Sunday, 13 August 2017

"Listen Twice, Act Naught"


Listen to the echo of your own voice
when the moon glares and the insects commune_
Listen to the throttling spasm of anger boil within
when you shout and curse shriveling trees,
you will hear the breaking sound
of an angry spirit.

within you_ interred in the innermost
womb of your bowel lies a silent demon,
A demon ready to wake up and crown you
with garlands of Ruthlessness should greed
stands upon the tallest Fakos_

Photo: Facebook

Listen more to the things of harmony;
You would hear the wails of frightened trees,
telling the ordeal of a greedy engine saw,
you would hear their shrieks when sharp pitiless
chains bury their sharp canines into the bodies of
old vaulting lively pillars...

Listen to the complaints of dejected frogs in steaming ponds,
the chirping of the beaks rivaling the beating
of your racing heart,
hear the bleeding of the sheep and watch
the harmonious resonance of the antelopes,
oh you blind Greed!

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

"Morbid"



That ghostly awe is upon the humans
Of Yaounde this morning,
The fear of the unknown that punctures your bladder!

It is a city with the scarlet mark,
The black sheep among the white,
The heart of the cold heat seeping into foul carcasses!

The beastly pangs of the petrified
Hawks howl in the mid air_ crows of the Caribbean,
Ominous wings keep the people__ trapped Oumniobe
In the heat of cold assassination.


There is a devilish eye in the clouds,
Invisible eye in all homes, invisible voice
In conversations_ the people's neck weigh with sacks
Of indignation and deadly silence!

This is a city of the tall,
Ghosts in suit. Sacks of flesh behind
Wheels, scarecrows laughing like hyenas!
And falsehood is so innocently siped with mirth.

It is morbid, invisible hands
Groping you in the groin, shoulders_
Don't you hear the footsteps? 
The creaks in the empty chair!
Don't you hear the breath in the foreboding silence?

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Wet Towel(Flash Fiction)



Wet Towel

As a young woman growing up in the streets of Mokolo, our world centred on stories from the old Arabian Nights. The thought of marriage was divine, a world where mirage matured and dreams sprung to life; a world filled with pleasure and eternal lewdness. A fairy world where women were honoured, barred from work, and fed on the pleasure husbands emitted in bed.
I peered through our hotel window, on the rear of the cart that had brought us few minutes ago. They were inscribed in fat, clear, and defiant letters “Just Married”. It almost pulled back passers-by to tell them its joy.
From the antique window of the hotel, I heard the fluttering of linings followed by a spurting sound of rekindled candle wigs. Alambi was determined to give me the wonderful night he thought I deserved_ at least that’s what he told me in the cloudy months of our courtship.
            The Persian rug led the way from the saloon into the master bed room. A giant antique bed stood astride half the room, adorned with pink velvet Egyptian linings. Only the two soft pillows could make one decide where to put the head.
The room was dimly lit by thick-waxed candles and disinfected with powerful Asian perfume. I moved closer to the bridge in front of the bed and genuflected to have a feel of the luscious bed’s entrails_
            “How is my sunny morning gazelle doing?” Alambi gathered me from behind into his beating torso.
            Warmth from his bare masculine body sparked tones of throbs in my heart and got me trembling.
            “The hour has come” a timid voice said deep within me.
I let bare my content to grace the eyes of my beloved. He seemed satisfied with what he saw_ I had been cut at twelve just like most of the girls in Mokolo.
            He deepened his trembling paw in my thigh and I responded with the same feverish gesture. But… my hand met with a lax piece of skin that fell flat like a piece of rich wet towel. It remained lazed despite the rigorous feminine fiddling!
            “Sorry it leaden ages ago”, he whispered in my left ear.
 
Photo credit: Facebook
(Submitted to Reflex Fiction, USA)

A Migrant's Dream

I had a frightful dream,
in this frightful dream,
a monstrous shark with fangs like
the giant canines of an African Shepherd!

But it was only a dream,
a scary flesh eating shark leaped,
licking our hanging testicles over
a bloody Mediterranean_

In this frightful dream that ghosted me,
an infant's wail made this monstrous shark
waltz like a king on a president's chair_
emitting tunnels of farts onto clapping faces in suits!

