TIME SLEPT

Time slept

Madiba crept

Needling tunnels

For Soweto

 

Our polished fathers yawned

Ate light off each day

And cuddled at nights

Sucking and gulping

Mother’s bustling milk

And slept on silk

 

When time arose

Soweto jingled tambourines

We only glared

Licked like Almajiris

Wishing food crumbs

Tables never freed

 

When time arose

Madiba lay aloft

Munching world praises

They laid still

Perhaps, dustless in peace

 

Alpha Enoch Yamush 2017©

 

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1960s

1960s,
Greater than treaties.
We won our freedom
But lost our people.
Successions of pogroms,
Rebirths of riddles.

The atmosphere
Was fair,
Full of promises,
Like Noah’s rainbow.
On a platter it rippled
Yet we lost our people.

All gone astray,
Wondering in ambition.
In lies they pray
It gives them satisfaction.
They untie to us snakes
And close their gates.

Every four years,
They work tirelessly.
With sweat and tears.
I tell you very fiercely.
Setting time bombs,
While they fly abroad.

 

Alpha Enoch Yamush 2017©

My Dangling Memories

 

My dangling memories of yesterday
Dangles like a spider to a web string
It hunts me from a distance faraway
Will my hanging from a noose freedom bring?

My heart-beat now a heated steam
That emits vapours of tears from deep within
My sight blurs at the face of love
When from the groans of a birthing mother it pours

All I know is the sordid lesson it bought
When for my innocent heart love I sought
Without discretion my heart it burnt
Alas, love burnt but loved me not.

Alpha Enoch Yamush 2017©

A NATIONAL TESTIMONY

Every part of our roof leaks
Our refuge is the space from one leak to the other
The drops on us, burn like trickles of magma
Heated by our fury for vengeance
At the clouds that gave us the rain

Our trees are falling
On our dogged shoulders they lean
For their falls to us is an out-pouring
Of the boiling sun
Heated by our fury for vengeance
At the years that grew them tall

Farewell our blighted farms we bade
To fallow from home, we sailed
To greener lands unknown
Now, nothing to call our own
Baba, may I beckon a Versed Emissary?
Once immersed in the blood of Abel
Or await your dreams so fairy?
And languish in this misery?

Alpha E. Y. 2017©

Recycled Life

Tabwal stands staring at the big yellow sun, splash into the western clouds. Whatever ran through his mind, one could tell from the solemn looks on his face that, conscious satisfaction breaths far from him. He is empty of any manliness. The sober fall of the sun which greets the evenings of Wamba, forges newer generations of tragic heroes. The early appearance of the moon is an ordeal to many survivors. Perplexing is the unfair treatment it inflicts on many like Tabwal, in a town, not big enough to contain the dreams they could work all day to have come true. This pricks one with a thirsty enthusiasm to seek and unveil the cockroach nature has in its cupboard, for having the same people of like fate exist in Wamba. A life you can call a recycled one. Nothing went straight developmentally. In fact, the few iron-shit roofs sitting flamboyantly at Ago Hills are canopies of a shy mirage. Not a proud story to be told nor a beauty to behold. For the few houses that succeed in crowning their mud bricks, corrugated shits, have in them the usual bamboo and raffia, resting on each other, so that, a moderate level is formed for a bed.

