THIS LAND IS NOT AN HABITAT FOR US by Enobong Ernest

THIS LAND IS NOT AN HABITAT FOR US by Enobong Ernest

action active activity adult

THIS LAND IS NOT AN HABITAT FOR US

by Enobong Ernest

in this dream

a family bends down

to

search for the body of their father

among the remains

of bomb blast

a new orphan is

soaked

in the colour of a loved one’s blood

i wake up, pleading God’s son’s blood

tv is on. newscaster is

doing mortality count

i’m reaching

for the remote. i’m

pleading more blood. compatriot,

don’t read this poem. you’ve seen it before

        after bloodshed,

a national anthem instrumental

filters

out of father’s radio     then

president reads speech

on rice pyramid

        every time i leave my house

i think of masked men & ransom

of detonation & bullets

of psalms 91 & mother

        let my

countryman open his mouth & say

that he has not incised

the name of the Lord

on his forehead

that his lungs do not feel

like a pair of explosives

       let heaven send a dove here

& see if it will perch

& see if it will peck

an olive branch

in a nutshell:

we squeeze our lives into your palms, Elohim

keep it for us.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Enobong Ernest Enobong is a Nigerian poet and award-winning essayist. His poems are mostly centred on memories, psycho-social experience, humanity, Black, Africanism, and mythology. He is a Best of the Net Nominee of Arts Lounge Magazine (2021). His poem featured in the 2021 SprinNG Afro-Eros anthology To Borrow Screams from the Atmosphere. His works have appeared or are forthcoming in Praxis Magazine, Brittle Paper, Ghost City Press, The Shallow Tales Review, Arts Lounge, Acorn Haiku Journal, African Writer Magazine, Kalahari Review, Wales Haiku Journal, & elsewhere. He is a staunch believer in the power of memories, the formative years of children and the pro-African gospel of Professor P.L.O. Lumumba of Kenya. He writes from Lagos and is currently a law student at the University of Lagos, Akoka.

IF GOD WAS A NIGERIAN by Othuke Umukoro

IF GOD WAS A NIGERIAN by Othuke Umukoro

IF GOD WAS A NIGERIAN

by Othuke Umukoro

ASUU would strike him
till his sorrow grows a beard.

He would be a Yahoo boy or a pimp or a drug dealer
or an innocent girl in the cold & dark streets of
Italy tendering white men’s amorous dreams
or all of the above.

He would be a potbellied politician
that swallowed (y)our children’s future,
or a snake that swallows dollars
or a rat that chases the big man
out of his office.

They would have slaughtered him, like
Ramadan rams, in Benue or
bandaged him with bombs in Borno.

His children’s life expectancy in the
Niger Delta would be around
9 or 10 (that’s a conservative statistic)
—all they would ever have are: a bowl
of oil spills for breakfast, a plate of
greenhouse emissions for dinner
& grief sandwiched between.

Policemen would f**k him using pure
water satchels as condoms
& afterwards ask for a bribe. 

He would drown crossing the
Mediterranean or sold for peanuts in Libya.

He would yelp & complain on the mad streets of twitter
but will never come out to vote out oppression.

The sun would die in his mouth in Kirikiri
or other eyeless places where those who try to
sing new songs are stripped, chained & tortured.

He would not be in school but on the sidewalk, holding a
blue plastic bowl for your damn pity or under the leprous
stare of the sun cleaning your windshield at a red light.

SARS would shoot him & the government hospital
they will rush him to will not have electricity.

He would be a broke ass poet like me.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Othuke Umukoro is a poet & playwright. His demons have appeared, or are forthcoming in The Sunlight Press, Brittle Paper, AfricanWriter, Eunoia Review & elsewhere. His debut play Mortuary Encounters (Swift publishers, 2019) is available here.
When bored, he watches Everybody Hates Chris. He is on Twitter: @othukeumukoro19
TERROR TALES AND BLOODBATH by Israel Olaniyan

