Archive | September 2012

The Nigerian Thunder League (NTL): Issue 7

(As chronicled by Voss)

 

I have just finished rereading Leslie Frewin’s biography of Marlene Dietrich, Dietrich: The Story of a Star, a slim volume of 187 pages. I love the book; it is written in agreeably simple prose. Unfortunately, there were so many things left unsaid in that book. About that, I refuse to be pinned to specifics. You should have an idea what the things are when you read Kirk Douglas’s autobiography, The Ragman’s Son.

 

 

SCORES

──────

Presidential Wolves = 3          ———–

Patriotic Stars FC = 0                

BH No-Pity FC =  3                 ———–

Corruption United = 0              

Natural Disaster Babes  = 4    – ———–

Hunger Stars FC = 0                 

Kalashnikov-no-Face FC  = 2     ———

Police Marauders FC = 0

EFCC Stars  = 0                       ———-

Corruption United = 2              

Hunger Stars FC = 0                 ———–        Kalashnikov-no-Face FC = 1   

 

TRANSFERS

────────

NAME

FROM

TO

(Hidden)          ———–

Presidential Wolves  ——

Corruption United

(Hidden)          ———–

Presidential Wolves   ——

Corruption United

(Hidden)          ———–

Presidential Wolves   ——-

Corruption United

(Hidden)          ———–

Police Marauders FC    —–

Corruption United

(Hidden)          ———–

Hunger Stars FC         ——

Police Marauders FC   

(Hidden)          ———–

Politricks FC           ——-

Corruption United

 

 

 

Presidential Wolves striker, Goodluck J. Okocha, recently asked an elderly buddy and chairman of Wolves, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur-Bebeto, to mentor more leaders. Question is, where is the leadership? Bamanga Tukur had not cared to restrain his son, Mahmud, from the pot of our patrimony… Maybe striker Goodluck J. Okocha thinks being in a position of power and authority makes one a leader. It doesn’t. Goodluck J. Okocha’s flattering comments have changed nothing.  Right now words are superfluous; they irritate the youths who unambiguously insist on rectitude and accountability in government. What Goodluck J. Okocha should have said to Alhaji Bamanga Tukur-Bebeto: “Rebuke your son in the market square and hand him over to EFCC (Stars)!”

 

The truth is morbid, but we have to face it: Oil has been a curse to Nigeria. It has cursed the country with showers of violence, instability, billionaire militants/ terrorists; it has flamed the cupidity and vanity of our elite… Some women of the Niger Delta recently sought for a peaceful and United Nigeria. Disunity and the attendant strife have been the ruin of many nations; these women know it; they said so. But is Power listening? Would Power act on that?

 

Let’s face another morbid truth: though some Nigerians (mostly the elite) are at present bawling their willingness to fight and die for Nigeria’s unity, they of course wouldn’t mind if Nigeria disintegrates this very minute: Nigeria interests them not at all. What interests them – Dubai, Zurich, London, Paris…

 

The Unbelievers! 😦 

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The Cliché Collector/ Alchemist: Issue 15

Welcome to the 15th of September and to the 15th issue of #TCCA. Hmm… a ‘fifteenous’ coincidence… 🙂

My thoughts are on Sophia Obi’s first collection of poetry, Tears in a Basket. I did a review of the book about three years ago. The review is still in my files, unpublished. Don’t know why I’m still holding on to it…

Well, one of these days… 🙂

[The lab. Alchemist is on the sofa, rifling through a newspaper].

ALCHEMIST [dropping the paper on a side stool]: Metaphors are linguistic sinews; they are apt: They elevate and enliven writing; but they also can embarrass it. They are, therefore, to be sought, to be coined, and to be used – with caution. What we know today as clichés are mostly dead metaphors. The Jewish-American writer, Howard Nemerov, has this to say about dead metaphors: “That these metaphors may be not dead but only sleeping, or that they may arise from the grave and walk in our sentences, is something that has troubled everyone who has ever tried to write plain expository prose.” Nemerov is as right as life. You are, of course, at liberty to disagree with my assertion. The tragedy is, you are, if you disagree, at risk of slipping, like the ineffectual village speaker, into the in-my-capacity-as-the-chairman gibberish… 😦

[Removing his pince-nez].