In this dream that rocked my slumber,
this infant, a new comer to this harsh
stark world grew like a pillar with a blink;
a large Lance with F°R°E°E°D°O°M° burnt

into its skin by the right, a kingly Fan in the left.
Its voice was thunder,
its voice cut the Mediterranean in pieces,
and sharks regurgitated pieces of African,
Syrian, Yemeni flesh in a state of digestion!

@Mp Mbutoh
(Yaounde, 25/07/2017, 01:35)

Sunday, 9 July 2017

MIGRANT CRISIS: THE STIGMA OF THINGS & AFRICA'S LUKEWARM ATTITUDE

I have asked myself this question countless times, but each sequence has resonated back into my ears, as if I shot a boomerang arrow. I’ll ask the question again, maybe the person reading this may at least have a tentative answer for it, why not the answer according to his/her own reasoning. So this is the question that has been plaguing my mind since the day Mr Njoko taught us in a secondary school subject, that tells people about the world around them. It tells us about the twisted contours and delicate formation of the face of a world that a supreme being created in the years that can only extend as far back as human memory and imagination can picture. Did I say memory? But of course no! I could not have said memory_ I mean, who can tell with absolute certainty when this surface which some adventurers christened it Earth? The human mind, from every indication has worked and seems to continue doing so on conjecture on the longevity of human existence on earth. I mean, have there not been cases where some smooth looking beautiful face media person has come out to say that “scientists have made a tremendous breakthrough” into something, only for that “tremendous something” to fall short of that superb adjective? How much do we know about this surface area we occupy and even kill to possess? Pardon my curiosity, but this question comes as a prelude to the initial question I’ve been craving to ask from the beginning of this noise.

It happens that humans have this queer urge of possessiveness, a spirit fanned more by greed than genuine need. As a consequence of this seemingly incontrollable urge to possess all, the rest of the population that happen not to ignite this same degree of greed pay the price of insensible avarice. Now I come back to my question; have you ever wondered what it would be if you were born in abject lack of nourishment if you are rich at the moment, and have you at some point fantasied what it would feel like if you found yourself in affluence if you are found at the moment to be in want of the basics? I would not love to tilt toward gender but my immediate society compels me to request the aid of my childhood experience for better exemplification. Maidens in my community have this weird, yet interesting way of shunning poverty. They do it in such a way that one would be forced by reflect action to tilt one side of the jaw to spare a mirthless smile.
“God forbid!” they would say, clacking thir fingers in such a unique way, while wiping the air above their spongy wisps. If you were unfortunate enough to be urged on by a spirit of levity to further pull their legs that the Supreme Being, a.k.a Jehovah, has destined them to the life of need, the probability of a maiden burying deep a set of melon teeth into your arm or a vile grip of your manhood was imminent!

So here goes my question finally; why do people move place? What are the push and the pull factors, as Teacher Njoko used to say? And pardon me, dear Teacher Njoko to add; what are some of the challenges and routes that people take when moving places?
Words have this weird habit of metamorphosing by themselves and the content of their entrails. Take for example “gay”, few years ago used to refer to a woman whose moral rectitude was of doubtful altitude. It seems the word was not very contented with its feminine identity accorded to it by the human tongue. It did not move places, but it moved its entrails, though its morphology bothered very little about altering its physiology. Today “gay” stands at the edge of the terrain and stares at women take up the name of “lesbians” while “gay” hangs on males’” lips with interminable osculation. Why do I even bother myself going into all this prosaic distractions? Well, lexicons like “migrants” (inflected) and “refugee” (noun) have helplessly carried upon their heads the unfortunate stench of negativism. These two words carry a profound stigma that their mere mention is like a single grind of the molars over a handful of sharp sand.
The question I’ve asked myself in the past weeks is; has anyone ever been happy leaving home with a frown on the skull? The answer to that question, in my opinion is hidden under the web of “frown”.

