Cold, From Putin’s Winter

aihuomaimminentriver

COLD, FROM PUTIN’S WINTER

  • I –

Five kittens and a mother

A stray puppy, without one

A grieving german shepherd’s head gropes

for the hand that would give it a rub

but encounters empty seats,

with expelled shells from the raining

artillery. And milk teeth prematurely harvested.

The house is cold, from Putin’s winter

leaving spring guns

set to fire by the merest foreshadow of the incoming season

A videoman, from a far country

Drops his head, before his camera’s hard case

His own eyes cannot take in what his camera lens is gobbling up:

A dessert of brown brains

After an appetiser of red soups scooped with blackening craniums.

Fingers are frozen, on aperture control:

Hearts are melted

by the glassy eye of the german shepherd still crying for a rub.

Ten minutes ago, he was in breastland

in the Milkyway of her mama’s mammary kindness

now she is…

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I may not have received millions, but I have received surprises.

Every now and then a small ‘evidence of sales’ drops in. Who from? NARRATIVE LANDSCAPE, publishers of IMMINENT RIVER. So refreshing to know that in a country of Hush!!!puppis and HAbba! Gana’s we have some level headed folks who believe in doing business the right way (If I say ‘the good old way’ I may be misunderstood because these guys are – beyond cutting edge).

Thank you, folks. And ‘may your ships sail the course of wider waters, [apologies Ifeanyi Menkiti?] .

Pray, what do people see in IMMINENT RIVER that keeps them buying? Mind you, I am not complaining!

Gracias.

May be an image of book and text that says 'MINENT RIVER NOVT HUOMA ANAELE PRIMA: Narrative Landscape Press Longlist NLNG Nigeria Prize for iterature 2021 SOLD HERE Tel.'

65Albert Otto, Uzor Maxim Uzoatu and 63 others

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Cold, From Putin’s Winter

 COLD, FROM PUTIN’S WINTER

  • I   –

Five kittens and a mother

A stray puppy, without one

A grieving german shepherd’s head gropes

                                                for the hand that would give it a rub

but encounters empty seats,

with expelled shells from the raining

 artillery.  And milk teeth prematurely harvested.

 The house is cold, from Putin’s winter

leaving spring guns

set to fire by the merest foreshadow of the incoming season

A videoman, from a far country

Drops his head, before his camera’s hard case

His own eyes cannot take in what his camera lens is gobbling up:

A dessert of brown brains

After an appetiser of red soups scooped with blackening craniums.

 Fingers are frozen, on aperture control:  

Hearts are melted

by the glassy eye of the german shepherd still crying for a rub.

Ten minutes ago, he was in breastland

in the Milkyway of her mama’s mammary kindness

now she is clutching at hanging nipples

as mama’s head bows to the demonic accuracy of KalashnikovNIKS

soon it will be Sorochinskaya festival, and

 there will be nothing for little Anna to to feed her eyes on

much less, her stomach

until her mother can, once again

scramble Ukrainian cooking utensils

and get her giggling again  –

in another life

The house is cold, from Putin’s winter

  • II     –

Here, the town planner for the surrogate czar

With a taste for boulevards where Z tanks worship

 the god of haste

                                           This town used to have a little

      corner where the dead could find

                                            A resting place

But now, even the new capital city – Cemeterygrad

Overflowing with half- interred corpses

Can hardly find space for the conquerors’ carrion

And their casks of cigarette butts…

Parks are bulldozed

 for graveyards

and monuments erected with caked remains

of baby cereals

 frozen by angry snows

as broken skulls mount a parade of honour

where the despot’s arm is frozen in mid-salute

 by cramps of retribution

But Putin’s new sepulchres

Cannot tame our love for Russia

We were borne on the wings of the seagull

 Where Chekhov’s gun is more than a play-thing for playwrights

Across the world, children run home for the aroma of mushrooms soups

 But here in Ukraine it is the cremation dust of parents gone home in plumes

The house is cold, from Putin’s Winter

A Snap Review of African Contemporary Literature

First, an Online Literary Experience,

Then Coming to a Bookshop Near You

Samplers:

“These are not just people possessed by poesy. These are people pummelled by pain – people who wield the pen to make plain their plaints. People who thought they had escaped the pangs of misrule only to find themselves ensnared by their own vote, (or election ‘mine-thods’), and plunged seemingly irretrievably into the abyss of anomy. A country littered with spires and minarets, of general overseers and imams, but where vice is the unchallenged viceroy”. From Review of Wellington Nwogu’s The Yawning Earth..;

“The author, it seems, was never at the mercy of her narrative; she had it dance to her whims … That is why she can hardly plead mitigation if charged with enticement. She makes Ifemelu, a normal but strong-willed youth, morph into a universal nymphomaniac, meddling with marriages and trifling with friendships.” From review of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah……………………………………….”””””””””””’

