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Contents

Borderless January, 2022

Painting by Sohana Manzoor

Editorial

Elephants & Laughter… Click here to read.

Interviews

Keith Lyons introduces us to Kenny Peavy, an author, adventurer, educator and wilderness first-aider who has travelled far and wide and wishes everyone could connect with the natural world right outside their door. Click here to read.

In Rhys Hughes Unbounded, Hughes, an author and adventurer, tells us about his inclination for comedies. Click here to read

Translations

Professor Fakrul Alam translates If Life were Eternal by Jibananada Das from Bengali. Click here to read.

Ratnottama Sengupta translates Bengali poet Michael Madhusudan Dutt’s Bijoya Doushami. Click here to read.

Korean poet Ihlwha Choi translates his own poem, Sometimes Losing is Winning, from Korean. Click here to read.

Give Me A Rag, Please:A short story by Nabendu Ghosh, translated by Ratnottama Sengupta, set in the 1943 Bengal Famine, which reflects on man’s basic needs. Click here to read.

On This Auspicious Day is a translation of a Tagore’s song, Aaji Shubhodine Pitaar Bhabone, from Bengali by Mitali Chakravarty. Click here to read.

Poetry

Click on the names to read

Rhys Hughes, Ryan Quinn Flanagan, Anasuya Bhar, Jay Nicholls, Anuradha Vijayakrishnan, Vernon Daim, Mathangi Sunderrajan, William Miller, Syam Sudhakar, Mike Smith, Pramod Rastogi, Ivan Peledov, Subzar Ahmed, Michael R Burch

Nature’s Musings

In Best Friends, Penny Wilkes takes us for a photographic treat. Click here to read.

Poets, Poetry & Rhys Hughes

In Making Something of Nothing…, Rhys Hughes explores sources of inspirations with a dollop of humour. Click here to read.

Musings/Slices from Life

Wooing Children to School

Munaj Gul writes of how volunteers are engaged in wooing children from poverty stricken backgrounds to school in Turbat, Balochistan. Click here to read.

Historical Accuracy

Ravibala Shenoy ponders over various interpretations of the past in media and through social media. Click here to read.

The Ocean & Me

Meredith Stephens writes of her sailing adventures in South Australia. Click here to read.

Crotons

Kavya RK finds her fascination for plants flourish in the pandemic. Click here to read.

The Great Freeze

P Ravi Shankar trots through winters in different parts of the globe. Click here to read.

Two Birds

Ratnottama Sengupta muses as she translates a Tagore’s song. Click here to read.

Musings of a Copywriter

In The New Year’s Boon, Devraj Singh gives a glimpse into the projection of a new normal created by God. Click here to read.

Essays

Dramatising an Evolving Consciousness: Theatre with Nithari’s Children

Sanjay Kumar gives us a glimpse of how theatre has been used to transcend trauma and create bridges. Click here to read.

Potable Water Crisis & the Sunderbans

Camellia Biswas, a visitor to Sunderbans during the cyclone Alia, turns environmentalist and writes about the potable water issue faced by locals. Click here to read.

The Malodorous Mountain: A Contemporary Folklore

Sayantan Sur looks into environmental hazards due to shoddy garbage disposal. Click here to read.

Where Sands Drift Back in Time…

Shernaz Wadia explores Western Australia. Click here to read.

The Observant Immigrant

In The Changing Faces of the Family, Candice Louisa Daquin explores the trends in what is seen as a family now. Click here to read.

Bhaskar’s Corner

In Fakir Mohan: A Tribute, Bhaskar Parichha introduces us to Fakir Mohan Senapati, the writer he considers the greatest in Odia literature. Click here to read.

Stories

Folklore from Balochistan: The Pearl

Balochi folktales woven into a story and reinvented by Fazal Baloch highlighting the wisdom of a woman. Click here to read.

The American Wonder

Steve Ogah takes us to a village in Nigeria. Click here to read.

The Boy

Neilay Khasnabish shares a story on migrant labours with a twist. Click here to read.

Stranger than Fiction

Sushant Thapa writes of real life in Nepal, which at times is stranger than fiction. Click here to read.

The Solace

Candice Louisa Daquin takes us on a poignant story of longing. Click here to read.

The Doll

Sohana Manzoor tells a story around the awakening of a young woman. Click here to read.

Among Our PeopleDevraj Singh Kalsi gives a fictitious account of a common man’s quest for security in a country that is one of the world’s largest democracy. Click here to read.

Book Excerpts

An excerpt from Shazi Zaman’s Akbar: A Novel of History detailing his interactions with Surdas and Braj. Click here to read.

Excerpts from A Glimpse Into My Country, An Anthology of International Short Stories edited by Andrée Roby & Dr Sangita Swechcha. Click here to read.

Book Reviews

Meenakshi Malhotra reviews Somdatta Mandal’s translation of A Bengali Lady in England by Krishnabhabini Das (1885). Click here to read.

Gracy Samjetsabam reviews Anuradha Kumar’s The Hottest Summer in Years. Click here to read.

Rakhi Dalal reviews Selma Carvalho’s Sisterhood of Swans. Click here to read.

Bhaskar Parichha reviews Amit Ranjan’s John Lang; Wanderer of Hindoostan; Slanderer in Hindoostanee; Lawyer for the Ranee. Click here to read.

Categories
Editorial

Elephants & Laughter

Run, Painting by Sybil Pretious

Ideally, I would love to start the New Year with laughter and happiness! Then perhaps, the whole year would be dotted with humour …

Laughter clubs often practice laughing for health benefits. I know the pandemic makes both guffawing outdoors or in a group hard but think of the funniest possible thing and, perhaps, you will start laughing. For me what works other than children’s and monkeys’ antics, are my trips to the dentist, especially the trip where I wondered on the fringe benefits of ‘laughing gas’ (as given in the PG Wodehouse novel of the same name), only to be informed that it was used exclusively for young children. For me, an adult, there was only — you have guessed it — the jab that numbs your lip function to lubber. I discovered if I could make light of a dentist drilling by learning from Harry Potter (the spell to get rid of the terrifying boggart, who took the shape of the thing you feared most, was to imagine the funniest thing, focus on the humour in it, and shout ‘Riddikulus’ with a wand pointed at the creature in the form of your worst nightmare), then I could pretty much get rid of most fears.

