Waltz with MatriMoney
Lagos welcomed me with open arms,
Invited me in to dance to the rhythm
Of a thousand married men and their charms.
Lagos rolled out a bright red carpet
And as he ushered me in to his sanctum,
He sought to steer me into his debt.
He wooed and primed me with food and wine,
Offered to take me in his car to the gym,
Convinced that I’d give myself up with time.
But then the situation was altered when
He realised I really meant what I said:
“I’m sorry, but I don’t do married men”
Then Lagos turned sour, cruel and unkind
And when soon, he began putting me down,
I looked at him plainly and just didn’t mind.
Don’t mistake me for one of your cheap playthings;
One who fills your life with thrills while your wife
Does for you all of those everyday things.
Did Lagos think a plane ticket and a dinner
Is a price tag that a whole woman like me
Would put on herself just because she’s a sinner?
So, once Lagos realised it was not going to happen,
That his money just wouldn’t beguile me,
That was when Lagos now changed his pattern.
Did you think if you managed to break my spirit
With manoeuvring, put-downs and bullying,
That somehow, good sex is what it would merit?
Lagos thought I’d fall for lame chat-up libretto
Or the money he splashes around as bait.
Seems what you need is some poor thing from the ghetto.
Yet Lagos is a man who, when he was young,
Knew that one day, he would get married.
But he knew full well he’d end up doing this wrong.
Now he’s a man who goes to church every Sunday
Having spent Saturday doing family things;
Then he’s back to work at philandering on Monday.
Lagos is a man whom I once much admired
His wit, his grit, charisma and allure.
But now Lagos is a hypocrite of whom I am tired.
Soundtracks through Eko
The air in Eko is always filled with sounds
Birds sing to the scratch of my lead on paper
As pestle against yam in mortar pounds
And behind moving cars the horns taper
Stationary juggernaut parked on the grounds,
The generator with its steady background roar
In which virtually all else is duly drowned
Outside of the oasis behind the door.
Inside the oasis, however, can be found
The TV and ringtone in stiff competition
For the attention of their people, all groomed and gowned
Neither actually awaiting anyone’s permission.
I step out through the door to an audio assault
That transcends an orchestral arrangement
It is like stepping out of a padded vault
Into a soup of acoustic derangement.
Wailing sirens, screeching wheels, I suddenly frowned
People arguing in the street by the hurricane gutter
Engines revved to the max, intentionally bound
To embellish the cacophony of the matter.
In Ikeja it’s a plane, in V.I. overhead a chopper
On Sunday churches loudly calling out their warning
Spreading the message, belting out the music proper
And at dawn it’s the Mosque prayers I hear every morning
I hear motorboats zoom pass when sitting at the yacht club
And my friend’s Geländewagen has a V-8 engine
Conductors drone destinations all the time like a mob
And the Obioma’s clinking is also worth a mention
When it rains Eko is illuminated by lightning
And the sounds are dampened by the falling deluge
Those almighty claps of thunder can be frightening
As people splish splash their way home, seeking refuge
At the golf club, I would stand quite still on the mound
And stop to listen to the wind in the trees
Then at home all was quiet as I peacefully lounged
’Til a door was slammed shut by the evening breeze
The clock ticked loudly as her hands moved round
And the bleats of the horns of okadas and cars
Gave way, as I stood and her mechanism wound
To the bleats of the goats in the street and yard
Newspaper hawkers, for their tooting renowned
Were silenced now by waters lapping in the lagoon
And as darkness fell, the howl of a solitary hound
Led the soundtracks and me to the silent moon and to sleep soon…
Greedy Nation Sonnet
Of all the seven sins that plague our nation
There is one that afflicts us most
Even as it does woo our population
To every other ill it plays the gracious host.
We should not in this country want for victuals
Nor power, hospitals or schools nor roads
But we consume as though it were a ritual
And so to join us, all the others goad.
Ours is a land where labels make you better
A place where calibre is proved with brand
It helps to sport the odd logo or letter
It’s always favoured if it comes from jand
We never thought where all of this would lead
So busy were we paying obeisance to greed.
What shall I speak of: love or fortitude or pain
Glorious sunshine, maybe revitalising rain
Compassion, kindness, money-grabbing and gain?
Throughout this life and its complex terrain
I channel positive energy my thoughts to train
To overcome a logical and sceptical brain
And to transport me up to the highest plane
Where all my dreams in slumber never can have lain
And only one thing – the possible – supremely reigns.
(a.k.a ) Sonnet of the bread seller’s baby
My vantage point, upon the tender petals
Of my young soul did indelibly mark,
Like heifers flesh branded with red-hot metal,
A sense of business, value, clear and stark.
While peers in Europe’s pushchairs had a vista
Broad with horizons of great means,
We Africans – me, my brother, my sister –
Beheld from mother’s back our glorious scenes.
More than just knees, buttocks and belts
From up there we saw customers assist
Her tray to the ground, pay, and duly help
It back upon her head as she’d persist
In pursuing for us a better living.
Today I repay her for all that giving.
All Poems (c) Numero Unoma Giese