Why do people leave home?
Security
People leave home, as it may be of interest to you, to go to the market or njangi! Oh no! But yes! People forcefully leave home for safety, or you call it security. For example, in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, North Nigeria, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, Djibouti, Ethiopia,  etc.
Famine
In places like South Sudan, Djibouti, Yemen, etc., people leave their homes because of famine. This is because most of these countries are plagued by food shortages due to draught and instabilities.
Joblessness and poor economy
This is prevalent particularly in Africa. Most African countries, if not all are still bedevilled by poverty despite the fact that they have abundant natural resources that stranger come from elsewhere to extract. So, thousands of African young people and children seek for solace abroad.
Political and religious persecution
Most often, people leave their home countries because of political repression and religious persecution. Such has been the case with most African dictatorial regimes.
Natural disasters
This includes happenings like flood, landslides, earthquakes, and tropical storms. This has been true in places like China, India, Nepal, Nyos in Cameroon, USA, France, Britain, etc.
Those are just a few reasons why people leave their homes to take the mantle of migration. These people often move towards directions they feel hold safety, solace, food, security, etc. for them. This has been the case with Syrians and African migrants since the eve of the fall of Col. Mohammed Gadhafi, and it has deteriorated with thousands crossing the Mediterranean to Italy every week since the last three years.

Why African Countries and Leaders Should Be More Involved In the Fight against Illegal Migration than European Countries
 What I am about to say now may not go down well with you, but I find no fault if your opinion is at variance with mine or anyone’s. But that is the spies of free speech, no?  So my point is this; we have this practice in my native village we call Farm Njangi. It constitutes a group of people, as many as possible_ maybe two, three, and infinitive. The group then alternates their activities in each member’s farm on different days in the eight days’ week. This happens until every member of the group has had his own share. At the end, they start back at the first person and the circle continues till the farming season is over. Why am I spending precious time to explain this simple communal way of getting work done as a community? Well, the reason is simple, I intend to lay emphasis on the failure of the group to turn up in a member’s farm and leave when the work is still to be executed to the end. They have a target, a well-defined task at the beginning of their daily job. My point is that African countries are like a host who does not know the worth of a Farm Njangi in his farm. Each host tries as much as possible to explore and exploit the labour of the group as much as possible. African countries, just like the imprudent host appears to prove wanting to utilise the available labour at its disposal. You want to know how?
Why are African leaders and countries doing very little to restrain their young population from moving to the western world? Each blessed day there are footages of desperate migrants crying on dancing boats on the Mediterranean Sea. I may be wrong in my judgment, but it will be my profound wish to see African nations, leaders, and civil society organisations more actively involved in the fight against illegal migration that is reducing the continent’s young population every day. As a ‘developing’ economy, the African continent needs the young dynamic and talented population more than the western world does for its proper development. The question one may be tempted to ask is can it be possible to halt this migration? Yes. Do African countries have the means and facilities to restrain, train, and use the manpower of these young people? Yes. How can they do this?

Accountability.
Good governance
Freedom of speech.
Youth empowerment through vocational centres.
Professionalise the educational systems.
Dialogue and halt the upsurge of insurgency.
Create conducive environment for business and entrepreneurship.
Make incentives and loans available to young people with startups.
Tighten the justice system and make it credible.
Put and reinforce strong laws to check corruption.
More investment in industrialisation.
I am not an expert, but I know the list of dos is inexhaustible. The fear is that the continuous process of depopulation is disadvantageous to the African continent than other continents be it Europe, Asia, Canada, or America. So, African leaders and countries have every reason to be more actively involved in the fight against illegal migration than any country out of the continent.




Sunday, 25 June 2017

When Hardship Makes Itself Your Favourite Dress, It Teaches You the Numerical Value of the Air You Breathe


Feet. Yes feet. Have you ever bothered to look closely at your feet? Yes, like that! How do they look like? Well, I happened to take note of mine two days ago. It was by sheer accident. My eyes were coming back from their journey to a leper who sat next to a woman selling puff-puff opposite the street. How privileged we are, I mean those of us who have managed to appreciate our feet.
Our feet take us where we desire, even where we would not go if we had a foreknowledge of the outcome. Whatever the case, I feel honoured to have my feet. In fact it is an eternal debt I owe them. So a couple of days ago I noticed them, five toes on each foot. With this pair of feet, I have ground the road to varsity. If you ask me what I’ve acquired after those years of grinding, I will tell you_ nothing specific. If I do, it will surely not be something I can boast of.
I belong to that cream of Africans where the wellbeing of one’s family is the source of one’s strength. On that line of thought, I can remember the hope in my mother’s face, the cheerful smile and her motivating words the day she watched me scamper on a grunting bike.
“Go and learn book Mp. When you are through with younivasty, come go and work in one of these big government houses. You will get big money, big enough to help me with your younger ones”
My heart almost burst yesterday when I remembered this day. I didn’t know if I should cry, but one thing did cross my mind. For the first time, I despised my feet for taking me to the road of the university! I mean, had it been my feet took me to the raffia bush, or to a carpentry workshop fourteen years ago, I would surely be a big man now. I would have boys squatting before me to take their salaries in their caps. Their families would suckle on me like a host that I would have become. Some of my friends did. I remember Henry, one dude I had always beaten hands down in Class Seven (well, for those who were privilege to attend class seven). While our feet took us to GBHS Ndop in 2003, Hendry’s and a few others’ took them to the plank shops that littered the Bamunka rural area like mushrooms. I remember how we would hang around their shops after school and watch them bath in the sawdust. We even shared our meagre student food with them. Curtly, they started making money three years after we were in the secondary school! Even at that moment, we deceived ourselves with tales of big books like Bachelor Degrees, Master’s Degree, PhD, Doctorale (as if we even knew what all these meant!)


