Afrosays to me

…random excerpts from my communions with the AfroMuse

Navigating Dark Alley March 4, 2011

Filed under: Scenic — afrosays @ 3:43 pm
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Hello Afro-family!

People close to me know that my stories are ‘impulse-inspired’ i.e. I write spontaneously from how I feel, what I see, what I experience… You know, what comes to me in my own little world space.

The Afromuse is in one of those moods where her strong emotions make weird things happen. If you’re driving around Lagos on a clear, sunny day and you see a house covered by dark clouds, whirling winds, erratic lightning blades and icy rain, that’s where I live, and that’s where the witch is.

Apart from dark mode, nothing major has been going on in the village of late, I’m currently trying to get a one or two Towncriers to share on the Afro-gong and you’re welcome too. Till then, I’d be talking to the stone gargoyles over the fireplace, the snake-dragons from the kitchen and the tattooed wolves from the dungeon. We’re the committee burdened with the responsibility of cheering up the bipolar neurotic, her divine, lest the house be torn apart and we all perish.

Dodging flying chairs, I’m sneaking out so I can beat a breather on the gong for a minute, because Afrosays:

NAVIGATING DARK ALLEY

... RED BIRO ...

A bottle of gin on the table, next to my revolver; the latter to cause to end my pain, the former to make me numb enough to use the latter.
I am sitting at the wooden chair-table-lamp combo every cheap motel seems to have these days, watching two celebrity cockroach super heroes fly about in their brown shiny capes, while the mosquitoes sing a variety of disconnected theme songs.
I let them be, tonight is about me. There is nothing I can do to successfully mitigate their ceremony anyway, this is their city.
A swig of the nasty stuff brings me back to focus. I smile as I look back through my four decades of meaningless existence, I nod as I remember the defining moment of my third decade, when I swore to myself that exactly today, if I am still alive, I would be in this room, with this bottle and this red pen, to take a self-examination.
Maybe it is mid-life crisis, maybe I should just return home to Aisha and the kids, crawl into my larger-than-usual cubicle on Monday at Exxon, spend the whole month changing the way the dust settles in my insignificant corner the universe, and crawl back into my hole with half a million at the end of it. But I’ve been doing that for a while now and it doesn’t look like that’s one of the good points that would put the red pen away.
The boys should know how to deal with this, they don’t seem to be as disillusioned as I am. Give them a football match, several bottles of the good stuff and each others’ company and they should be alright for a millennium or two. Maybe I should try that when I get home, if I get home, but there’s no way I’m leaving this room alive if I don’t do well on the test.
Another swig.
The desk I’m sitting at has a few blank sheets of paper, a black biro and a Gideon’s bible.
With one sheet on the bible, I write down the following questions with their score weights as I had devised them on my thirtieth birthday:
“What is your name?” 1 point.
“What is your purpose?” 99 points.
I have two minutes.
Another swig.
I have one point.
Now I begin to stare at the second question like it’s 9D Star Wars advanced mathematics. It doesn’t make any sense to me.
“What is purpose?”
Swig.
“Do I have one?”
Deeper swig.
“Purpose. Purpose. Purpose. Ashhhhh!”
I have about forty-five seconds more and I know what I must do if I fail.
I start panicking.
Swiiiiiiiiig.
My vision is blurry now but I can still see the ominous question staring at me like a demon-personified incantation wrought to summon me to the underworld. The revolver is some distance from it looking all extra-shiny like it was made for a Bond movie. A quick glance at my watch tells me I have only ten seconds left.
After ten seconds, I know what I must do. I have to be brave.
I drop the pen and pick up the gun in my left hand and with the other hand, put the bottle to my lips for the last time. I toss my head to the back with reckless abandon, submitting myself to the falling sensation.
SWIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIG
Bam!
I wake up the next morning on the floor, still partially sitting in the chair that had fallen backwards, surrounded by shattered pieces of glass and a horrid smell.
The room is still dark but in my brain, there are a thousand lights. I stand up to find my creased white shirt stained from the mix of gin and the low-quality wood polish that makes the floor look like it had been ‘carpented’ from parts of a medieval ship wreck.
I eventually find the gun flung in some distant corner, under the bed. I make for it; the test isn’t over.
I sit again, one last time, ten seconds before I put my pen down.
If I fail, I won’t need a suicide note, whoever reads my blank sheet would understand.
“What is your purpose?”
In less than a second, it occurs to me why my existence is mediocre, that some would say that I don’t deserve to live because I don’t have anything to die for.
Of course, the swig of gin that took me out was a clever attempt for self-preservation. Of course, I’m a coward, a dog; I hate life but I love it. My purpose in life might be non-grandiose, even non-existent but I usually would rather stay alive.
My ten seconds expire.
A newly employed cleaner would come in an hour later to a most terrible, first day on the job. As she cleans up, she would notice at an odd-looking piece of paper on the table that reads:
“1. Yusuf Sanni ”
“2. To stay alive; A living dog is better than a dead lion.”
“Score: 100 points”
 

The Black Hole August 3, 2010

Filed under: Scenic — afrosays @ 6:38 pm
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The goddess was held me in her arms as I wept.

My world was crashing all around me.

She reminded me that old civilizations always had to give way to new; I’m just hoping Jerusalem isn’t coming down for Babylon.

She sang me a lullaby, I slept.