“This may not be the masterpiece that Cole is demonstrably capable of, but in adopting the book’s opening salvos and sustaining the trend to the final full stop, he has given the lie to the imperious diktat  of modern day Pontifices maximi of world poetics who are wont to decree a start-up template for fiction. Now I know how all those literary prescriptions for the opening page should be taken: jauntily to the trash can. Art, for it to be art, need not follow a pre-script…” From Review of Teju Cole’s Open City.

“This may not be the masterpiece that Cole is demonstrably capable of, but in adopting the book’s opening salvos and sustaining the trend to the final full stop, he has given the lie to the imperious diktat  of modern day Pontifices maximi of world poetics who are wont to decree a start-up template for fiction. Now I know how all those literary prescriptions for the opening page should be taken: jauntily to the trash can. Art, for it to be art, need not follow a pre-script”    

Finally I Know You

Finally I Know You

  • For ESIABA IROBI

I have finally discovered you

ESIABA IROBI

I that longed to paean about cracking laughters

and large hearts

From your rocky roots in Futa Djallon

Through  the humps of this rugged earth

To your first ejaculates into the Atlantic intake

Itself the uptake of vaster melodrama

of lounging waves and man-tides and –  

I have finally discovered you

 Not hands locked by wine glass

 telling Chimamanda how – by way of praise –

you found some page of  Half of a Yellow Sun sexually stimulating

at the Okigbo conference at Harvard

in two-thousand-and-seven when Achebe and  Soyinka

regaled captive eardrums with tales of stolen chicken at Fiditi

along with their wives, or then-spouses

As our own nods sealed us as accessories in that chicken catch-and-cook

Way back in the Fiditi days …

  • Mind: I speak nothing here but poetruth

I saw your teary eyes

When Achebe did the icho madu* ritual for his buddy

Christopher Okigbo

Denied one in his homestead when 

 the sound of flying bullets that trumped the hum of  war drums

finally drowned out all evidence of birdsongs

You could not stand his searching dirge unconstrained by wheel-chair

Still I did not know you, ESIABA IROBI

UNTIL…

I found you in these verdant verses

In the good old pulp

 eye found you in the pages of your entreaties

to implacable gods, of this millipede-stubborn life

in your quest for embrace, for earthunion,

and, unknown to you, for canonization

by the white smokes of the puritan conclave  

and your lust for JANE BRYCE’s ‘feline prose’

you are probably the reason I returned to town

Ile-Ife

this town that grew me up in deep lores

still sentient  with ancient newness –

to be tickled by the slim beauty of your  Inflorescence.

This repudiation of a well-made poem

Purring its beauty out in the

Crumbs left behind after  the king termite had feasted

in pulp-and-pageANTry

Ah, ESIABA:  If only you could see what goes for poetry now!

NOTE

*Icho mmadu: part of Igbo funeral ritual. Achebe organized what is believed to be an impromptu one for his buddy Christopher Okigbo at the Okigbo Conference, Harvard University, in September 2007

Eleven Ensemble

It had a life of its own, the Book Party that brought together eleven writers longlisted for the CORA/NLNG Nigeria Prize for Literature, 8 August 2021. That’s when you realised that reading is as much an art as writing, as some of the impresarios (yes, in their own rights) called up to read excerpts from the eleven books did so with panache. Just as the feet that measured the arena in rhythmic steps, often turning the stage into a dance enclave. Adora Hall of Eko Hotel & Suites, venue of the event, bore witness.  And not only to that, to the camaraderie and bonhomie that pervaded the atmosphere. Call it ‘Eleven Ensemble’ if you please; from each one of the other ten on the list, I picked up one or two things about the art and business of writing. And so I must thumbs-up the books that begat the Book Party, in alphabetical order:

  • Delusion of Patriots, Obianuju V. Chukwuorji
  • Give Us Each Day, Samuel Monye
  • Imminent River, Anaele Ihuoma
  • In The Name of Our Father, Olukorede S. Yishau
  • Mountain of Yesterday, Tony Nwaka
  • Neglected, Lucy Chiamaka Okwuma
  • The Colours of Hatred, Obinna Udenwa
  • The Girl with The Louding Voice, Abi Dare
  • The Return of Half- Something, Chukwudi Eze
  • The Son of The House, Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia
  • Your Church My Shrine, Law Ikay Ezeh

Kudos also to the organisers whose vision made the event possible.