In This Godforsaken City

The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.

― Leo Tolstoy 

 

 

We live here. In this city. A Godforsaken one. We live in wooden houses, brick ones, painted building, muddy cottages. We live in owned mansions—we also live in a rented house even worse- face-me&slap-you. We are city people. We go to church, mosque and even the Devil’s cottage. We get sick. We live to see another day. We have own homes here, upon stinking bones of our Godforsaken fathers. We get rich and even poor, most times poorer. We have visions. We own dreams. We see ourselves driving Ferrari. We see ourselves in Planes—first classrooms. We see ourselves in Cabins on the Atlantic. 

 

We speak Creole, Yoruba, Igbo, Afrikaans, Fulfide, Hausa and even the twisting white man language—English. Balderdash. We have God[s] on our lips in different languages. We own torn Bibles & broken Rosaries. We have sweet voices too, not like Nina Simone or Whitney Houston but sweet because we call them sweet. We have hope. We eat rice and beans, vegetables with Fish, Pounded yam and stew.

 

We work too, we are not lazy. 

 

At three, Four, Five, Six a.m we get up to work. We toil by the day and boast with our groins at night. Sometimes, we remember to thank God for the day—but we care much about the Heavens. We own fear. We are like a specimen in the world’s laboratory. Fear ride our ancestors until our time. Our skin carries the hatred of men, but we are strong like the tower of Babel, stronger like the Cro-Magnon man. 

 

On Sundays—we wear our fine clothes, sometimes borrow shoes from our friends. We know we are seeing our Sunday-Friends. We are Ushers, Chorister, Coryphaeus, Clappers and even Warden. We are Pastors. We woo girls from the pulpit. We snap pictures after service. Make-ups cover our pain, we look richer than our neighbour. Before we sleep, we reflect on the preacher’s word but shrugged and explore our body in moans.

 

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, we board cabs and mount bikes. We steal phones or we become a victim. Sometimes we are duped—most times we are fortunate. We are the laws. We wear black uniforms and gallivant with rusty guns, sometimes we wear wigs and hold the gavel. We fear the law. We grow to survive perhaps actualise our dreams in this city. We are hustlers. We work on the net. We can be lady mostly—caramel, chocolate, black, white any sects you want us to be. We can speak good English even more than the owner. We are grammarians.

 

We are Blacks. We love to bleach our skin until it white. We love to look like the Caucasians. We love to wear their used clothes and even listen to their playlist. We hate our identity. We pray we travel abroad. Across the oceans. We become church attenders. We are in the Pastor’s phone log. Secretly still meet Baba, and watch him as he consults the wooden statue of sìgìdì. We greatly believe in his Juju just as we believe in Christ in whom we hope to answer us.    

 

We are religious. Radicals.

 

We are extremists. Bigots. Non-conformist. We debate which religion suits the world. We kill our brothers, those that oppose our religion. We fight for the religion we know nothing about. 

 

At the twenties, we rose up high and compete with our brothers. Our hopes shine brighter. We still have our dreams fresh. We are just knowing the ills of life. We trek under the burning sun. We seek knowledge. We read more books.

 

At the thirties, we still believe in our dreams. We decide to settle down. Our parents look forward to seeing us. We are now big men & women. We drive Highlanders with our windows wind up. 

 

We are now grown, men. We live among our found brothers. We ride motorbikes. We rarely pick our parents’ call. We till have our dreams. Hazy. We settle down with one wife and seven kids. We are churchgoers. We know the whole Bible passages. We are the ones that read the news by the road and clamour over the government. We have seen the future but we still hope.

 

Fifties-Sixties. We are no longer who we have always been before. We now have pot-belly. Unsteady gait. We regret our actions and inaction. We no longer believe vigorously in our dreams. We make them happen for our children. We are advisers. We are drunks too. We discuss the government under the Cashew trees with our neighbours. We are now city people.

 

Perhaps. We own houses on the mainland and highlands. We own companies too. We speak fluent English. We speak on conference calls. We attend the summits. We settle down with two kids. We control the wealth of our villages. We are Obi, Oloye, Galadima. We own titles in our villages. We are now big men.

 

The seventies. We see the world in long thin binoculars. We own names of achievers. We receive praises. More titles and awards. Elder-state men. OR. We no longer see clearly. We smell like shit. We suffer from edentulous. We, now are the forbidden gods some foods are taboo to our nature. We expect our death any day. 

 

If fortunate we scale through seventy—we are now in our eighties. Octogenarians. We are the just curse bearers. We see more sufferings that make eyes go deeper. We tell our successes in croaky voices as tales. We laugh less these days. We are still live in this Godforsaken city. We are just less active.

 

Maybe Ninety, Hundred and others. We are only the reflect of our decisions and this city. We still struggle for HEAVENS. We still believe in things we’ve heard but not seen. We say our prayers in croaky voices. We are the son of men. Black. Fear. Achievers. Losers. We came. We saw. We could have conquered. But life sucks. We are the city people. We live every day. And die each day. 

Awosusi Oluwabukunmi Abraham is a student at the University of Ibadan, Department of History. A member of the Lyceum organization UI, A poet, essayist, and short-story writer. Hails from Ekiti State, Nigeria. His works have been featured on Merak magazine, Kalahari magazine, poetry anthologies and other places. He greatly believes in the concept of a cultural renaissance.

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