Sunday, November 20, 2016

Akwu Sunday Victor writes

Slaughter House
                             For Dr. Ayodele Bamidele

A big barn of flowing blood

A big slaughter house 
Broken bones everywhere,
The great slaughter house of humanity

Iroko with broken boughs
Elephant without tusk
Lion with dust choked throat and broken claws

Every night, new orphans are hatched
Every day new widows are weaned
Every day petals of life are rudely plucked
Off the great bough of life by crude fingers

By the street corners
Papers of death announce it
At dusk the town crier announces it

The broken roads, serpentine are harvesting theirs
They lie in wait for the rickety iron horse
With broken hoofs and blind eyes
Carcasses of burnt iron horses adorn our road sides

God's hitmen with un-turbaned blades harvest
Their own portion of life's petals, crudely
Cutting down fields of sunflower with bestial passion
Cutting off mushrooms' heads while tapes roll
And the same sent to the ends of the earth, inspiring dread

Cain and Abel engaged in primordial contradiction,
Locusts from Abel's groin invade Cain's offspring's farmland
With intense vengeance and with mandibles of iron
They munch the land, ruin harvested barns, mangle growing blades,
Their cattle crunch stems, corn, seedlings and crush
Ridges and heaps of sand, making flat, hills
And when Cain's descendants, the antithesis
Opposes the thesis of violence and impunity
A synthesis of bloodbath ensures with undertones of religion

House of Slaughter,
Daily new widowers are made,
Daily the ululation of newly recruited widows
Darken the earscape
Daily the dismal configuration of orphans
Makes the eyes of the seer misty

Ours is a slaughter house,
Where lives are cow dung

Ours is a slaughter house,
Where life's flower is crushed with impunity

Ours is a slaughter house
Where no one cares when life's petal is cut short
Where no one speaks when life's flare is put out

The sun rises and falls
And life goes on unperturbed
By booms of bazooka
And the last cries of the dead and dying

Ours is a vast theatre of the absurd
Where cocks crow at noon
Where the sun shines in the night
And the moon at noonday
Where life is stranger than fiction
Where life is an ant,
An ant crushed and lost in the sand

Ours is a slaughter house
Where our caretakers dish death to us
In Iscariot's kiss.

Terry Oakes: KULT

Slaughterhouse 5 -- Terry Oakes


  1. Ayodele Bamidele is a Nigerian literary critic. In "Society, Destiny and Man: Chinua Achebe and Thomas Hardy in Perspective," he detailed the notion that society shapes behavior and destiny limits aspiration. In "The African Novel in the Context of Combat Poetics: Selected Works of Ngugi wa Thiong'O, Sembene Ousmane and Festus Iyayi," he posited that litrature is the product of the society that produces it and therefore, on the basis of the historical contradictions of imperialist ideologies of colonialism and neo-colonialism, revolutionary consciousness compels African novelists to battle against oppression in order to move toward a more democratic society.

    Iroko is a large hardwood tree from the west coast of tropical Africa. Although it is not related to the teak family it is sometimes called “African teak” or "poor man's teak." It can live up to 500 years and is believed to have supernatural properties by the Yoruba, who shun it or make offerings to it. Anyone who cuts down an iroko brings devastating misfortune on himself and his entire family. It is inhabited by a spirit, which can be heard in houses that use the wood for construction; anyone who sees the Iroko-man face to face becomes insane and quickly dies.

    In “Genesis,” Qayin (Cain) was the first son of Adam and Eve; he was also humankind’s first murderer, killing his brother Hebel (Abel). (According to Midrashic and Muslim tradition, Cain killed him due to a dispute over which of their twin sisters they would marry.) As a result, he was cursed and marked for life to keep anyone from killing him. Since “the earth … opened her mouth to receive” Abel’s blood, it would not “henceforth yield unto [Cain] her strength” when he tilled the land, so he became a wanderer and a fugitive. Eventually, according to “The Book of Jubilees,” 196 years after the creation of Adam, he and his sister Aven ("vice," "iniquity," "potency") had a son, Enoch. Cain then founded the first city and named it after his son, but his house fell upon him and killed him when he was 730. However, other sources claimed that he marked by a horn on his head and that he was accidentally killed by his great-grandson Lamech, who mistook him for a wild beast. He became the ancestor of all lyre and pipe players and of all bronze and iron smiths. In various Jewish and Gnostic traditions, he was not the son of Adam but rather of Samael (“Venom of God" or "Blindness of God"), the archangel of death, a lion-faced serpent who earlier tempted Eve into sin and then became the consort of Adam’s first mate, Lilith. In “The Ascension of Moses,” he was portrayed as so tall “it would have taken five hundred years to cover a distance equal to it, and from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet he was studded with glaring eyes.”

