Missionary Might As Well Have Two Meanings – A Review Of Silk Psalms

Authors: Jide Badmus & Alozor Michael Ikechukwu

Publisher: Inkspired

The topic of passion is often not discussed in Nigeria. We are a nation that does not talk about sex except in hushed tones and with innuendos. This is the status quo that Jide Badmus and Alozor Michael upset with this chapbook and what makes it fascinating is that they weave this passionate chap through the holy books. And no, you were wrong if your thoughts went to Songs of Solomon; there is no single poem in the chap that references the biblical book that is seen as the most sensual. Some believers even see it as raunchy.

Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth, these were the words of Jesus as he prayed for his disciples. Jide Badmus and his co-author, Alozor Michael, took that injunction to the next level with Silk Psalms. The chap, aptly named, takes a leaf from ‘scriptures.’ Looking the chap over is to see smithereens of passionate verses sewn together expertly by the authors.

The quality of poems in the chap overall shows that the authors are not newcomers to the poetry business. However, the distinctive factor in the chap is the power of the images it imprints on your mind. How do you make people see the art of lovemaking without getting bored as they swipe from one page to the other? The authors answer that question with gusto here.

 

In the beginning or before the beginning

The sunrise proclaims the beginning of the day and so it is with this chapbook, Jide Badmus deploys his artistic metaphorical masterclass right from the beginning of this chap.

dawn slips

out of night’s

gown

a rooster crows

inside my pants

Couldn’t have picked a more robust way to start. Dawn slips out of night’s gown; the day starts and yes, men can factually testify to the rooster crowing in their briefs. It is both literal and metaphorical; from where I stand, it is beautiful in every sense of the word.

 If you intend to discuss passion, especially when you are Jide Badmus, your metaphors have to be tight, and just look at this progression. Damn! We are just getting started and just a few pages after; we turn into heaven. References to heaven are quite common among erotic writers, it refers to a state of satisfaction, the goal of the passionate act itself. In Heaven, Jide Badmus goes the extra mile than the cliché eros writer, he contrasts between the flesh and the spirit (heaven). He is the clergyman charging whoreshippers to repentance;

The flesh is weak,

our lips confess…

The goal is heaven

—a tryst of thighs.

It is the apt imagery of the lips confessing and the tryst of thighs. It is the customary way Jide Badmus writes his eros, leaving the reader room to roam – He is a guide and not a spoon feeder. In Elysium, we see this shine through yet again.

This room was built

from Jacob’s dream

—your bed is a

floating stairway to God’s throne.

I recall the first time I read the 28th chapter of Genesis, that was the chapter where Jacob happened on Bethel. He dreamt of God and angels walking up and down a ladder that connected the location to the throne of God and in this short, punchy piece, we see the same play out; of course, with the right poetic justice.

The writer remarks that the room is built from Jacob’s dream. What follows is a natural progression from the dream. Again, the thoughtfulness of placing the poem Elysium right beneath Heaven is genius. It is like God creating the heavens and the Earth in Genesis 1 and Jacob happening on Bethel; the house of God in chapter 28 of the same book.

Alozor Michael Ikechukwu in Holy Mountain, which I read while Holy Ground was on my music player, was the plea of a burdened worshipper praying for guidance, seeking to be lightened.

Hold me, lead me, guide me

Through the untrodden path

Leading to your holy mountain

Let me cast my cargo.

The cargo he has within his container, I would not know, there might be a clue here:

… Rising and falling in frenzied worship

Like your untampered altar deserves

Born me again on your holy mountain.

If the writer is a lost hiker on a mountain trail, he is in search of more than the joy of getting to the summit of this holy mountain. He wants to worship, to become a child, and forget his sorrows. He wants to worship in abandon rising and falling – think of a wave progression or think of a man in the act of lovemaking.

 

If you think it is easier to find references to the erotica in the Old Testament than it would be in the new testament, there is a shocker for you. This chap parts the sea of testaments easily, like the rod of Moses. The beautiful gate is a miracle; one pulled out of the book of the Acts of Apostle. Rather than give strength to the crippled knees, this one will most likely sap the strength out of the loins of the man at the beautiful gate.

Lead me to

the beautiful gate —we have no use

for silver or gold.

Just a miracle

of sated flesh.

