly yearn also to be able to share their feelings and desires, become members of communities that gives them the platforms to express their shared views without inhibitions (This is a very sensitive matter, not everyone who’s homophobic can understand this). The likes of Sigmund Freud, Isidor Sadger, Jean Foucault, David Halperin, etc, all have their opinion about this very issue.

My heart goes out to Chibụìhè Light Obi You will return in one piece.
I pray for his safety. I pray that his abductors will let him go free, without a fuss. Amen!
Read the essay here: http://brittlepaper.com/2017/05/queer-chibuihe-obi-essay/
Note: These are my personal thoughts.
Photo Credit: http://www.wildreed.blogspot.com

PIERCING WORDS: ‘Poet of the day’ – Niyi Osundare

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PIERCING WORDS: ‘Poet of the day’ – Niyi Osundare

Niyi Osundare is a Professor of English Literature in the University of New Orleans, USA, and a prolific and outspoken poet and teacher from the South West part of Nigeria. He is also a dramatist and vast literary critic whose works touches mostly on deep political issues; a very clear evidence of ‘artistic activism’. He has written poems, and has several books in print, which includes; Moonsongs (1988), Village Voices (1984), State Visit (2002, Play), Not My Business (2005), Random Blues (2011), etc.

He is a  holder of numerous outstanding awards, of which two of them are the Folon/Nichols award for ‘Excellence in literary creativity’, the Nigerian National Merit Awards (NNMA) for ‘Academic excellence’.

He once made a captivating statement which is able to awaken the conscious conscience of any Nigerian writer; spurring them into writing words that can mend the broken bridges of the failing Nigerian leadership style:

           “You cannot keep quiet about the situation in the kind of countries we find ourselves in, in Africa. When you wake up and there is no running water, when you have a massive power outage for days and nights, no food on the table, no hospital for the sick, no peace of mind; when the image of the ruler you see everywhere is that of a dictator with a gun in his hand; and, on the international level, when you live in a world in which your continent is consigned to the margin, a world in which the colour of your skin is a constant disadvantage, everywhere you go – then there is no other way than to write about this, in an attempt to change the situation for the better.”

Enjoy reading one my favorite of his collection of poems.

My Lord

Please tell me where to keep your bribe?

Do I drop it in your venerable chambers

Or carry the heavy booty to your immaculate mansion

 

Shall I bury it in the capacious water tank

In your well laundered backyard

Or will it breathe better in the septic tank

Since money can deodorize the smelliest crime

 

Shall I haul it up the attic

Between the ceiling and your lofty roof

Or shall I conjure the walls to open up

And swallow this sudden bounty from your honest labour

 

Shall I give a billion to each of your paramours

The black, the light, the Fanta-yellow

They will surely know how to keep the loot

In places too remote for the sniffing dog

Or shall I use the particulars

Of your anonymous maidservants and manservants

With their names on overflowing bank accounts

While they famish like ownerless dogs

 

Shall I haul it all to your village

In the valley behind seven mountains

Where potholes swallow up the hugest jeep

And Penury leaves a scar on every house

 

My Lord

It will take the fastest machine

Many, many days to count this booty; and lucky bank bosses

May help themselves to a fraction of the loot

 

My Lord

Tell me where to keep your bribe?

 

My Lord

Tell me where to keep your bribe?

 

The “last hope of the common man”

Has become the last bastion of the criminally rich

A terrible plague bestrides the land

Besieged by rapacious judges and venal lawyers

 

Behind the antiquated wig

And the slavish glove

The penguin gown and the obfuscating jargon

Is a rot and riot whose stench is choking the land

 

Behind the rituals and roted rigmaroles

Old antics connive with new tricks

Behind the prim-and-proper costumes of masquerades

Corruption stands, naked, in its insolent impunity

 

For sale to the highest bidder

Interlocutory and perpetual injunctions

Opulent criminals shop for pliant judges

Protect the criminal, enshrine the crime

 

And Election Petition Tribunals

Ah, bless those goldmines and bottomless booties!

Scoundrel vote-riggers romp to electoral victory

All hail our buyable Bench and conniving Bar

 

A million dollars in Their Lordship’s bedroom

A million euros in the parlor closet

Countless naira beneath the kitchen sink

Our courts are fast running out of Ghana-must-go’s*

 

The “Temple of Justice”

Is broken in every brick

The roof is roundly perforated

By termites of graft

 

My Lord

Tell me where to keep your bribe?

 

Judges doze in the courtroom

Having spent all night, counting money and various “gifts”

And the Chief Justice looks on with tired eyes

As Corruption usurps his gavel.

 

Crime pays in this country

Corruption has its handsome rewards

Just one judgement sold to the richest bidder

Will catapult Judge & Lawyer to the Billionaires’ Club

 

The Law, they say, is an ass

Sometimes fast, sometimes slow

But the Law in Nigeria is a vulture

Fat on the cash-and-carry carrion of murdered Conscience

Won gb’ebi f’alare

     Won gb’are f’elebi**

They kill our trust in the common good

These Monsters of Mammon in their garish gowns

 

Unhappy the land

Where jobbers are judges

Where Impunity walks the streets

Like a large, invincible Demon

 

Come Sunday, they troop to the church

Friday, they mouth their mantra in pious mosques

But they pervert Justice all week long

And dig us deeper into the hellish hole.

