Sunday, April 05, 2009

the JUJU in the Name( Ritual Space)

the JUJU in the Name( Ritual Space)

Monday, February 16, 2009 at 4:47pm | Edit Note | Delete
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Introduced to the spirit of the festival
The poet participate joyfully to the initiation
To destroy the fabric of the culture
The foreigner tried to sell him at school

And the probity of rhymes calls him home
To watch his mama hip making a beat
Against the false internationalized perfectionist
That denies his commitment to come home

As the adrenaline flood the pulse
The brain feels the sting of the sounds
The string tighten the heart beat
Seeking his blood that went astray

he became aware of the road not taken,
The part the poet must suffer to take
It is the warrior in him that will decide for him
As the poet fought the conflict of thoughts

The festive scene is precious to him
There is something homecoming in it
Someone asleep in him just awoke
What the new world could never understand

At every scene the spirit wants to embrace him
At every path the spirit wants to be a part of his life
All its sense of mystery screams in his blood
And the drum lines satisfies the craving
And the theme here to him, is “welcome it”

I have seen many strange works, and when I look at mine I see that there is something weird about my write-up, I went through my collection of seven years back and I began to notice what I call the spirit realm has indeed existed in line with my name.

After my first book the music of the mind, I begin to pay attention to it, and wondered why my Christian family shunned it and me, I saw that there is something frightening about the writings, talking about my initiation in poetic form…the development of the book was hard on me- I mean the practice of men welcoming their own feared inner realm and nurturing it, I have been wondering about it and it made me more thoughtful as I read along,

The works were collected in my village where I live happily and free like the old Negro spiritual we see in movie and with his obsession with oral tribal warfare, the poetry were fascinating, within the realm I got the works from, today I feel I can see the spirit walking the pages, I have noticed in the review of the book by fellow authors, the new energy in the responses like the spirit in the prose, they comes to me like the ritual space, the festivity is still alive

I have heard about the significance of my name, a lot from literature and fables, many of them are false and some need critics, the knowledge of it falsehood move me to the direction of my village ,a place were my lineage originated, my journey has reached its dept now that it cannot be ignored in my poetry, made me so angry at many people who deny theirs, my rage has been increasing steadily till the dark side of me is clear

This write-up is the dark side…beware…

The darkness came because the poet is angry, because of the devaluation of his name within his culture, his genetic inheritance contributed to such obsession with the name, like the entire black race, the culture and their environment also has a claim to the temper of this warrior

Who is the poet…

I am the poet and I understand that no culture has the quality that can remain stable for decades, that my name cannot last that long, but I believe it can be long-lasting through arts and literature when they are stored in stories as in myth and legends,

That is what I try to do in my write-up, a collection that amount to the reservoir were I keep alive new ways of responding to foreign invasions that I can adopt when the unconventional way wears out… I call myself the juju man.

Can you as a Christian or a civilised person call your self a juju man?

I think some other local poets like myself probably have the need to express their cultural heritage, but the wording “juju” is always attributed to many of their African lineage, it keynoted a sign of inferior religion that many commentators sees as evil and dirty, it may be true in certain ways, but it is not different from the factors of life where the good and the bad co-existed

In my studies I could visit the juju ceremonies, I have memorised the acts and I have tried to find the words to express them in the poetry I write, five years now as I read the edited works, it is like reading poetry for the first time, the collection rekindle the image of innocence as the victim of circumstances branded on us by the foreign culture, that tempers with our local values

I am trying to use this poetry collection as perceived through the lineage of a poet, I want you to see the great re-birth from a son whose circle has been ancestral, whose name is attributed to the wording of the juju lineage. Try to explore the theme in the topics, try to read through the lines and see the words that have intrigued poets and writers all over the centuries. Read the totems of worship, the fact in the story with the words used to describe them and see how they fit into the lineage you have always known existed but have never seen

Do not run away from this poetry
Do not close the pages or skip the lines
Do not panic at the phrase, “juju”
Thought your fantasies moves toward the devil act,
Juju is something of ceremonies and culture than evil

Am not saying its spiritual work is clean
Nor am I saying it is otherwise
But when man goes out to dine with gods
It is something of life that calls a bond

Unlike the church that need the tamed
Here a man is free in domestication
To walk in the wood and learn a craft
Hand or mind through the lineage line

You must remember the ancient world
Does not consider the arts as evil
The wordless tension between opposites
Teach us to tell true stories and chants

Do not run away from this poetry
Let is initiate you into my realm
The instigation will help you
Not to shudder at my words
The good side won’t do it for you
Because all these personal fantasy are true
Welcome nene…welcome odede… welcome

"How I went in search of the native woman…."