 

Alozor Michael Ikechukwu in Lip service reminds us of the evil that Apostle Paul warns against through the epistles; of backbiting and lip service. He goes further in reminding us that we should not forsake the gathering of one another, that we give heed to tongues.

You gibber in tongues

Convulse under my ministration

My lip service intensifies

Your fingers burrow the sheets

As you gush anointing unto me.

Well, if you think he is talking about the fine art of oral sex, you might also be correct.

Beyond the Christian Bible

There is a careful play on the Christian bible but that is not everything in Silk Psalms. Some poems steer a wee bit from the norm, but even in them, you still find hints of the obvious. In Handle with Care, Michael shows this intent in the second part;

Hold my parting rod

Tenderly, squeeze it

Lovingly, tongue it

Lavishly till I cream

A fitting confirmation

Of its corky nature

Beyond wetted lips.

The intensity, the deft movement of the lines calls you in and even if you don’t want to see it, you will find yourself drawn to the parting rod. It is the recipient of the attention here and the writer goes ahead to call the rod by its name but cleverly wraps it in the adjective ‘corky’.

Preggie is another poem that falls into this sphere, only that it takes things a notch higher.

Last night

My muse snuck

Into bed, beside me

She cupped my balls

Stroked me lengthwise.

I spilled my seedlings

On my sheet, lavishly

Communing bodily

With my muse

Last night.

Yet

I am

Heavy

Alozor Michael Ikechukwu plays 4D chess with this piece; it is erotic. It is a tale of how you can consummate your muse and yet still feel heavy. This is heaven for a writer; writing your hands off and finding out that you still have some more to write. Everything about this poem is intentional, from the shape, the tummy of a pregnant woman, to the choice of words. It is simple, yet leaving the pocket of desire filled.

God’s Gun is simplistic, minimal, and it poses a question in its first verse. It does not fail in its job of killing it too.

There’s an orgy in my head,

thoughts nodding to rebel music

—awkward questions

like why we cover

the most attractive

parts of our bodies.

Why? Why do we cover the most attractive parts of our bodies? The question seems awkward but I have once asked it and by this, I know I am in good company. The second verse is where the answer is at and in its minimalist lines lies a taboo, yet, somehow, it is an interesting ride.

I came out of the bathroom

and you saw the mutation

beneath my waistline

Oh my God, you gasped

I wanted to tell you in Will’s voice

Who do you think sent you that

weapon? That is God’s gun”

But you know this

—you are the trigger!

Again, metaphors, imagery, and swift storytelling play a crucial role in bringing this poem to life. What Tom Hickman calls God’s Doodle in life and times of the penis is what Jide Badmus calls God’s Gun. The import of the last three lines cannot be lost on you if you have seen the movie bad boys for life that stars the man Will Smith himself. A fantastic way to wrap the poem.

Silk Psalms is not only the poem from which the chap borrows its name, it is also a collaborative poem where the two authors pen their lines in tandem. It is a psalm; it is slick and soft as silk. You don’t have to be King David to know what a psalm is.

My tongue will overflow

with panegyrics, melodious tunes

escaping my lips, adulating

your heaving bosom.

This silk psalm starts from the lips but it doesn’t end there; it moves to familiar territories really fast.

I will tell testimonies

of piercings, rings, ileke —dance to supple rhythm

at your altar of flesh.

 

 

Exploring the erotic is hard work but you have to give it to the authors, through clear-cut metaphors, top-notch imagery, and deliberate avoidance of cliché, they have attempted to blow fresh breath into a discussion we are avoiding on this side of the globe.

It is the contexting that runs through the fabric of silk psalms that gives it the interesting wrap effect that it has. It plays with the Christian holy book, runs criss-cross lines into it, and comes out a piece of art that some extremists will see as blasphemy and moderates will see as a pristine, intelligent body of work.

The authors leave nothing to chance; you know where you have to look before you see belly rings and ileke idi. I am a Nigerian, so I will rather speak with innuendos. However, if you want to explore, get a copy of Silk Psalms by Jide Badmus and Alozor Michael Ikechukwu. I must give this warning though; if your imagination is wild and you don’t have a partner, you might want to desist from reading this chap. Just joking though.

 

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One Response to “Missionary Might As Well Have Two Meanings – A Review Of Silk Psalms”

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This is beautiful!

Thank you for finding the chapbook worthy of a review

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