TITLE: THERE IS A STORM IN MY HEAD
AUTHOR: JIDE BADMUS
NUMBER OF PAGES: 88
PUBLISHER: WORDS RHYMES & RHYTHM PUBLISHERS
DATE OF PUBLICATION: 2017
REVIEWER: JOSEPH OMOTAYO
This poetry collection is divided into 5 chapters and an epilogue.
Jide Badmus’ THERE IS A STORM IN MY HEAD is an archive of the unfettered but ordered thoughts of poets about everything but mostly about himself; about how he sees things, feels things, thinks things and feels about how he expresses these thoughts.
The poet does not joke in this collection. When a person takes their thoughts seriously, then you should they will not take anything prima facie. This collection is unpretentious in what he sets out to do. THERE IS A STORM IN MY HEAD evaluates the place of thoughts in the grand scheme of everything.
The collection is divided with these attention ceasing subtitles: “There Is A Storm In My Head”, “There’s A Storm That Reared Its Head”, “There’s A Storm In My Head And It’s Weird”, “There’s A Storm Where I Lay My Head”, “There’s A Storm In My Loins And A Quake In My Bed!”, and “There Is A Storm In My Head Of Words Unsaid”. The poet seeks to confront all these thoughts as he draws the reader into an involving participation with many questions.
Storm is used as a metaphor of any unresolved thoughts, calamity or discourses that need urgent answers.
Political activism seems to be a common franchise among budding poets, because to talk about politics is cheap, because it is everything that is wrong with any stagnating country as ours. Jide Badmus do not see the need to cloy his lines with this common theme. Instead, he engages personal and social issues.
When the poet is not talking about his thoughts, he moves swiftly around thoughts that concern all. One may surmise this collection is almost totally about the poet. However, In Chapter Four titled “There’s A Storm Where I Lay My Head”, the poet proves the aforementioned wrong. He shows he is as concerned as many about the malaise that besieges his country.
In poems such as “Mid-Night Sun”, “A Nation’s Cry”, Pregnant With Disaster”, and “December Dragon”, the country’s history of pains, losses and continuing pains and losses are starkly bared.
When I read “Mid-Night Sun”, a forgotten scab is peeled. I remember victims of the 2005 Bellview plane crash. “A Nation’s Cry” soon follows after to memorialise people who died that same year to the Sosoliso plane crash. No country should suffer that kind of double tragedy within a year. No year in the country has ever been bleaker. Those two poems archive those we lost so that we can constantly remember. Lines like these ones follow you on after one is done reading the collection:
“We won’t forget you
‘Cos in a moment’s flash
You lit up the dark night like a mid-night sun
Only to leave us gloomy days darkened by grief.”
(Mid-Night Sun pg. 48)
“Why have you infiltrated our skies with loud rainbows
And yet continue to wipe us out with plane crashes?
Why have you infested our air with hot smells of tragic deaths
And a cold fever of sorrow?”
(A Nation’s Cry pg. 49)
As he bewails the gloom bedevilling the country with spats of unrest in poems like “Shockwaves”, “December Dragon” and “Evil Thunder”, he is nevertheless optimistic and this shows through in “Nigeria” and “A Jost Cause”. In “A Jost Cause”, the poet decries how Jos has become a haven of terror:
“Peace has become a refugee
On the run from the boiling plateau.
Fear and anger, uneasy companions
In a land where serenity is a stranger.”
The poet latches on the unity in Nigeria to overlook the turmoil beating this country on all sides. Perhaps he is just being sarcastic:
“Perhaps there’s something to celebrate!
Despite the weak spine of our existence
We are still together as a state,
Our travails, blessing us with resilience.”
This collection is however just a bit about political activism, the poet busies himself much with the necessary mundane of living. There are instances of reflective punch lines here and there. Instances like this:
“Tell me, what is love without sex?
It’s like having muscles you can’t flex.”
(Random Thoughts 3, pg. 17)
“When does too little
Turns to too much?”
(The Anxious Psychic pg. 18)
However, the poet raises a controversy here when he attempts to strike a smart juxtaposition:
“A damsel without bulging breasts
Is like a cock without its crest!”
That sounds like regurgitating a stereotype. A damsel can still be a damsel with bulging breasts. Don’t breasts all come in their fitting sizes?
I want to frame these lines and put somewhere I would always see them. Such simplicity and deepness:
“The past is lost
Like a wink beneath dark glasses.”
(Winks Beneath Dark Glasses, pg. 12)
That’s one interesting way to welcome one into a book.
Author: Joseph Omotayo
@omotayo is a Nigerian reviewer and blogger. Some of his works are published at criticalliteraturereview.blogspot.com and josephomotayo.blogspot.com.