Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Danger inches ever closer
until the endangered species
risking fate
learns to live with it.

The risk of harm
remains as high
as when first
it appeared.

Thrill replaces fear
while life on the edge
dices with death
until safety bores.

Quite naturally
sleeping with the enemy
ultimately culminates in
dying in his arms.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Strange but Overheard

My brother bought a he-goat at an auction during last year's camp meeting, most likely for the fun of it, to win a bidding war. His winning bid eventually turned out to be good value for money, far beneath goat market price. The goat lived in Grandma's compound for a year, grazing and being a frisky randy generally undiscriminating he-goat, like the rest of its kind. But its life was brutally cut short one night when unknown people slaughtered it and stole its meat. So clean was the job that only its bones were found, but "a zasbec was abbri-ended."*

The case is still current, despite the owner of the goat (my not-so-little lil bro (he's actually taller than me by now)) seeming more amused than annoyed by the whole scandal, even though that theft effectively ended his short humble stint in the league of livestock owners.

Anyway, fast forward to our chance meeting with two local stalwarts of the drinking den, who were either eyewitness to the drama following the slaughter, or had gleaned enough from the grapevine and embellished it with an active enough imagination to paint a vivid picture.

Upon setting sight on my brother and I, these two offered their unique idea of commiseration in a lengthy rambling dialogue.

"It's not the first time such a thing has happened. The thief should not have been caught."
"Catching the thief was the most foolish thing those people did."
"That one, they beat him a little, but it would have been good if he died."
"If it was another village that thief's carcass would be collected on the highway by police."
"He was lucky! I'm telling you, if you had been the one who got caught slaughtering other people's livestock, not even far, in just the next village…"
"You are talking about slaughtering livestock! You don't want to know what they did to me in Kano when I was on my way to the market and I saw a ram entangled in the bushes and I just had pity on it."
"Bad idea."
"I was beaten so badly that I forgot about going to the market and went back home. The lucky thing is I had my own cow with me so they reasoned I couldn't steal their sheep while I had a whole cow. That's what saved me. Anyway they still beat me properly."
"Nobody will believe you were helping their ram even if it was near death."
"Nowadays when I see domestic animals entangled in the pastures I never try to release them! Instead I remember the beating with which I was beaten."
"Elsewhere they kill thieves."
"The other day one man woke up in the morning and killed his wife. Now what manner of killing is that? That kind of killing is not good."
"That one woke up craving to kill, just bad luck that he found his wife nearby..."

As they went on and on, meandering between deathly subjects, I wondered how they distinguished good killings from bad ones.

* - "zasbec was abbri-ended" is police talk for "suspect was apprehended."

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Rap Battle

Sundry rappers stepped forth
purporting to run this city.

Each maintained an entourage
Their shiny trinkets swung like pendulums.
Their egos swelled like hot air balloons.
One feared their dancers were boneless.

All in quick succession spat venom. 
First came a quick talker with a mic
who claimed the love of all the fans
except of course the haters.

His successor took to the stage
opening with a salvo of insults,
blended curses and abominations
wrathfully declared.

A third loquacious character joined in
citing gangs, drugs, guns and bullets.
His drummers paused briefly for gunshots
before he mentioned his army of women .

A fourth jumped up barking orders
for hands to be thrown up and screams to resound;
Her sick flow massacred the audience,
and she was proud of the death toll.

Diss track pursued diss track,
And though they strove for supremacy
they certainly didn't run this city,
no, not at all.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Somewhere out there
There is no other you
except, of course, you
Just like everybody else

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Pearl goes to the park

We had too much time on our hands, after lunch and light shopping. Every languid step we took declared "No hurry in Africa at all, none whatsoever!" We talked as we walked, too close for far too many passers-by who stared at us. "This town,"  I joked, "is so conservative that our chemistry is setting off alarm bells." She was surprised we had chemistry.

By this time we were inching our way back to her place. At least that was the general idea. But as we passed by a public park, its open entrance seemed to invite us. Shady trees swayed in the afternoon breeze as if they were beckoning "Come!". We took a detour, walking off the pavement and onto the grass. Indecision briefly reigned as we were faced with a range of trees under which to sit. Finally we settled under one where we could talk privately, just the two of us.

Not that I expected much heavy talk at first. My mind was loitering back and forth between a football tournament I would be missing, and a project I was to begin working on. But, once seated, the quaintness of the scene awed me. There we were, passing time in a park, enjoying the breeze, the grass, the sunset, one another's company, the sounds of our voices, while all around us the world was hastening on to urgent work. Might as well enjoy it, after all, it couldn't last.

We talked about ourselves, our people, our fragments of shared past. Hours went by in this easy way. But all too soon it was time to leave, work called her away.

(It seems like parks agreed with Pearl and I. The only other time we disclosed ourselves to each other so liberally was at a park. I don't know too many people who could sit at a park and actually enjoy it.)