“How could you fail me this way, my dear feet?” I could not help but ask my silent feet this question yesterday.
They say in Pechop that, when a snake bites you, flee when you see a millipede. Even after the so called “Advanced Level Certificate”(till now I don’t even know what is advanced in it) a few who had felt the bite of the snake, dodged from the millipede and found themselves in professional institutions, mostly government centres. Well, we wanted to show that the ladder could extend a bit further. So that day, my mother saw me off to my intellectual and career grave. You may begin to wonder why I see nothing good in the varsity education that some rimmed glasses fellow virtually forced down our throats in stone-walled buildings. Well, if you must have noticed, the English I write this thing in is barely intelligible. Do you call this English? Then you have surely attended a similar institution! If I learned anything in the varsity, it was the phobia for change, the fear to take risk, the fear to question abnormalities, and too, the ability to persevere in silence till a hole is driven into the Earth’s womb and you are hidden in it.
Why won’t I question my feet? The distance I covered for five years; to and fro the campus can be added up and I’ll find myself abroad where “Ngwa Books” like us go to hide from the shame of failure.
Seven years later the very feet that took me away on a journey of hope have taken me back to my mother. She looks her me, full of joy and laughter but I know deep in her there is “failure” inscribed somewhere on her liver.
She gives me a sumptuous meal, which I feel uneasy to eat. The first question that comes to my mind is; how much can this meal cost in Yaounde? My brother, it is true that when hardship makes itself your favourite dress, it teaches you the numerical value of the air you breathe.
“Don’t worry something will surely come up” my mother in her cheerful manner pats my back. “Those who learn big book cannot lack work” she concludes.
If only she knows that such a thing only existed in the era of Ahidjo! Students were paid while in university, and integrated into the civil services immediately after graduation_ at least that is what some of our patriarchs told us_ and even some who are alive and are still twisting the head of the public service.
I look at my mother, at my numerous siblings, nieces, and nephews outside playing, and those of them who sit on bamboo chairs looking at my, my mouth goes cold. I can’t even chew the food in my mouth. It occurs to me that all of them are looking at their idol, the cream of the family who have been to the Capital, where the eternal name of the president hovers in the air the people breath. If only they know they are looking at a hollow being! I went there human and have come back a zombie. When I looked at my feet, the way I am looking at them now, it occurred to me that they themselves are getting tired, if not completely_ exhausted. I think I will just need to get myself a young wife, and join the raffia wine business. Of course, I will be a regular noise maker in the raffia wine club at the junction!
“Dear feet, I hope you will be up to the task!”

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

"Wrong Guess"

If the Hand of Time could lift up
The blanket of forgetfulness over
The mirage we've inherited from our
"Fathers", we may swallow with shame
The deceptive smiles, & numb our 
Fingers when punching:
 "Happy Father's Day"

If our "fathers" had eaten their pride,
And faced their fears against all cowardice
We may have become philosophers of
Poverty_ (the converse too, eh?)


If "our fathers" told us the circumstances
Of our conception,
We would dread toilets and dirty backyards_
We would swallow the beast in us when
The antennae in our loins detect a Network!

Happy father's day to those whose feet failed
Them when they heard "I'm full"_
For those who disclaimed authorship over their 
sensual  excrement, Bravo Good Athletes!