On Being Us

we are quite far from our middlescence
lurking on, pushing on
and stravaging sometimes

let them call us lotus-eaters
and poke fun at our demeanour
let them stare and label us bumbleshoot,
hampering their manna-rains

dudgeon, that’s what they feel
cos we muckrake them,
and they think we love throwing shade,
and that we take pleasure in the spotlight,
penning what the constituents feel

let them rant and continue to
call us age-old lotus-eaters.
we won’t mock their potbellies
and their shabbiness
cos that’s what they seek to trigger

we are still quite far from our middlescence
pressing on, carrying on
and still stravaging sometimes

the beau idéal, that’s not what
we seek to become
but let’s man up,
by pushing on what’s truly right

Advertisements

Inferno

Maybe she will be remembered
as the girl from East-Flanders
Courteous and well kept among others
You’ll forever be remembered
as the girl torn between the past
and the present
Maybe I’ll only be remembered
as the chap you held hands with
Or maybe I’ll always come to mind
whenever you see Omar Sy
Not because we’re brothers

She will always be remembered
as the girl with sunken eyes
or perhaps hollowed cheeks
I know, I’m sometimes bad
when it comes to choice of words
I know I won’t be remembered
as the boy who births awkward silences
You promised me,
so I pray you keep your word

She’ll be remembered
as the girl with the entire world at her humble feet and a golden heart
And anytime you think about Venice,
I hope I won’t be too distant a memory
Your heart has fought battles,
won, drew and even lost some
Let’s pray the latter is soon forgotten
But how do you forget
the sound of a bird that sings to
you every morning?
How do you mend a wounded soul?
So, you will be remembered
just like how you left,
in your toggery, with a hurried hug and a forced smile
Swift, and there you went

I will always remember you
as the girl who, while eating tacos kept asking why I aligned
the Coca-Cola bottle and the glass every now and then
Maybe precision was the word
you were looking for
Or maybe both of us were searching for
So anytime I think of precision,
you’ll be next in thought
Inferno

Not For His Words

Don’t fall for his words, poems,
poetry or whatever
Please, please don’t fall for his poems,
they are just unsaid words,
unfinished sentences and sometimes deserted
thoughts
Maybe some day, maybe some day,
maybe some day, maybe some day
he’ll muster all the courage in this world
and pour out his heart to you
Maybe one day, maybe just one day,
he’ll turn the coin on its head
Maybe some day, maybe some day,
maybe sooner rather than later,
maybe sooner rather than later,
he’ll refuse to beat about the bush
Maybe sooner rather than later,
he’ll hit the nail right on its head
Maybe some day,
you’ll finally hear the sound of his gavel
So please, please don’t fall his words, poems,
poetry or whatever
They are just words yet unsaid,
words that lie asunder,
words with no assigned meanings
He is good with words and subtle at heart
So maybe he is just searching for the right words
So don’t fall for his words

Suchomski

Maybe you’re the quintessence
of all our dreams
the perfect picture we’ve been
told about
a breath of fresh air
with a genuine heart and a
pure conscience

As the tides change,
maybe you could guide us to
be stalwart
And vary from our old ways,
of which we’re not proud to manifest

Maybe you are all that we have,
with your resilience, your grit and your kindheartedness
As we are somewhat still in pursuit of more

As months blur into years,
maybe you could once again
just breathe new life into us, Suchomski

For Her Never To Be Born Son

A precarious early autumn afternoon
not too hot and not too cold
if it were to be water,
it’d be called ‘lauw water’
maybe in our sister language

we sing no odes for children
and never dirges for unborn babies
this wasn’t the druthers of Ms. L
as you are the eponym of her
recent talks
but again, we sing no odes for children
and never dirges for unborn babies

so scale the heights wherever you are
Ms. L is aching now and so are we all
maybe you just came to embody
the brevity of human life
but we sing no odes for children
and never dirges for unborn babies
So keep clambering up wherever
you are

(c) Prince Kenny Jr

Goodnight 

The tides are evolving
like the susurrating winds of change
so if you can live up with yourself,
why run?
Darkness has set in
the lights are now faded memory
what baffles us, is the sound of the night
similar to a hiss of a snake,
not so lucid as a meow
The adjacent neighbours are also asleep
they are in wonderland, perhaps in dreamland
do they even dream?
they already bade farewell to the night
maybe, just maybe they are in unison with the night
maybe, just maybe they can’t let go,
let go of each other
so this is not their final goodnight
and this is also not my final
goodnight

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

Are You Writing Your Life ?

It’s been a couple of years
after you asked that question
Till now, you’ve never been missed,
due to the presence of your words,
the unplanned meetings in public transport
and honestly, you reside not far from here
You’ve been spotted going out and about
as days turn into years
Sometimes, picking your noble son from school
holding each others’ hands tightly
along the brick-pavement
You must be a proud mother
The spark in your eyes says it all
You’ve also been seen taking strolls
in and around the public park
others call it a recreational park,
with your belly-full
You were carrying in you either a
prince or a princess or even both,
an unborn monarchy
Lately you were seen pushing a pram
you seemed to be in a hurry
Maybe you had an appointment
with a paediatrician
How time runs!
Nine months have just gone by
within a blink of an eye or did you
deliver prematurely?
Anyway what matters most is that mother and child(ren) are healthy
So be it then
But what happened to your plans?
Are you still on them?
Pursuing your goals of becoming a
journalist.
You speak four languages;
Turkish(your mother tongue), German,
English and of course Dutch, right?
Great stuff
My regards to your husband and children
and who knows, maybe we’d bump into each other some day
either in a public transport
or I might see you reporting on TV
or hear your voice on the radio
or meet you at the nearby recreational park with your children
They may be of age by then and I wouldn’t be surprised if they ask
if indeed I’m writing my life
Till then, I’ll be preparing for an answer.

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.