Sunday, 4 December 2011

late to bed freewrite (2)

i want to freewrite
want to sit here and pour words
indiscriminate
onto the page
let them spill from me like the ones before
where i lay myself bare to your scrutiny
offered up heart, so unplanned, i forgot the wrapping
forgot to deliver at least some pretext of forward planning
some subtlety to turn raw into nuance
just slapped it down unenhanced
bloody, raging, pulsing on that slab

but if i let myself
go
now
as i did then...

i am sorry
i cannot

Friday, 2 December 2011

day 12 in nigeria - end times



it's going on for 3pm. I have about 9 more hours on nigerian soil, to bask and bake and be whoever it is when i'm out here - some kind of hybrid of my usual self, overlaid with the slightly more boisterous, bolshier bit of me that, along with an undercurrent of custom, seems to be released a little more when i speak yoruba and hang out with *nigerian* nigerians.

the day has been spent so far packing and repacking, my mum's prediction this morning that we might not use up all our baggage allowance (2 x 23kg each…) proved just a little too optimistic after all. i'm just hoping there's no bother at customs, what with all the food and other stuff that we're bringing back. buying and selling is in my mum's blood - my grandma was a trader, and my mum has been doing it since she was small.  the entrepreneurial spirit seems to have resolutely skipped me though - perhaps that's my own rebellion, my disregard for commerce and a tidy profit margin, no matter how modest.

in the living room, my cousins have just finished picking efirin leaves.  my cousin has gone to town to go buy some more stuff for us to take back.  i've stopped trying to protest at any of it - i know from years of experience it makes little difference.  and it wouldn't be a proper trip home if we didn't go back laden with half the wares of lagos' market.

james blake is pulsing from the speakers, and my cousins argue about boko haram and goodluck jonathan.  the copier repair man is repairing, and outside a couple of workmen are working on the well.  my mum wanders in and out of the room, slightly distracted, i guess, by leaving home and family to go back to a country she's never fully embraced, but can now never fully leave.

the heat… god, the heat.

someone asked me last night why i could never live in nigeria.  i found it difficult to articulate it in a way that could be easily understood.  i love so many things about being here, but… it would be like being regressed to childhood again, having to learn the basics all over, and learn also to accept the way things are done - those that i accept wholeheartedly, and others less so.  i'll just have to accept the in-between solution - feel at home when i'm here, but understand that part of that feeling is linked to the temporary nature of my stay. (hmmm - current song - limit to your love)

right. i think that's it from here - i should go interact with my family before i won't see them again for another half a dozen years. or maybe just go doze in the heat. or take another cold shower. whatever. i'm off to take my leave.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

day 11 in nigeria - one more sleep



at 8.06 this morning, i was woken up for a visitor - turns out the tailor had arrived with all my new clothes.  everything fit, and looked like i described it, which is pretty awesome.  personal tailoring is kind of cool when it all goes right.

in the living room, a hair-dresser (who'd arrived at something like 7.30) was doing my mum's hair.  next door, the school kids were singing along with their hugely loud drumming.  i felt like maybe i was starting my day a little late.

just one more sleep until we leave, and already i've started thinking about work… i charged my phone yesterday, and must the network must have switched itself back on - a flood of work e-mails had got through, a few about a presentation i'm doing at a conference in glasgow in about 10 days.  the thought of it makes me feel a little sick, so i've managed for the most part not to think about while i've been away.  I really wish I'd ignored those notifications…

Last night was my most epic battle yet with the mosquitoes.  we (very foolishly) didn't fleet the room (spray with insecticide) before we went to bed.  which normally isn't too much of a problem.  but last night, they were out with a vengeance - maybe they heard we're leaving tomorrow.  i was awake a lot, and scratching like a fiend - this morning i woke up with massive bumps on both arms, an itchy ankle, and a suspiciously puffy eyelid.  and my mum, sleeping in the same bed? absolutely nothing.  this happened in tunisia too - i'd get up every morning, itchy and bumpy, or sit in the house, slapping at my arms and legs, while my mum and aunt would intimate it was all in my head, given that they'd not been attacked.  stupid mosquitoes.
- - - - - - -

so, we fly in 25 hours. we've not packed yet. there're ewedu leaves drying in one spot, beans in another bag, and piles of clothes all over the place.
my cousins came round to spend our last night together - they're sat all eating together (i ate earlier), and we're all sat sweltering together - like the mosquitoes, it seems the heat came out in force today to see us off.

the day passed mainly non-eventfully (another load of exam questions, another field negro podcast). except for another visit from my uncle with someone i spent over an hour having an ultimately pointless conversation with - it was like we were both speaking different languages, even when we weren't. thank God we fly tomorrow.

for now, though, i'll go chat to my cousins, wait for the 'fleet' to die down, and hopefully not re-incur the wrath of the local bloodsuckers tonight.  maybe there'll even be sleep tonight.