The Evening Standard

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It was the rush hour homeward. He has managed to occupy two seats at the muted chagrin of other exhausted commuters.

At the train station, he was insisting on getting a discount. The station assistant had repeated for the umpteen time that there were no ‘promos’ going on at the moment.

The air of self importance was palpable and you could imagine that he had traveled ‘business class’ at the tax payers expense until now.

I was crushed like the most passengers who stood through their journey, lucky to make the train and eager to make the jump off.

He sat cross legged. Tilted his head, accustom, reading The free Evening Standard Newspaper, through his bifocal.

Listening and Creative Communication
Leonard Chintua-Chigbu

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The Waters of Our Rivers

Maroko is completely parceled from Heaven; a gift against the unlubricated heart of the iron city, Lagos. The waters flow just good enough; to deny the mosquitoes, a replacement egg. And not good enough to pull Chimnanu’s refuge apart.

She wakes again to the mosquito sound of speed boats, that steal from the demurrage vessels, but soon drifts away again in thought.

These acts are still wrong. It is wrong to take another person’s thing. 

But someone has asked, “What if these people took it, just as Sandfill; The Monarch with Babangida is taking Maroko away from us?” 

Others say, they took our dignity and made us thieves when they took the money that would have created us jobs. 

But these things are still wrong, though the merchants have taken insurance and get what is taken taken from us”

Chimnanu turns and stretches but pushes had on the stick that poles her polystyrene house.

Many things fell apart. Now floating on the water with other shacks, further away from coming together. In it ripples of muted light also glimmered. 

On her raft she stretched again and somehow she finds a stray will to live yet another day.

Leonard Chintua-Chigbu

Listening and Creative Communications

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,000 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 17 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

DADDY I don’t believe in God

“It’s still beautiful though.” finally agreeing with my son. Many years have now passed, when as a young catholic boy, I had shocked my mother with the news of being born-again. I was persecuted to say the least. But that’s not the point. Here was what I have come to understand. My boy is being honest, and that is beautiful. His views and feelings are authentic, plausible and sincere. I saw beyond that sharp pain in my heart, and the mockery that I had lost to the devil, only as true as my limited self was capable of understanding at the time. Then, latter, I was happy and I became more confident of his future… If God is not True, why shouldn’t my boy come to know?

In my art class, I learned how the blue box wasn’t blue, yet it was blue. It had six sides. The side that faced the light was a lighter blue than the two sides I could see. The lighter side had fleeting properties of green, resulting from the ‘yellowy’ sun ray and the ‘bluey’ hue on the box. When I moved my drawing board to another position, I was able to see only one side, and this was easier to draw and paint. This side had almost one colour of blue, but at the end, it was more of a rectangle, a flat shape than a box. I painted in the shadows and the surrounding background, and was happy with my artwork. So was my teacher. We all saw the box with six sides in my ‘artwork’ with only one side.

Our imagination is an important gift and a space of ‘zero’ gravity. It is akin to that grocery supermarket, that is totally different from the kitchen where the food is eventually cooked.

In my art class, I saw how true it is that ‘we’ see in partial dimensions; in familiar shapes and colours, mostly flat. The closer the object, the more our dimensions of thought and perception improve, and our understanding is sorted in perspectives; with either a dominant vanishing point or multiple ones, within a common and shared space. The free ‘will’ or the audacity to imagine is not a rebellion from the absolute Truth, but a bidden of it, occasioned by His dignified non intrusiveness.

But in His ferocious strength Truth snatched the Harlot, the thief, the corrupt public servant, the numbed rich and the poor fishers.

Absolute Truth stands dignified at an inspiring space, in a reassured confidence that through our subjective perception of what is Truth, through sincere and honest curiosities, seasoned by our tempting interactions with the corruptions around our evolving selves, we will become. Truth by imagination frees our heart to question and own our answer.

My son’s dissent, could point to my language, and yet every day, he embodies and preaches the story of God; a language my generation has lost to speak.

Let’s cheer up.

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Leonard Chintua-Chigbu
Listening and Creative Communication Artist
BA Fine Art (Painting) University of Benin 1986

Ending

TRUTH is that it’s not True

Cheer up!

The illusion is that Evil is dominant and does not live in constant fear. It indeed does but only projects a perversion of its core identities and strength. It also continues to send messages of its presumed dominance to a less perceptive world, that it is the marauder and conqueror of all Good. Yet in its nerves, it shakes and lives in the frail subjectivity of its constituents and the inevitable notice of their existence, through the undeniable christening of Light. Deep in its innermost consciousness, it lives with the evident Truth that there is therefore no such place as a place of darkness. It continues to cave in on its futile attempts to shot out light from spaces where it operates and yet, surrenders to its own sincere and entire sense of lack of dominance.

