OF THINGS FINICKY AND THINGS GROSS

I felt irresponsible pee-ing into the fountain. But it was not my fault, the water wasn’t running in the men’s room of this finicky eatery at Kilo in Surulere. What I did seemed to be the only way.

I would have gone scot-free if that kid hadn’t spied me pee-ing into the fountain. I was startled out of my pants when I heard

“ewwwww, gross!”

I quickly packed it all in. The remaining pee poured into my boxers and some ran down my legs. It all felt truly gross. Really gross, that was. I’ve never pee my pants since I was frightened out of my shoes a long time ago. I can’t even remember that now.

I wouldn’t have bothered about being observed, even if I had been harassed by the security (I didn’t see any in sight, though) but there was that little girl (can’t be more that 5 or 6 staring wide-eyed and disapprovingly at (me?) or (it).

I have never been that embarrassed in my entire life. It would not have happened at all if Funmi, the chic I was meeting at Finicky, had come earlier. I was pressed beyond my endurance, and the gross way seemed to be the only way. But that only turned out the bad way.

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THE GOOD YEAR

’11 was a good year. It is not the best year we’ve seen, but the year is the one that has taught me one of the most useful lessons of my 3 decades here. it had it’s low points: when I lost trust; when I lost friends, when I lost love; when I lost my manuscript; and when I lost heart.

I have gained a lot. You don’t know what lessons I have learnt this last year: I have learnt to keep a back up for everything, even Love. okay, you really can’t back up on love. I have learnt also to not take things for granted. To not write people off, and to make allowances for people’s shortcomings; and that no one person is really holier than another. We all play Saints and Sinners, reversing the roles every once in a while.

I am looking forward to this new year. I wish for more ups than downs. And I will make the effort to play the part of Saint. I have played Sinner for far too long I am edge the devil out of business. That’s not fair play in my book. I want to play fair too. I look forward to a better year.

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THE ISLAND AND LOWLANDS OF LAGOS

It figures that I think to look up at the sky only when I am on The Island (Lagos). It is different sun (moon and stars too) that shines on the island. There is this ethereal feeling that makes one stop to look and listen to the beauty of our people, the muse of nature and the ambience of Our Land, only at Victoria Island and Lekki .

Of course the go-slows are there, there’s even this toll-gate at Lekki, but life is more progressive in the measured pace of the island folks. Traffic rules are obeyed, and everyone keep to their lanes. Okadas know their place and stick to it. There are no smoky rickety molues- no molues at all. If there is sane traffic system in Lagos, you will find it here. Even NEPA Is responsible on Lagos Island.

No, there is no constant din that is the hallmark of the mainland. No bus Conductor is spilling his lungs, chanting the bus destinations at the top of his stinking breath. There are cabs at your becks and calls. Of course there are mega-phone churches and mosques, but the loud-speakers are turned inward, to edify only penitents within. There is little or no loud bible-thumping to disturb your peace, there is never to be heard, a muezzing raising hell to get you out of bed and come to prayer at 0500hrs. Religion is a private affair.

No, they don’t hawk their gala, richarge cards, bread, mouse traps, hardwares and softwares, hospital equipment, furnitures or building materials in the go-slow. Every item has it’s proper place in shops and malls: gala and everything else are sold and bought off the shelves of nicely decorated, well-lit, air-freshened outlets, with cool background music, where the smiling doormen bid you welcome, or have a nice day. Their ATM machine will not suddenly lose network when your requested cash is only half dispensed.

No, you can’t find poor-wota; their water, in Lagos Island is sold in bottles; no, no rat-poison, no paraga, no baba-ijebu, no agberus, no area boys and omoghetto-girls, and omo-alata babes. The police don’t collect shandy’s, LASTMA officials are seen in their duty posts, there are no KAI and nobody throw thrash on the streets and nobody shit or piss in the gutters. Maybe them no dey mess sef.

Their dogs don’t forage in refuse dumps for chow. The dogs are well fed with homemade meals served in special china-ware engraved with the pet’s name, such names as “SNOOPY”, such names as MISSYE. The dogs bark with confidence, the cats stay off alleys, the parrots speak Queen’s English.

Ajegunle dogs help themselves to rare crumbs from their masters’ tables, and supplement their meagre diet with shit from the open sewers. When they grow big and fat enough, or get lean and sickly they are slaughtered for meat. For food. For the family that is better described as a clan in their own right, if their sizes are anything to go by.

I like the sun that shines on the Island, it invigorate it tans. I hate the sun of the mainland, it makes you hot and sweaty, the air makes you sticky, the crowd and noise that make you grumpy, especially at Mushin and Oshodi. At Oshodi (oke and Isale) exhaust fumes from rickety molues and danfos, combined with the acrid assaults from the second hand smoke of cheap cigarettes, and marijuana makes you high in a low way. I prefer the clean air of VI, Lekki and sometimes Ikoyi (minus Obalende) it could cure asthma.