Tabwal waves Akumu goodnight and sets upon his usual lonely road. He staggers lackadaisically, dragging his loaded financial trauma along the grassy plains which leads to his home. This added load of misery is heaped upon him by the deflated tyre of his wheelbarrow; a factor that consistently denies him a full-day work. It goes flat any time he sets for the biggest deal of the day. He has to do something about it, if he will one day, stand the rating of the male gender. Yes, he has to fix it, else, he would not get to the People’s Republic today. The People’s Republic is a popular eatery which has grown to be the comfort zone of Tabwal and his contemporaries. They yearn for the satisfaction of the food, and dream of the varieties of locally brewed drinks it offers. Factor, they consider in maintaining their culture. In fact, they equality and reverence of voice it liberates to them replaces the dead people they are.
Pulling a sharp stop, Tabwal turns the wheelbarrow to the ground so that the handle is facing where he headed. The pan lies flat to the ground and pointing the devil-born tyre to the skies. He unties the screw between the shaft and the wheel but could not get a good hold of it hence, he bends his right knee to the ground so that his left leg is some inch before it. Frustrated by the trickles of salty sweat from his face now streaming down to his mouth, Tabwal pauses to wipe them off. He wipes his face severally with his wrist, hissing out all forms of lamentation; his usual saying: “we won our freedom but lost our people… even more, we’ve bread leaders ordained on alters coated by our bloods.” This further leaves him wondering if being a well-fed slave is a more honorable dignity than being a hungry free man. A question he would ask God if he makes it to Heaven.
Tabwal has his locomotive back on its wheel again just in time to catch the moon on the brink of chewing the last remains of sunlight for that day. Pushing through a light bush swaying dancingly by the gentle air breezing, Tabwal makes it to the People’s Republic to meet Birabi, Audu and Aklo all seated and munching what their toiling for that day could fetch. “All hail the Republicans” Tabwal salutes from the corrugated zinc-coated entrance. Without hesitation, he grabs a seat and calls out to Pam, the waiter. “Four parks of noodles, one boiled fish and three fried eggs.” He ordered without mincing words.
“I tell you, that greed-filled pot belly is our major barricade to success.” Aklo crunched out the words with particles of biscuit from his mouth. “I dare you to break it open and you will see that, it is that gluttony that has reaped us of our destinies.” He added. Pam chuckles while pickling Tabwal’s eggs. “You fat lab rat, keep laughing like that and all you will end up with from this falling shop of yours is a rusty, yet guarded relic. Your son will hand it over to his son with no electricity in it.” Birabi, haven listened to a perfect introduction to his seminal essay continues from where Aklo stopped. “We’ve got all the fortune to change us from ordinary wheelbarrow pushers into bus drivers or perhaps, attendants to some government busses.” He hisses out loudly and waving his right hand in the air, as if to signal a crowd out of his sight. “I hear there are a lot of them parked in Maitama. They were bought to convey the civil servants who now own cars. Who would drive in them anyway?” He concludes, with his eyes now gazing at Tabwal. “I tell you faithful republicans that, this is the reason to why the margin between us and freedom is like from the solid earth to the fairy skies. Who the hell named the word “democracy” into existence? God is the only government I know.” “Birabi, you sound as if God is a place we can go to after tonight, because I don’t want to see the face of tomorrow. We are all pathetic to think a divine hand would lift and fly us somewhere other than earth. The only place where true freedom can be found is the space between heaven and earth” Tabwal suggests. Banging the empty calabash on the table, he stands “You know what? Nothing can feel better than a second chance that would accommodate me as a major character. The current plot of life we are in, needs to be looked at again by God.” He says this with all seriousness this time, pulls his old coat from behind his chair and heads towards the door. He was losing his temper amidst his turbulent senses and eyes. That would mean too much to handle. Tabwal’s words came hard upon the republicans like a gavel smash the table. So that, the house falls under the spell of a bewildering silence. Their thoughts must have been sent on a wild quest for answers beyond God. Tabwal bangs the door behind him. He raises his arms to shoulder level to rest on an imaginary support as he struggles to find the slightest sight to his next step. “Fools, they will never learn” he condemns, as he staggers into the night, fairly lighted by the moon.

