Category Archives: poetry

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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Poet of the week: Victoria ‘blaq ink’ Botimi

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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.

***   ***   ***
KONJITIONSHIP
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.

KINGDOM COME

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KINGDOM COME

I could write you as lines of poetry

Racing through generations of untimely feats won

at the feet of self-discovery;

a journey not taken on unsure islands

yet, taken to explore your many side like stanzas of a poem

As the laid out canvases of an artists’ finest works

hung on the walls of your forming days

growing up like abstracts interjecting time,

and spreading your wings; jutting into the sky

gazing at the clouds, and ignoring the grey chunks;

Each definite arrangement; deliberate contours

calling for your attention.

You see them as smoke screens; like fog

willing to make you born again into the hands of the racing clock

Your wings are spread wide

You taking leaping soaring steps like Mario; super

Like a young eagle learning to fly

Learning at your master’s feet; yourself

who’s teaching you to fly with wisdom in your belly

across valleys, and above mountains

Still, you are flying, but with grace’s locket around your neck

This isn’t the first time she kissed your cheek

She promised you more at every flight

Your feathers are flapping through

wadding through each memorable skyline,

like the paddles of a canoe;

arms spread wide, waving at the smile that the ocean

shares with the clear blue sky.

Each dip you take reminds one of baptism; newness

Now your time has come, with your hands clasped,

like a prayer of atonement to the heavens…

Even though the sky be grey,

yes, be it for a season; a period of showers

it will be like angels assembling crying for joy, and

welcoming your announced feat

that time you planted your feet, and set to fly

like the bird that you are, soaring;

cutting through the mirrored blue sky

and the heavens applauding as your kingdom come.

 

© Neofloetry

12:45am

23/04/18

 

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

ONCE UPON A BIG BROTHER

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ONCE UPON A BIG BROTHER
Once upon a time
A big brother was born
He grew so fast with time
To share his love for the dime
He called a friend or two
To start a reality show
They set it off for sure
Now it is time to blow

The news went around town
Many did come to drown
To join in this train of scenes
Shown on our TV screens
Twenty did join at last
To feed us some drama
It didn’t take too long
For pairing to go on

Love for sure did take root
In hearts of the housemates
It looked all cozy and fine
At least no one got the boot
First week and some did pass
Tasks and scores written on slates
Winners sure did trespass
On toes now there’s strife

A sea, see, it’s boisterous
Welling up to sink some ships
Big brother, this is disastrous
Please do bring this ship to shore
she’s sailed and won some cheers
through fighting some selfish wars
fifteen are home winning crowns
and five more still to go


Big brother is too grown
More fights and taunts to come
I'm sure the time's so right
For one to win this prize...


(c)Neofloetry


 

CLOUD

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CLOUD

to you who becloud my mornings…

cloud that you are
racing lovingly to calm me
i feel your cmbrace like ice-cream topping
touching me, wrapping me sweetly
i remain firmly rooted like feet planted
and the tickles beneath reminds me of naïve days
when the soft heaves of loves breath
worship my responsiveness all at once
of hands clasped, in a plea for desire’s call
of woos and romantic nights and mushy talks
underneath peeping twinkling stars,
you are cloud; sometimes grey
and many times fluffy and white

i remember you tapping my thighs
your hands taking an adventurous journey
drinking from valleys and climbing mountains
searching my body like an artist’s brush
stroking shapes and forms; becoming
your 9D art
you who is better than Picasso’s art, you are cloud to me. i see no other

within you is your pure gleaning smile; sun
i might just call you “son of my soil;
earth, woman that I am
blossoming at your loin’s sprinkles
i expand like the hoeizon
taking steps into you, my Grand Canyon
let me fall, a dive won’t hurt
let me go in reverse cascade to your peak

cloud that you are
i see your eyes speak to me,
telling a thousand tales of Jove’s journey…

cloud that you are
touch me here, touch me there… Yes!
ferry me gently round this earth; mine and yours
raise me higher as your hands clasped mine to cloud nine
safely breathe upon me
as I have memory of your taste;
chocolatey, and melting into me

You are my cloud this morning.

 

©Neofloetry
26/02/18

 

Photo credit: http://www.beliefnet.com

DREAD LOCKED LOVE

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DREAD LOCKED LOVE

My eyes have seen love sown
How it blossoms in unlikely quarters
How two, love struck, dance
to the beaming melodies of heartbeats
How their feet rhythmifies every step
Every smirk on their lips like a singer
whose unsung notes stay alert for many years
These two, like Siamese stay pressed on
Distance remains their connected cord; umbilical
like mother to child,
like months separating them
from cuddles and warmth
like the two yearning for togetherness

Love, I say, is more than just a word
It is pure serene laughter when light illuminated your form; presently
It is I and you drenched in wanton hugs and kisses
Unashamedly announcing friendship
like an applique on a well designed dress
I behold you many times in my wildest thoughts
Mind traveling journeys like a French tourist
asking precise mind full questions
stamping words of declaration; affirmations
too robust for me to fathom
Countless times “je t’aime aussi” soared
Emotions crept through my fingers,
stroking your beards, and
planting kisses on the soil of your lips

I have seen love take long journeys
Organic; connecting two natural lovers; intertwined
a dread locked away in my heart, and taking territories
unafraid to pole volt this journey with you
Though you gave me an unlikely name
I know that this love has conquered a territory
where its walls are Jericho high
through mountains and valleys of my heart
and these two locked in one as a whole.

 

©Neofloetry
27/03/18
6:45pm

Link
YOURS AND MINE

I see trophies in between your thighs
No, I can’t help but crave them in my bench thoughts
Your poise is a voice singing riches with no coins
And the traveler is home no more a wanderer eating stones
It’ll be real, everlasting bond
The moment I want to break with you
So don’t fret, i am no flirt
I don’t deal in lies and dirt
It’s not bad crave, but a trophy in between your thighs
You’ll be forever on my mind
Forever
All I hear from you dear
Seems everlasting and clear
I see you see trophies in between Africa and Jamaica
But my tentacles embrace signals from afar
I won’t fret cos I know you want to commune
With this sweet wine taste on the tip of your tongue
I know you want to cross my twin hills with your fingers as feet
I know I’ll be in your contact lens a perfect fit
But just let my exhales and inhales mark time
With yours and mine
Hoping that all will be fine
Cos this time, my smiles won’t take strolls down no aisle
And may that one sweet day change no clime

 

(C) Neofloetry

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

One Mic, Two Friends, and an Eagle

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One Mic, Two Friends, and an Eagle

1.
Standing before that mic,
their voices echoed ancient nuggets,
where generations find home, and
snuggle on the wings of dragonflies
in an archive of traditions and folklore;
a tale of hopefulness by sunlight.

2.
On the window pane
are two lives smeared with pain
hoping to find what is beyond hope
capturing ironies on five by sevens
and calligraphing metaphors in verses
telling of an eagle’s delayed flight
in charcoal and spice.

 

(c) Neofloetry

Photo credit: 2whyt
2/05/2017