The other thing I have been wondering for sometime is can one write an editorial that is humorous when the content is serious? I would have wanted to ask that question to many, including Ruskin Bond, who continues as one of my idols. I would love to touch hearts with the humour and the sensitivity that flavours his writing. It is tough to convey a complex thought with the simplicity and elegance of a writer who can be read and understood easily. I think we have a few of them around and I interviewed one. You all probably know him well— Rhys Hughes. I have given the reasons for the interview in lieu of Mr Bond, who continues a distant star beyond the horizon of online interviews. We discussed humour and its role in literature, leaving out completely in the cold, the fictional Mr Bond who answers to the names of James and 007 and has made entertaining films, which can be seen as serious or non-serious.

Hughes has of course, given some writerly advice not just in the interview but in ‘Making Something of Nothing’ – pretty much the advice that God had probably been given when he asked an unspecified friend on how to create the universe and multiple realities. Hughes has also added to our galaxy of poets where Michael Burch, Ryan Quinn Flanagan, Anasuya Bhar, Vernon Daim, William Miller, Pramod Rastogi, Mike Smith, Jay Nicholls and many more continue to sparkle. Taking up the theme of God’s creations, Devraj Singh Kalsi has added to more humour with a dream of divine intervention to make the ‘New Normal’ in 2022 – a plan for this year. Will it ever be real?

Another major issue in this world currently is climate change. In keeping with the need for acceptance of this reality, Keith Lyons introduced us to a nature lover, author and adventurer Kenny Peavy, who loved the fictional adventurer called Indiana Jones and has been working towards living in harmony with nature. He moved to Indonesia from America and is trying to raise awareness. You can find much, though not elephants, in the interview that encompasses the story of a man who cycled across a continent on a bike made of bamboo. However, you can find some writing on a king who acquired the skill to ride and tame elephants in our book excerpt from Shazi Zaman’s Akbar: A Novel of History. The excerpt does not showcase his elephant taming skills as did the Bollywood blockbuster Jodha Akbar but is focussed on bringing out the syncretism in the Mughal monarch’s outlook which made him seek out exponents of other religions. Sangita Swechcha’s and Andrée Roby’s anthology, A Glimpse Into My Country, with excerpts of short stories from Nepal and Zimbabwe, like Kenny Peavy, cycle across multiple borders as does our fiction. We feature stories from within and without the continent with Fazal Baloch recombining a couple of folklores from Balochistan to a single tale. Fiction from young writers highlight compassion and a varied perspective. Steve Ogah has a story from Nigeria which almost rings with overtones of Alex Haley’s Roots. Sohana Manzoor has given us a poignant narrative with an inspiring twist at the end, an absolute antithesis of the humorous one she rolled out for us last month. Candice Louisa Daquin has also given us an exceptional short fiction along with her column where she discusses the changing face of families in the current context.

While Daquin’s focus is mainly towards the West, we have an essay from Sanjay Kumar on families that live in the greyer zones of big cities, children from an outcropping called Nithari in Delhi, where they or theirs suffered neglect, abuse, carnage and cannibalism in their formative years.  Introducing the impacted children, Kumar explains how they transcended the wounds that lacerated their lives. This piece is a precursor to a column called ‘Children of Nithari’. Starting February, the abuse victims will give us a story a month which will be translated by young volunteers from pandies’, an activist theatre group founded by Kumar, and published in Borderless. Another article from Balochistan reflects on the lack of literacy and efforts to bring children into the folds of schooling. Pakistan ranked 99th out of 132 countries on the literacy survey in 2021. We are privileged to be the voice of the unheard.

Two essays that ring of concerns raised in the Kenny Peavy interview are to do with climate crisis in the Sunderbans and waste disposal in Delhi. Both of these are written by researchers who are working on these issues.

We have travel pieces from Australia – one is a sailing adventure by Meredith Stephens and the other is about a trip to the Sand Dunes of Western Australia by Shernaz Wadia. Ravi Shankar has also taken us through winters from the Everest to New York with his globe-trotting non-fiction. Penny Wilkes takes us on a flight of creativity with beautiful photography.

We have a stellar layout of translations. Professor Fakrul Alam translated another poem by Jibananada Das and Borderless is honoured to publish it to the world for the first time. We have a translation from Korea and another of a Brahmo hymn, Aji Shubho Dine, by Tagore, which is sung often during festivals. The icing in our Tagore section in this issue is Ratnottama Sengupta’s translation of the Kobiguru’s ‘Two Birds’ (Khanchar Pakhi Chhilo) along with a musing which reflects on the perspectives of the two contemporaries, Tagore and Saratchandra. She has also translated a well-known Bengali poet, Michael Madhusudan Dutt. Dutt wrote just before the advent of Tagore and had an interesting past which has been vividly depicted by Sunil Gangopadhyay in Those Days (Sei Somoy in Bengali), a novel that has been translated by Aruna Chakravarti. Bhaskar Parichha has given us a tribute on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Fakir Mohan Senapati, who, he claims, has the same standing in Odia literature as Tagore in Bengali or Premchand in Hindi.

Parichha has also reviewed Amit Ranjan’s John Lang; Wanderer of Hindoostan; Slanderer in Hindoostanee; Lawyer for the Ranee. It looks like an interesting read where an immigrant Australian came supported Rani of Jhansi in India. Rakhi Dalal has reviewed Selma Carvalho’s Sisterhood of Swans, again a story of migrants and their lives. The theme seems to echo among the books that have been reviewed this time, including Gracy Samjetsabam’s take on Anuradha Kumar’s The Hottest Summer in Years, a story about a German immigrant to India in the twentieth century. Meenakshi Malhotra’s review of Somdatta Mandal’s translation of A Bengali Lady in England by Krishnabhabini Das (1885) highlights the views of a traveller rather than an immigrant as the lady did return home after a ten-year sojourn in Britain. As Meenakshi contends, “The process of travel offers opportunities for emancipation where exposure to other cultures offers her a way of viewing and of gaining a perspective on her own experiences and that of her sisters in India. Krishnabhabini constantly refers to her Indian sisters and bemoans their sorry state and ignorance when she sees how active British women were in their families and societies…”

I was supposed to try my hand at a humorous editorial, but I realise that is tough when the ground is small. For humour, we need rolling acres where we can etch out each detail till it cannot be milked further for laughter. But I promise you I will keep trying to please the readers till one evolves to write like Ruskin Bond.