Yes, that’s today’s specimen – IN MY CAPACITY AS THE CHAIRMAN

[Coughs slightly]. Actually, I’m not the only one possessed by a fit of coughing. Look around you, Miss Somebody is giggling; Mr. Someone is expiring with laughter. The applause is false, bogus, plastic; mocking, actually. Don’t take your seat gloating in a successful oration: you have not made one. Agreed, you have made a speech and the audience has applauded; but do you know the message you passed across? [Yawning]. Here it is: “In my capacity as an incapable man…”

[Stepping out of the lab] Sorry… 😦

The Cliché Collector/ Alchemist: Issue 14

My head cracked – a kernel of wonderment. Read why here. How sad and ridiculous, how wicked and pathetic that Dana Air should be striving to stop the inquest into he air accident of Sunday, June 3rd 2012. Their action should be taken for what it is: an attempt to mock the dead, to denigrate our psyche. The government’s decision to restore Dana Air’s operating license has more than empowered the company with the venom of arrogance and contempt.

We must not stand and stare; we should say no to such arrogance; we should insist on having an inquest. Not to do so would be to invite more disasters. Enough! 😦


“Until The Next Cenotaph”, a poem by Kenechi Uzochukwu (@Kaycee on naijastories.com), brilliantly captures the many faces of the tragedy. This poem was featured in the Naija Stories anthology So We Do Not Forget
:

First,

The wails were distant

A far off news echo

We didn’t feel the pain

Not as much as we should

Nor as angry as we ought

They were just names

Only names on a manifest

And a tragedy on screen

Soon we forgot

The next was closer

Still we mostly wondered

And then questioned

And looked to blame

First God

He shoulda known better

We questioned Him

But God is a silent being

He didn’t say a word

So we shifted

To the authorities

And we got answers

Of ineptitude

And corrupt speak

With only a sigh

And a head shake

We chose again to forget

For we knew not the dead

They weяε mere figures

List on a manifest

They were unfortunate

We are survivors

They are the fallen

Frontline casualties

In this war of life

In the battle Nigeria

Are our hands free

From their fall?

Just a little check

A little caution

A little truth

And they might still be standing

But we did nothing

No

We took pictures

We updated profiles

We heard speeches

We sighed and shrugged

Life has happened

We did nothing else

And the arms of tragedy

Stretched even closer

Arms we could have delayed

If we only tried,

But look here our cenotaph

For we are dead

Now we have fallen

Now others sing the songs

Take the pictures

And ‘Like’ the updates

Most are compelled

Again to God

Again silence

But in His silence they are consoled

Always in the believe

That He knew and He saw

And He purposed.

So with a sigh

And resign

They set their hearts to mend

Until the next cenotaph

***

[The lab. ALCHEMIST is pacing around].

ALCHEMIST: I remember the words my neighbour spoke the day Mbari, another neighbour, was stabbed to death: “Mbari was a handsome, generous man, but his obsession with other men’s wives was a fatal flaw that cost him his life.” [Coughs, then yawns]. A FATAL FLAW – I need not tell you that’s today’s specimen – is an ancient relic of dramatic criticism. Back in the damned old days, to explain how the hero flopped in a play, you pick one of his foibles and say that was the fatal flaw… [Stops abruptly]. Those days are gone. This relic is better left buried. The day you resurrect this relic, you die… 😦

[Walks out of lab].

The Nigerian Thunder League (NTL): Issue 6

(As chronicled by Voss)

 

I am entitled to a lease of ire; I will take it.

 

11:30am, 31st August, 2012. In response to the Garden City Literary Festival’s call for entries for a workshop to be held in Port Harcourt in October, I had sent an entry, my sixth, to the email address given: info@gardencityfestival.com. Failed, like the five before it. 😦 (Before even attempting to submit, I’d navigated to their (supposed) website http://www.gardencityfestival.com. Unavailable).  My eyes hurt; these people kept me awake for two days – in vain. I should sue them…  😦

 

SCORES

──────

 

Natural Disaster Babes  = 2      ————

Patriotic Stars FC = 0

BH No-Pity FC =  2                 ————

Hunger Stars FC = 0

Politricks FC  =  1                   ————

Presidential Wolves = 1

Police Marauders FC = 1       ———–           Hunger Stars FC = 0

 

