Tuesday, January 31, 2006

 


Hut and Skins

I have none but hut and skins
and the usual junks my people have
yet I am a king in my own realm again
within the endless plains
in my poetry lies my profiles
contentment in gutter education
carving out my manuscript
and claim my own kind tribes of men,
men fitted with strong sinew
bones larger harder like stumps
conditioned by years of conquered illness
heat from the field and dry winds
mild wandering fashion of savage old
to eat what only the rain and sun could give
clothed here in my manuscript
as I study the African literature Posted by Picasa

the pain within the poetry

 


the savagery of a clan
acts out the scene of affront
and a "bush" man's altitude
made the president true,

the scene of battlement
found forms in a tribal mind
and a wounded world sinks
into a blank empty page. Posted by Picasa

THE AFRICAN SOUL

 


THE AFRICAN SOUL

Afield the echoes scream,
Deep within the alluvian of the African soul
Squat and croaking in my conciousness
things about arts found only in dreams
trying to access my share
of the brotherhood questions
that pain has sought to kill

the black man curriculumn
teaching me about thyself...
nourished anew along the Niger plains
under the skin of a native beat
as I study the African literature Posted by Picasa

Since the anger within me is urgent

 


Since the anger within me is urgent
I drove an endless terror upon my readers
Screamed out my a trumpet in dialect
Against the murderous attackers who beleaguered the city

With the battle cry into the crowd I trod
Letting the bloody tears fall down on me
A manuscript to make up the point of conflict
And in a rages to haul it away

Dragging the dead through the carnage
The corpse of these who have fallen
Coming together in bitter collision
pictured home the blooded spoils. Posted by Picasa

Echoes of the Gulf (Conscience of War)

 


"An Arab land once a pilgrim part

A Muslim pride now a picture of ruin

Natives acting out what happened to them

Death by the hundreds blood bath in the street

Enslaved as a nation now without a crown-"


squeezing through the crowd of mourners

Trying to find an opening close to the havoc

Relatives and friends trying to restrain me

Eye telling me what I expected to see-


I resisted and they gave way as I approached

Bowing slowly backing away giving me space,

Standing over a carcass making the sign of the cross-

A mother cries out in the street looking at a son she loved

shattered arms and bodies in tartar

suicide bombers terrorist claims-


family homes looks like a funeral parlor

The dead! Yes I have seen it all before

Yes I have watched them before on TV

Burying folks em-mass like 'Rwandan genocide' attack-

Once upon a time in Africa.


Folks couldn't stop crying, hanky in all hands

In contract with the clothing, all in black

Who should it be, that brought up my kin's

Who should it be, that makes mama and papa cry-

A kin run up to me, into my open arms crying

The condolence keep pouring in wordily oration

The stench of the dead of roses and incense

Of my own apprehension setting in

As I go on and on the distance seemed everlasting

Like watching a movie in TV coming out in motion-


A widow bend nearly double with grief

Not yet thirty by the look of her

And by God! A kid straddled on her back

A baby who will never see or call papa-



I can smell an undertaker embalming fluid

He used to preserve the dead, as I walk the street

The pall bearers who brought the coffins

Looks like crows waiting for a carcass

The hundred of candles around the main

The smell of burning tallow

Killing me along with the thought of a dead-



The priest solemn alone with no alter boys

Swinging the censor around the coffin

Clouds of frankincense wafted toward us

And I like all Catholics made the sign of the cross

To a virgin whose son the Arabs hated-



And at the gulf of death here I come at least

And every form jumped right at me

There is no mistaken it

the pictures in my line of sight

The corpses look at me accusing me-



And then I woke up out of my own sweat

Back home safe and well

But the nightmare I know will continue

The spirit of the dead will always be in my conscience-



The only solitude will be to write about it

It is a writers craft to tell from art

Bringing the wounded world into our rooms

And invoke the conscience of the nations in time of war.



"Within the gulf the valley of death

Into an art so pure in truth

I wrote of what o poet saw

reenacting classic battles like on TV

A carnage so complete.

Amen to the freedom fighters

Alleluia -alleluia''

PART TWO

'here a soldier lend a voice'
With pride I enlisted with the army

Thought I was all like in the movie

With haircuts and orderliness

And a change away from civilian clothes-



Like barking dogs with human faces

They gave orders herding us like cattle

Sent to my battalion to battle a nation

Coz once a soldier you own yourself no more-



With such bitterness I thought about home

Folks uneasy about shielding a deserter

Cradled in the noise of their barking

The trail was hot in the Arab land-



Obscenely desperate for the enemy flesh

Never having enough men in my rifle sight

Into the carnage of the gulf I faced the terrorist

Rooting with terror I found they were men like me-



All limbs jittery, snout deep in water logged trench

Embraced by the squalid ramble of the battle field

A dozen or more corpses are on the anal tip of a crater

The khaki uniform stained with my own blood and urine-



Both factions, lying dead in chump and rows

Others were still screaming in horrible reality

Some without legs and arms, barely alive

All sinews ashen and splintered, shattered on the battlefield-



Yet herding the cattle, Barking at us, our leaders shouted

Go get the terrorist! Go get the terrorist!