I would like to thank my fabulous team who even if not actively contributing to content are always at hand to advise and help. I would especially want to thank both Sohana Manzoor and Sybil for their fantastic artwork, which is as wonderful as their writings. I would like to give heartfelt thanks to all the contributors who have made this journal possible and each reader who comes back to our journal for more every month. Some of the pieces remain unmentioned adding to the mystery of the content, just like, Christmas gifts which need to be unwrapped and continue a reality even in January in some parts of the world – the Russians celebrate on January 7th and the Spaniards extend their festivities to January 6th.

Do take a look at this month’s edition for not just the stories mentioned here but for more.

I wish you all a wonderful New Year filled with laughter.

Mitali Chakravarty

Borderless Journal

Categories
Stories

The American Wonder

                                          By Steve Ogah 

“Come and see the American wonder.” That was the one-liner the band of energetic kids sang. It was the song of an old city magician who had once come to fret coins out of villagers with old card tricks and die games. But the New Yorker thought the song would be useful for what he had to say at the drinking hut, so he had made the excited kids remember the song.  This was a raggedy bunch of kwashiorkor-colonized kids, mostly naked from the top up. They clapped, danced and repeated the line as though it were the sweetest song in the world. Ahead of them, and not far away, was the New Yorker. He too was clapping with all the might in his palms as though he held two cymbals in his large hands, his New Yorker T-shirt sticky with soft sweats of the early morning, moving his thin frame as though the wind would cast him far away from land.

The on-lookers had no idea what the American wonder was, but most were eager to know what the astonishing thing was about America. So, the New Yorker led this gyrating group of kids through rutted village paths, headed for the village square and a drinking shack, where he would exhibit the bare American wonder. Some in the crowd thought he was the one and only American wonder the village had. They felt no urgent need to join the swelling throng of admirers of the circus.

Yet, they were those who felt the man wanted to lay bare some exciting features of America. Two sets of people flowed into the mix: those who assumed the wonder was a man and those who believed the wonder was a thing that had not been sighted in the village of Nkang before. Everyone who heard the shrieking kids was willing to tail them. Anything American was like a commercial hit in the village at any time of the day.

This area of the village was known as the wine groove and some villagers thought the village’s best speaker of high sounding words had perhaps consumed too much fresh wine at the root of a friend’s tree. He wasn’t a known tapster of wine and could only have intoxicated himself through the generosity of other benign villagers. This was the thread of thought held by most villagers, except Pa Okeke. The hut owner had seen the New Yorker before he monkeyed up a palm tree and the New Yorker had told him he wasn’t going to taste any other wine except his at the shack. “Your wine sets my tongue dancing like no other,” he had confessed to the amused old man.

“My palm wine must have a conga drum then,” Pa Okeke returned, forcing the New Yorker to wave him off with a laugh seated in his stomach, as he scanned the groove for the tree to bore a wine hole in.

Up above, at the neck of a tall palm tree, he hung as though a thing woven out of spider webs. He too couldn’t nail what this latest act of the New Yorker was about. If it were magic the man wanted to perform at his shack, he would fail with honors. He wasn’t turbaned like most Indian magicians. He wasn’t dressed in the long tail coats of television magicians, and didn’t bear any resemblance to the famed professor Pellar of Lagos. He hadn’t been to India to learn from the gods of magic. His abracadabra would yield no awesome tricks tonight. That was the tapster’s conclusion. Having drained the tree of its latest intoxicating content, he descended the lanky black and well-juiced palm tree. He would take a shorter route to his shack and lay out his drinking horns for the New Yorker and his crowd of enthusiasts. The day held the fat promise of drama and laughter at the village’s favorite haunt. It would be the night of American wonder by the African New Yorker.

The New Yorker had trimmed his caravan of kids as he went on his way to Pa Okeke’s drinking place. It was too early in the day for kids to wander away from their mothers. He had finished exploiting them and they weren’t allowed to sit in the shack, in any case. He had said to some, “You, off you must go to your expectant mother,” he sprayed them with intense looks of reprimand. “Some of you have not fetched water from the stream yet.” He shooed the kids on their backsides as if they were chickens who had failed to return to their coops on time.

With the kids out of the way, the New Yorker crowded his mind with the wonders he was going to unleash on the swelling crowd at Pa Okeke’s place. The kids had done a terrific job of advertising his presence to the whole village. Though, he was a well-known village lay-about, the New Yorker had needed the kids for a reason.

He needed a fix of wine and the more the crowd at the shack, the greater his chances of free wine. The children had been his talking drum. And they had indeed talked well to guarantee him endless jugs of palm wine from the whole village. The more the wine, the sweeter the tale, the New Yorker believed that; and the greater the intensity of listenership. His captivated audience would be the one to make his tongue set sail on its voyage of storytelling.

The New Yorker sat down at Pa Okeke’s hut. It was on this day and at this time, thinly populated. Well, he had the company of fat green flies buzzing around wine-stained benches and tables and used cups and drinking horns. This wasn’t the sort of company he had dreamt up and desired. He was disappointed.

“The Americans have decided to build a wall through their border with Mexico.”  That was what the New Yorker revealed to his crowd of enchanted listeners. He was seated on a deep green hard bamboo bench, flanked in by drunken men on either side in Pa Okeke’s palm wine-perfumed drinking hut. The long wooden table in front of the gathering was dotted with plastic jugs of dirty frothy white-shy palm wine, and colorful plastic cups and rust-color calabashes circled with giddy giant green flies. Several of the insects were drunk and dead while others had just begun their round of alcoholic somersaults. In a little while, the men in the haunt would be like the insects, each one a mess of retched up gut contents and drunken odour. They would perhaps go home washed down in their own mess since the sky had darkened with impending rain.

The tale spinner had spoken and there was a collective gasp of bewilderment from the house which was by now crowded with onlookers and drunken bunch of villagers. Some kids who had strayed away from their parents had traced the New Yorker to his cherished hut. They stuck their bulging eyes and eager faces in the tiny spaces created between men at the windows, desperate to see some real American wonders. But all they heard was:  “Wall! A wall? A big wall?”

Those were the words that flew around the gathering. The kids were as confused as those who had palm wine floating in their senses. Those villagers who had cell phones with them had begun to call out to absent regulars of Pa Okeke’s place. The gist in town was about the presence of the village’s best story weaver in Pa Okeke’s house. They believed his newest tale was yet another fabrication from his deep well of stories. This can’t be possibly true, many held. Those who had left the village in past journeys to townships had never seen walls between borders of two towns or between Nigeria and her neighbor, Cameroun.  The only embankment many knew of was in the Bible, the walls of Jericho that they had heard about in Sunday schools and catechism classes.

