THE GREEN TALIAM
(The Green Bamboo Raft)
Turned another fast corner
Spun twice, and the knots came undone
The green taliam
Fought to survive
Looked on by an indifferent sky
Strong squall pushed the raft
Down river towards the fall
Frightened frogs, fish, and snakes
Looked up, at the shadow above
Expecting the poisoned juices
To be stunned, yet one more time
The indigenous vine
Useful for fishing
The green taliam, a shadow of its
Crashed onto the stony shore
Dizzy and dazed from near death
Collapsed beside the tangled roots.
It was woken by the night breeze,
It struggled to free itself
Little knowing the present abode
Is a restful nook
Away from the gazing stars
Near the obsidian, smooth and calm
The green taliam, repaired,
Pushed out again, with its might
For one last journey
Drinking deeply from ancient cups
Calling to the river spirits
To carry it till it finds solid ground.
DR GRAMMAR (One Act Play)
Onipede, Festus Moses
Characters: Dr Grammar (lecturer), Engliphobe (a student), class, Joesee (a student and classmate to Engliphobe), pastor, Philoby, a female student and classmate to Engliphobe and Joesee.
Costumes: Suit, shirt, trousers, beret, shoes, and tie.
Setting: Classroom and Church
Act 1 Scene 1
(A classroom with whiteboard)
Dr Grammar: Good morning class!
Class: Good morning, Sir.
Dr Grammar: In the previous class I gave you an assignment on narrative essay, didn’t I?
Class: Yes, you did, Sir.
Dr Grammar: Ok. Joesee, let’s listen to your essay.
Engliphobe: I celebrated my Salah break at Kogolan. The fiffle there are very hospitable.
Dr Grammar: (Interrupting) Stop! Have I not warned you not to substitute /f/ for /p/ when you mean to pronounce the voiceless stop /p/? You are yet to overcome the challenge of your mother tongue (MT) interference.
Engliphobe: That is how my fiffle pronounced it, Sir.
Dr Grammar: So, you don’t want to change, do you?
Engliphobe: Yes! But I am trying, Sir.
Dr Grammar: Anyway, continue with your story.
Engliphobe: Before I set out for the journey, I packed all my clothes inside travelling bag.
Dr Grammar: No! no! no! You mean travel bag?
Engliphobe: (Looking perplexed) Um! em-em, the bag I used to pack my load. Ghana must go.
Dr Grammar: So you are proving to me that you are right! Anyway, you have yourself to blame. Continue!
Engliphobe: When I got to the car park, I saw a driver smoking marijuana.
Dr Grammar: (writing the transcription on the board) You mean marijuana /mærəˈwɑːnə/?
Engliphobe: Wetin be marijuana? I mean cannabinoids.
Dr Grammar: Ha! Engliphobe, you are wasting my time. Class, let’s leave Engliphobe. Joesee, are you ready to narrate how you spent your holiday?
Joesee: Yes Sir.
Dr Grammar: Ok, you can start.
Joesee: On the 10th of July, I went to spend my holiday with my uncle at Lèmómù village. When I got to the park, I paid the fare, and thirty minutes after, the driver started revving the engine, and he tried to reverse back. As he was reversing back, he hitted a passenger that was waiting for another car.
Dr Grammar: Look, Joesee, when you mean to reverse, you don’t need to add the word ‘back’ because the word ‘reverse’ means to move or turn back. Also, the past tense of hit is hit; not hitted. We call these zero past tense markers in English since it does not change its form. You can continue, Joesee.
Joesee: Ok Sir. 10 minutes after we left the car park, the driver asked us to pay our transport fare.
Dr Grammar: No! You don’t say transport fare; it is called fare.
Joesee: Ok Sir. When I got to my destination, my uncle gave me a toasted bread for dinner.
Dr Grammar: You don’t say toasted bread; say ‘he gave me a toast for dinner.’
Joesee: Ok Dr. You may attend to Engliphobe, Sir.
Dr Grammar: Why?
Joesee: Sir, I am tired.
Dr Grammar: Hmm! Lazy student.
Joesee: Yes, I am.
Dr Grammar: Engliphobe, you can take over from your classmate.
Engliphobe: Ok Dr. The funniest part of my journey was that when we got to Dodah, the car started overfloating. We therefore waited for some hours before the engine cooled down.
Dr Grammar: Engliphone, the right word to use is ‘flooding’; not overfloating.
Engliphobe: Ayé mí, tèmi ti bámi. It is dawned on me. English de crazy o! Shebi flooding na àgbàrá for Yorùbá, wetin he come do for a car’s engine. I beg, make you leave me Dr Grammar, I am having a headache; I no wan get plenty wahala for my head o. If you say this, you go tell me say I de wrong. Which one I feel come do wey e go make sense. If book no gree for me, I go go join smuggling.