If there is no such thing as a place or space of entire darkness, a place shot out for the eye to see or make out an object, that there is no such deeds that in its evil nature could triumph without the existential threats which are only real sure and time sure, then we begin to share in the empathy of a desperate invader and a frustrated eventual loser.

Light comes and caress all things, places and spaces. It quietly reveals situations and enriches it with its own understanding of its self. It makes no trumps or unveiling of its lordship over those situations. The situation is shredded and understood, often making it look worse and out of its monstrosity; the earth of its death, the promise of its solution hovers in the light particles of its shared understanding.

I went to the pit of hell. In my darkness I lost orientation because I did not know where I was backing or facing. I was blind, but it was worse because I even felt no grounds on which I was standing; all seemed to float. In my blindness, I was dazed and pressed by torrents of darkness beating every coast of my lost orientation and balance.

In that darkness, its persistent rage and unending perturbs became a predictable normalcy. In my inexplicable buoyancy and pitch darkness, I could start to see. In the greatest pitch of darkness, my pupils could grow larger and darkness yielded itself to the definitions of its masses and content and I could in my retina see the silver lining cresting every mass. In every object there was an inherent light because all things consist of light and defined by it.

I walked in my darkness; through the compressed spectrum of its irrepressible rainbow, sorting out the constituents of my depressed self, my depraved mind, the knowledge that rain terror in my helpless parts; the hapless poor in Arabia, Africa, Asia, Europe, the Indies and the Americas. It was as though it was day. In fact, all were day. And the truth remained; that it was not true that evil is the ultimate conqueror but Truth the Light. Keep walking!

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Leonard Chintua-Chigbu
Listening and Creative Communication Artist
BA Fine Art (Painting) University of Benin 1986

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VINCENT in my happy tough Life

A bit sombre and mute, I walk through the street today and I saw everything that that freed my mind and gave it the tonic it so needed. My surprise has been, how it sucked to all the ‘Vincent’, that littered on the way as I walked. It’s a fantasy to live in my neighbourhood and walk the paths I do. Not to mention that they say it’s posh. And that’s because it comes from your mind, and breaks above the barrier of money and chance. It’s Pinterest, I love it.

So many things are giving money a run for it’s money, distance and privilege, so little to keep away from me. I am happy and that complements the joy I know. I may not pin it, the way they wrote it, and that because it comes from my mind. On my site I have my boards, in my boards I have my own house under the sun; a life for me and a cashless world full of Leonardo Da Vinci, Paul Cezanne and Vincent Van Gogh. It’s Pinterest, I love it.

Leonard Chintua-Chigbu
Listening and Creative Communication Artiste
BA Fine Art (Painting) University of Benin 1986

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SIXTEEN villages no Sex

At least no marriages were allowed between the peoples and villages of Mbutu Ngwa. Mbutu happened to be one of Ngwa’s sons who had had sixteen sons of his own.

It was therefore logical to contemplate, and reasonable to understand; that those sixteen brothers would envision a larger family and future where their boys would marry girls brought in from far flung villages, which equally ensured incestuous behaviours or offspring from such acts were circumvented among their descendants.

For a productive day and less distraction to the dedicated hours in the farms, men farmed separately from women, the latter being closer home for the children. Sex on the other hand was never a recreational activity. Redundancy or tiredness was inexcusable so was siesta while the sun shone.

Diana’s American dream was well on its way. Now that she could afford it, she also had an additional reason for dreaming a vacation in Switzerland that summer. She has heard so much about the Geneva Lake, the colours and the beauty of the Main Gate to the United Nations with mounted flags. There was the Beautiful Vicotira Hall and so on. While meeting Sylvester was one of the possibilities, she would not let that become the central focus of her holiday plan.

After an extensive profiling and matching of their common and compatibility data, Sylvester was provided with options of mates for a possible long term relationship. He took a chance on Diana, who had earlier indicated interest on his profile. Sylvester was Swiss and lived in Geneva, while Diana was Canadian but worked in the United States. Both were busy and had some flickers of Africa in their backgrounds.

Diana drove from the quiet neighbourhood of Kennesaw to Georgia State University where she would meet Sylvester over launch. His call had been entirely a surprise and was bordering on the spooky.

Though Diana had all guards on, launch with Sylvester that afternoon turned out to be fun to say the least. She found him quiet and intelligent. He apologised for the surprise and explained that the timing of the journey was all work related and somewhat out of his control.