Alpha E. Y. 2017©

The Loss of Integrity; the Peril of my People

            The notion of integrity tells of an unquantifiable honour that guards the decisions, choices, thoughts and actions of an individual. It further extends to mean a virtue that is not easily broken by lust, avarice, fear and material trivialities that form shackles chaining men of feeble hearts.
Given such strict and uncompromising criteria to be attained before one could be crowned a character of integrity, explains clearly, the wonders why we hardly find such figures in a world of material quality such as ours. A world where the quest for power breeds avarice puffed up with vanity and hence, the need to satisfy personal interest leaves integrity lying still, down the tombs of the man Jesus, Mandella, Prophet Mohammed, Ghandhi, Kenyatta, Saro Wiwa, Luther King Jr. and very few others who knew, lived and taught the perfect ideals of integrity.
Consequent upon the above is cogently delineated in our regular but slippery steps upon the path to a sustainable development, and a consolidated democracy as a people. Lack of integrity in the hearts of those who wheel the seats of power in Nigeria has not only brought about economic, social and political retrogression but has mocked consistently, the nationalism of our founding fathers. It need not be emphasized that what we have at hand as a country is what George Lamming calls “a group of people marooned into a cocoon of confusion.” A group of people without a worthy yesterday to beget a map for a better tomorrow and a multicultural arrangement with no unifying cause.
However, amidst the cloudy ray that is left of our sight, we can begin to be Nigerians with hearts if gold, one wrapped in glitering foils of honour. Only then can we stand the tribulation of our times, and work towards writing right, the wrongs of our past. This alone will engrave our hearts on the agelessness of time.

Alpha E. Y. 2017©

A COSMIC IGNORANCE

We limped through a hot dreary yesterday
Haggard weary and thirsty,
Bring us upon a milky pathway, we prayed.
From a distance so misty,
We saw a pitched black smoke
Rise a wall, high up to heaven
It wore a floating crown of eagles.
From the other side,
We heard echoes of wailings alike:
“Bring us upon a milky pathway they prayed”
As we hoped and waited
The eagles picked us by each moment
We lacked a simple knowledge of:
Which side is of the Egyptians?
Which is of the Israelites?

Alpha E.Y. 2017©

FOR JACOB

 

Dear brother,
I doff my cap for you.
Thinking of our days together,
I see your follies are few.
In difficulties and scourging hunger,
Your silent courage
Whispers hopes of laughter.
Dear brother,
Pill with me through life’s foliage,
Let us with pride count every mileage
As our dreams grow yonder.
Dear brother,
I cannot grow any younger
But I wish we breathe forever.

By Alpha E. Y. 2017©

A VERSED EMISSARY TO MADIBA

Say to Madiba,
We watched our flaring avarice
Lick the zenith of chimneys,
Condensed sooth flakes on our heads
And rained Tuta Absoluta,
That blighted the tomatoes of Zanzibar.

Say again to Madiba,
We fanned our flaring Avarice
It coated red our carved pipes.
We puffed our day-light into haziness,
Until we smoked our brains to aridness.

Read my missive to Madiba
Tell the salinity of our tears.
We watched our lustful avarice,
Wheedle a barren maiden.
A futile wantonness
That shrank our testicles
Into juiceless dabin’nos.

But also account to Madiba
The palm trees did not fall with the Irokos
The palm wine tapper said so
From the marshy homes of Ikiriko
We only drank to stupor
And when Nkwor market sees no light
We shall all go back home.