“The Americans can’t do such a senseless thing!” That was the assertion that rose like the sudden burst of water from a pressurized pipe, from somewhere in the crowd. It was from a man with a bloated stomach and face, who also wore the several litres of wine he had being drinking in his eyes. The words had come off his lips with some difficulty as they seemed to have mixed with the wine in his mouth. 

“What is it with these Americans? America, the wonderful!” That was his deep-rooted summary. He shook his misshapen ageing head from side to side, laced his fat lips with a derisive laughter and swallowed a slug of sour wine. “America, America,” he laughed, after the horn of palm wine had freed itself from the claws of his salivary mouth.  He spewed a jet of wine between his legs. “Useless things,” he had chewed on a dead fly. He stamped on the already dead thing with all the might in his spindly legs.

There were some ripples of laughter shooting through Pa Okeke’s hut of revelers.  The wine was working its way slowly through veins. This moved the old man to action as he dug into his hidden drums of wine for the best fermented drink for the house. He went behind and re-emerged in the gathering with a dull black aged gallon of palm wine. It was crusted with overflowing dirty white wine. Its embankment of security was made of fat green toilet flies that had found a permanent home in the drinking hut. They made sure no wine was wasted and knew which cup of wine intoxicated the most. They were the dutiful keepers of the shack and were rarely killed by the regulars. The people saw them as a congenital part of drinking in village huts.

“‘Americans are funny’, I once told us that.” The New Yorker reminded his audience and everyone nodded. Voices rose here and there. There were murmurs that the New Yorker couldn’t discern. Those who had been there when he made his revelation agreed that he was on point while those that hadn’t been there wanted to be told about the comic nature of all Americans, because they held the view that the Chinese were perhaps more comical than the Americans. The overwhelming view was that Jackie Chan was the most humorous and famous Chinese in the world. While Bruce Lee was another popular Chinese, he was seen as too consumed in his fights to want to grant the viewer some moments of humor.  Many had seen clips of the makings of some of Jackie’s movies, where he would fail several times at different acts, to his own amusements.

“Americans can afford the liberty to be funny,” That was Pa Okeke. His voice was aged with wine and his breath perfumed with sugar. “They have the life that we don’t have.” He had something for the gathering of drunken men and puzzled kids.

Pa Okeke deposited the gallon on a dying and Chesnutt-coloured bench in the middle of the room. “This is on me,” he declared with that authority of one who truly owned the house. He rubbed his flabby chest down.  Many shifted on their seats with itchy throats, anticipating the flow of fresh palm wine that was to come from the owner of the hut. This was going to be a night like no other for many. And Pa Okeke was dead certain many of his customers would crawl on their bellies to their various homes when night time fell. Those who wouldn’t be able to claw their paths home would sleep on their vomits, then wake to curse themselves and his wine. He knew they would still return when the clouds of drunkenness cleared from their eyes, because the villagers had once tagged his hut the “home of happiness.” He had believed the tag and had scrawled that in misshapen letters above the door of the hut.

“You want to get us all drunk?” The New Yorker asked without really meaning every word he had spoken. “Isn’t this one much for a gift?” He shot his empty cup towards the table. He rose and reached for the fresh wine which was dotted with dead bees and tiny raffia palms and flies. He shoved the undesired baggage aside with the bottom of his cup. He dug into the liquid with the force of one who hadn’t had a life-saving drink in days. There was a smirk around his lips.

“I want us all to be happy.” Pa Okeke left the scene. But he would return with more palm wine from his seemingly endless drums at the back of the hut.

The New Yorker wanted to be inebriated. He had come to the hut to get himself some drink and reveal the newest brand of wonder to the house. Many had thought he wanted to perform some sleight of hand tricks of some old penniless magician. But this man was from another world from most of his contemporaries. He wasn’t a magician and he just revealed that to his listeners.  He was a moving cinema and a radio whose power never went down and out. And not few had been impressed in great measures. While he was a known village comic, he still had some ears for workings of the wider world. “America wants to cage itself in. Not cage the rest of us out.  She will build a circular wall round all of her borders with her neighbors.” That was the summation of the wonder, the meaty part of his story.

Voices rose anew in the gathering. There were those who thought that was outlandish.  America was a land of the wild and the free, a place where every dream came to life. That was a popular view in the hut. Why would free people want to fence themselves in? Would America erect a wall with her maritime neighbours? That was a question that was thrown the New Yorker’s way from a man who hadn’t been drinking much. “A wall inside an ocean?” That was his question. And before the New Yorker would say a word, the man bolted up and screamed: “Impossible!” He repeated himself.  He drank what was a long draught of wine. He smacked his thin lips and waited for the tale bearer to bear down the fleshy parts of his tale on the house. And talk the garrulous New Yorker did!

“The Americans will build a wall taller than the Berlin wall and longer than the walls of Jericho.” That was how the New Yorker further shocked his crowd of enchanted listeners. “Some other cities will mount individual city gates.”

There was a collective breath of wonderment from the house. Not even the quarrelsome Koreans had erected a wall between each other. Was America at war with all of her neighbours? A question jutted out from somewhere in the crowd. It was from a man who sat with his jaws in his palms, stupefied by what he was hearing. “What is it with these Americans? America the wonderful!” That was his deep-rooted conclusion. “They are crazy! Today it’s a border wall. Tomorrow, they will yank us off the visa lottery list. Has anyone offended these people? I don’t get it!”

There were more ripples of laughter shooting through Pa Okeke’s hut of drunken men. This ignited a move in the old wine tapper. He went behind and reemerged in the gathering with a dull black aged gallon of palm wine. It was crusted with overflowing dirty white wine. The neck of the galloon was laced with fat green toilet flies that had attacked from all directions.

“‘Americans are funny,’ I keep telling people everywhere I go.” The New Yorker reminded his audience and everyone nodded. Some voices concurred while others demurred. There were grumbles that the New Yorker couldn’t understand. “And crazy too like someone has just told us, but Americans are not the only crazy people.” He drank some wine. “They will know what it means to be crazy when they finish that wall. Because some people will chisel that wall until it can let their bodies through. They will claw at it night and day. Sometimes it is better to die in a prosperous land than live in a wretched place.” Some heads nodded, while others drank up.

