I’m a little flute player who hangs the memories of home in tunes
and let them dangle gently on the neck of meek melodies
So each time I sneak into silent nights to weave a song
I find shards of memories littered everywhere on notes…
I’m from a town where children sleep to wake into beautiful dreams
And their laughter plants hopes in the soil of every clan
Like the light fingers of our gods planting fire in the hearts of the wicked
And throwing them into a bed of skulls and bodies of witches and wizards
Whose death offerings mother earth never accepts, so they are left
to the economy of wild vultures and weird flies.
I’m from a town where parrots lend Old women their tiny voices
So they sit under the spread hands of Ogbono trees to tell tales
of Okonkwo, the Axe of War and Amalinze, the cat that never cries…
To blooming angels and sprouting archangels as fireflies swap
into the body of the night where crickets draw an art of chirps.
So we all sit silently and soar into the hearts of the tale-teller
to pluck didactic leaves from the tree of her wisdom.
I’m from a town where Nightingales lend us sonorous voices
to chant canticles of heroes hovering in spirit lands
And sing folksongs to the widened ears of the night,
Where moon swirls up above our heads, like we could touch it,
And stars wink to the plays of children,
and tear into night discourse of the elders,
and peep into the smiling face of women’s pot soups.
I’m from a place where small clans are a big family
finding lives in epistles of pastorals and episodes of traditional cultures.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nome, Chukwuemeka Patrick is a poet, writer, deep thinker and incipient editor who’s crazy about women, children and art (for the mysteries surrounding their natures). He’s a sophomore studying English language and literature in the University of Benin. His works have appeared or forthcoming in magazines like, Kalahari review, Poets in Nigeria(PIN), Parousia magazine, African Writer, Praxis magazine, Kreative Diadem, WRR, Dwartonline, Tuck magazine, Antarctica journal and several others.
” The difference is made with the people that flank a person in all the pictures life can emulate. The ink of time will scribble on the slates of our lives, turning the future into the present. ”
I could see the happiness on his face. It was evident, like the brightness of the sun when it rises from the East.
It has always been like this, you know. On the precipice of the dawn of a new year, my dad was always in a good mood. He laughed unendingly, dancing and smiling like someone who was presented with a ticket to a dream.
He would grab me, my Mom or my sister.
“Omolara, come. Let’s see if you can keep up with your old man.”
Before we could finish the revolution of a complete breath, he would spin us around, leaving us in puddles of laughter. It was not the kind of laughter that just randomly exited from a person. Rather, it was a kind that started, soft and almost unconsciously. It rose from the very core, warming from the inside out before it bursts out in colours of happiness. The motions of his legs were the funniest; the different ways he artfully jiggled them to mime the beat of whatever oldie he had played.
It wasn’t just the undiluted fun, there were to-do lists to be checked and cross-checked, cooking to be done and tons of errands to be run, all the while implementing creative ways to circumvent the ‘banga’-throwing boys and girls actively sniffing out victim material.
My nuclear family isn’t a large one. But there was always an abundance of human bodies on the 31st of every December. There were friends turned family, people whose realities had somehow become intertwined with ours to the extent we had multiple parents, and our parents had multiple children.
This life we’re given was a tabula rasa at its inception. As the tides of time take us on its journey through space, our experiences will, to an extent, shape the persons that we will become. Each of us, wayfarers on planet Earth, will experience life in most of the varying forms that make up its fabric; the good, the bad and the ugly.
The difference is made with the people that flank a person in all the pictures life can emulate. The ink of time will scribble on the slates of our lives, turning the future into the present. It will bring with it a bit of pain, laughter, dreams turned realities, disappointments, joy and sadness. Life is a rollercoaster that will take us round the spectrum of emotions or at least close.
This is a reality that none of us can escape, and yet one that invariably makes the knots tighten, the more life is unravelled. I feel that knot loosening its grip the older I get. The advancement in years came with a herald of appreciating family, the connections I didn’t choose, ones made without my assent or dissent, but those that have consistently patched me up even when I didn’t think I deserved it.
The family is a promise that we will always have an umbrella, a shade. That whether the sun is blazing hot, threatening to melt us in its fierceness or the storm rages around, determined to cast us away into nothingness; it will never be just us against the elements.
It is a promise that we will always have an anchor in the storms of life; a promise that is reinforced day after day, in the little seemingly unimportant ways and the immense ones.
Words do not paint a deserving enough picture. They can’t. Defining the joy that family represents, is like to trying to put words into an artist’s soul and the peculiar ways with which a canvass is defined.
One can only try.
Family, my family, is a benediction that I will never be able to adequately quantify; it is just one I am forever grateful for.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kareem, Tawakalit Olawumi holds a degree in Microbiology from the University of Ibadan. The medley of words to become something tangible and alive has been a constant thread in the fabric of her life.
She’s in love with Africa, and the people that inhabit her.
Oredola Ibrahim, the winner of Inspiring Brilliance Foundation
National Poetry Award 2012, believes in poetry as a tool for self
discovery and ultimately, a potential tool for national transformation. His poetry delves into popular themes like politics, love and inspiration. Oredola Ibrahim is the convener of WhatsApp Poetry Contest, a periodic competition organized on the platform of “The Penclan Initiative” (www.penclan.com). He is a campus journalist, a student-entrepreneur and a web designer. He’s a recent graduate of the University of Ibadan. He tweets @platolaw and can be reached via email@example.com.
on nights when her father returned with staggering legs
and fermented breath.
She learnt about love
around tense family dinner tables
where the clanging of fork and plate
filled the void of riotous silence.
She learnt about love
when her mother bundled up curses and regrets
in fancy boxes and left her heart
to the music of another man’s hands.
Love for her
is a romance of warring hearts and broken souls
in havens of dispirited devotion,
finding comfort in the arms of strangers.
Ask of her today,
you will see her walking the streets
with divorced thighs, virgin fingers
and a ballooned belly.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kanyinsola Olorunnisola is a poet, essayist and writer of fiction. He writes from Ibadan, Nigeria. His writings border on the themes of unease, racism, colonialism, terror and all things familiar to the black folk. He describes his art as that specialized literary alchemy which aims to extract beauty from the frail commonplaceness of words.
His experimental works have appeared or are forthcoming on such platforms as Brittle Paper, Kalahari Review, Bombay Review, Lunaris Review, African Writer, Sprinng.org, Authorpedia, Kreative Diadem, Parousia Magazine and Sampad International Journal. He was the 2016 recipient of the Albert Jungers Poetry