TRANSFERS

────────

NAME

FROM

TO

(Hidden)          ———–

Presidential Wolves  ——

BH No-Pity FC

(Hidden)          ———–

Presidential Wolves   ——

BH No-Pity FC

(Hidden)          ———–

Presidential Wolves   ——-

BH No-Pity FC

(Hidden)          ———–

Police Marauders FC    —–

BH No-Pity FC

(Hidden)          ———–

Hunger Stars FC         ——

BH No-Pity FC

(Hidden)          ———–

Politricks FC           ——-

Corruption United

(Hidden)          ———–

Politricks FC             ——

Corruption United

 

 

Police Marauders FC recently confirmed the return from Spain of 27 members of Hunger Stars FC. Of course they had not returned voluntarily; they had to be deported. Their deportation reminds me of my good friend Umunwaele’s old lines –

 

(V )

Saint Andrew

Has baptized your sons

And abroad is their sole anthem.

Amala. Eba. Tuwo Shinkafa.: 

It’s Spain or suicide

London or long live death!

BA waits at the table

Of Lord No Vacancy.

MA bolted,

Hyper-ready for the dirty dishes

Of Surrey.

PhD traversed the lake of shame

In the frigate Casuistry:

Before Prince Ton and Herr Vard,

Prostrate he lies, anxious for a better cake. J

***

 

In Maje town, near Abuja, a fuel tanker burst into flames. Two members of Patriotic Stars FC confirmed sold to the restless and impatient buyer – death. Dust and twisted steel are what remains of 29 buildings in the vicinity of the disaster. Now Nightmare marches an army across the brows of the residents.   

 

Flummoxed by ever careening vehicles, determined to check the lunacy of most drivers, FRSC Babes recently announced a compulsory eye test for driving license applicants.

 

Mohammed Manga, the man who bombed the United Nations building in Abuja, must be grinning in hell. Yes, hell; the bloke was misled into thinking heaven was his destination L. The Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), a fractious and rebellious group at Politricks FC, criticized Presidential Wolves’ offer to rebuild the bombed building. It is misplaced magnanimity, CPC said. Presidential Wolves have been mostly reticent on the issue, indirectly telling the CPC: You know price of everything and the value of nothing.  <:)/X/:(>                

 

Please wait; let me write to the colonel …

The Cliché Collector/ Alchemist: Issue 13

A grebe leapt in my heart. My eyes, two lamps of light, held hers in glutinous intimacy. My lip muscles relaxed and my mouth hung like a virago’s in mid caterwaul. I took a step forward. She stood still, smiling wistfully. Suddenly possessed by ambition, I fell into her arms and together we sealed a lease of rapture. Your lips are caviar, I said, disengaging myself. She stared at me, two liquid bronze dots on her cheeks. I will call you Alhambra, I said. Without a word she took my hands. I found myself being led through a bend in the river… #My New Mistress September

[The lab. ALCHEMIST is observing everything within].

ALCHEMIST [relief stenciled on his face]: Maybe the lab is free of bombs. Maybe. But no regret having stayed away yesterday. [Coughs and swallows the phlegm]. We still have Ameh Comrade Godwin to thank for today’s specimen. Three rounds of applause for him, please. [Claps drunkenly. Stops as quickly as he had begun]. Someone must be eavesdropping: I heard a sound at the window. [Walks to the window and pokes out head]. Nobody visible… No, they must have hidden. [Moving away from the window]. I see death stalking me… [Shakes head]. Thanks, Godwin, for this –

Specimen – A BIG/ HEAVY BLOW

In the phrase Big and Heavy are robbers; you should have realized that. They are clumsy, but having the power of death, they slaughter without inhibition. Have you seen Ananaias of The Jero Plays? Congratulations if you have. Ananaias is a sterling representation of the murderous duo of Big and Heavy. A (brutal, enervating) blow has been dealt, not on the widow, widower, rape/ accident victim, e.t.c., as you would have us believe; but on the head of your story/ feuilleton. What we have now is a stunned page.  Grammar Nazis and linguistic snobs are sending you a free coffin…  [Grabs head, suddenly]

Headache? [Staggers out of lab].