The Last Quarter

In auras like these, words are futile
like a broken judge’s gavel
you appeared in broad day light
and announced your presence,
unlike the others, resolutely and aptly

In her eyes, you define borders
and stretch out a hand
Good and healthy
Good but short
Good but short-lived

In times like these, pictures are shallow
like the goddess who tub-thumps
you withered like a mirage
and there, you went away,
swift and seemingly unnoticed

In his mind, you are almost sacred
and care like no other
Matchless and true
Good but short
Good but short-lived

There I am again,
back to my old self,
a dreamer,
now, a balladmonger.

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Santiago de Compostela

You are no timeserver, as is often the case
for you millennials.
There’s no way to induce sleep as you chatter in hedges
Iike a flock of Dark-eyed juncos.

Your drive is unrivalled and your zest, matchless.
For you millennials,
you are all citizens of the world
and are locals of Moncloa, Arguelles and Rosales.
You lead the pilgrims to the Way of St. James.

You seek recluse in the midst of abundance
and forget the tongues of your fathers.
To you millennials, keep on with your paseo !
As you get to know the rhythms of yesterday.
As is often the case, your walls are still made of fire.

© Prince Kenny, JR

Oyasumi

She sees in you a bossdom
like the likes seen in a princedom
In her mind, you are fiddle-footed
and prey in blameless grounds

The aura around you is clear-cut
not like the ones preached in Psalms
In her thoughts, you wander every now and then
and your voice, an earworm in her dreams

She knows of the brevity of life
and how swift it goes, sometimes abruptly or well-lived
In her eyes, you remain silver-tongued
and your shadow, always that of a gentle giant

© Prince Kenny, JR.

Sea Men

Every year, January is like this
It comes, not so tender-like
With its own waves
and its night breezes

January is the coastguard
onlooking as the ramblings of the sea set its tow
In the path of the sea-men
who begin another year, hopeful

As our rickety boats are buried with the dead year
January is just like a jannock person
who knows no filter
Maybe, it’s our seasonal cri de cœur

Every year, January is like this
Remorseless and vicious
As we, sea-men,
continue to hope for jammy months ahead

Chica

The days are too young to tell a tale
The nights are too insecure to sing
The stars are too bright to shoot
The waters are too cold to boil
But whenever you sleep,
Sleep like there’s no yesterday
Sleep like there’s no today
Sleep like there’s no tomorrow
Cos your heart is safely guarded
In a very good abode
And hopefully,
the days will have tales to tell,
the nights, songs to sing
the waters, excess to boil
And the stars, meteorites to shoot

(c) Prince Kenny JR.

Cold Feet

Let me caress you henceforth
so I may fill you up with warmth,
whenever you have cold feet
don’t allow your heart to skip a beat
Cos some are in dire need of cold feet,
to make their hot summers complete
so some even go to feel the waters of Crete
So call on me as and when you have them
As I will stand firm
I don’t want to seem to rhyme
but you’re worth more than a dime
But just whisper my name always
as you take aim
cos it’s only for you that I came

December’s Warmth

Your words have dried up
You give infinite answers
it’s like you have no soul in you
you can’t sustain your breath for long
it’s like you’re holding onto a crumbling stick,
cautiously
the same way one would be reticent
in spite of a brimming tension

Your questions remain unanswered
It’s like you’re walking in a mist
or perhaps you are the mist itself
You have blood stains in your cough
It’s like this might be your last Christmas
you miss the days of old
and the gone era
you still brim with confidence
amid the tiresome rounds you make daily

You have been asked to speak louder,
be bold and articulate your sentences
it’s like a rebirth or a renaissance
learning how to take steps all over again
you have dreams, lost letters and broken hearts
it’s like you take a sojourn in people’s minds-eye

You reflect on the past
And continue to walk with fervent hope
It’s like your future is already written in the stars
So you’ll forever take refuge in your dreams
and carry on like never before

Silky Hair

Woman, wherever you sit, its radiance lightens up
To brighten the woes of our today
Like it has already been, for years

And each strand has a story to itself
And a rubric, coined with time
So as silky as it appears
It will forever be a sparkle in the dim days
And travel through time

To show glimpses of the miles trodded
And the heights achieved
Or even tell tales of the hands it has met

As its lustrous fibres continue to glitter
Each thought of our innocent hearts
While they journey on along the woes of today

Why African Literature ?