I’m now awake and I shall sing it to you all only because Afrosays:

THE BLACK HOLE

The Black hole

The Black hole

“Beep… beep… beep”

The seconds of my life were being counted by one of the several boxes of wire that kept me alive.
I wasn’t sure I was ready for the extremely long beep that would signal the end of my life but according to what the doctors had said, that sound was two days late and it would be here anytime soon.
It’s not that I wasn’t prepared; I’d settled grievances, seen my lawyer and put my house in order. Heck! I’d even told Cecilia that she could marry that moron that had been the centre of our family trouble for the past two years since she finished college. I was desperately trying to use these last moments to buy inner peace but I still wasn’t sure I had the right currency.
Freddy told me that the idiot across the room holding my daughter’s hand. Freddy said he looked like the angel of death that was responsible for all the recent motor accidents along the Benin-Ore Express way with all the scrap metal coming in and out of his disgustingly tattooed skin. The first day I saw him, I wished the London Arts School scholarship hadn’t come through for Cecilia, six years ago. I never seemed to understand the fact that her boyfriend was a successful musician somewhere in Europe, Cecilia deserved better.
But she wasn’t my burden at the moment, I was. These past few years had been my most successful; I had taken a lot from the world and given it gifts in return. I was sure my name would be remembered for my outstanding contributions to health science. I had been a good man, but was that ever enough? Freddy said my wife’s pastor was still in the room and according to the religious rituals we’d gone through together the few weeks before I blacked out, I was cool with God and ready to go, but deep inside me I wasn’t sure if there was a place to go to. The pastor had once mentioned that the just shall live by faith, but it was too late to ask him what the just was meant to die by?
My eyes were closed.  My body was on shut down. I could only depend on my ever reliable brain. It had a nickname, Freddy I called it. I had developed Freddy so much that he was two hundred years older than I was and had a mind of his own. I didn’t deserve any of those accolades the world lavished on me, Freddy did. He deserved everything from the national honour to the Nobel price, yet, he couldn’t help me out this time. He hadn’t been able to come up with a sensible explanation for eternity, re-incarnation or two thousand virgins. All Freddy knew was limited to this sphere.
I had searched through my childhood memories of Sunday school till my early years of marriage, before the call of humanitarianism took me away and all I found were contradictions. The only problem was that no one had been honest enough to admit they didn’t have the answers. They were all too scared to think for themselves and relied on any man who was bold enough to pretend he understood the great mystery of life. Those kinds of men got too many with time and the contradictions became more evident. Eventually the bright left in search for the real truth.
I still haven’t found it. I used Google till Microsoft bought it over and messed it up and it wasn’t in any of the two trillion web pages on their index. There was no truth in hedonism or even in excessive piety either. All my experiments led to one single fact: No matter how long man tried to pretend, his true nature always surfaced. No one was perfect. No one could uphold whatever dogma they put forth without falling short. They could only pretend in hypocrisy and that was my dilemma, the fact that no one could live up to any paradigms, even basic laws they set up themselves. If we cannot live up to our own standards, how much more that of some perfect deity?  We’re all doomed to incompetence and low self esteem!
“Beeeeeeeeep!  Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeep! Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!”
Suddenly, Freddy came through, just when I’d lost hope. He seldom failed me.
“Doctor! Doctor!!!”
Pandemonium.
I didn’t care.
My soul smiled.
And then I laughed – I opened my eyes and laughed real hard.
They were shocked because Freddy had put me in a coma for two weeks so he could work.
I’d finally found the answer!
Being human was the joke of the millennium!
“Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!”

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You want? So what? July 9, 2010

Filed under: Scenic — afrosays @ 5:30 pm
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The time wanderer

Onigba...

The muse lent me to Onigba, the inconspicuous time-wanderer of indigenous origins; I beat an ancient ring-tone with a mellow tempo on my gong, Afrosays:

She smiles in the bus, the grayed lady, taking a leisurely stroll, basking in the sunny moments of times past. I look at her and smile in agreement and I’m on to the next one
I’m on a journey for the good old; I’m feeling grand, and clement weather assures me that nature’s feeling likewise. I’m on a journey for the good old days.
I’m the time-wanderer, call me ‘Onigba’.
I guess we’ve had our moments, you and I. Did you recognize me?
No! I’m not that weirdo you noticed under the bridge happily calculating 9D mathematics on the sand in Latin and I’m not his buddy either. I don’t have a fancy wand or carry a moribund hour-glass (although I popularized that look in Nebuchadnezzar’s times). I’ve been around since loin-cloths and cave-cribs, when your kind measured how old they were by how many Yam planting seasons they’d participated in. I saw Socrates make up stuff he couldn’t quite figure out and Shakespeare conduct his low-budget plays. I saw Hitler, Rockefeller and I’m still seeing Babangida. I’m the Rolex and the Omega!
You did not recognize me because I’m one with time. I’m quite the conformist. I wore a suit the day we met at your office, I’ve worn all the cuts of Jeans you’ve worn and I’m still figuring out how to get out of my most recent denim adventure without employing the use of a pair of scissors. Don’t bother trying to look out for me; I look too much like you.
I’ve lived with your kind since the big bang or the big apple, I really don’t care which. I was born the same day as Adam or Australopithecus, and you’ve all come a long way… to vanity. You’ve missed the point. SMH!
Live!
Like him, he’s smiling too, smiling at the irony of it all. He’s not sure how he’s come this far on so little. He’s not sure how he’s going to make it through but he’s sure he will. He’s hanging out with the boys tonight; he knows he’s got major issues but he’d take the little joys he demands from life.
Maybe He’d pay the rent, maybe not; maybe he’d get the job, maybe not; maybe he’d love again, maybe not; but tonight, we drink to life, Guy and I.
Like her, she’s smiling too, and then she laughs at the irony of love. He’s home early today and she’s glad. He told her he was sorry for the third time and she took him in knowing his weakness would lead him on yet another tryst. She was just glad to have him for now. She hoped to have him forever.
She deserves forever, so what? Tonight, we celebrate love and life.
Who cares what you want? There’s no Persia or Babylon or King Solomon! There’s just two glasses… what’s our toast?


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