Whiles soldiers were being blown or shot to pieces

falling like autumn fruits- Posted by Picasa

sound from iraq

 


The thing that make me turn the television on
and skip the pages of late paper
or listen to grand dad radio when he is out
is the same thing that makes
us burn with horror at the fact
and rage against the name of what
the modern riffraff calls a call of peace

when I watch TV everyday
the news was recited
like a momma reciting litanies;
telling about the body count…

Have supposed animals in slaughter
imagining arms around me
the shout the scream
the cry the wails
the siren song
arms in arm impaled upon me
in a mating dance of death

As the world comes down upon us
I pout, I stare;
Mouth agape at a coverage so clear
Antiseptic likes the nurse uniform
in respect of modern technology
telling me news in black and white.


First a little puff of smoke
told us a faction have scored a point
grandma denture flying out
like a rocket screaming hisssss
at the most vivid enactment
re creating classic battles
in the smoky hut it comes blaring
we found ourselves in the Arab land.

and here granny lead her voice to mine
and
I saw the lightening
and that na the gun
and then I hear the 'thunder' come
and that na the big gun
and them I come hear
the rain day fall,
and that na the drop of blood day fall
and when I go farm to gather our crops
na dead men I go gather'

I feeling the way things be
As I ask myself what be this?

who tell you say
I never hear the scream of realities
because me no they for dear
who tell you say
me never feeling the fate and horror
of a carnage way so complete
for our fine television

standing still eyes on the screen
in that moment we be the same
the wounded world right
in my in my granny hut

I was there inside an open skull
I was there inside a broken skin
I was there inside all drops of blood
I was there in the air with the paratroops
I was there falling down with the bombs
I was there inside the chaos of this century
I was there and I am here in the Smoky hut

I have lent out a voice among the location mob and drunks
I have lent out a voice among the intellectuals
But in the 'bush' the villagers though the Yankee was right
going at em the way James bones does
With all the fancy stuff shown on TV
To make it seems right

today the first causality were
the local dreamer dreaming
then suddenly sirens started screaming
the hospital were full to draining
on houses with no window left to smash
were rooms stank of gases and broken drain
in completion of roasted human meat.

The sound the color
To still the subtle fear
Made worse when the death were justified as right
But the joke was even funnier
Out of the valley of death
repeat a startling vision.

The thought of so much death
The more there is the less it mean
Though object find reflection in the eye
the mind alone knew what lies beyond

when a dwell is started
it is of a simple rule 'to win'
it cares not for the families it devastates
not you or me

at the onset both factions has the conviction
that they stand on the right side
willing to die and fight for a course justified to be right

but let us stick to the fact
can there be peace when peace means broken bones
can there?

With the tears at the corner of my eye
my body heard before I really did
the value I thought life posses
walking down the track of troop and saints,
runs down the street in stream of blood
hearing a mother crying for a son she loves
as terrorist claim them in the name of peace

Well
is there peace today
answer me
no there is no peace and there will never be
the donkey still wired with explosives
the fanatic Tommy is full of bombs
above the birds still screams laying down their eggs in flight
splintered knees and broken arms
marked the stable once that left home.

urdeen all rights reserved 2004 Posted by Picasa
 

INTRODUCTION: an Ode to the freedom fighters

In you the caravan trod

In line with the merchant chants-

'Bound in a sheaf of dreams

A black man in a nigger suit

Here at your view

In you the wagon trails

Across the forgotten part-

'Standing in a pulpit

A rambling preacher

downed with a bullet'

in you I smelled my odor

from the stench of the hold-

'the sound of a captive voice

echoes our shackled fear

across the shadeless grass

in you sisterhood awakes again

the voice of a kitchen mammy-

'the rich laughter of a Negro maiden

in a song our fathers sang

taking us home again Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Somewhere I heard a Negro cry

Somewhere I heard a Negro cry

Of talk buried deep in dreams

The words more ours came back to me

Savage lines against my memory

Black hands and feet and faces

The act of nigger past

My pen; responding to the fury in my mind

Like a blade of grass bending to the wind

My language was theirs

Their pain was mine

I spoke as if it was a second tongue

My rage has captured my poems utterly

As I write the pencil inflict deep sore

Wounded I edit

Gnawing away at these foreign

Vocabularies to make the manic real


and let the spirit live-
---------------------------------
The more truth we seek
The more confused we are
Coz we are ashamed 2 see
The truth of our past

Are we free from shackles 2 day?
No not at all
Though there is no chain today
We are but still a slave

the beauty of Orature

Whenever I go to the tribe during festivities, I often had to prepare some meals and invite the kindred poor to come and have a feast, we could gather around the wood stove in our compound and I would make them happy by telling them stories I learned from my childhood, the elder of family and kinfolks would listen carefully and at times adds comment if unintentionally I misquote a proverb,

I try to recreate the scenery around the hearths as it was in the past, to sit around fires to poke and smell the sting of the rising smoke, to see myself as the great story-teller in the age of gold as I take the wide eyed kids thousands of miles back into the memory lane of the child I was.