Pa Okeke deposited the gallon on a bench in the middle of the room. “There is more to come,” he declared. There was a certain audacity to the way he stood, as though he meant to dare someone in the house to a drinking contest. Many experienced drinkers saw danger ahead. He had much of the stale wine in his drums that he wanted to get rid of.

Voices rose again in the gathering. There were those who thought that Pa Okeke wanted them to swim home in alcohol and have their wives lock them out.

Would America stop receiving visitors? That was a question that was thrown the New Yorker’s way from a man who had being processing this latest revelation from the story teller. He even asked the New Yorker the source of his latest news.

“How many of you have a radio?”  The New Yorker began. There was no response to his question.  People just drank wine and adjusted on their seats. He interpreted that in many ways. “These homo-sapiens called Americans are capable of the impossible,” the New Yorker fired at him. “They killed a president that they voted for. They put a man on the moon when others were sending monkeys and tomatoes to the clouds.”

Now, there was a blanket of shock that descended on the house. Many in the gathering didn’t know about that. The New Yorker nodded his head after having drunk some wine. He told them that brutal act of killing a president was akin to children killing their own father. He told them the word for that was patricide!

“Wetin be dat?” Pa Okeke asked. “your grammar don dey too much: homo…wetin, partri…wetin. Abeg small grammar. No be all of us go America like you.”

The New Yorker found that gratifying and funny. Then he explained what the words meant as the hut owner had just reemerged in the scene and leaned on the door frame, his eyes glassy with wine just as his stomach carried more weight than before. He rubbed it down and guffawed. “Now, I get you.” He rubbed his chin. “But how will you enter America if you want to go back there?”

Most people in the hut found that an interesting question. They adjusted on their seats. Some took their cups and drank some more palm wine in anticipation of the response the New Yorker would give. “You don’t belong here with us. You are the only Americana we know.”

The New Yorker was deadpan. He told his listeners that the walls of Berlin and Jericho had since fallen. And he believed the American wall would collapse should it ever be erected. Some in the house didn’t believe his prophecy. Many felt the New Yorker had been drunk all along. Someone even said that to his wine-soaked face. The New Yorker needed to convince the house that he had his memory in place. So he told them to see Joshua 6: 1-16. But no one had the virtue of holding a Bible in the house.

“You have not answered my question?” That was Pa Okeke. He wanted the New Yorker to respond to his question, since he had often boasted that he would return to America any time he desired.

“I will do like the children of Israel did.” The New Yorker shot back, fuming. “I will join with other people and sing and dance and blow horns round the wall.”

Now, Pa Okeke was convinced the story teller had lost it. There was a general wild laugh in the house. “Will you be the priest?” Pa Okeke asked. “There were priests in the Bible.” He shook his head in disbelief. He returned to his large drums of overnight palm-wine behind his hut.

A man who had been sitting with his jaws imprisoned under his palms, emptied his cup, and began drumming on it, singing:

The walls of Jericho fell down flat

When the children of God

were praising the lord

The walls of Jericho fell down flat!

He was now standing and doing a jig. Some other drunken men picked up the lyrics of the popular church song and sang along, the wooden tables serving as superb percussion instruments.  A circle was quickly formed in the hut. The gyration was infectious and had a shocking fraternal spirit, but the New Yorker didn’t join in the song. He just sat swallowing up all the happenings, the scene wavy and distorted in his eyes. He blinked rapidly and washed his face with his left palm. He dug into his trouser pocket for a crescent of kola nut which he popped in his mouth.

The sky had foreshadowed rain all day. Now it began to drizzle and those customers who were outside the hut hurried in and found spaces for themselves. The kids had since left the scene when they realised no magic doves were going to fly off the palms of the New Yorker. The story of the wall around some unknown borders sounded more confusing than a simple equation at school. With more people in the hut, the New Yorker thought this was the break he needed to break out from the hut. He had gulped enough free wine for one day.  He felt some wine didn’t want to go down his throat again. The veins in his eyes had bulged.

“I don’t want this rain to meet me here.” That was the New Yorker. “I left some clothes out on the hanging line.” He meant those words to no one in particular as he was already on his way out by the time he uttered the last word. “Make way, please.” He forced himself through cracks between people.

He had given the whole place a life of its own and many customers were disappointed to watch him go. Nonetheless, different words of farewell escorted him out. Pa Okeke emerged on the scene with two jugs of fermented palm wine in both hands. He said he had brought them for his favorite customer. He too was saddened to learn that the New Yorker had vacated the scene. He left the wine for the house, wondering why the New Yorker had fled his place without informing him.

As the New Yorker staggered home, the lyrics of the song at the hut returned to him. He didn’t sing it the way he had heard it. He made up his own version instead. He began by whistling and clapping his large palms, hopping from one side of the street to the other; then he sang about how the great American wall collapsed when immigrants from all corners of the world gathered round it singing and clawing at it with hammers and crowbars. Those who passed him by suspected Pa Okeke to be the man who brought out the singing talent in Akpan Okom. Many passersby laughed at the man, and went on to tell stories to others that Pa Okeke’s wine had turned the storyteller into an international music maker. Some villagers even embellished what they had seen, adding that the New Yorker had gone mad and was hopping to the market square.

Two weeks passed without the New Yorker at Pa Okeke’s hut. This was a strange thing. Many regulars believed he had gone to America, to the wall at the border. Some who believed the tale about the inchoate madness felt he had indeed made it to the market square. They feared for him because it was a well-held belief among the villagers that any mad person who entered a market would never be healed. Other people felt his absence was because he had drunk too much wine weeks earlier, and had gotten home, vomited and fallen sick.

But several regulars still frequented Pa Okeke’s hut hoping to see the New Yorker and hear about the great border wall. They hoped they wouldn’t have to wait for long before the story teller draped them with the latest tale about the great American border wall.

Steve Ogah is a fellow of the British Council/Lancaster University Crossing Borders online writing program and the Voicesnet USA Poet of the Month (Feb.2002).

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PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL

Categories
A Special Tribute

The Many Faces of ‘Freedom’

Romanticised by writers and artists over time, freedom has been variously interpreted. There is the freedom of birds that fly, of the clouds that float across the connecting blue skies, of the grass that grows across manmade borders, of the blood that flows to protect the liberty of confines or constructs drawn by man, the river that gurgles into the ocean, of the breeze that blows.

