By Niyi Williams
& the first thing you see: a boy rolling paper
to poke the dawn
lighting the embers of his eyes
& inhaling the grace to face the hustle of the day
say, this ganja is a magic word
& it is how these boys know how
to become the fathers they never had
& in this, one excels the other
how far, omo ope!
fun mi ni eja kan nibeyen
can it be true that boys this age choose
to be the street boys you clutch your bags
the ones you look at with your
faces molded with disgust surprised that
a skinny bald boy already knows the art of
kissing fingers and puffing air?
under the tree,
two ten-year-old boys sit
covered in a fog of smoked pawpaw leaves
- how would you like to be remembered?
- remembered? no one even knows (or cares about) me, so…
- i know, but assuming, just assuming o, how would you like to be remembered?
- hmm…maybe as a good boy that could do no good
- as a boy abandoned by parents, people, and society
- that’s all; i don’t care about them since they don’t care about me; so that’s all
- what about you?
- the same: i want to be remembered the same, not be remembered at all
no one cares about us -and that’s fine
in the evening, in the shanties, in the city
small street boys gather to talk about
the future, whispering prayers
into lit magic wands, cackling
as hemp smoke flutter like
Niyi Williams is a Nigerian academic, writer, and poet. He is a poetry editor with The Augment Review and a SprinNG Writing Fellowship alumnus. He has works published on The African Writers, SerotoninPoetry, Punocracy, Fahamidan Journal, Nantygreens, The Quills, SprinNG, and elsewhere. Niyi holds a Master’s degree in English from the University of Lagos.
He is currently working on his first collection of poetry.
1/6/2022 07:08:37 pm
Someday i hope the male is a little bit more protected and educated about the days ahead to prevent a world where they don't seek solace in vices
Anyinam Uzo Chinenye
18/6/2022 02:03:46 pm
Wow. I love this
2/6/2022 11:59:14 am
Yesterday, my junior brother was almost picked up because he was in close proximity with two boys who were caught with weed in their possession. It makes we wonder if the we—the society have really taken out time to nurture the boychild. This poem came in handy and I love the places it took me to.
7/6/2022 06:11:41 am
I read, I reflect, I sigh. This place where I find myself is a mirror of the homes we couldn't build in the eyes of the street. And now, the built homes can no more walk in the street, not because of hemp, but because of the pains inspired in the brains of hemp's goal.
12/6/2022 03:03:45 pm
7/6/2022 08:03:14 am
I wish the society and government could do something worthy for those children. Most of them are out of school children, to cap it all they have deadbeat parents who care less about them. Our social workers should be given prominence to do their job. Government should have policy to protect the instead of children both boy-child and girl-child.
7/6/2022 01:55:40 pm
👏👏👏 This is a really good read.
9/6/2022 05:48:57 pm
It makes sense how this message was so clear❤️
11/6/2022 12:11:18 am
Parents most atimes give less attention to their male child.They think of them as future men but never nurture them to chose the right future.
12/6/2022 03:03:08 pm
How do I want to be remembered? Hmmm!
16/6/2022 08:32:16 am
Thanks for inviting me Esthere 😘.
13/6/2022 10:21:47 am
Very nice write up sir. I could see the picture you were trying to portray.
13/6/2022 02:53:13 pm
Funny how society often frowns at something that could be said to be it's fault. When we do not care about the child or create an avenue for them to become their full potential, we are left with the consequences. Sadly, the boychild is not thought of as needing protection often. This is a very beautiful poem, one that provides an insight into the life of the children that neglect has molded into finding refuge in such activities. Kudos!
Diseph Victoria Gogo
15/6/2022 12:38:03 pm
They feed on weed yet it does not satisfy their need. They still heed because they feel they have been failed by those who lead. We longer know how we can take care of this breed.
19/6/2022 04:30:19 pm
Really enjoyed the imagery here, it portrays ganja dependency among street children… “inhaling the grace to face the hustle of the day…”
20/6/2022 09:44:12 am
This poem paints a vivid picture of life in the slums. It tells us the reality of some people who were born in a not so pleasant environment. None of them chose to be born that way but unfortunately have to live with whatever life throws at them. This is a very honest and beautiful piece. Well done sir👏👏
23/6/2022 05:57:49 am
' how do you like to be remembered?'
Funny how every parent use the street to scare their children into becoming something great. Especially in a Hausa land where there is a saying that says "a child belongs to all". This saying is what ancient parents used to train the society, believing that everyone has a role to play in every childs life in a society. But now the Hausa land is where you see more kids on the streets with no care, growing up to become God knows what!
30/6/2022 07:27:03 am
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