Afrosays to me

…random excerpts from my communions with the AfroMuse

The Passenger May 27, 2011

Filed under: Scenic — Betty @ 10:03 pm
Tags: ,

The gong I beat, you might not know.. I borrowed it from your village. It is old and rusty but familiar.. Listen, for it might explain why they act the way they do…
WaryBetty

It?

He looked over his shoulder again. It was still there. What it was, he knew not. His wife looked at him sharply.
“Femi, face front! Ki lo n se yin gan? You want to kill us? What are you looking for?” Her high-pitched voice did nothing to ease his fear.
There was a presence in the car, asides him and his wife of two years. And it was an oppressing presence. How could he explain this to his wife without sounding like Looney Tunes? He decided to keep his mouth shut.
He stepped on the accelerator and zig-zagged on the road, knowing it was a stupid thing to do but somehow hoping the movements would unsettle whatever it was.
“Ye! Femi! O o ni pa wa oh! What is chasing you? Are you mad?” His wife screamed.
It chuckled. It was more like a low cackle. It pleased it to see him riled. After all, why else was it here? It enjoyed seeing the other people on the road rain curses on him. They were doing it’s work for it. It would cause the uneasiness, they would do the cursing. It would save it’s curses for a stronger target. It smiled and grew bigger, opened it’s pores and reduced the air in the car.
Femi took a deep breath, then struggled to take another. What was happening?
He shouldn’t have been sleeping in church. He loosened his tie. He lowered the windows, where the hell was all the air?
His wife was panicking now; her hands fluttering all over and shrieking in Yoruba. He felt dizzy. He couldn’t hear her. Get out! Yes, he had to get out of the car!
He swerved the car to the shoulder and jumped out, startling a trader who was setting out her wares. Cars horned. People screamed in protest.
His wife ran out to him. “Femi! Femi talk to me! What is it? Blood of Jesus! Femi! Da mi loun!”
Femi bent over, hands on knees and dragged in the air. “Sade, there’s.. there’s something.. something in.. in the car.”
Sade looked back then looked back to her husband. He must be going mad! “Femi, there’s nothing in the car..” Her grandmother had warned her against this marriage. She should have listened. Now, her husband was going mad. “Femi?”
She reached to touch him but he jerked and started to run like the devil was biting his very heels. Sade took off after him. “Femi! Femi!”
The trader shook her head. These crazy rich people, they had left their car open. Her daughter tugged at her wrapper. “Yes? Omo mi?”
“Mummy, why did they leave the old woman in the car?”
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Love and War May 24, 2011

Filed under: Poetry — afrosays @ 8:24 am
Tags: ,

Terse clangs in a hurry, Terse thoughts incisive. Can you interpret as AfroSays?

LOVE AND WAR

Shrapnel buried in my heart, I’m bandaged, I’m wounded
Smoke and fire swimming in the air, floating over a sea of chaos
Caked blood on your fatigues, deep cracks on your helmet
Tonight we sleep on a bed of destruction
I see souls rising to heaven, we see souls sinking to hell
Barbed wire, screams, rain and thunder
I think I will go by bayonet, you backstabber
But it just might be a bullet to the head
I saw you in the crosshairs and took aim
But you ducked just in time
You sent mortars my way
A bath of lead and mud
Our friends give us ammunition and cheer us on
While we attack each other, they plot the war
The sun will never rise over this carnage
A garden of trenches and orange blooms
All we have is this opera of terror
All we have is this blood red moon
My soul is torn and weary, my throat is sore
Your bones are weak with running, your blood is on the floor
I don’t care for winning, we’ve both lost the war
We’ve lost count of violence, so much for keeping score
Would you take a prisoner?
My guns are on the floor
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Android May 16, 2011

Filed under: Scenic — afrosays @ 2:33 pm
Tags: , ,

Remember that gong? That one with an electrifying sound? The one with speakers and MIDI sequencers instead of bells and whistles? It’s here again! I alight from a flying clay saucer, silvery coifed ‘fro, tight whites, black stripes, ikira on vocoder.

