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It was a journey to burned itself into his mind. He had found himself on a horse traveling through brush, and sand dunes that assumed the most fantastic landscapes for him. He barely noticed Sasa, just sensed that he was not alone. He also sensed that he was part of a group of silent men, he knew them as brown men and warriors. He was also dressed like them and he enjoyed the air whipping his hair about his face and sometimes clouding his vision. They had to travel silently and Kadine, his horse knew the way better than him. At the head of a group of men he rode swiftly.
Soon they left the sand dunes as the vegetation improved and Babatunde was able to appreciate a softer greenery. They might be able to reach the boundary of Ka-Tun-wo if they maintain the pace. Kub-ii-lan country had the wolvemen and he did not want to tangle with them. At least not now. he had a pressing mission to deliver to the Islanders
He passed the camp of the white gowns. They were so called by the fact that they tended to wrap their men in white gowns before killing them and he remembered the last time he had been stranded there. He shrugged the thought of as he concentrated his thoughts and held them spear- like in front of him. The sky darkened and he smelt rain, one rain baby blew him a kiss and he grinned.
Kadine sniffed the air and became restless which made him alert. He smelled the stench of the next camp. It was a dying camp. The water had died a long time back and the beings had left. There was a lethargy that could drag him to the depths if he did not close his thoughts. He did and sent warning signals to his men as his mind roved the horizon before the tangles came out of hiding. He held his spear high and one rain baby touched it making it gleam. It was the touch he and his men needed.
He told his men to push the leaves deep into their ears to avoid the songs that was being wafted to them. This was also emere kingdom and if you looked well, you could see them, their tears and their mats. Suddenly the clearing lightened and he saw her in the clearing. He sent up a prayer for help and the clearing darkened again. It was a trick. Babatunde sighed. His momentary loss of concentration would have landed him in trouble because his horse avoided by bare inches the precipice that suddenly yawned.
He asked that Mother earth should close her mouth so he could pass in peace. Then he wondered why Sasa was and was pelted by rain instantly. He shook his head free from the raindrops and continued on his journey. Soon he saw people passing by and he knew he was close to the last camp before his destination.
Sasa was waiting for him at the camp and grinned as Babatunde climbed down from the horse shaking off the last of the rain from his skin.
“You dawdled like some skittish Miss on the way” Sasa remarked.
As a matter of interest, how long have I been stuck with you? Babatunde snapped
Wouldn’t you just like to know brother?
I have not the slightest wish… but was interrupted by a very beautiful woman coming towards them. She had a steaming bowl and gave them a smile. Babatunde stared in childlike wonder as she set up a small feast for them and left. Sasa watched his expression and smiled.
Who is that? He asked after the lady had left.
Sasa shrugged, I have not the slightest idea, but she generally welcomes warriors in whenever they come to this camp and she never speaks.
Some welcome right?
Babatunde gave Sasa a look
Yes I know, you are beginning to wonder about some things and you are being shown so many things . We would like you to learn and hopefully come to a decision. Soon enough, I will be reassigned and I wanted to increase the bits of knowledge that you have so you can understand.
Babatunde knew that Sasa was not really a human being but had always appeared to him as human and so many things have puzzled him in the past. He was happy that answers to some of his inner seeking might be made possible to him.
Sasa read his thoughts and laughed. “I am from the spiritual just like you, you could say though that I have evolved more since the last time I physically incarnated. The human spirit has levels that he can gain consciousness and experience the expanse of creation granted to him. Most of the time though the human being presently living in the world of matter has lost the ability to use his intuition to get answers to his seeking soul. You have evolved away from the childlike into the sometimes really evil and turned more and more into the darker impulses. Some of you have become mechanical, intellectual enthusiasts and it is painful when you make fun of those you should be learning from.
You are full of different sicknesses and desires that make you sicker and so your threads hang heavier. I understand you call it education these days. Your drugs were once plants ad it is the essence of the drugs that the beings have worked into the plant that works within the beings in your body to make you humans healthy. I was considered a very powerful medicine man in my time, but a young girl floored my arrogance and taught me a very necessary lesson”.
Sasa gave his friend a smile again and told him that they will be visiting a few places and he would learn a few things then shocked him that all their travels will be concluded before he gets to the grove. Babatunde became really confused and asked where he was, and Sasa told him he was in a realm that was so akin to the earth that he should have been experiencing it simultaneously. He explained that in bygone days, man was able to experience these realms and absorb what they saw into conscious experiences.
“It is where you fellows call the beyond”
“I am dead”?
Sasa laughed, “All those times you talked to me , were you dead”?
“Okay this reincarnation stuff and time sequence is really confusing for me. How old were you when we met for the first time?”
“You mean the time you stole that palm wine”
“I beg your pardon. I did not steal palmwine”
“So why were you acting in such a funny way?”
“How long ago was that?”
Babatunde stared at him.
“See?, that was when we met and I bet you have had one more incarnation since then”.
“Papa said”… Babatunde stopped as thoughts of his father flooded into him and he found himself on the path of the grove alone. He blinked.
