Thursday, November 16, 2006

Drunken Poets/Drunken Post


The poem

"What white flood jolts the supposed adept swimmer?"
And what wavering froth founders the ark, the son, on its bubbling fluid?
None. Only vile men can trot on borrowed snow-white horses
When drowsy wind blows others on striving quests.
Ogun's child, I have lounged in mistier drowning for days
And long hours when hope moved like wallowing mill. Long awake
I have held long-standing iron poles at ancient smith sheds
When, like goats, we ask of strange laws in lands of lust.
Blackboy, do not run from me to hide behind faded lines
While dry leaves break upon your back in dusty swipe.
You were quite drunk and so were we all too, abi,
And you would have fought back, if only you could.

The Story

March 2005. Chris had always boasted that he could drink better/more than everyone else. He was a masters student in my faculty in UI at the time, so when the opportunity came to dare, we couldn't wait to get it over. The nearest joint for good palm wine was just 20 naira bus away, at NISER, a shed of good cold palmie and hot pepper soup.

Well, I enjoyed the evening, until, on our way back, Chris was going to get us into trouble with some hubris plus the drunken edge that eventually defied rationality. What he got as punishment was to be wacked with dry leaves by equally drunk but offended pedestrians whom we had prodded offensively with our running mouth when we passed them by on the way in. You can call it a stupor gone wrong. Well, almost cos we escaped being lynched. We did not even know that those other guys were equally "high" when Kris (another friend) and I gestured rudely at a couple, member of another group that we passed on our way in. We all drank too much that evening though I still managed to write later as I got to my room.

I still remember the scuffle vividly: Chris pushing wildly through a crowd of hostile yet drunk fellas, without any caution, urging us too to "do something". To "not be slack", he "had seen more crises in LASU" and is "not afraid to fight on UI soil" etc, even in the eye of the futility of it all: we were just four. They were like seven, and they were hitting back. He easily found a formidable opponent in one of the guys who promptly brought out a stick with dry leaves and started wacking him. The problem was, we really didn't have to fight. We were in the wrong. They had been offended by our slighting of a female member of their group with a rude gesture. And that was my fault. And that of Kris.

I still picture Chris right now prancing, "This are students" I remember him say, referring to us. "My students. You guys are nothing. Go and ask of me in the department of English" etc. I had looked at Kris, lost at what I was hearing as I tried to ensure calm. Chris my teacher!? No way. It was funny nevertheless. Demola Dasylva, his only "student" there had quickly found his way far away from the heating spot as soon as it all started.

In my room later in the night, thinking about it all, Kris decided that Chris deserved the beatings for not keeping his mouth shut. I didn't think so, but it still makes me laugh, how an evening out with pals could have gone too badly for lack of cooler heads.

In Vino Veritas

Do so now then and do not wait. For more days call
And we do not yet have the world safe within bodied grip.
Come around muse into strange recess of shadowed world.
The heart is game only when the will is strong. Odd?

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