Over the past couple of years, I have spent a big chunk of my reading-life, reading and even sometimes re-reading books authored by Africans. This has got nothing to do with me being over-patriotic or too nepotistic but rather in a nutshell as a means of self-rediscovery, or in other words rediscovering my African-ness. I have gotten much enthralled along the line and the relish with which I jump unto my next book or at an opportunity to buy quality African books at a bargain price has grown fervently if not dramatically with time. The question on why African literature is important, is one that has lingered in my labyrinth of mind for quite sometime and I find this medium offered by afrikult requisite to word my thoughts on this very topic.

A couple of months ago, I chanced upon at my local library “The African Trilogy”, a compilation of three novels written by the late Chinua Achebe, namely Things Fall Apart, No Longer At Ease and Arrow of God. I once again jumped at this opportunity and borrowed the book, even though I had already read all the three novels, separately on different occasions. One would ask why would I decide to read novels I’ve already read. The introduction of this trilogy by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie somehow answers this question. In her introduction, she clearly re-emphasizes on the legacy of Mr. Achebe’s writings, the opportunities and the priceless inspiration he has inadvertently given to writers like herself. She further reiterates that “the strangeness of seeing oneself distorted in literature – and indeed of not seeing oneself at all was part of my childhood. My early writing mimicked the books I was reading: all my characters were white and all my stories were set in England. Then I read Things Fall Apart. It was glorious of discovery. I did not know in a concrete way until then that people like me could exist in literature. Here was a book unapologetically African.” African literature arguably is a journey to self rediscovery and the mannerism, diction and sometimes proverb-filled nuances are a spectacle to behold and this relay how exhilarating African literature is and sometimes the only option left is to read the story again.

Literature is a very indelible compartment of a community’s culture. It plays a huge and formidable role in the way of life of a particular group of people and that is exactly what African literature does. It holds the fibre of the society together. The themes of African literature mimic in every sense of the word the true Africa, they may differ from country to country or from sub-region to sub-region but the stories’ african-ness is always noticeable. African literature brings into light, the daily life experiences of the average African, from various angles and through different nuances which can be as blunt as it can be. These stories can be either real or fictitious and each of the aforementioned has its own sparkle it brings to the whole piece. African literature therefore portrays through the eyes of a native to the outside world what the real Africa is all about, our dreams and innovations, our successes and challenges.

More over, African literature serves as a means of education and entertainment. A new word has even been carved “edutainment” and that says it all. African literature began since time immemorial, from our ancestors telling folk tales every night, while children sat around log fire to get the elephant share of the story till today where every potential idea is being properly documented. It educates us on various aspects of our heritage and the state of affairs of our continent, pointing out categorically to the everyday issues. The imaginations and nostalgia birthed after reading these stories are simply priceless and our creative impetus are being further enhanced.

As culture is integral to the existence of a particular group of people, so is African literature very indelible to all and sundry. The best we can do as a people is to continue to patronize African literature and this will obviously help both the established writers and the up-and-coming writers not to give up on their trade. With all that said, I cogitate also that we make good use of the available materials and platforms that we are very much privileged to have in this generation.

To end this piece, here’s just a line from NoViolet Bulawayo‘s debut novel We Need New Names, “he doesn’t tell Aunt Fostalina she looks good, like I’ve heard other people do; he tells her she looks like sunrise” and that’s the kind of spark African literature brings to the conversation. African literature will forever be as important as ever.

Gone Forever

She misses the days of old
although she weaves her ways
towards her salient dreams
or perhaps, her pallid self.

so now that he has turned into a foe
and who knows as she sways
maybe she’d cease to gleam
and find solace in a darker shelf.

so all is but unclear
that she truly misses the days of old
now that he has turned into a big foe.