Aba—a city laced with diverse contours of horrible experiences
glaring like a tempestuous fire set by God and his people,
in remittance to the stalking evil that never left this city—this is where I was born

In a house beautified with flowers of peculiar kinds; tulips, very fine
they all look different from that chaotic stillness that dwells in my street—Obohia

But this is not what my ode shall be about…

When I finally write, I will tell of the children in my area, how laughable they were
with their nakedness reflecting the goodness of Gods fashionable taste
I will write about how free they were, unlike me
free to dance in the August shower and to breathe in the sunny days
free to yell abusively at each other in the beautiful manner of playfulness
I watch them from the confinement of my room, of course—
where else should a child whose parents had stringent dogmas be found?

I will write about the teeming boyhoods in my area,
how I wished I could blend into their care-free lifestyle
hours of drowning in cigarettes and liquor
with their pants taking an odd position upon their legs
they were the terrors of the night and the monarchs of the day,
once, Mama had told me in a very secular voice
‘Idiot is the person that wishes to be like them’
and I’ve always told myself ever since
that idiots led the most beautiful lives.

I will tell about the father–based stories that always heralded daily gossips,
of a father who was caught atop a concubine
or a man who kept late nights and its paradox to his family
I hope my pen does not percolate when I write about my own father—
how distant he was;
distant from the love and affection that binds Mama and us
distant from the customary good wishes that always rang in my head
when I was before exams
Mama would be the one to say Jisike’ or fight well, before my exams,
while Papa would be the masculine figure that stands
in between our ant–infested door with a long stick,
to flog the devil out of me.

I will write about the churches and its worshippers,
the Pentecostal assembly and the congregations of lost people—
Mama’s name for people who had prayer sessions under zinc houses,
the Catholic and Anglican churches,
the brief sermons and long donation time.

Writing about Aba brings all the experiences afresh,
opening of new scars and the way that leads to healing,
the urge to tell wholly about the things and people that rocked the shape of my life.
So, when I finally decide to write about Aba
with my collection of experiences cemented in one sceptre of souvenir
and enough proof to show the world that Aba was the city that gave me the gift of imagination— I will write about it in magic,
in words more surreal and engrossing than any spirit can imagine,

Dear Aba, you may not be running with splash and gold like J.P Clark’s Ibadan
but you embody a beautiful gift—
one that did not come with me through my mothers’ womb,
but as an inheritance I got from being an indigene.








Photo by Myeyeslamp on Unsplash