An Extra Note On The Naira Note.
After Chiamaka Nwangwu. I wish I could capture the heart of Oshodi market, of the sweat & creased brows bore by hundreds of heads waiting for mint currency. The flustered security men, worn out from condoning the legs that have so long stood on their grounds. I wish I could capture the worried look of the father returning home through the blackout of Ayo-ola street, thoughts on the six large mouths that'll greet him in disappointment; no big black nylon to snatch from daddy tonight no balls of akara to munch. I wish I could capture the tied face of the Nigerian single-mother as she unties the hem of her wrapper, how would she explain it; 'children, there'll be no supper tonight'? I wish I could capture the frustrated look on the lonely bachelor, the boiled anger & cooked frustration that fills his stomach as he leaves the ATM, resigning to another long night of eating in the dream. I wish I could capture the amber-coloured face of the youth corper, scurrying the road, on wet khaki & drenched t-shirt; debit card in hand & determination on his face, desperate for 2k that'll last him for the weekend. I wish I could access the four walls of Access bank, of the angry faces ready to pull down the edifice into shreds. The stripped woman screaming fire & curses, breasts dangling like loosed pendants, minds made up to do the undoable. I wish I could capture the hungry face of a roommate sitting at the corner, trying to reconcile his food timetable with his country. heart, lost in his tomorrow— monday: free period / tuesday: 2 oranges / wednesday: garri & beans... I wish I could capture the livid expressions of students retiring to the hostels amidst the dim-lighted campus routes, the bitterness in their hearts & uncertainty of a new day Thoughts about POS attendants, the big gods who now rule the world.
How To Help Your CornTree.
You don't have to be a farmer or serve in the garden For you to help your corn tree; all you need is the number tree! — When you help another, tell another not to tell you ‘thanks’ But to repay your help by offering three others his ‘helping hands’ And let him tell the three others to each help another three And another three, Help another three... So the tree of threes continues to grow. One way you help your country, now you know.
Like 20 Naira Note, We Squeeze Nigeria Into Your Palm.
The other day / my heart walked through oshodi market / when the voice of a bachelor / debating on the price of a half derica of garri / tapped my shoulders... "N120?!" "Madam, no bi N100 again?" he swallowed the anger boiling in his throat / & gulped down the frustration cooking inside him / before taking his leave. / that's all he was gonna have for supper: / boiled anger / cooked frustration / no garri to soak. Last night / I peered through the window / my eyes met the sullen faces of children / inhabiting a cramped one-room apartment / clustered around the weary single-mother / whose attention is sworn to the pot of soup /& loyalty to the seven large mouths, / laid around / like tithe bags waiting for offertory: / their fair share of eba / a pitiful sight / accompanied by watery okra soup. Tonight / i fall on my knees / my face to the setting sun / beseeching the old man / who the earth is his footstool: / lord / like 20 naira note / we squeeze nigeria into your palm / oyigiyigi / keep it for us!
The Cooking Pot.
after Tolu Akinyemi. If a cooking pot could talk Of what would it speak? To live each day not without getting hurt Sacrificing, like burnt offerings, Its only-begotten butt. If a cooking pot could express its feelings, Of what would it say? To watch itself do the labour & bring the odour, While others do the savour & devour. To suffer so much atop the flaming sun & empty oneself— every bit; grains or drops, Only to receive scratches & scrubs. One day, The bubbling okra will overflow & the cooking pot will open its mouth. Then words will pour out in form of hot tears— the flaming sun (who never really cared), will tremble. With a burning heart, the cooking pot will wail. It'll tell tales of half-done rice & sour beans Of choking spices & smelly pòmós It'll yell of hot oil & moan of waters forgotten Of bad blood from titus and meat Of tension, compression & heat— Fed up, the cooking pot will open its mouth Then we will realize ‘we have been hotting someone's feelings!’
Alobu Emmanuel, alias Noble Alobu, is the Social Media Manager of The Writers’ Pen, Nigeria and a Co-founder/Administrator of the Monthly Writing Challenge Community, a fast-growing community of writers. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in Agape Review, Red Penguin Collection, NantyGreens, Celestite Poetry, Zeddtribe Magazine, and elsewhere. He is a student of Philosophy at the University of Lagos, Nigeria. You can connect with him on Instagram at @noble_alobu and on Twitter/X at @noble_alobu_.