It was in the year of our Lord; 2014.
Then when church services were the very stitches that kept our bruised souls and bodies together. Church on campus was the closest synonym to ‘home’, it was a kind of expression place for youths.
We learnt our greatest lessons not from preachers or church elders but from students like us, who had been within the Christian family for long. Confidence, charisma and sincerity, the key features worthy of emulation.
Amongst these older students was this unlikely one. He had a different approach of expressing those three sterling qualities. The very obvious was his odd hairdo and uncanny way of using words.
Every passing Sunday, he requested for few minutes which he used in dishing a special truth in his unique poetic pattern. I loved the word-art, particularly because it seemed a bit different from pure recitals.
His unpopular way of expressing himself earned him several critics to the art he called ‘Spoken words’. One Sunday morning, I watched him present a piece and somehow I felt this strange urge to whisper something to the guy next to me.
I muttered “I can do that, you know?” “Then do it” He replied. It sounded like a good plan. That laconic, creatively phrased statement birthed my eventful journey through the art of performance poetry.
I spent lots of my leisure time with my creepy-hair-teacher and soon I came up with a better plan. I wanted to know more about the art than any secret poet hiding within the creeks of the University.
Being an audio-visual learner, YouTube became top on my list. I spent lots of hours streaming, being marveled and intimidated by what the white guys were doing with the art.
I started scribing stuff, mostly nonsense wonderings but I continued. When ever I felt like it wasn’t doing me any good, I just typed ‘spoken words’ on YouTube’s search box and I was too sure to be blown away.
I was self conscious and wanted to perfect the art before getting on stage but the idea alone was both frustrating and draining. It would take too long to master the art.
Then I got a hunch “How about writing and performing, get feedbacks and improve?” That looked like something worth trying. So I took a week to write down the first poem I intended performing on stage.
Practiced the piece severally, till I felt it was fair enough. And the glorious Sunday morning arrived, I was told that right after the testimonies, I will be performing.
My nervousness took the best of me, I felt everything was just too slow. I wanted to get on stage and spill all the words lurking the corners of my head.
Gently and slowly the seconds crawled, the minutes rolling behind it and the moment came. All the dramatic testimonies and happy songs were over. The man with the mic said something along the lines of ‘Poetic Ministration by Light Mark’.
I took a slow melancholic walk to the mic and that’s all I could remember. I recalled that people clapped and I walked back to my seat.
Feedbacks? Yes Feedbacks! Very essential in the career of an artiste. I had two notable feedbacks. After service a lady walked up to me and said “I loved your speech. It got to me!”
Yea. Positive, but I unintentionally gave a speech, probably it didn’t sound like a poem. The second comment came from a slow-witted drummer boy who said “That wasn’t a poem. You are not a poet, you are a ‘poeter’.”
I certainly didn’t know what lay ahead of me in regards to poetry but I was sure I didn’t want to be a ‘Poeter’ neither did I want to give speeches unintentionally.
So I left church telling myself that I’ll do the best I can to learn about the art and that’s what I have been doing every single day after that.
It’s been a beautiful and eventful journey with one goal PUT YOUR CITY AND ART ON THE WORLD’S MAP.