TERROR TALES AND BLOODBATH by Israel Olaniyan

TERROR TALES AND THE BLOOD BATH

by Israel-Triumph Olaniyan

PRESCRIPT

Rabbi was a young girl of five, and she watched men with knives drawn cut down her Father and mother like meat on the butcher’s slab. Sinzu was on his way home to tell his parents about his new job with Microsoft Technologies when he ran into a band of murderous crusaders. With a clean sweep of his dagger, one of them separated Sinzu’s limbs from his body, while laughing out loud…
These are a few of the ordeals of the many dying in Jos, Benue and the rest of the North-Eastern part of Nigeria.
The sight was gory, stark and insanely cold
Strewn all around were pieces of flesh and bone untold
Blood like raindrops in a jarring thunderstorm
Blast up and beyond into a non-existent form
The gruesome remains of something, hitherto someone
How it seems life has abruptly lost all significance
Inhuman mortals, sociopaths lost in a trance
Calculated insanity and destructive rage
A brazen decimation, a rapacious soul ravage
A surge of terror at ground zero
Pillaged houses and broken homes
Burnt country side and earth devoid of loam
Killers with no conscience, martyrs for a vain cause
Devil incarnates on a killing spree with no pause
Amputated limbs, a compulsory price survivors pay
Are we at war, many seem to ask in pain
Innocent lives lost forever to no gain
When will the reign of terror end?
When shall we grieve and to our wounds tend
If our foe’s ire is unremitting, and our dead innumerable
Shall the impeccant suffer for another’s grudge?
Or the unlucky traveller partakes of a dish he must purge.
Who then shall come to the rescue?
If the helmsman can’t, who will in lieu-?
Save our lives, b’cos death is on a dance rampage
Our brave ‘men’ are on the frontline
The lily-livered in the government at the baseline
Our young have become hostages to treasure
The old of their death so cocksure
And we, though long dead in our hearts live each day
Shall we look up to the Creator?
Or shall our liberty remain with the captor?
Should we stand by helpless and vie?
Watching and waiting our turns to die
Or we cry till the tears are gone from our eyes?
Never! No! Not yet! It is not over I say!
There is not much hope, not even to keep terror at bay
But! We will sit and watch no more
We all must stand to fight even with our sores
This we will do till death’s cold hands withdraw
This we won’t stop till the rage of terror cease.

POSTSCRIPT

In tribute to the many dead, countless bleeding and others suffering the crime of being born in the Nigerian middle-belt and the Northeast. We are in solidarity with you, we are praying for you!
An outcry to reveal the hopeless helplessness of a people being subjected to such horrific ordeals without anything being done about it. Its as though their lives are not worth more than cows.
The debate largely and strangely has been on how to appease the killers, while the death toll has continued to rise. We say a brazen NO to this…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 I am Israel-Triumph Olaniyan. I hail from Ondo State and I am a lawyer who currently resides in Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria. I am a writer, a Poet and a song writer. I am a trained Development Knowledge Facilitator with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Community Development Service of the NYSC. I am currently undergoing the one year compulsory National Youth Service at The Office of the Attorney General, Ministry of Justice, Awka. I enjoy reading, playing the guitar, singing and eating. I am a staunch believer in Jesus and a stickler for sound moral values and ethics.

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Author Spotlight On Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Perhaps the most celebrated African writer on the continent today, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a woman whose wealth of talent has not gone unnoticed. From her success in the publishing industry to her strides in the field of public speaking, she has made a name for herself. She is known all over the world for her unmatched achievements. However, not many can claim much knowledge about the woman behind all the acclaim. Hence, the need for us to shine a spotlight on the parts of her life which some might not be too familiar with.

Beginnings

Born on the 15th of September in Enugu, Nigeria as the fifth of six children, Adichie was raised by two high-ranking members of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Growing up in a family which held literacy in such high esteem, she was easily drawn to the allure of books. However, this did not necessarily translate to a desire for a career in writing as she opted to study Medicine and Pharmacy at the University of Nigeria. This did not last for long though; at age 19, after less than two years of study, she moved to the United States, where she enrolled in Drexel University, Philadelphia for a degree in communications. She graduated summa cum laude in 2001. During this time, she had published two little-known books: a play and a poetry collection. She also got nominated for the Caine Prize which was still in its nascent years.

Chinua Achebe

Photo accessed via Daily Time NG

Adichie’s Rise to Fame

After bagging a master’s degree in creative writing from the John Hopkins University in 2003, her literary pursuit was kicked into high gear. That year, her debut novel, Purple Hibiscus was released to overwhelmingly positive acclaim, bagging numerous international awards. This was followed by the two novels which are often points of debate as to which is her magnum opus – Half of A Yellow Sun and Americanah.
Half of A Yellow Sun is a painful recollection of the events of the Biafran War, humanized by the simple stories of everyday characters whose lives are complicated by the senseless genocides and displacement rampant during such wars. The novel was hailed by many as the modern equivalent of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart for its eloquent prose and immersive storytelling. It was made into a movie starring Oscar nominee, Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Americanah came seven years later in 2013 as the bold, fierce meditation on race and class relations in post-9/11 America. Its unwavering voice and deft technique earned it a global attention. It was recently chosen by book readers all over New York and Maryland as their favourite book to be recommended for all readers, from a long list of several internationally-acclaimed books from numerous nationalities. The novel is being made into a movie by Brad Pitt, with Oscar-winner, Lupita Nyong’o set to play the lead role.

 

“The Danger of a Single Story”

In less than three years after Adiche published her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, she had a grand entrance into global relevance with an engaging speech at TED. She exposed the precariousness associated with believing a single story about a person, a country, and a continent. The talk went viral in 2009 and has raked over 3 million views on YouTube as at the time of publishing this piece. She told the story of how she found her authentic voice while reading the works of other great writers. Adichie made the world see Africa in a new light and shattered the partition of misunderstanding existing between African literature and the Western world.