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GOOD OLD PEN & PAPER

Back to Pen&Paper. Terrible does not come anywhere near describing what I feel about the loss of my Laptop, but I am getting over it now. Be that as it may, each passing day sinks me deeper into the vale of despair over the loss of my un-backed-up four complete manuscripts, and a copy of every of my poems- the good, the not-so-good, and the nonsensical ones.

But i will be consoled if my works fall into literate hands who may know what they are worth, for what they are worth; a samarithan (good or not) who will either bring them back to daddy or at least adopt and nurse them to maturity. I will not mind or fight it if some inspired goon set about publishing them, with or without credits to me. It has happened before when my Aussy Pussy GF stole my first ever poetry collection: WADDING IN SHALLOW WATERS, published it under a pseudonym, and sent me a e-copy- funny eh?. But it is the way of this fast lanes world, or so I thought.

It will be a reckless waste, if those labours of mine, wrought in the flickering luminence of the midnight oil lamp, never see the light of day. I have burned my candle at both ends in those many long nights of self-denial. My copyrights are of little significance in the face of this heart-breaking, head-splitting, unbearable, painful loss. I am working at recovering most of them, from media and online sites where they have been published. But a throwback on Pen&Papper is a arduous task. God know, it is the hardest chore since the days of the cave men (and women)

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NAIJA’S FINEST MEGA CITIES

I thought this thrilling thought, to attempt a comparative analysis of Naija’s mega cities, but I perished the thought before it took a concrete form. But It has become a leech stuck to my blokos- “what the hell? give it what it demands! thinking don’t kill”- the muse whispered in my ear, so here I am giving it a thought.

Lagos, Abuja and Portharcourt are inarguably the three only mega cities in Nigeria- whatever the definition of mega city might be on wikipedia. I have my own definition, I.e. “how obvious are the Redlights”. Not traffic lights o! I mean Redlight as in Redlight district.

LAGOS: I have lived here most of my three decades + on Earth, and I can put my neck on the chopping block for Lagos anytime, anywhere anyhow. But I cannot bear witness to the light- Redlights of Lagos. Most lights come on to shine at nights, and yours sincerely, I am not really a night crawler. so I miss out on all the twinkling winkling redlighting and moonshining going on and off in Lagos. To this Chibuzor Okoroafor can bear me witness on this claim. Only traffic lights rule my world here. Sometime traffic lights rock not my world, but my boat. I am mostly stuck in traffic jams and go-slows. So, my experience of Lagos redlights is the red tailights of vehicles in traffic.e

ABUJA: Abuja, Abuja, Abuja, I know Abuja-folks are conservative (short of saying stucked-up) I really don’t know about the lights (red, Amber, Orange, headlamps, trafficators, streetlamps). But I have always dreamt of the shaded glows and ambience of the Le Femme De Abuja. I wish, all the time, that I could reach across those dreams, as wet as some of the dreams are, to strip those hijabs and stare full view into those sunshinny eyes. But I have learnt from Gimba Kakanda ‘s letter to his Unborn Son that things bright and beautiful, if maid in this slow-paced city, are like candlelights: they attract moths only to burn them out. So I have not given any significant thought to playing Christopher Columbus in Abuja. I am yet to getting up to exploring the Redlight districts of Abuja, though in my dreams it is easier. I am taking it easy.

PORTHARCOURT: “Oh Good old Pitakwa! fairest of maidens, Jewel of the Niger-Delta, thou art most dear to my heart”. I will not forget soon the royal treatment meted out to moi in such good measure, pressed-down shaken-together, and running-over (you know what I’m saying?) PortHarcourt: home of the sirenes, how I crave to look upon her face again. In Pitakwa, moths don’t get burn’t by “la Lume Rouge” they get sucked in and sucked-off their juice. And man, can those redlip Beautys suck! They can suck the juice out of a banana and the banana becomes a flagpole. The Redlight network in this mega city is state of the EartH perfection. It was a cold, cold night that year, on my maiden visit to the Garden City, I had my cumming of age experience. The redlights never for once stopped blinking Green at me. It was a cold night, when I went a-hunting (for fairies) in the glow of moonlight. I came up with nothing, ‘cos there was no such things as fairies. Only Nymphs. Back in the hotel (which I will not name) I met this mammy wata looking chic. We got talking, but she wasn’t exactly Oprah, so the talk was short timed. It is really a marvel how much you could be taught in such short time. I learn’t how to mount an ass and remain saddled; I also learnt the fine art of milking a cow, I also learnt that money answereth all things. This mammy wata was so hot, that I was kept warm all night by her heat. She was either on heat, or the sireens of Pitakwa are that hot. I am thrilled to think both, I know what I’m saying.

Well, so much for a comparative analysis of Naija’s finest mega cities. I need not bore you with a literary comparison. We all know that literatures are written in PortHarcourt, published in Lagos and read in Abuja. To further emphasize this point may lead me into telling the tale of Icarus who flew too close to the sun and got burnt. I will not douse my ardour for lights (Redlight) with such dark and gloomy tale.

…………………..THE END……………

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