Now I write imaginatively from the oral culture, most from my own story telling. And my first book” music of the mind” a collection of poetry; tells of my journey and the beauty I discovered as I try to continue the priceless vocation of a habitual story teller..

today when I think of an African story I once had the privilege to listen to, a story of how the sky used to touch the earth and how an old lady used to wipe her hands on the moon after each meal and how the sky eventually got angry and moved away from the old lady. I now think of another meaning behind these words, I see myself as that old lady, asking the sky for forgiveness, trying to bring the “moonlight tales” closer to the earth.

I have a reason why I do what I do, recreating details as it was true to life, because I believe that story telling is a simple and wonderful way to act out our imaginations, the art helps the mind grow and learn to create. is a way to let the children use their imaginations and help the them build up their communication skill as it has done to this author,

growing up in the village, as a child I looked forward nightly to the story times that took place at of our multipart, my favorite stories were the sing along ones, call and response form. My grandfather would quote a proverb and would summon us to finish it.

in this method the art entails a caller or lead singer who “raises the song” of the story and the community chorus will respond, or “agree underneath the song.”
But in stories, the storyteller “calls” out the story in lines; and the audience “responds” at regular intervals

Granny: Once upon a time
Children: Time, time
Granny: Many, many moons ago
Children: Mmmmh

Each story or song had a lesson to be learnt from within, as I grew the lessons strengthened me, my writings today is conditioned by the childhood scenery, these riches of the story telling culture are quite evident to me and very beautiful

Today there may be no fires to sit around in most rural settings as it was in the past, because the world is not as safe as it was, but story telling lives on, and as I sit in my verandah looking at the moon at night my mind goes back home, memories closeting on the charcoal fire, the smells of either ground-nuts toasting or yam roasting recalls the beauty of the art of the stories that developed my curiosity towards the bits and pieces around me and taught me the importance of my lineage

I to write about the beauty of this gift, to share my culture and to contribute the little I can in preserving the art, at times I use illustration from the western stories that are written down and illustrated in books, because I want to make the modern writer know that he doesn’t need to go back to the past to recreate the art of “ orature”. They are available within reach,

an example of one story I loved to give the kid by oration is the latest bestseller novel “Harry Potter” a lot of these stories are based on village lifestyles that are quiet familiar to those of us brought up in rural setting,

to make folk understand what I intended for them to see, I tried my best so the fable stories are narrated in such a way using the lingering dialect of our village, that both the old and young are glued to my narratives as I do in my excitement as a kid whenever I heard an elder tell a story

Great African writers have often done what I do, writers like Chinua Achebe often introduce into literature, stories from their culture’s oral traditions and the meaning of the proverbs printed in his dialect, song-tales, myths, folktales, fairy tales, animal fables, One example is this proverb-song given in untranslated Igbo in Achebe's Things Fall Apart, Ch. 7, p. 42:

because they too are conditioned by their culture.

ON THE POETRY

During my childhood, I used to listen to my grandmother reciting to us the poetry of mythology and legends of our ancestral tradition, listening to her made me a humble and a respectful child, it is a brilliant way of coping with problems; “she once said to me” I sing it when I walk alone to the stream, fears would be lost when we recite poetry of hope. She continued. Today I agree with her

One of the beautiful things about poetry is that you can actually use it to heal your own emotion and to teach the world a thing or two about the basics of your society, for example like learning names and their meaning, the dialect and belief as you see it

Literature among the African is in actual fact spoken and poetic, 'a verbal art so pure and so complete.” touching, and emotional, the arts examines the black experience as reflected in the drama of Africans. I love the choruses which everybody including my grandma sang along to. The call and response form help those of us who were shy speaking in public because it afforded us the opportunity to overcome our shyness and also helped in boosting our confidence. This in a way is the first education I got to be a good in speaking publicly

It is very important to tell stories to children through this method. Apart from being exciting poetry helps them in many ways: to build up their listening skills, to become effective communicators with the use of their dialect, to appreciate the society in which they live, to bridge a gap between their generation and past generations, to understand their roots and to become more creative in what they do.