Act 1 Scene 2
Setting: Church auditorium
Engliphobe: Good afternoon, pastor.
Pastor: Good afternoon, my dear. I hope you are doing well in your studies.
Engliphobe: Not at all. My English language teacher is giving me a headache each time he comes to our class.
Engliphobe: Yes of course.
Engliphobe: Whenever I speak, his reply is ‘your English is very bad.’
Pastor: You mean it?
Engliphobe: Yes Sir! What happened that day was that he asked us to write a narrative essay on how we spent our holiday.
Pastor: What is difficult in narrating how you spent your holiday?
Engliphobe: Hmmm! Pastor, I need your prayer o! It is better you pray for me so that his grammar will not kill me. If you want to partake in my wake keeping, force me to attend Dr Grammar’s class.
Pastor: Engliphobe, you see, being a pastor does not mean that I should not speak standard English. From what you have just spoken, ‘wake keeping’ is unEnglish; instead, say a wake. Also, when somebody uses different vocabularies during conversation, we say that person has a wide vocabulary; not grammar. Grammar is just rules guiding the structuring of words.
Engliphobe: Thank you very much, Doc. I am greatful.
Pastor: Engliphobe, it is not ‘greatful’ but ‘grateful.’ The word has the same pronunciation but different spellings. Always learn how to spell words correctly.
Engliphobe: Pastor, I think say you go give me deliverance, na you de add to my problem. It is ok. I am tired of your deliverance.
Pastor: You mean I am disturbing you! No problem. But you need to distinguish between standard and substandard English. It will be very difficult for a native speaker of English to comprehend what you are saying when your spoken English lacks intelligibility.
Engliphobe: Hmm! Pastor, I don’t know when you become an English lecturer. I go leave you and Dr Grammar with your grammar. I am tired!
Pastor: Engliphobe, go get a copy of Brighter Grammar. It will help you.
Engliphobe: Thank you, pastor. English no be my mother tongue. Why I go speak in tongue when I no dey under Holy Spirit.
Pastor: You mean speaking in tongues? People speak in tongues; not in tongue.
Engliphobe: Ha! I am dead. I think say na only Dr Grammar’s English go kill me, not knowing that I de run from bicycle go meet truck.
Act 1 Scene 3
Dr Grammar: Good day everyone.
Class: Good day, Sir!
Dr Grammar: Today, we are going to discuss comparison of adjective. When we talk of comparison of adjective, we mean gradable adjectives, that is, adjectives that can be compared. It has positive, comparative and superlative forms, e.g.
great greater greatest
big bigger biggest
large larger largest
The basic rule guiding this comparison is that ‘er’ and ‘est’ suffixes are added to the comparative and superlative forms of adjectives respectively. The rule applies to monosyllabic words. Now, Engliphobe, what is the comparative and superlative form of good?
Engliphobe: I think good is a monosyllabic word. So it should be good – gooder – goodest.
Dr Grammar: Ha! You are wrong, Engliphobe! It should be good – better – best. Do you still remember this song? Good, better, best, I shall never rest, until my good is better and my better best.
Engliphobe: Doc., English is a crazy language. Don’t be offended if I call you a crazy lecturer.
Dr Grammar: (In annoyance) So you mean I am crazy!
Engliphobe: (Feeling remorseful) Y-e-s Sir! But I didn’t mean to call you a crazy lecturer.
Dr Grammar: Joesee, what is the comparative and superlative forms of bad?
Joesee: (Writing on the board) bad – bader – badest.
Dr Grammar: Oh my God! You are totally wrong. Can somebody here tell me the correct answer?
Philoby: (Signifying by raising her hand) Dr, the comparative and superlative forms of bad is:
bad – worse – worst
Dr Grammar: (Smiling) Give her a rousing applause.
Dr Grammar: I now believe that the female students are serious with their studies. (Pointing at Engliphobe and Joesee) The two of you disappointed me. Anyway, the ball is in your court. Have a nice day.
The curtain falls.
IF SHE HAD KNOWN… (Short Story)
Kolawole Mathew Ogundipe
As a farmer, an idle one with a blunt cutlass, normally, is in company of regret during the harvest time, so also a thoughtless person is. Regret always exists at the end of an episode; episode of which a person fails to make a right decision upon. This is why a maxim says “Is this the morning that an aged woman is crying of virginity?” What this implies is that the woman in question might have made a wrong decision on whom to follow/marry among a multitude of men around her when she was still young and pretty, or failed to make a right decision on how to live a moral and acceptable life at her tender age. Humans always think right when such thoughts are not useful to them and their lives again, and when their lives miserably resulted from their miserable thoughtless acts which later resulted in their miserable conditions. Similar is the present life of the woman. At all times, her heart is filled with miseries and regret.
