Night of the Spoken Word (NSW) is a live Performance Poetry Show. That means I will use Poetry (yes, Poetry) to entertain you. But not just any type of Poetry, and not just any type of entertainment. The Poetry here is a very distant cousin of the one you think of when I say ‘Poetry’. Yes. There will be no ‘thee’s or ‘thou’s, no puzzles requiring solitary meditation to unravel. For I know you’ve been taught that simple words cannot communicate deep truths. But if you come, my friend, I will re-educate you.
Because this not just any type of entertainment. So, yes, I will make you laugh; but, tell me, are you not also weary of consistently being fed crap in the name of fun? The last time I checked religion – not art – was the opium of the masses. So, tell me, what is wrong with designing an event to educate as thoroughly as it entertains? To appeal not only to the physical senses – with its weakness for women with the supernatural ability to move their buttocks independently of anything else – but also to the ethereal soul? Tell me.
They told me – you cannot sell edutainment to the Nigerian, for he is far too hungry to enjoy anything more sophisticated than football. They told me – if you are planning to make sentences with many complex words, take it to the expatriates; they are the ones who appreciate these things. I told them – What’s the point? Of attempting to build an industry on expatriate foundations? As if Development is something you can put in a container and ship down to Lagos. It is not. Yes. For even if a nation had no roads of its own, no dams of its own, no ports of its own; even if it had no country of its own, no physical space anywhere on the face of the Earth it could name as its own; do you know that that nation could still live, and live on through unending Time, so long as it had an art of its own – music and culture – a Poetry of its own? Did you know this?
So I have not tried to be a flawless copy of someone else’s inspiration. This Poetry tastes of Sango-Ota and Gwagwalada, of that afternoon in Potiskum when we stopped on the road for the robbers ahead to finish their business. Yes. And you – child of epileptic power supply and run down libraries – are my target audience. So if you’ve never seen one person on one stage in one night perform 17 poems and 5 short stories, if you think that this cannot possibly (Nigerian that you are) hold your attention, then come, my friend, and I will make you believe.
Because I am tired of trying to jump with both feet on the ground. That is not faith. Faith is the first step you take beyond the point-of-no-return. So, look, I am not bringing Kanye West from America to entice you; no, it is me you are coming to listen to. Me. In a venue many years past its glory, with its peeling doors and 1000 seats, but I told my friend I will burn so bright they will not see the walls. For, I’ve done 50, and I’ve done 500 – and I could stay where it’s comfortable and agree to grow old – but, tell me, can this Poetry fill a Thousand seats? I tell you, my friend, this is not a question I will be taking to my grave.
No. I will answer it now, while there is yet Life, on Sunday the 14th of February 2016 at 6.45pm on the stroke of the clock when I walk out to that solitary mic on that solitary stage, then turn and face…whatever awaits me. True. It will be Valentine’s Day. And I’ll be doing it for Love.
Will you come?
See Dike Chukwumerije Live@
#NSW6. Live Poetry.
February 14, 2016
Main Auditorium. National Centre for Women Development
N3,000 (Regular). N10,000 (VIP) @ Salamander Café and Silverbird Abuja
N2,500 (Online) @ www.ticketmypal.com
For more info: MadMo (09022222290). Joy (08123887996). Dare (08067348956).