 

“We Should All Be Feminists”

In 2012, Adichie gave a talk at a TEDx event, discussing gender and appropriation in the African cultural landscape. The speech was a reverberating discourse on the way society easily pigeonholes individuals based on predefined gender constraints. The speech gained additional attention after multi-Grammy-winning American pop star, Beyoncé used samples of the speech in her feminist song, Flawless. The speech is considered today to be a starting-point for many discussions on feminism.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Photograph accessed via Flickr

The speech gained additional attention after multi-Grammy-winning American pop star, Beyoncé used samples of the speech in her feminist song, Flawless.

Contemporaries

Adichie’s international relevance elevates her to the point of almost being unequalled in the past few years. But she does have a number of contemporaries whose work exist within the same calibre as hers: Zadie Smith, Junot Diaz, Teju Cole, Camara Laye and so on.

Awards

Adichie has won over 20 international literary prizes; including the Henry O. Prize, Commonwealth Writers Award: First Book, Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant, Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, American National Book Critics Circle Award and so on.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Photograph accessed via Flickr

Published Works

Novels

  • Purple Hibiscus – 2003
  • Half of A Yellow Sun – 2006
  • Americanah – 2013

Short Stories

  • Checking Out – 2013
  • Apollo – 2015
  • Arrangers of Marriage – 2016

Non-Fiction

  • We Should All Be Feminists – 2014
  • Dear Ijeawele or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

As we conclude, it is worthy to note that Adichie recently turned 40 in September but her excellent strides on and off the page within 15 years of active writing speaks volume. Her gigantic profile cannot be fully captured in this article but this is a summary of her unique sojourn in the world of letters.

Now, it’s your turn to share your thoughts. What is it that inspires you about the Adichie? Let us know in the comments section below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kanyinsola Olorunnisola is a poet, essayist and writer of fiction. He is the Managing Editor of Kreative Diadem. 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 Prize.

 

Do you want a sneak peek into our latest issue?

Let’s send a copy to your mail right away!

SEPIA by Oyin Oludipe

SEPIA by Oyin Oludipe

SEPIA

Journeying through Abeokuta one morning, a fleet of motorists sped out of the jam and soaked the air in reckless dust. An hour later, I came across a suicide scene: a silent woman wavering on the bridge.


A dawn of dim feathers; the road spat

Loud, a new mist of robot chaos

Where limbs were groves of lust, rouse

Beneath throngs of screech and curse

A faint dark in the wind, not voice-froths

Whom the morning had made all one with the soft

Receding shadow, stale shafts of night

 


 

The highway split is rounded by dwarfs, double-tiered

And strange procession on the flick of time

Offers a brown-rimed brew—of a lone sheath freed

From presences nocturnal, brown-eyed, brows brown

Shaped by the saddened hour. The light awaited harvest

Of the winding breeds when air was brown,

Brown as furrowed bricklayer beard shrivelled off

The brown-wings of the sun

 


 

Brown season it was—nostril

Draws breath in dew-wet ash, eternal to the soul…

Eternal to me comes the brush of feet

In sweet sprint of gore-shone death,

 


Sepia Photo credit - Pelumi Kayode

Sepia
Photo credit – Pelumi Kayode


But it arose—

A strange image, when yet I saw

Sudden form at the haze

Of death’s brown consul, slouched

Despair of moth-plagued fur at embrace

Of the lingering guardian trough, silent as the world

 


 

And in that moment broke her tear of libation,

The brown suds of her heart. A racing cloud
Sunk her chin, for death she had known

First reaper of the dust to time’s scorn,

Pale-eyed of the blurry dome… yet such

Startled pause at the hem she knew


Now the trench teems with grief,

Joyful rite from the vicious deep

Brown was I, then, witness though

I spied the world through her eyes,

A human will indifferent to the hour’s passion

Shrunk in my ears, rose rueful

The imprecations of all humanity…


 

Woman, you must stretch out

Like the sky. And shred your soul

Against the brown belly of the morning river

Postscript: a poem which illustrates the tragic and fragile paradox of human survival in the spectacle of a suicide scene.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Oyin Oludipe lives and writes in Nigeria. He is the recipient of the 2013 WRR Poetry Beacon Prize. His poetry, essays, and reviews have been featured or are forthcoming in Radar Poetry Journal, The Guardian, Afrikana.ng, Africanwriter.com, Arts and Africa, Akewi Arts House,  The Provo Canyon Review, The Bombay Review, Image Magazine of the University of Ibadan, and others. In 2015, he was a judge for the Green Author Prize, a literary award for young unpublished poets in Nigeria.

Pin It on Pinterest