 

Nigeria is a huge corpse

With milling maggots on its wretched hulk

They prey every day, they prey every night

For the endless decomposition of our common soul

My Most Honourable Lord

Just tell me where to keep your bribe.

 

 

*Large, extremely tough bags used for carrying heavy cash in Nigeria

** They declare the innocent guilty

      They pronounce the guilty innocent

 
(c) Niyi Osundare
Photo credit: Sahara Reporters

The stalenessness of relationships

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The stalenessness of relationships

How much of a lamb of sacrifice can anyone be in a relationship? Is there any special meditation or magical concoction one has to mix to ensure that the poison of staleness does not affect what they have going for them when in the spotlight with a spouse? Hmmm… There are too many questions to ask when you find yourself being ‘exclusive’ or not with someone you are either in lust or love with.

Many young people (i say ‘young’ people, because they are the most vulnerable and expertly naive) in the world today go into dating relationships most times not having a personal knowledge of what they are about to get themselves into. Oftentimes, they just do what they see their friends do. Peer pressure causes them to go the extra mile, then they eventually get into their first experience of heartbreak. They try to get into another, then anotther, until their so-called love life becomes a huge epic fail. The staleness sets in like cement on a wet floor, and at this point, there is no point of return for them; for years.

I remember what it felt like when i had my first feelings for a boy from my High School days (although, he wasn’t the first boy i kissed. Lol). It felt like i had just won a jackpot when we declared our late ‘teenage love‘, then eventually dating after a few years of being away. He always liked to come visit me. We would sit outside with other friends of ours and chat away excitedly. I sometimes scribbled how i felt on paper for him, and he would sometimes do the same. The whole experience was really exciting, until the day the bright sky began to slowly turn grey, and the eventual falling of rain from the sky of my eyes. I was really hurt! I experienced my own baptism of fiery failed first relationship. He cheated on me with another girl from the neighborhood. That was it. I was done! several years later, many more failed relationships set in. “Why?” you may ask. I certainly didn’t know why, until my eyes began to open to the truth. There were many stale things that needed to be thrown into the trash bag and burnt forever.

In this day and age, many people find themselves still experiencing bad relationships, because there is still a demon from the past lurking in their minds, spirit souls and bodies. They have not come to know that there is only one thing that is really constant in all of their past dating days. They are the only contant thing that needs spring cleaning in their minds. Studies have shown that “What you think, you attract.” It is a law that boomerangs on us constantly as individuals who will refuse to look away from the warning signs. Imagine if young man starts dating a new lady, and he still has a ton of trash from his past relationship hanging in the closet of his mind, he may never be very open to her, and they decide to call it quits or just abscond, thereby ending what they had abruptly. Who would be blamed, the guy or the girl? (You should answer that…) Many people still see their Exs in their new dating partners. Until you change your mindset from focusing on the wrongs, there won’t be any change.

There are signs that show that a relationship is stale, and they all have names; constant sugarcoated lies, blinding deceptions, muting communications, audacious pridefulness, egotistic blackmails. If all of these and many others are spotted in your relationship, best be sure that yours is speedily heading for the iceberg that tore through the titanic ship.

  1. Once you begin to see traces of lies, ensure you find out for yourself by asking questions nicely, and if you do not get any answers, then use your common sense… Selah.
  2. Both men and women can be very deceptive in so many areas. They can subtly lure you into believing anything. How you get to know if they are professional decievers, is to observe the way they carry on with people around them. Don’t try to wave it aside by trying to defend them, just take note, cause it might just be your turn.
  3. You earnestly wish you can have all the time to yourselves; that lovey-dovy time where you can just talk about just everything without holding back, but that doesn’t seem to materialise. Both of you just sit there loving the keypads of your mobile phones, and communicating silently to third parties. Seriously! Who does such a thing when they ‘claim’ to be exclusively in love? Even mutes have devised ways to ‘Communicate’ their feelings. A relationship devoid of proper communication (not talking o!), is as good as milling factory without machineries… Selah
  4. Pride goes before a fall. Nobody wants to keep falling in and out of love because of a prideful spouse. This character has killed several relationships, and many do not get to survive it. Watchout, otherwise you will constantly suffer for what you did not bargain for.
  5. Guys are mostly the ones with the ego-tripping issues, and the ladies are the most sufferers of such acts. Sometimes, emotional blackmail begins to surface when there is some form of friction. When this happens, take time out to nicely and calmly state your observations. If your spouse is gracious enough, he/she will begin to make the required change for a successful and enviable relationship.

Make that faithful effort to clean out your closet of the past hurts and pain. Do not be that one who will begin to torment your spouse with then stench of staleness because of what you have suffered in the past.  If you hve the right perspective in place, you can also ask God to help you deal with that garbage forever.