I was with my pad and pen
When I heard the roosters crowing
close somewhere in my barnyard,
And the portraits on my consciousnesses
Remained within me, undistorted.
Creeping close till it merges into one
Moving like Siamese engaging in sex.
And with each crow…
I heard ebony lips in answer
coming with the dialect of tribes I know
with the buzz and yammer I know.
Take me! The voices said" take me!
Take the black nomadic women-

Today I can picture each belly budge
As the fullness of each breast bumped my arms
Thrusting at me such hard brown midriff,
as inks that puts words in my manuscripts.

Today I can picture each rhythmic sway
with lines reacting to the kinsman scorn
Who said my colour was against such erotic filth
That were the revelation of my poetic prowess

Today I encircle each vast native hip
essaying apiece the portrait in my perception
The tempter voice in my line of print
Recreates bodies I know of a all the women
controlling my thoughtful penmanship

Now it is always like this whenever I heard
Of roosters crowing in the village yard
With memories of the portrait of the women
remaining within me, undistorted
Creeping close till it merges into one
edited like the transsexuals play

How I went in search of my ancestral heritage…

In search of my ancestral heritage
I was drawn to my mind
There I see within the stillness
At the greatest of all beauty
On the art born within,
The limitless boundaries to all I can do
To celebrate the festivity of my clan

Studying forms focusing within me
My concentration attenuated the village
Like a native drum beating at my temple
it trapped the patterns of the esan dirge

seeking a dance on human history
with motif back on the ancestral acts
I seek to detect the nene echoes
Lines of the nativity in the culture
using my pen to imitated the castanet
of esan serenade within the village square

How I went in search of my ancestral tribe…"

Inspired by legends of the Esan tribe
To the gods of the Esan tribe
I offered blood sacrifice on an Esan shrine
To make the Esan tribe my tribe

Bound and somnolent endurance screamed
In studying the art of the Esan tribe
To make me the act of the tribal village
Before I touch the cowries
these forbidden things of the tribe

Because my lineage were of the kings
It was my art that I acted upon
till elders bruised my feet on the tribal stone
and I was crowned the Onojie
By king makers in an Esan village

I write and edit in respect of them
And speak the truth of legend of the tribe
To appease the temper of the gods of the tribe
Least they strike the poet on the tribe
Before he get the press
For lies against the Esan culture

"How I went in search of the ancestral hunter…"

At night I choose a clearing
And traced a circle around it
And build a fire within it fold
As I chant incarnations
To appease the gods of the night
And let the juju grove

My thought comes in throbs of drum
As I lay on the earth
and the distance footstep
Echoes from travelled past
Beats like my impatient pulse
As I sleep and yet not sleep

I lived with the eyes of the night
Where it glows beyond the trees
and the fireflies' around the silent forest
with the flames through the cracking coal
Gives a glow to the moonless night
And makes my manic so real

I sleep within the ring
And nothing dare disturb me
Nor the smallest working ant
Or the biggest of all beasts
Dare to pass the police line
As I try to make my art into act

"How I went in search of the slave route…………….

Somewhere I heard a villager cry
in dialect like signs buried deep in dreams
and within, the words more ours came back to me
hunting savage lines against my memory
rhymes of black hands and feet and faces
The act of the unforgiving slaves
Recreated anew within me

My pen;
Responding to the fury in my mind
Like a blade of grass bending to the wind
My language as always was theirs
Their pain in my print was mine
I wrote as if it was a second tongue
because my rage has captured my poems utterly

As I write the pencil inflict deep sore
being wounded I edit this poetry
Gnawing away at these foreign vocabularies
And give my village grammar upper pages
in dialect like signs buried deep in dreams

"What I saw in the Shrine of my village…."

Empty cocoa pods on a shrine
Mashed and blackened with sooth
Used to invoke the gods
As the juju man recite incantations
To god of the green
For the pacification of new harvest

a shell of an African native turtle
Preserve the heritage in the shrine
Painted with mud polish
In the characteristic of modern time
To make it all seem real

there is only one cup for the priest
Made of calabash with lineage prints
and the seven cowries within its bowel
Is like opening an imaginary book
To study prints that lay within

the spear has bone for blade
Adorned with streak of red
Is like being enclosed in a space
Knowing that you were being protected
By ancestors you couldn't see

The oracle on a shrine
Is for a god designed atheist
Sustaining a miracle of self belief
With an oath of abracadabra
Like this poetic lines