The next day’s evening, Diana drove Sylvester back to her house for a dinner.

“Kennesaw, your town is a beautiful neighbourhood” says Sylvester.

“Yes indeed, the ‘Big Shanty Grade’ has come a long way since 1830 America” says Diana, proud to refer to Kennesaw by its earliest name.

They talked about everything from work to school and youth. At their shared moment of harmless hubris, race issues became approachable and they were both comfortable with the topic and at each other’s perspectives.

For over a century into history, oral traditions and moral conditions, shaped by vested communal interests, later became a relatable foothold, for Christian and Catholic missionary work and the colonial cephalisation, of ‘savage’ cultures, who lived and multiplied, off the coast of the bight of Biafra.

Out of the glimmers of the air around them came those translucent pellets that fragmented their scales. Their brains knew it, their eyes dropped and tears came drooling down. It was a little more than love, but one unknown to them before then. They both held each other kissed and cried; all barriers were melted, and between them, the essence of their common ancestry, whiffed a revered fragrance; entrapping the air around them.

Today, still in their minds, regardless of what corners of the world these strangers meet, ‘Onye Mbutu Amairilaisii’ does not only ignite a warm and safe kindred passion, it also sets off a tone, for a platonic relationship where marriage and sex is taboo.

Say how you feel.

Leonard Chintua-Chigbu
Listening and Creative Communication Artiste
BA Fine Art (Painting) University of Benin 1986

 

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EARLY years in the Village

It was 1897 morning in Mbutu Ngwa. The dawn finally came, after pitch darkness and chilly cold fog, that precede the sharp swords, of the early morning sun.

Through their high hanging foliage, the giant iroko trees poked the earth below, with spades of the early morning rays. Birds and insects filled the air with familiar shrills and hisses which sum to a different sense of silence.

On the pathways, leaves of little shrubs held out their palms, laden with blisters of the cold morning dew. These awakeners slapped the bodies and faces of men, shocking them to full life, after their drowsy rise.

The secrets of manhood, would forbid a man to be caught on his agida; the bamboo bed, after the early rays of dawn have struck.

While men left early, mothers saw that their kitchens crackled with fire, making ready the morning food. They also made sure the places were swept and that their children were provisioned for the day. Women farmed food crops while men farmed cash crops.

Children played in the open, around the entrance and the centre of the family compound. Mothers determine which of their younger daughters would stay back to play and to look after the younger children.

With their tummies filled with the morning food, they would run to the uga-ama; the far end of compound’s entrance. In gleeful wonder and amazement, they would settle to the sticks, and sand dunes swept by the elements the nights before. These play toys were strangely varied and surprisingly different every morning.

As the mornings wore thin, and their tummies flattened, they would instinctively relocate, to the compound in unison. Into the compound, every child had brought their hand made toys of everything from transformed sticks to folded green and brown leaves. The play would now go on, but in measured slower pace.

On the lintel, between the thatch and the mud wall, Nkechi would be the first to sight the first lizard; the redhead one.

“Nnenne ngwere, chi ikete ogbala?” meaning “Grand lizard, is it afternoon now?”

This sudden and discordant screaming, transfixes the lizard to a point. When the least of them had asked and the shouting has stopped, the baffled lizard would nod its head in quick successions before continuing on its journey. At this point, the children would let out, a triumphant cheer and in a quick dash; they would scatter in different directions, towards their respective mother’s huts to pull out their lunches.

At the second shading of the midday sun, the rustling noise of dried leaves and nearing voices of the returning mothers would bring the village back, to its ambient buzz.

Among the nearby cassava plots, protruding arcs of brown human backs, swayed and glistered in the sun. When they stood, their sagging shoulders carried human faces, lined in sweat and earth.

When they made their way to their huts, each child would run back to the playground, after an exalted dash to greet their mothers;

Welcome! nno! iilola? inotago!?

The rest of the activities would range from play cooking, running around, climbing and mounting all accessible heights.

Things hadn’t changed much for children in Mbutu Ngwa in 1965, when Dedenne joined his grandmother, Mama Jenni, from Port Harcourt. He was only three years then and had fitted in fairly well.

Mama Jenni, unlike the other women traded in earthen pots and wares. She would not be home just yet, but Dedenne would preserve his invented toys of the day, to show his grandmother, whom he had noticed, that his giftedness, meant the world to her.

Leonard Chintua-Chigbu
Listening and Creative Communication Artist
BA Fine Art (Painting) University of Benin 1986

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