by Emmanuel Iduma
Failing to daydream a life of transcendence, a certain wayfarer found himself at the mercy of his ambitions.1
The first goal he set for himself was to find Voice, knowing as many others before him that to seek a voice was to find a calling, life’s worth, a process that suggested in other words the slippery concept of essence, the indeterminate polemic of illogic, and a measure of aimless strides, akin to taking a stroll in a village where life’s needs were bare and unwanting, akin to a morning of infinite bliss and wordless presences, akin to what’s called Borgesian logic, in sum a world only imaginable by Marquez, everything human and at once transhuman – the wayfarer knew if he’d ever attain a voice, in addition to a calling, his life would be one found in many, the memory of experiences and not places, one-off yet unwholesome, language yet inaudibility; at such time he’s reminded of Mandelstam – that feeling that the language of the time isn’t enough and wouldn’t be.
He knew that the first goal led to a second, Find Yourself, in which living was a collection of searchings, an attempt to perfect the eye, taken to agents of the supernatural, never able to hit the mark. On this quest he discovered the ambivalence of hyphens, mishmashes, middle kingdoms, the industry that negated in order to affirm, fresh nuances, many subtleties sidestepped for the sake of the general, yet in addition to these goals the wayfarer was confronted with the dilemma of leaving the world, not beguiled by the deceptiveness of fleeting pleasures, by streetcars called success, by obsolescence lurking in everyday life like ruined hopscotches
And thinking about dying, he wished to go as a cup emptied, elements of his soul dispersed in a dreamlike museum of silver lights, a bellowing voice welcoming him home.
1. I wrote this poem while I was returning to Nigeria from Libreville. We had stopped in a Cameroonian village, and I left my companions for minutes, typing hurriedly on my phone. It has undergone several revisions – and after a few comments, I decided to make it a prose-poem, prose being the only thing that comes easily, at this point, for me.
This piece was first published at MrIduma.com. Emmanuel Iduma is the co-publisher of Saraba Magazine.