  2. Judas ("Ioudas") is the name Christians gave to Yehudah, ("God is praised") to distinguish him from “Jude,” the faithful brother of Jesus. The meaning of "Iscariot," however, is uncertain. A may be from the Hebrew “Is-Qriyoth” (man of Kerioth in southern Judea, about 10 miles south of Hebron); it may refer to membership in the “sicarii,” ant-Roman assassins; it may be from the Aramaic words for "the liar/the false one" or “red” or "to deliver;" or perhaps it was a Greek-Aramaic hybrid, “iskarioutha” (constriction), an epithet that the remaining disciples applied to him referencing his death by hanging. According to the “Gospel of John,” he carried the disciples' money bag or box, and when he departed from them as part of his betrayal plan, they thought he left to buy supplies or dispense charity [13:27-30], although John also accused him of hypocrisy and embezzlement [12:5-6]. According to Matthew, Judas arranged to identify Jesus to high priest Caiaphas’ men by kissing him, in exchange for 30 pieces of silver. John and Matthew both suggested that Jesus foresaw the betrayal and allowed it to proceed in order to fulfill God’s plan. In 2006, a fragmentary 2nd-century Coptic papyrus, the “Euangelion Ioudas” (Gospel of Judas) was translated, recounting conversations between Jesus and his disciples. According to that account, Judas was the only one who understood Jesus' teaching about spiritual matters and cosmology; the other disciples were obsessed with the physical world of the senses and wrongly taught that martyrs would be bodily resurrected. Death was not some glorious event but simply a way to escape the perishable realm of the flesh, and God, being gracious, did not require any sacrifice to atone for humanity’s sins. But only those who had been bestowed with an immortal soul could come to know the God within and enter the imperishable realm when they die. Rather than “betraying” Jesus, Judas was commanded to “hand him over” and was told that, though "You shall be cursed for generations … you will come to rule over them…. You will exceed all of them, for you will sacrifice the man that clothes me." (Many Gnostic texts praised Judas for his role in triggering humanity's salvation and viewed Judas as the best of the apostles.) The Bible gave two accounts of Judas’ death: Matthew claimed that he returned the money to the Sanhedrin and then hanged himself, and Luke (in the “Acts of the Apostles”) said he fell into a pit and burst apart, with his entrails erupting. Papias, a second-generation Christian who had been converted by John, claimed, "Judas walked about in this world a sad example of impiety; for his body having swollen to such an extent that he could not pass where a chariot could pass easily, he was crushed by the chariot, so that his bowels gushed out." The “Gospel of Barnabus” (the oldest copy is from the 16th century, though it may have been based on much older sources) claimed that Jesus transformed himself into Judas during the act of betrayal and that it was thus Judas who was actually crucified. (This text is often used as evidence to buttress the Muslim belief that Isa [Jesus] that Jesus was not crucified but rather that he ascended bodily into Heaven, a notion first raised by the Gnostic, Basilides, in the 2nd century.)

  3. Durante degli Alighieri (“Dante”) invented what he called the “Italian” language (based on the Tuscan dialect but with some elements of Latin and other regional dialects) in his composition of the “Comedìa,”which he began in ca. 1308 and completed 1320, the year before his death. (In 1555, at the suggestion of his near-contemporary Giovanni Boccaccio, it was published as the “Divina Commedia;”a comedy was a literary work that reflected a belief in an ordered universe influenced by a Providential will that arranges everything to lead to an ultimate good.) He traced his journey through Hell (“Inferno”), “Purgatory” (“Purgatorio”), and Paradise (“Paradiso”). He divided Hell into nine circles, the last of which was Cocytus, a large frozen lake in which were trapped those who were guilty of treachery. He then divided Cocytus into four concentric rounds of traitors. The outer round contained betrayers of their family and was named Caïna after Cain; the condemned sinners there had their necks and heads out of the ice and were allowed to bow their heads against the eternal freezing wind. The next two rounds were reserved to those who committed treason against political entities (their heads were out of the ice but they could not move them) and betrayers of their guests (who lay supine in the ice while their eyes were sealed by the tears in their eye sockets). The 4th and last round was Judecca, named after Judas, for those condemned of treason toward their benefactors; these were fully enclosed in ice like “straw in glass,” distorted and twisted in every direction, unable to move or talk.


Join the conversation! What is your reaction to the post?