The many-splendored interpretations of freedom and its antitheses in Borderless journal are presented here for you to ponder … tell us what you think. Can freedom come without responsibility or a tryst with circumstances?

Poetry

Then Came the King’s Men by Himadri Lahiri, tracing dreams of freedom through the ages. Click here to read.

Poetry in Bosnian from Bosnia & Herzegovina, written and translated by Maid Corbic, explores the freedom of speech. Click here to read.

The Storm that Rages from the conflict ridden state of Kashmir, Ahmed Rayees writes of hope, freedom and peace. Click here to read.

Prose

The Protests Outside

Steve Ogah talks of trauma faced by riot victims in Nigeria while exploring the bondage of tyranny. Click here to read.

A Prison of Our Own Making

Keith Lyons gives us a brief essay on how we can find freedom. Click here to read.

A Life Well-Lived

Candice Louisa Daquin discusses the concepts of the role of responsibility that goes with the freedom of choices. Click here to read.

The Parrot’s Tale by Tagore

Exploring the freedom from bondages of education social norms and more, this story has been translated by Radha Chakravarty from Bengali. Click here to read.

Categories
Contents

Borderless August 2021

Editorial

Triumph of the Human Spirit… Click here to read.

Interviews

Goutam Ghose, multiple award-winning filmmaker, writer, actor discusses his films, film-books and journey as a humanitarian artiste. Click here to read.

Dr Kirpal Singh, a well-known poet and academic from Singapore, talks of his life and times through colonial rule, as part of independent Malaya, and the current Singapore. Click here to read.

Translations

Bundu, Consoler of the Rich

A story based on memories of Partition by Nadir Ali, translated from Punjabi by Amna Ali. Click here to read.

Akbar Barakzai’s Songs of Freedom

Akbar Barakzai’s poetry translated from Balochi by Fazal Baloch. Click here to read.

An August Account of ‘Quit India’ Movement

Ratnottama Sengupta translates from Bengali the excerpts recorded by Sandhya Sinha (1928-2016), who witnessed an upsurge in the wake of the Quit India Movement, part of India’s struggle against colonial rule. Click here to read.

Froth

A short story by Dev Kumari Thapa, translated from Nepali by Mahesh Paudyal. Click here to read.

Mother’s Birthday Dinner Table

Ihlwha Choi translates his own poem set in Santiniketan from Korean to English. Click here to read.

Deliverance by Tagore

Tran’ by Tagore translated from Bengali to English by Mitali Chakravarty, art and editing by Sohana Manzoor for Borderless Journal. Click here to read.

Essays

The Idea of India: Bharata Bhagya Bidhata – The Making of a Motherland

Anasuya Bhar explores the history of the National Anthem of India, composed by Tagore in Bengali and translated only by the poet himself and by Aruna Chakravarti. Click here to read.

A Life Well-Lived

Candice Louisa Daquin discusses the concepts of a life well-lived. Click here to read.

Once Upon a Time in Burma: Land of a Thousand Pagodas

John Herlihy explores the magnificent sites of Mandalay in company of a Slovenian friend in the first episode of his quartet on his Myanmar. Click here to read.

Bhaskar’s Corner

In Tagore & Odisha, Bhaskar Parichha explores Tagore’s interactions with Odisha, his impact on their culture and the impact of their culture on him. Click here to read

Poetry

Click on the names to read the poems

Jaydeep Sarangi, Joan McNerney, Vandana Sharma Michael Lee Johnson, Priyanka Panwar, Mihaela Melnic, Ryan Quinn FlanaganKirpal Singh, Sutputra Radheye, John Linwood Grant, Julian Matthews, Malachi Edwin Vethamani, Rhys Hughes, Rachel Jayan, Jay Nicholls, Jared Carter

Nature’s Musings

Becoming Marco Polo: Poetry and photography by Penny Wilkes

Poets, Poetry & Rhys Huges

In Dinosaurs in France, Rhys Hughes explores more than tall tales; perhaps, the passage of sense of humour in our lives. Click here to read.

Musings/Slices from Life

Me and Mr Lowry’s Clown

Mike Smith’s nostalgia about artist Pat Cooke (1935-2000) takes us back to England in the last century. Click here to read.

Seventy-four Years After Independence…

“Mil ke rahe gi Azadi” (We will get our Freedom) by Aysha Baqir muses on Pakistani women’s role in the independence movement and their current state. Click here to read.

The Road to Freedom

Kanchan Dhar explores personal freedom. Click here to read.

The Coupon

Niles Reddick tells us how Covid and supermarkets combined into a discount coupon for him. Click here to read.

Musings of a copywriter

 In 2147 without Borders, Devraj Singh Kalsi meanders over Partitions, borders and love stories. Click here to read.

Stories

Rituals in the Garden

Marcelo Medone discusses motherhood, aging and loss in this poignant flash fiction from Argentina. Click here to read.

The Best Word

Maliha Iqbal explores the impact of wars in a spine chilling narrative, journeying through a range of emotions. Click here to read.

Do Not Go!

Moazzam Sheikh explores dementia, giving us a glimpse of the lives of Asian immigrants in America. Click here to read.

The Protests Outside

Steve Ogah talks of trauma faced by riot victims in Nigeria. Click here to read.

Brother Felix’s Ward

Malachi Edwin Vethamani takes us to an exploration of faiths and borders. Click here to read.

The Literary Fictionist

In The Chained Man Who Wished to be Free, Sunil Sharma explores freedom and democracy versus conventions. Click here to read.

Book Excerpts

Beyond The Himalayas by Goutam Ghose, based on a five-part documentary taking us on a journey along the silk route exploring parts of Pakistan and China. Click here to read.

Our Home in Myanmar – Four years in Yangon by Jessica Muddit, a first hand account of a journalist in Burma. Click here to read.

Book Reviews

A review by Meenakshi Malhotra of Somdatta Mandal’s The Last Days of Rabindranath Tagore in Memoirs, a translation from a conglomeration of writings from all the Maestro’s caregivers. Click here to read.

A review by Keith Lyons of Jessica Muddit’s Our Home in Myanmar – Four years in Yangon. Click here to read.

A review by Rakhi Dalal of Maithreyi Karnoor’s Sylvia: Distant Avuncular Ends. Click here to read.

A review by Bhaskar Parichha of Arundhathi Subramaniam’s Women Who Wear Only Themselves. Click here to read.