Headphones on, AfroSays:

ANDROiD

Cigarette smoke clung to the air like a visitor from the other. Her cigarette smoke.
Even the smoke she blew was beautiful; men would kiss it if no one was there. Through the smoke, I could see her eyes. Black like her Mascara. Her hair was black too. Long, curled and black. Her short dress, her clutch on the table, her heels. Black.
She was seated at the far end of the bar desk, sipping on something bright red. Deliberately. And smoking too – with a purpose.
That mystical smoke. It just hung there. It looked like a wise man’s thoughts if one could ever visualize them. Latent. Powerful. Enigmatic.
He studied the cigarette stick. It was white, extra long and extra slender. He must have studied it for two hours and gotten curious when it didn’t burn out.
He must have been curious as to where she got her drink from. It wasn’t any cocktail that they offered and apart from the extra bright glow of it, he would have noticed that despite her periodic sipping, the cocktail hadn’t diminished.
He served other customers and continued to observe her. A high profile gentlemen’s club like this usually didn’t entertain that many comers so he wasn’t really busy. She would pout, drag and blow every few minutes. Take a sip too. And then just be.
He wouldn’t really be able to comprehend her being because he couldn’t really study her features; he would perceive no details. Just a lady, a cocktail, a cigarette and forever smoke. She was there like she wasn’t.
Of course, it was only a matter of time before his curiosity peaked and his started towards the lady in black. Then the phone rang.
By the time he was done answering my diversion she was gone and I was sitting in her place. He looked mildly puzzled but quickly exchanged the look for a pretend smile. I smiled back and ordered for a whisky.
People couldn’t really tell the difference between a laser hologram and a real image till they got close enough to notice the absence of details in the rendering. I was field testing this technology for the SSS. It would help keep important government officials from high exposure situations while also eliminating the need for look-alikes. Rumors in the bureau speculated that the final versions of these hologram projections would talk, run around, feel and be felt. Way more detail.
Now I was to report that those details had to include the holograms finishing their cigarettes, emptying their drinks and not covering themselves with so much dream smoke. Maybe using an ashtray too.
As I finished my drink, I checked my mental list of other test spots I had been assigned for the night. My next stop would be an all night prayer service. Somewhere with just enough people and space for us to blend right in without attracting attention.
Forty five minutes later, we were part of an open crusade. I shook my head at the sight of her in an oversize sweater, sweeping skirt and a non-matching scarf, praying just like everyone else.
I’d love to know what she was telling God. But then, I’m sure he would be mad at her because in a few seconds, she began to smoke her bible.
 

Lost May 13, 2011

Filed under: Scenic — Betty @ 3:13 pm


The gong is new but it beats an old tune.. The knowledge bestowed isn’t always wisdom.. Listen..
DriftingBetty

Mummy?

“Nelson, would you like to come with me to the market?” His mother asked him. There was no answer. “Nelson?”
She turned around to see her eight-year old son with his nose buried in a book so big, even she wouldn’t dare to delve into it. She sighed and shook her head. It was moments like this that she forgot all the awards and accolades that were accrued by the child as one of the smartest persons in the country. She just wanted a baby. She sighed.
Mrs. Okafor walked over to her son and pulling the book out of his hands, she dragged him to his feet. “Ok, it’s no longer an option. Put on your sandals, you’re coming with me!”
Five minutes later, they were off. A singing Mrs. Okafor and a brooding Nelson. She looked over at her son who was muttering something under his breath. Sighing, she put an affectionate hand on his arm. “Come on, Nelson. Don’t murmur; mummy just wanted your company!” He shrugged off her touch.”I’m just memorizing the periodic table; I’m not murmuring!”
Mrs. Okafor pursed her lips and they continued the journey in silence. She was tired. On an impulse, she diverted to Ije market, there was no point going all the way to Kajola, though less crowded, she didn’t want a moody companion for the long drive.
Parking, she got down and walked over to get her son out. “Give me your hand, and don’t let go!” she told him as they struggled their way through the crowd.
They made slow progress through the market; both forgetting about their tense moments in the car.
Mrs. Okafor started her haggling over prices while Nelson studied everything around him; saving things in brain compartments for future analysis.
Mama Deborah sold vegetables, it was whispered among the market people that she was going blind. She made mistakes frequently but nobody ever returned to complain, probably because of the frightening scar running down the cheek of her old face.
Mrs. Okafor approached her warily. She was the only trader with that type of vegetable. She picked up the freshest and examined it, turning it over with both hands.
“Mama, how much you dey sell this one?”
Mama Deborah squinted at the bunch of vegetables the woman was holding and rattled off a price so exorbitant that Mrs. Okafor took a step back. “Mama! Is it more than these vegetables?”
They then launched into a long battering process even as Mama Deborah absently watched the little boy wander away. She shrugged and tried to make her aging mind focus on the conversation at hand.
After about five minutes in which the mama settled for a price much lower than Mrs. Okafor was expecting, she decided she’d had enough of the market.
“Nelson. Let’s go home.. Nelson?” She looked around frantically as her heart raced. “Nelson! Mama, did you see my boy?”
Mama Deborah wondered what the woman was talking about. Boy? Oh, the basket boy! He stood by the gate. She pointed in the opposite direction in a very helpful manner.
Nelson knelt and stared at the fishes darting around the bowl. He’d never been this close to catfish, he stretched his hand to poke at them. He’d learnt their bodies could…
“Kai! See this pikin dey put hand for my market!” A large black woman cried out as she slapped his hand and pushed him away. “Wey your mama?” She hissed and pulled her bowl of slithering fish closer to herself, not waiting for an answer.
Tears sprang in Nelson’s eyes. He looked around for his mummy. “Mummy?” People swarmed by and jostled him. “Mummy?!”
But he wasn’t heard above the bustle of the market and the noises of people trying to get good bargains for garri. Gone was the confident Einstein-child who knew that roads were made of tar and macadam; instead there stood the 8-year old who didn’t know the way to his mother.
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In between May 10, 2011