In two decades ago, I still remember how pleasant and comfortable she lived with her two children, a girl and a boy. She was happily married to a taxi driver called Jacob who pampered her with care. Jacob did provide all the luxuries that even a wealthy man could not provide for her own wife in spite of his wealth for Janet; but an adage says that a head that deserves a knock, if such a head is in a full- air-condition car, the head would surely complain of heat and come out of the car in order to have the knock it deserves. Despite all care, love and affection, numerous provisions that Jacob put in place, every time, for Janet, she had another man that she always called her helper! What assistance did this man render to her? What were those things that the man called James was doing to Janet that made him to be her helper? What amazed me then was that James, a tractor driver and engineer, was as poor as church rat. He was a person with nonchalant attitudes to her mother, still her helper! After all, the Saturday of a week that will be good, I meant the Saturday that will be greatly pleasant would surely be known right from the preceding Friday of the week. Someone who found it difficult to care and cater for his mother who had him one and only child; how could it be possible for him to be a helper to a married woman like Janet who married a caring husband?
It took a long time before people, including Janet’s husband, knew that James was Janet’s helper in bed and not in reality. The relationship between James and Janet became a quite open one that Jacob began to complain about it. He did go from one relative of Janet to another; just to report her strange attitudes towards him, and her helper-relationship with James. A lot of mild admonitions, and counsels were given to Janet. However, all these, which were purposed upon a change of Janet’s present attitudes and instilling a right thinking ability in her, proved abortive. One excuse or reason for her action, as she used to say, was that her father did not accept their marital relationship right from the outset of their meeting in the village where both of them hailed from. See a human being and their deceptive ideologies. She did not react to her father’s refusal of her relationship with Jacob until her father died. What was she waiting for before she acted in that manner after a long time of her togetherness with Jacob? She bore the first child, she did not act upon her father’s wish; the second child again! Then after the demise of her father, she got to know that it was necessary to obey her father, humans with very deep dark mind with black thoughts!
In short, Janet packed out of her husband’s house one day to James’ house; not knowing that she moved from a storey building to a thatch-roofed mud house with a lot of holes that give way to coldness in the night! Not knowing that she moved from a Pathfinder Jeep to a Danfo bus or commercial bus where an intense hotness exists! Not knowing that she moved from grace to grass! She never knew the nemesis of taking that decision until she discovered that she did herself bad. On getting to James’ house, someone who stayed at home and ate whatever she liked, now transformed to a person who moves from one wilderness to another so as to pick whatever she sees and eats. Imagine what her life turned to! The worst part of it is that her new husband does forcefully collect incomes of her toils to continue his promiscuity with old women. Her complaint to this does lead to serious beating; beating that brings out swells from the body and bruises on the face. Any time this happens, she does compare the kind of life she lived with Jacob with the present life she is living with James. The only one answer she does have in the course of her comparison is bitter weeping. Now she has birthed seven children for James and she is the one, in association with James’ aged mother, who is happily working for the survival of the children. Even the meager incomes from her toils are being snatched away by her helper. If she had known, she wouldn’t have divorced her caring husband because of her caring helper.
IN MY HOUSE (Flash Fiction)
Christopher T. Dabrowski
I don’t like my house. Very, very much!
In my house there are no door-handles. They are not necessary – there are no doors. No windows, either…
Pitch darkness; worms living in my house can feel safe.
And besides, it is terribly boring in here!
And to make things funnier, I am here, because I wanted to.
My parents closed me here, thinking I was dead…
BUT I AM STILL ALIVE!
AND IT IS ALL BECAUSE OF THAT MAN WITH VERY LONG TEETH! HE SAID THAT IF I LET HIM BITE MY NECK, I WOULD GET A REWARD.
WHEN HE FINISHED, I ASKED HIM ABOUT THE REWARD, BUT HE JUST SAID, ‘SOON…’
MY MUM TOLD ME NOT TO TALK TO STRANGERS!
A BEAUTIFUL FACE
A face often catches my eyes
See in somewhere subconsciously,
But as if it is haunted me now to see again.
Fail to see its in vacant mind,
That incompleted images of thine.
Compel me to recover again and again
But I feel doing it’s so………….
It feels a little better than that other,
A bit of differ music bells in my heart
Remained previously unshaken of such harmony.
Who are you? tired me to think,
Hidden immature of mine ideas
Begin to act harmoniously…….
To see a new glimpse of love,
They quarrel in obscure glass-mind,
I enjoy much of being newly love
Not sure that’s real but may be.
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