Categories
Stories

The Protest Outside

By Steve Ogah

Here I am with my head swathed. The last time the doctor came to my room, I told him my demons hadn’t deserted me. I am losing confidence in this community health facility which is named after the military dictator. Do people ever get healed here?  It has been a week since I arrived here. Things are just the same. I am beginning to have a fight in my head with the doctor and the nurse.

“I need to see the doctor,” I find myself screaming at nurse Nkoyo when she comes to check my bandages. Though she is innocent of the pain I feel, I still find myself barking and shrieking as though a dog gone mad.

She smiles her signature smile, the kind of smile all trained nurses are supposed to wear at all times. “Kune, the doctor is rather busy at this time of day.” She says to me.

Disappointed, I sit up against the pillow which I prop against the wall behind my head. I move my forefinger in the air as though a radio’s frequency tuning needle. Then I say to her: “I don’t think you heard me.”

She is about to say she is not hard of hearing when I scream again, this time invoking God angrily. I hear my voice run through the quietness of the hallway, throwing up a storm in the ears of others in the building. I imagine all who heard my voice are startled. Some walk to the window and look out hoping to find a demented man in crutches and bandages standing in the centre of the courtyard. Some hope to find a mad man hopping down the corridor. Those sleeping pop open their eyes; shake their heads in regret that a man just lost his sanity today.

“Okay, take it easy,” the frightened nurse says to me as she gently places the tray of medications on the side stool of my bedside.

“No. It’s not okay until the doctor gets here!” I slam the side of the bed. She is careful not to spill the tablets and water as her eyes look up to meet mine. I stare, not willing to drop my eyes, wishing for her to see the anger and urgency of a sick man in an equally sick country. Of course, she sees the colour in my eyes. It is the pigment of pain and frustration. It is the colour of a man wishing for revenge. She sees that I am more than willing to conjure a world of torment for everyone around me. She sees I can only do that if I leave my bed in good health. Perhaps, she is willing to help me get off this damned bed. There is overwhelming pity in her eyes for me. They get teary all at once. She is about to mumble some words of sympathy when I ask: “What would the problem be?”

“I will get the doctor.” She walks away. The soles of her white tennis shoes begin to echo in my head as though they were stilettos. I feel I am going to scream at her: Take those cursed shoes off your feet. But I can’t say that because I find myself feasting on her all the way down, wishing I would leap from the bed and tell her this is a hospital ward and not a clubhouse. She is gone now, and the door slams shut. All is quiet again. I begin to wait for the doctor to come see me and use his magic to drive away my pain and frustration.

I close my eyes shut and try to sleep. I do not sleep for long. I hear footfalls and voices in the narrow corridor. The doctor is checking his white coat to see if he carries a pen with him. But he finds a surgical knife and his stethoscope instead. He tells the nurse at his back to hurry up. She bears a tray, and in it, is a cocktail of huge tablets, a glass of coloured water and a scary syringe. He is sure he can take care of me without much drama. He has put countless troublesome patients to sleep before.  But he still has the plan of calling in extra hands if I act like the craziest of the crazy. He could be violent with me if the situation demands it.

I imagine him at my side. He tries to appear like most doctors are — calm. Then he sees that his cultured ways are at variance with my primitive actions. I try to resist his caring touch. So, he lets the stethoscope slide down his neck. It hits the floor. It vibrates in my head a million times. The doctor hits me with his forearm. I collapse back to the bed. He lets out a jet of air, having overpowered me.

“Here,” The nurse says to him, as she passes the syringe to him. I am motionless as the tip of the instrument pierces my arm and the fluid in it travels through my veins and decides to stop in my brain. Nurse Nkoyo flinches as the tip of the needle is withdrawn from my body. But the doctor betrays no emotions. Mean doctor?

These images were in my head when Doctor Kpo walked in. He had a gift with people, and I had seen him offer sick people hope before giving them medical treatment. He would pray with them too. But it was that hope that the country needed. It was also in need of cure, and I imagined Kpo as the man for my country. He was the one to examine the heads of members of the supreme military council to tell them that only sick heads would lock up sane people who were merely asking for their rights and the freedom to associate among themselves. I also needed him to tell them that it was wrong of them to have armed men beat up people on the streets for simply nudging them in the arm unknowingly. He needed to tell them that the sight of soldiers smoking at street corners with AK-47 rifles was enough terror for the average Nigerian. Soldiers needed to be told that it was criminal enough to make people forget when they want to remember. They needed to know that military brutality was a crime, especially when committed against defenseless and unarmed people.

The doctor was unusually calm for my liking. His sky-white coat was in good shape. It was well-pressed with few creases and that made me think that perhaps, he hadn’t taken a seat since he wore it. He clutched a clipboard close to his chest as though it were a baby in need of comfort. And his stethoscope was slung down his neck. He walked like an angel who had come to transport me on wings to the judgment throne, without giving me the chance to receive the sacrament of penance, and without the chance to hug dearest ones for the last time. He looked like an angel who had come to transport me to mama. Mama, I believed, was glued at Jesus’ feet in heaven, free from the pain my country had caused her. I have never imagined mama in any place other than heaven. Mamas don’t go to hell or anywhere hurting. They are so kind and tender they deserve to dine with angels and saints and God. If God needed wives, he would have chosen all mamas. They never do wrong.

She had been a petty trader who sold tomatoes and pepper at the market in town which was named after the wife of the military ruler. Just like any other day in her quiet and lonely life, she had gone to display her articles of trade at her roadside table. She was trying to convince a young boy to add few coins to what he was offering her. She said that was the little profit she stood to make. Out of the blue, commotion rose all around her. She thought it was the usual anti-coup protest that had been taking place since the dictator sent the democratic president to exile.

“Hey. Run. Fast!” Many people had been screaming as she later narrated to me. But she wasn’t Usain Bolt. She had willed strength from her inner self but had found no youthful reserves. She was still at her stool when soldiers with blistering eyes, bearing horsewhips descended on her. They whipped with a searing horsewhip and kicked her while she called out for help that wasn’t going to come. The soldiers didn’t relent in their torture exercise. She believed some demons of sorts had possessed them. And the soldiers were so many that she thought a war had been declared on old fat petty traders who sat on low stools.

The soldiers had come from two angles, jumping down from ugly army trucks imported from some totalitarian countries. They were excited. They didn’t just beat hapless civilians and had them lie down on broken road; the heartless men were happy to destroy people’s wares with their jackboots. Mama had told me this on her hospital bed.