Filed under: Scenic — afrosays @ 4:09 pm
Tags: ,


Come one, come all. He is here!
Sit your behinds on the red earth. Let his words scrape the fence.
Keep the children away. Panda beats the gong.

Today, I beat the beautiful gong of one besotted by the sirens. But it sounds out the hollowness that comes with the sad realization of the truth that freedom is not always found on the easy path… This is my story…
Panda

Freedom?

I thought it was freedom. The first time. The sound of it emanating from our core in one, loud expression of pleasure.
It came from her in short, sharp, contracting spasms… and from my lips in the form of an epileptic sigh of release.
Ah, ah ah…ahh… aaaah…
Freedom
From the trappings of a life which I don’t know how I got into.
But this isn’t the end of my story. Or the beginning.
It begins with one glass of tequila knocked back in frustration.
One shot to knock away the bad taste her words left in my mouth. To quench the thirst gathered from running away from her issues. I was tired. So I ran here.
The fighting, the yelling, the disrespect… a man can handle many things his woman may do, but when she doesn’t respect him?
The glass dropped to the bar table, and the next round was shared with you. I still don’t remember how we got to that point. Who said hi, who offered to buy that drink. Who asked to exchange numbers … I remember, at some point, telling you about her.
But I guess you didn’t care. One call led to the next. Late night texts about nothing important. The talks about sex went nowhere. I wouldn’t betray her. Even amidst her fuckery.
You said you understood.
We could just be friends.
Right then, I should have walked away.
But I liked it. The attention. The laughs. The connection. The respect. Oh…what a difference…
I should’ve walked away.
My people say “Na from clap, dance dey start.”
We were clapping to your tune. The sound of it pulling my feet to dance astray, to break free from this prison. Pulling, slowly. Pulling, surely. Pulling my body into a sway. Until…the dance began.
And we danced. O, we danced. We…!
Ah, ah ah…ahh…aaahhh…!
And so it happened, and went on…emotional needs satiated by physical deliverance.
And I thought it was freedom.
Till this release became a prison in itself. The need for you. I started to need you.
I never felt it coming. Didn’t feel it in your voice when you said I couldn’t stay over cos you had to work in the morning. Not when I got more entrenched in you.
Now you tell me you’re done. “I’ve had my fill and now it’s time to clear the dishes. Don’t look so morose. We had a good time. I just don’t need the drama. You weren’t alpha, you certainly won’t be omega.”
Those were your words right before you shut the door in my face this morning.
This morning, as I came to tell you that I’d told her about you, and I was ending it…
Breathe…breathe…breathe…
What have I done?
Two children … no pre-nup…
What have I done?
Suddenly, I don’t feel so free…

Panda writes here. Do visit.
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Taye and Juliet May 4, 2011

Filed under: Scenic — afrosays @ 6:33 am
Tags: ,

My gong is red and dangerous. A dull maroon so that you don’t notice the freak of it till it’s too late. Shrill bangs as AfroSays:

TAYE AND JULIET

...My Taye...

