FOOD POETRY (ISSUE 7)

FOOD POETRY (ISSUE 7)

SUCH REGALE…
by Olajuwon Joseph Olumide

Thump! thump!
The kingdom of hunger in chaos!
Yeye Abeke is at it again, anchor of braais:
Her pestle’s incessant intercourse with
The mortar, heralding to banish
All grumbling demons from their gluttonous dungeons.
Can anything good complete metamorphosis without pain?
See the white epiphany of Iyanre emerge,
As the knife-dissected yam tuber – after tried in the boiling pot –
Undergoes a crushed life! pa po! po pa!
Since the demons of hunger have heard the good news
With their errant ears, nostrils discerning good thing, too
Must testify to the enchanting aroma of Obere, snaking out
Of Yeye Abeke’s steaming black cauldron
Whose sitting bottom is tried on the untamed dancing flames!
The previous dusk, ‘arepa Ogun o’ saw Baba Abeke off –
Plunge into the frigid heart of the forest
Haunted by a thousand demons.
His mind of optimistic return reiterated our progenitors’ proverb
Saying: “with the hope of breath for the mortal nostrils,
Mortal teeth will yet munch what’s beyond the grand flesh of Ajanaku”

Today’s solar eye witnesses the celebrated fruition
Of a brave hunter’s return.
How the hovering atmosphere this hour is coloured in regale!
Only a gullible mind will wonder
Why the rains of visitors, only torrenting here;
Such regale that strays focused legs set on the red earth
Stretching to various farmlands…
Such regale that bewitches me – Agbeloba this moment,
To disdain the worth of my productive-harvesting sickles
That once delivered the conceived bulged tubers
From the womb of Beyiose’s fertile soil.
Is inner strength, not the inspiration behind the muse to toil?
That gluttonous dungeon men convey, is a pantheon
With a capricious god, turbulently contorting intestines
When from time to time, its liturgical procession
Isn’t obliged – via the threshold of yawning mouth, where
Morsel by morsel is to sojourn into the sacred of the sacred,
With palm wine of libation paddling erangbe down as well.
Please, let my legs now stray!
The great hunter’s yard is the paradise
Evoked on this spur of lost reasoning: kudos to such regale…

Glossary

Iyanre : sumptuous pounded yam
Obere : sumptuous broth
Yeye Abeke : Abeke’s mother
Baba Abeke : Abeke’s father
Arepa Ogun o : Compliments to hunters going for a hunting, wishing them good catch
Ajanaku : elephant
Agbeloba : a great farmer whose appellation literally means “farmer is a king”
Beyiose : a fictitious village name
Erangbe : bush meat

 

11220905_766422303455837_6758728142179950740_nOlajuwon Joseph Olumide, a poet and a fiction writer, is a student of Mass Communication at YABATECH. He is a two-time winner of Brigitte Poirson Poetry Contest. He was shortlisted for the Eriata Oribhabor Poetry Prize in 2016. He teaches English language & Literature at a private college. He hails from Ogun State.
***

 

MOTHER’S SOUP POT

by Amaka Blossom Chime                                             
Ladle onto my plate

not the watery top

the children struggle for chaff

as it dances in the wind.

 

Father severed the head of our game

mother smoked the tail

Mazi comes with his white-washed plate

a gaping smile in his skull

Ogbeni storms the kitchen with a plate in one hand

his sagging ṣokoto in another

but where is Mallam who complained

that his tuwo was the size of his fist?

 

Laughter flows in liquid tunes

oily fingers and slippery throats

of papa and mama

engrossed in tales of woe

of how the economy collapsed

between morsels of  pounded yam

and smoked croaker voices

in a dance of  history.

 

Cries of bitter hunger

echo from the soup pot

angry plates fight each other

and blood stains the earth

flowing in violent torrents.

 

Edojah will not starve nor eat chaff

our land rots from dark waters

while strangers, the ones we loathe

breed wealth and fresh  skins

break the pot and spill our wealth

the remnant survives the pox

the dust becomes their colour

we sucked the same breast

but they suck life from us

a parasite comes from the Sahara

in alabaster cartridges

feeding on mother’s pot.

 

I will ride the elephant and others will walk

the crown cannot fit the swollen head

the shrunken scalp is not fit for the crown

while kingfishers and king-makers

whose bloated skins

hide a  trail of worms

fashion monuments of  history

in a rotten enclave

while the package shines

in dazzling luminaries

that outwit the sun

and embezzle the moon

while children, the surviving ones

fight for maggot-infested firewood

to roast the lizards that come home to roost.

‪+234 803 740 7846‬ 20170702_133839Amaka Blossom Chime is a research assistant in the Department of English and Literary Studies, Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu.  She is an English Language teacher on the School’s Radio programme  funded by the MacArthur Foundation, USA. Her poem ‘Achebe’s Ulogue’ appeared in the Journal of Chinua Achebe Studies.  Another Poem ‘Shakespeare’s Ulogue’ was written for the commemoration of 400 Years of Shakespeare in 2016. Amaka is the Lead Rep. for PIN GO University Connect Centre. Her collection of poems  Harassed, was published this year.

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