By Alpha E. Y.  2017©

LIQUID THOUGHTS

Afandai sat still for about thirty minutes glaring at her son, Aku, as he struggled to bring the Grain Mill back to life. She thought she enjoyed watching her son put to practice, his four years of apprentiship. I am proud of you Aku. She whispered slowly in her mind. She couldn’t tell if he heard her or not, but of course she is. It didn’t matter if he knew about it. For a moment, her optic nerve couldn’t collect anymore. There were no newer images to fascinate her. Only the broken Grain Mill lingered before her sight. For her son, he is just a drenched blank paper, upon which no story would be written nor read. He will certainly grow to be nobody. She could do her best to teach him the basic ethics of life, but how that would mean a capital for life’s enterprise remained perplexing. Her eyes swelled with tears. She could cry it out loud, if only it would change a thing. They only flowed with no obstacle nor voice to echo the agony from her heart. Will she ever be able to explain the meaning of the statement “I am proud of you?” His father said that once when he was born but never lived to explain it in full. Maybe, he only said it to show the ecstasy of surviving the stigma of childlessness from the society. He was a certified father by the order of Aku’s birth. He never intended to stop there, until he created a significant chain of bastards. Children that would have to start their lives on their own. Fight their way through the harsh realities of life. On Afandai’s part, her husband could do whatever, for all she cared, but she could not vindicate herself from being a cohort in wasting this boy’s life. She was part of the plot. Even though she never knew about the end.
Her pains would have been balmy if Aku’s failure to be useful to his generation remained her only duel in life. But she is also broken afar from her wants. Her first union with Aku’s father faded away like the morning stars. For the second, she can’t really explain why he vanished. It was again on an attempt to see the crest people say is greener on the other side. She wanted it for herself and Aku too. Having failed, she only blames herself to have ever asked from life again. She is obviously part of a generation marooned in a world in which heart desires become the very means of a person’s bondage.
Her second attempt at happiness still lingered in her memory cogently. She still burnt with fury at the deception he wore on the first day they met. She could feel her bare foot being willed into the labyrinths of destitution. If only she knew he was a married man, or perhaps, if she was still married to Aku’s father, the Solomon of their days… She wondered if there was a better wisdom God ever gave to man.

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On that day, Afandai had watched the two basins of her cassava flour, sit on the table like pyramids of Egypt all day. No transaction reduced them, except the adventurous eyes of tourist which her customers had imbibed lately. On that day, even Mother Nature swore a siege against Afandai. Day-light bowed in respect as the clouds roared in labour at the final minutes of their ninth month. She packed in her pyramids of “Alebo” quickly and was soon on her way home. She lifted her legs fast. Forcing them to move at an unusual pace. She had not gone far when a black Camry (2008 model) drove slowly beside her, so that, they were parallel to each other. She kept a mindless attention at first and continued home. This time, at a breezy pace. The car was not the type to give up easily. Not when feminine passengers are involved… “Madam, permit me to put an umbrella over your head through the rains,” came a gentle-manly voice out from the car. She knew she needed an umbrella for the rainy weather at hand, but hardly saw the umbrella willing to cover her even through sunny days. Hesitation at that point was not necessary, hence it gave way for urgent familiarity. “But sir, as much as I would appreciate your kind gesture, I refuse as well, any inconvenience I will cause.” She said, with a cheerful smile. Men hardly knew when not to strike, not when you announce your willingness through such a smile as one Afandai showed. “With great pleasure madam, I wouldn’t mind carrying a real umbrella through the rains for you, better still, I think the car makes it much easier.” The man replied. And so it began. A journey that led her to nowhere. He couldn’t just stop visiting, and sometimes, made of flowery gifts his accomplice. Desecrating gifts that could be used to paint lifetime joy in some cases. He held Aku by the hand and talked to him about how special he was; making it clear when necessary that, it is only one who is void of senses that could abandon such a set who needed the best of all attentions. Anytime he did that, he made sure Afandai watched with thoughts through her mind. He could imagine her thinking about how angelic he is, what a benevolent life saver he is. Coincidentally, he was right. All her thoughts, whatever they were, practically culminated into the popular axiom: “you don’t know the value of what you have, until it’s gone.” He confirmed this in her readiness to start a new life for herself and offer to her son what she considered to be the best. True enough, Aku needed a father and a family. On Aku’s part, agreeing with the situation at his disposition became paramount. He couldn’t imagine the ecstasy of having to wake up one morning with a father. He had always envied the children in school, whose fathers made it a duty of making the fatherless, such as him, feel less cared for by coming to pick their children from school every day of the week. Now he has a father, he will not ask a silly question such as “which market was he bought from?” no one in his shoes would.
Looking at Aku now, Afandai couldn’t lie to herself that Aku is a symbol of her error in life. She sobs. He is innocent and deserves more to his life. He is intelligent and hardworking, but it couldn’t do more than give him a very good jamb result. The admissions shut their gates at him. It was the biggest stride she fought, but it only mocked at her from afar. It became apparent that he needed someone to go with him and see a person or two, to identify with him and say his life could also be useful to the development of the nation. This alone can make solid her liquid thoughts.