FOOD POETRY (ISSUE 8)
Hunger is no friend of the belly
Have you not seen how empty stomach grumbles?
Like a pregnant sky at the brink of birth.
I have been to the bitter dregs of hunger
Where kleptomaniac thoughts intoxicate the senses
As the brain dances to grumbles of the stomach
You could beg the Dark Knight to feed on you instead
For only a thin line separates true hunger and death
You can die from anything but not the sting of hunger
If you found home amidst the people of Ekiti
There is life in their mortar, and succor in their pestle
Singing a song of solace to a bellicose belly
Bloody mortals! We are nothing without food
And mother has heaven domesticated in her pot
You need not be born again to get salvation
She is god in her own way, her shrine is the kitchen
Even father bows to the chant of her utensils.
Food is heaven and mother is a goddess
Hunger is no friend of the belly
Have you not seen how a starved stomach lays low?
Like a tiger painstakingly stalking its prey.
I have been to the eastern corner of paradise
Where scintillating aroma hypnotises the nostrils
As fish stocked soups channel morsels down the throat
Have you not heard of the pumpkin leaved edika-ikong?
Oh! Who ties heaven down to what’s between women’s thighs?
Seven days without food sure makes one weak
for food is the only confidante of a raging belly
The only satisfaction of a plaintive throat
And when chicken is the only one that can die for you
Who says 20 friends cannot play for 20 years?
- Ekiti: Ekiti is a state in Western Nigeria, declared a state on 1 October 1996 alongside five others by the military under the dictatorship of General Sani Abacha .
- Edika-Ikong: A vegetable soup native to the Efiks, people from Akwa Ibom and Cross River States of Nigeria.
Asudemade Habeebullah is a 200-level student of the Faculty of Law, University of Ibadan. His flair for writing developed in early days of the year 2015. His poem “I Met a Reader” was published in the 2016 edition of Association of Faculty of Arts Students(AFAS) Review. He is also a public speaker whose passion and prowess saw him win the best rookie of Jaw War 2016, a public speaking competition in Nigeria. He reads, writes, speaks and appreciates creativity.
NKWOBI JOINT | Nwagbo Ebubechukwu Bruno
A goat who sought to please her master
Went to the woods and gathered some wood
In the fire-place she cleared the ash
And when the food was done she set the table
Her master was so pleased that he said to her;
“What shall I do for you worthy servant?
For what other service is greater than that
Which you have done for me!
A man’s stomach is important to him
For stilling my stomach’s rubbles you steal my heart
Ask whatever you may and I will do for you.”
After seven days she returned to her master
“If the stomach is the way to the heart,
Then let me in into your heart
Let those you love share this heart of love
When my soul leaves this mortal body,
Please make it immortal in the heart of friends
In the hearth roast me don’t let my soul rust in the termites bite.”
Then seven days later Nkwobi got trapped
Her master heard her cry and came to rescue
“Who has done this wickedness to my favourite maid?” he wept
“She has lost so much blood in an enemy’s trap
Ah! A wicked foe that can’t harm me has maimed my favourite maid
This maid died my death for me.”
Oh! There she lay, breathing her last
“Master, remember my last wish?” she gasped
“That you let me into your heart
And that you share this heart to all you love.”
Their master rushed out to call the doctor
But before they returned, a knife has separated her head from her body
“Ah! Who has separated Nkwobi from her master?
“To separate me from My Beloved Nkwobi is impossible
For I shall engrave her in the heart of all.”
So from the hearth scents like incense was sent to the saint
The rhythm from the boiling pot sang worthy requiem
Chattering plates and forks were her undertakers
As her body dressed with spice was laid to rest
In hearts whose tongue tasted her goodness
Even they knife that murdered her wept blood
So her master set up a joint in her memory
And her head set up as sign on the door to loyal memories
It was named after her Nkwobi Joint: for Stewards and Chiefs
Where stealing of hearts with Jacob’s gift is not for mischief.
Nwagbo Ebubechukwu Bruno is a young talented poet, speech writer and an influential public speaker. He studies English language in Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State. Bruno has received so many awards and commendations for both academic and leadership excellence. He has a short story ‘Oasis of Peace’ to his credit, among other unpublished works; in drama, poetry and prose; some of which has been both long listed and short listed in some literary competitions; and would subsequently appear in their anthologies. He loves music, writing and nature studies.
WHY I MARRIED EBIERERE | Ayobami Oluwatosin Joseph
I trust my wife, Ebierere
In her magical fingers hung the key to my heart.
She knows how to break silence in the pharynx of the offended.
Not when her morsels of Amala are riding into the planet of hunger,
In green attires of fresh leafy vegetables,
And my teeth drowned in oil from fried chicken,
To be rescued through the gushing spring of palm wine,
Would anger not boil to vapour
And strew like beads over my chest?
Ebierere neither has Everest on her chest
Nor does she have Kilimanjaro on her back.
But after devouring the yams pounded
Into hills on my ceramic dishes,
Down to the valleys of assorted kidneys, livers and gizzards,
Impregnated with clusters of egusi grains
Inhabiting the bedrock of flowing palm oil,
I will put my left palm on Ebierere’s.
And just with her seraphic smile,
My fingers would dig deep into her neck,
For the little milk and honey left on her chest
And my toes snagging on her skirt
To fill her smallie hips with gratitude of sperms,
On the coldness of linoleum, flooring our dining.
(perhaps, smallie will grow…)
Ayobami Oluwatosin Joseph is a native of Ogbomosho town, residing at Ibadan with his parents. He attended Seventh Day Adventist School at Foko for his Basic Education, Eyinni High School at Orita Challenge for Junior Secondary Education and Oladipo Alayande School of Science (OASOS) at Oke Bola for Senior Secondary School Education. Presently, he is a student of Physiology at the University of Ibadan.