May you not walk on
the road when it is hungry
children played by the
river beside the road
happy to be alive
in the forest
the birds sang
and the road led to hope
We hear the screams
of kidnapped girls in the forest
step around pot holes filled
with corpses that armed robbers left behind
along the dark tarred stretch
we pick our way
through the debris of faith
may you not walk
on the road
when it is hungry
or live in
my country now.
from the speeding politicians
to rallies of the living dead
I stared long and hard at the print,
it danced like the mad yogi
on my fevered dreams
nectar hungry and flea infested
like sores on the thin neck of despair
I wondered by what devious means
I came to incarnate
on these shores
even the moans fell hollow
sighing I watch each setting sun
how many more?
The voice from deep within
sent cool whispers down my spine
look in the mirror child
and tell me
who you see
You know, there is always the question of asking yourself if you are ever going to be a best seller in your lifetime. These days, those are the questions that I find myself asking each time I start writing a story. The question started simply enough. A very young child came to my house and we started chatting. He wanted to know why I was hunched over my computer almost all the time he was in the living room. I blinked and tried to focus on the young man. He noted that most times he called to say hello to my children, he invariably found me typing. I took a deep breath and wondered if I should do one of two things.
You know look down my nose at him and reply in a pitying voice on how he has missed the true calling of the writer and tell him he was not likely to understand what writing meant to me, yeah, I am still broke and I am not sure if I can claim that I have sold my book in thousands never mind millions. What? No, I am not about to discuss my despair either. Hey!, I mean my despair that I am never going to finish writing all I have to write. I never have enough time and the stranger thing is, I have had days that I sit by the computer and the stories just goes on in my head and the computer remains blank. That is really frightening when I wonder if all this is going to be worthwhile. I am not trying to change the world neither am I likely going to change my immediate community, unless I wish to be a liar.
That is another thing, my neice doesn’t think I work anyway. She came over to spend the holidays when I was part of a television series on teenage reproductive issues. She had liked me and was enthusiastic about the series, I NEED TO KNOW. She read the stories every night, staying up all night sometimes. I was preening and waiting for the commendations to flow in. She looked up and I saw real bewilderment on her face.
“seriously auntie, I have never met all these people you talk about in your story, you are just forming them up right?”
“You mean like I am making them up”? I asked her slowly puzzled at what she was implying. Here, let me insert a warning: We are writing Nigerian English and my friends across the pond may have to hold on for a translation later.
My niece nodded and I smiled, “Yes of course , that is what is called fiction, the situations are real though”.
“You mean Ikechukwu is not real?”
“No my dear, the young boy that acts the part is real but that is just his television name”.
“Hmmm, very easy job Auntie, just sit down, dream up stories about people and you get paid for having fun”.
I stared at her, opened my mouth to explain what enter- educate drama is all about and clammed shut as she stared askance at me. She commented that she envied my job and wondered why I had not become a millionaire at the very least. She said she might one day take up my job.
That was years ago, the juice train left and I stared into the hard glare of straining to make two tired ropes stay glued. Digital television, internet radio and programmes took me to hunger street and I needed to look at dim areas of my creative mind to quell the noise of my growling belly.
I have been writing since I can remember the meaning of pain, hunger, dreams and a compulsive need to talk to persons I have never met. My imagination wakes me up every dawn as the sun dips her fingers on my hopes and gives me a taste of its promise. I have like a thousand stories, impatiently jostling for attention. Men I know so well in my head, conversations that seem unending, situations crop up and I ponder on their solutions. An urgent need to tap a shoulder and start a conversation.
I am doing one right now right? Were you interested? Oh well, you got this far. That must count for something. But you see, a new fear is peeping at me. How much time do I have?
Will I ever write a best seller? Sometimes I picture a vast field, the sun is setting, the players are all gone, I am staring at the lonely abandoned ball in the field, the stands are silent and a lone figure walks onto the field, he touches the ball and hears in his soul the roar of his dreams and he makes a lob into the far end of the field. The sun yawns and calls me over.
I will see you soon my friend.
Sounds funny reading that. The pro blem though,is that I don’t feel funny instead. I tried to write a romantic novel and I am doing my best to convince myself it is a romantic novel,but the book has my family in stitches. They have not read it but the idea has them in giggles. It made me wonder. I asked my youngest why my idea of a romantic novel had such an effect on them.
She smiled and said it would be hard for her to imagine me being mushy or write like a romantic person. I ignored that,finished the novel and sent it off. Couple of weeks later, I got a timid question as my intended publisher asked me if I wanted a romantic my manuscript to be treated as a romantic novel with depth.
I was mystified and begged my youngest daughter to please read. Three days later she handed over the manuscript with a grimace. My heart sank and I asked what was amiss. She took pity on my crestfallen face,and said the romance I wrote about could only be in my time. “you see, mum,nobody conducts love this way anymore? Your characters are too honest. Even the bad ones aren’t coming off as bad.
Now I am expecting the small rejection slip.
I have one question,must a love story be steamy. seamy
and sordid before it can be seen and accepted ad romantic?
I am making no excuses if it is badly written, but the complaint is I am too deep.
My husband thinks I should stick to what I know best. He says being an author does not necessarily qualify me to write romantic novel.
Can you please explain it to me.