She had thought that by screaming and holding her head in her palms, she would find mercy with the invaders. But with each shout that she had made, she had gotten a heavier kick and harsher whip to her body. Soon, she found herself rolling in the mud and invoking God’s name to plead her case. That didn’t help. They brutalized her until the welts on her skin began to course with blood. Her screams were now dying. Slow. Slower. She rolled slowly and lay on her stomach, her face buried in the mud, her backside open to several jackboots and whips of a demented gang of military misfits. They only stopped beating her when she lay motionless on the ground. The pandemonium at the market was soon over, then the military men left, blissful that they had not been challenged. What was Mama’s crime? She had not been able to afford the high cost of stalls in the main market complex, which was already sold out, in any case. And that the curfew was due in thirty minutes, and no one had been expected to be on the streets.

In the weeks that followed, Mama never made it to the market area again. She was badly wounded. She could not understand why her country had done her so much harm. She found succor from the delegation of market women who visited her at the hospital telling her not to worry that all would be well. But Mama never got well. She was admitted to a local hospital. She had complained of pains in her stomach. I went to see her daily. I went one day and met an unusual calm at Hope medical center. I didn’t suspect anything out of the ordinary. I walked to Mama’s room only to find out that the door was locked. I went to the doctor’s office and there I was told the tragic news.

She had died. Now, I didn’t understand what death meant because I had never for one moment believed my mama would die. I thought death was a disease far from our home.  I didn’t want to take the news like one takes a loving present home from teachers at school. I told the bearer of the news that he was a terrible comic act and should never consider a career in comedy if he was trying to make me laugh. But he insisted that he was serious about the tragedy that had befallen my family.

Truth.  She had closed her eyes while a prayer froze on her full lips. She was Catholic and she had been praying the prayer for Nigeria in distress before she passed on. It was a prayer she knew by heart as she had attended masses without fail. Her death wish was that I prayed the prayer daily, but I had failed her religiously. I was still trying to shake off the memory of Mama from my mind when the doctor touched me; his usual smile was not on his round face. I wanted to ask what the issue was, but he spoke first. Doctors deliver tragedy best.

“It has been a bad day,” he said as he motioned me to lay flat. He placed his stethoscope on my chest and listened with that trained ear of his. He placed his left palm on my forehead and wanted to know if I still felt the migraines.

“Just yesterday,” I answered.

He reached for his clipboard and took down some notes. He was taciturn with the nurse who stood by. The Dr Kpo I had known would have asked about my night, would have poked fun out of the stories in the news of the television authority, and would have spoken about things in other wards. So, I had to ask him the question he had frozen a while ago.

“Doctor, I shouldn’t really be asking this. But is everything okay at home and at work?”

He looked at me and smiled. Or rather enacted what looked like a smile. He failed at hiding an emotion which wasn’t joy. He shook his head as if to shake the weight of my question away. He blinked rapidly and wrote hurriedly in his file. I wasn’t going to force him to words if he wasn’t going to speak willingly. I lay down for him to carry out his medical ritual on me. But he didn’t.  He stopped writing instead. He hugged his clipboard with sadness.

“My country is wicked,” he cast his eyes in sad colours. He went to the window and parted the curtains into two halves, each stuffing into the iron burglary. He stepped aside. The sharp rays of the rising sun bathed me in full. They were people on the streets marching and singing that they had lost the fear of death. They had just carried away a dead man from the health centre. 

“What happened again?” I sat up against the wall.

“The unspeakable happens in this country every day.” He was still speaking to himself. Rather, he was speaking to the sad, angry, and frustrated people outside the window, the trees down below, I thought. “We are told the police is our friend, yet they extort and clamp us into jails at will. We are told the army is to protect against external aggressors, but the army boys think civilians are enemies.”

I questioned him with urgency poking out in my voice. I had expected him to turn and address me. But he chose to glue his vision to the window. There was pandemonium outside, angry voices tearing through into the room.

“They snatched Amina away last night.” He spoke at last.

“And who is she? Who took her away?”

“My wife,” he said, and I imagined his eyes had grown distant as he searched for her in the cramped houses, broken roads, and dusty sky up ahead in his view. I imagined his eyes were teary too and he didn’t wish me to see the infant side of him.

“She had been returning from the market when soldiers and armed men in a patrol van screeched to a stop beside her and asked her to get into their van.  The doors of the van were plastered with the words ‘Operation Sweep’. She had resisted casually by walking ahead. Then she heard rifles snapping with fury behind her.”

“So sorry to hear about this. What time of the day did this happen?”

“Just before sunset.”

He explained that they seized her plastic bag, which was filled with beans and plantain, meant for dinner. They spilled the contents on the road. And what was her offence? They claimed they had sighted her at a corner talking to a man in whispers. They had lost trail of the man. They feared he was an activist, and his wife was one too. He said his wife denied the claim. The patrol van swept up people at random at street corners, blinding them with sharp torch rays at first. They would simply be told that they were ‘security threats’.

Doctor Kpo walked away from the window and announced to me that I would be discharged in a day or two. He said my injuries were not so severe anymore and the migraines would go away soonest.  He said I had been fortunate not to crack my skull when the soldiers raided the soccer viewing center I had been, searching for activists.

“Steer clear of crowded areas,” he admonished me. “They don’t want to see so many young boys gathered in one place, even if you guys claim it’s the English soccer season on satellite television.”

I nodded. The doctor left my room. “What’s going to happen to Amina?” I asked as he got to the door.

“She will be fine. She will be out. She will not be in detention for long.”

“How? When?”

“The director of the health centre has already petitioned the military administrator.” He shut the door. A vanishing act followed. Then he returned to the room without knocking. “Don’t join the protests outside. The Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the police just tortured a young man to death. I hear there will be end SARS protests in the days to come.” Another vanishing act was accomplished.

I closed my eyes, wondering why men with guns wanted to rule over us, bothered about what I would do to stop soldiers from flogging civilians at will, wondering if the confrontations in my head wouldn’t return. Then I saw myself joining the groups on the streets, confronting the army. The possibilities that I saw in my mind hit my eyelids, then they opened.  I screamed for the nurse. I would discharge myself from the facility.

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Steve Ogah is Voicesnet (USA) Poet of the month (Feb.2002) and fellow of the British Council/Lancaster University Crossing Borders online writing program. He is the author of Barack Obama’s Logic.

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PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL.