Sunday, November 26, 2006

MON C'est Quoi?

I think it was Aluwe, that famous comedian in Nigerian home video who quipped, on being asked what he thought of his award as the Member of the Order of Niger (MON, a high honour in Nigeria), rather wittingly, that what he got was only the "MON" without the accompanying "-EY". I thought and laughed about it again last week when a poem I (re-)wrote lately, borne out of some love/career distress was said to have won an online monthly "Challenge"1. A sort of competition.

Look at it from this side, poems are often agonising expressions of some present reality. They may be enjoyed, praised, adored by others, but they are oftentimes foremost a private self-bleeding and aggresive paring of the author's soul. This was why when I saw the notice, I was not much surprised/ecstastic. I myself, in private sanity, had heaped praises on the author for such craft. (I do that sometimes). But instantly the headline, "K...T... wins October Challenge", brought back those deja vu reveries of some sweet vanity in the midst of pain.

It reads in part:

Oh what to give to move the bridge, even Christ spoke alike.
A human bond which though we feel we cannot reach beyond.
Once false, once real. It stretches through a burning filial bond,
just like a mile of rage sewn thin astride a path of spikes.

Poetry never saved anybody! And this is what Omo-Alagbede said:

"Wanting to meet a writer because you like their books is like wanting to meet a pig because you like pork".

I think he was right.

The work will be published in December at Sentinel Poetry Online Magazine, and I will now get, as gift, a book, "Of Man", by Thomas Hobbes, and now, I can disagree that MON always come without an "-ey"!?

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