Treasure Island

samuel nze

(13th October 1980 / lagos, nigeria)

An African Evening


Blunder of a father
Failure of a mother
Bad children
With bleak future
They look to me with pitiful eyes.
I see that little girl
Sitting on a stool by the road.
She is shouting
'Cold pure water! '
She wants me to buy
Hydrogen dioxide in
a polythene sachet
But I have no money.
I ignore her shrills
And concentrate on the road
Okada riders try to shunt traffic
Then the accident occurs.
Blood
Bits of flesh
Coagulating spleen matter
Shocking vituperations
Is she dead?
Apparently the head is hit
And the tommy torn open
The rescuers come hurrying away
From the goof they'd been smoking
Up and help
The skirmish stuns me.
I look away
To the shops over there.
I see a fat woman
Standing before the yam seller.
How much?
The seller tries to phoneticize
She frames her lips for the offensive
Terry naira ownly pleez
What are you saying?
Asks a disgusted buyer
The seller had thought
It was a contest
Buyer refuses to speak vernacular
Seller must follow suit
After all, she too had some schooling
Only that the cruel hands
Of ugly destiny
Kept her behind yams each evening.
You say tarty naira?
Yep
Do you want to sell at all?
Seller does not know if
The quarrel is with cost
Or phoneticization.
Test.
Cancel phoneticization, the cheaper
Of the two and see the result
O bu naira iri ato
Okay
Give me two
That will be sixty naira.
Clearly the quarrel had been
With phoneticization.
Bad world.
No one wants you to be somebody
Slavery the livelong day.
I sigh
I look at the sky
Is God there at all?
No need to worry about him anyways.
So I concentrate on my thoughts.
Africa is like that evening
Like the girl shrilling
About cold water
Like the okada rider trying
To shunt traffic
Like the fat woman hating English in
A seller's mouth
Like me with no money in
My back pocket wallet.
They say the black man
Has no soul
Rather I should say
The black soul
Has no man.
Do you get my point
Or should I write a treatise first?

Submitted: Friday, April 22, 2005

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  • Mary Nagy (1/21/2006 7:55:00 AM)

    Samuel, this is such a graphic poem. I love how you showed your African evening as it is........you didn't ''pretty it up'' for the poem. That's a wonderful way to teach people what life is really like. Great poem. Sincerely, Mary (Report) Reply

  • Raynette Eitel (6/8/2005 9:18:00 AM)

    This poem is layered with such devastating and common images. When I read the title, I thought it would be a poem about the beauty of an African evening. Your poem is powerful and with much food for thought. It is a glimpse of an Africa most of us never see. Thanks.

    Raynette (Report) Reply

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