Snake fags adorned on the wall
Has its charm with a serpent hiss
and the three pairs in each circle
Believed to bring good luck
To these evil to the bone

inertial mask and dogwood
With dead things on the shrine
To breathe life into dead space
For the Resurrection of the dead
That is dead to the church

I like the insect pinned on walls
though not really a native craft
But the art of our ancestress
whose the tribal passion inspired me
as part of the totem of worship

the was a skull of a vulture
To listen to the voice within
As I call on you with a pagan tongue
Here I invoke the spirit

A mirror on a shrine
That shows things that were not in front of it
Was as real as it seems
In the word of the lie

White native chalk on a shrine
got from the blood red hills
Use to trace pattern
Of friends or foes

A gong on a shrine
The language the god knew
As the testicle beat the dirge
The sound inspired me

"How I found the oracle………."

Haunting the music of the mind
Looking through the peephole for fresh insight
I dreamed of a different word to change my world
Rooted in the genes of a true Esan son

As I tiptoed through the part my fathers once trodden
To invoke the past that haunts my dreams
The spirit moves me to my native tribe
To essay my find
among the people of my birth

A man I was the color of night
As I go at the drift of my dream
and after so many search…
Suddenly it comes to me

Like a dog the has just caught sight of game
I look up at the moment I heard it
Looking sideways, yet while facing forward,
The sound came again and again

Softly with a fuller harmony
Slowly that the notes were hardly audible
And yet I heard it again and again
Delicate nuance in a native duet
Moving through the dense cloud of my memory –

onojie, onojie, onojie
I caught only words and phrases
In form of things

suddenly like a lonely adieu
I recognize the music
Always different from the drumming
Hammering away at my temple

And yet I knew
As I scratch my balls
With the vestige of a native intuition
The sudden knowledge grew
Like living in a trance, like coming home,
Home to a place you have always known
But have never been
(Though you were born there)

as I heard the voices
And the accompanying drums
The rumble of thump at a diminishing tune
Conveyed everything to me
Miracle of my own first perceiving
From this section of my village
Joined me now in celebration
and breathe the tip of our reality
In the poetry I write


“One writes out of one thing only…one own experience, the only really concern of the artist is to recreate out of the disorder of life, that order which is …art” James Baldwin

I am “omosun” Yes I am, that is what I discover, poem after poem, story after story, the author in his own drama… I was moved with the insightfulness of my own message, discovering myself in every step, it is happening now as I write about me…the “omosun” I knew, the son of juju pot.

I am “omosun’ when I think about it I just get really immersed in it, ironically it was the meaning of the name that gave me the serious interest I had with the African literature

The son of juju… Sometimes I could just get lost in thought, and a whole picture will come to me, a whole poetry, it frighten me sometimes, looking at my finished works, asking myself if they were mine, yet the answer is there, my hands wrote them, I am not the voice, it was the spirit, it is, yes it was the spirit within Omosun

Imagining the scenes surrounding tribal name is like a painters act, like poetry… once you get the ingredient down you work on them, you can change the word but never the spirit

The study of me, though imbued with religion themes expresses my own personal faith and opinions about my lineage, the fascination of the unknown that has been a part of my life ever since I learned the meaning on my name, ”omosun”

Wish I with the name could only waltz
With the study of more skulls than men
Then the later generation will have a name
A dynasty formed by this poetic myth
The words could consolidate the travelled realm
Its factors, faction and fact that whispers by
As our bodies merge with our heart as one
Through birth, death and ancestral arts

My name gave me a hold to what the world has lost, a possession that could make me a god, the “omosun” that is true to the juju deity, I claimed it because I alone have it to share, with the spirit possessions still intact, as I try to recapture its power through my poetry.

Believe me, the incarnations I study could work on me as I write, till I am no longer who I thought I was, and the spiritual values in its institution will no longer be confined to the village shrine…I pray it will creep over the globe through the work of my hands

My name could give me the power to persuade my brothers home to the village, because the voice is in me, it has sharpened my poetic talent through the thunder of the ‘omo’ (omo derived from the first three letters of my surname mean Son in my native Esan)- and the hunger of the Osun (Osun the last four letters of my name means shrine or juju). I am either from the shrine or juju.

So today as an African poet I am proud to say…I am “omosun” I give what I have to give, a creation of gods as it has been at its prime, prints from a mind that knew such facts writes about the drama of possession when the son was once as one with the gods

The view of the modern mind is that the name has to die as they trample upon its value and power derived from the racial and cosmic past, I laugh to think of it, because they were wrong, the spirit has never been killed, it will lie low for a while, and them it will come again from its source, it will grow in us and nurture us, feed upon our mind and body when all hope is lost.

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