Learn and observe what your spouse’s love language is, and go with the flow at all time.  For further info on knowing about how you can sail smoothly in your relationSHIP, opt to get a copy of Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages here http://www.5lovelanguages.com/

Sometimes, not all relationships are worth saving too. I hope you learned something new today.

 

Yours Truly

Edwina Amakievi Aleme.

 

 

THE JOLLOF WARS, AND A LIE THAT ALMOST ENDED IT…

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THE JOLLOF WARS, AND A LIE THAT ALMOST ENDED IT…

We are a people with greatness embedded in the center of our beings, and with a love for several delicacies, from the different geo-political zones. We like it fried, porridge, baked, sautéed, barbequed, roasted or any kind of soup. Nigeria remains a country with diverse tribes and different kind of dishes that have the empowering abilities to cause any lover of “belle first” to dive neck deep into that lagoon, not minding if that dish will end their lives or not. Anyone who is a self-acclaimed foodist or an entitled one will know how important it is to ‘guard that which is its own’ (abi na lie?). Nigerian food lovers always protect their delicacies with all jealousy.

Jollof rice is a one of its kind common dish in Western Africa. Its name is derived from the Wolof people of Senegal, and the Gambia, but Nigeria and Ghana have since come from a very debatable standpoint of being the ‘originators’ of the perfectly prepared version of this highly respected delicacy. Other countries like Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mali, Cameroon and Togo also consume this dish. As we all know, for a period, there has been ongoing social media war on “Which country prepares the best Jollof rice, Nigeria or Ghana?”. This doesn’t seem like it is going to stop anytime soon, if Jesus tarries. Nigerians are not willing to back down, as many foodists come up with several innovative ways to prepare and decorate the ‘Naija Jollof’ to catch the eye of the eater. In fact, some people hold this dish sacred. (Jesu egba wa o!) God help us.

As someone who loves to cook for myself, and for people, I have gotten to that point where I see people fight because of food or even fight to get their own portion of food. You can find this action take place in our regular wedding ceremonies or other open-air parties where the ‘public’ is invited. I have noticed that the most fought for food is the very popular firewood, well cooked, sauced and spiced jollof rice, garnished with a piece of fried chicken or beef. No one would want to give up on that, especially when the aroma from their neighbors’ plate hit their nostrils with all joyfulness, and awakening your tastebuds; making your mouth watery. Lol

Just last week friday, Richard Quest of CNN visited Lagos, Nigeria to anchor his programme Richard Quest means Business, and there was a brief Q and A session he had with our dear Minister of Information and Culture (I will not mention his name, before the ongoing war in my head will end because of a truthful lie…) who subconsciously decided in his mind to end an age long war when asked “Which country makes the most delicious Jollof rice in Africa?” . His answer was a tsunami! *Covers face* Someone once said that “that singular act is a treasonable felony, punishable under the Nigeria Jollof rice Act of 1960”, and I concurred that he should be punished without inviting professional whistle blowers to his rescue…

[Dramatic music playing in the background]

… Richard Quest went on to clarify in Act II, stating that  he asked “which country did Jollof rice originate from” and the lie came rushing… I mean, what was dear Mr. Information and Culture Minister thinking? Did he realize how many people fainted in Nigeria, and how many Ghanaians threw a send-off party, while the Senegalese were caught off-guard? This in fact is a case of the popular belief that “A witch cried and a baby died last night”. This is an unpardonable sin; to betray Nigerians in the face of Jollof War II. A Lai-Lie may have just ended this war for nothing. This sweet war? Imagine American celebrities clamoring over the ever-so-tasteful NAIJA JOLLOF RICE! Three ‘gbosa’ for us jor!

Just recently, Aso’s wobbly rock came to the rescue of Nigerians, by stating that Nigerians can continue in the fight by holding the title “Nigerians cook the best Jollof rice in West Africa.” At least, this gave us hope that we are still title holders. I mean, who wouldn’t want to defend its own in the face of ‘best food’ chaos? For goodness sake, Jollof rice is a state of mind of the Nigerian majority. Everyone holds it to high esteem. Overlooking the garnishing of this dish and spelling the word with a small letter ‘j’ is a slap on the faces of a million and more Jollofists at home and in the diaspora. No Naija Jollof rice enthusiast will take this lightly (Ghanaians, take note. We are not smiling).

So, for everyone who had serious migraine after a truthful Lai-Lie almost ended this war, may you find budding reasons why you should keep defending your own, and keep fighting this war until the opponent bows out, hoisting the Jollofist white flag of peace. This is our ‘Jollofist Anthem’

I pledge to JOLLOF my best food

To be FAITHFUL, LOYAL and HONEST

To serve it HOT with all my heart

To DEFEND her uniting integrity

And UPHOLD her HONOR and TASTY GLORY

SO HELP ME GOD (to not LAI!)

Yours Truly

Edwina Amakievi Aleme (Neofloetry)

6/5/2017

Photo credit: dooneyskitchen.com