Whoever father nature is, he has offended his wife again because she is crying; her sorrow is a slow, bitter downpour that falls from her hidden face. She cries without shame for no one can see her.
It has been pouring for three hours now and I’ve been outside his house the whole time, waiting.
I know I am a tad too early today but I couldn’t wait to see him. Since I came, I’ve been watching his suffocating silhouette swim perfectly along the curtains that obscure him from view. Those flimsy curtains do a lousy job at protecting his privacy. Sometimes he would put on an exotic show just for me but today he didn’t, he won’t.
The streets are deserted. His house is on the outskirts of town and everyone has enough space in their yard to accommodate three cars and two mango trees. Cheap land.
It’s not just cars that stay inside, people do too. There’s not much to do here, but I have to keep my visits discreet. I always park three blocks away.
Taye, he would be out any moment now, wearing one of his six polo shirts tucked into dark blue denim, bb holstered, looking like a modern Adonis. Since it is cold, he would be sporting a black neck scarf, It is either his favorite or the only one he has.
But what do I care about scarves? He is perfect, flawless like ray of morning sun, my Taye. Coffee-skinned, tall, pretty but not too pretty face, staggering with his lean, well muscled frame. He is also witty, with a good sense of humor. I smile like a nutcase. My Taye.
The gate to his house opens and soon after, he drives out and parks gently. He then briskly walks back in to lock up. Even under the rain, my Taye does not run.
Usually, I would drive after him to Wine Shop or Pablo’s where he drinks with the guys till some time past midnight and after which they would all go clubbing. Before the night is over, I would find the perfect time to break into his car and leave a mild whiff of my perfume, hoping that he would pick out my scent in the office elevator the next day. I always make sure we get in the elevator together. I always make sure we’re never too close.
But I’m tired of hoping. Tonight, I would be breaking into his house, to bask in his essence and live as his wife, if only for a night. I would cook him a pot of soup, wash his clothes, do the dishes, clean the bathrooms, polish the floor tiles, dust the furniture, and when I’m done, I would douse everything, from the hand-towels in the kitchen to his suits in the wardrobe, with my scent. I have five bottles of Lady Million with me. I would empty four bottles completely and leave the empty canisters along with the fifth fresh bottle as a mementos on his dresser with a mystery note.
I would give him one last chance at noticing me at church on Sunday. I would be right next to him at the choir stand. Oh! The voice of him!
We’re meant for each other, I know it, but If we do not find love after this weekend, we would have to find it in the afterlife.
He only takes coffee on weekdays, so today, I would put a strong sedative in his Nescafe. I can always get rid of it if he brings me back home from church. If he doesn’t, come Monday, I have planned our own beautiful version of Romeo and Juliet. As he sleeps on the kitchen table, I would let myself in and we would have our first kiss. Cherry Cyanide. We would die a classic death. Together. We would find love in the afterlife.
My Taye.
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Voices May 2, 2011

Filed under: Scenic — Betty @ 10:20 am
Tags: ,

Hello world,
I’m beating a black hollow gong; the sounds rattle the soul.. Get submerged in the riotous tides…
Yours, DarkBetty.

... the black is coming ...

The voices in my head. They are shouting. They are screaming. They want out.
They want to manifest.
My left hand flutters to the scarf around my throat. Tight. Too tight.
I drag in deep breaths. No. Not now. Not today.
In. Out. In. Out.
I look at her from the corner of my eye. I watch her hand loosen the scarf; that always happens. Hand to throat.
No.
I look down at myself, resplendent in white.
No. Not now. Not today.
She’s not well. I knew this before I loved her. I knew this, yet, I love her still.
But please, not today.
I see my gleaming bride try to discreetly glance at her maid of honor. This friend that is the only thing wrong with my bride.
I sometimes believe she loves her more than me. Like now.
But we’re getting married, please pay attention.
The screams are louder. Ricocheting on the walls of my mind. I tap my foot nervously. The shudders have started. I can see him frown at us. He doesn’t understand. My vision blurs slightly then everything’s sharp again.
They want out. I grit my teeth. Tight. No.
But it seems the more I resist, the more restless they get.
And I know.
With all certainty, it’s going to happen.
I can’t do this to her.
I turn to see her hand the bouquet over to another bride’s maid and walk slowly towards the side doors of the church. Her steps are unsteady. It’s happening.
I look at my groom. A scowl etched on his face. His dark eyes seem to scream: “Choose! Her or me?”
The pastor is asking if everything is ok. Of course not.
My eyes swing from my groom to my friend. Then back. And forth.
My mother is approaching the altar.
I watch my bride turn in a swirl of white lace and run after her friend.
She has chosen.
The crowd is moving and murmuring.
I look at my feet. Be a man. She has chosen.
But I love her.
“Stay here.” I tell the fussy mother and run after them.
They want out. They are going to get out. Please just let me get in. Let me hide.
Let my shame remain covered.
I reach the back office just as the first jolt comes and I am slammed to the ground.
Pain, sharp pain lances through my head.
The black is coming.
I let go and welcome it.
The voices are out.
I watch her fall jerkily to the ground. My tears fall freely, ruining the makeup that had been applied painstakingly.
I run to her and drag her fully into the office.
She is screaming. An incoherent language. She is jerking, her hands flailing wildly about.
I get a fist in my eye and I cry harder.
When will all this end?
I hear a gasp and see my groom staring at us in shock.
He came.
The picture that greets me is one I won’t forget. My beautiful bride is sitting on the ground in her white dress, trying to hold on to her screaming friend.
The friend is shouting gibberish in an unknown language.
Understanding comes.
And I love her even more.
I close the door behind me and join them on the floor.
Together, we try to prevent her from hurting herself.
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