Spoor of Desire: Selected Poems
is available for $16.00 from FootHills Publishing, P.O. Box 68, Kanona NY 14856 or see www.foothillspublishing.com.

Tourist Snapshots is available for $8.95 from Randy Fingland, CC Marimbo, P.O. Box 933, Berkeley CA 94701 or see www.ccmarimbo.com.

Dada Poetry: An Introduction was published by Nirala Publications. It may be ordered on Amazon.com for $25 plus shipping. American buyers may order a copy from me for $23 including shipping.

The other books are also available from the author William Seaton. Write seaton@frontiernet.net.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Nigerian Given Names and Road Mantras

A few fragments of found poetry.

Nigerian Given Names

Many Nigerians have English given names. These sometimes recalled the ancients in simply noting the day of a child’s birth: Sunday (etc.). More often they expressed a kind of magic – names, for instance, that might aid a young person toward a good career: College, Engineer, or Editor. Often they would name desirable qualities: Famous, Clever, Moneymaker, Lucky, Goodluck, Pious, Blessing, Endurance, Innocent, Ebony, and Fidelity, for example. Some were a bit less clear in intention: John Bull, Didacus (and Philemon), Portuguese, Dried Meat (though “Pigmeat” is known in the American South), Whisky, Society. Some are vast: System and Empire. Our neighbor had a boy with an African name Vaki which was explained as meaning “Everything has its time.”

Road Mantras

(These are lines collected from the sides of cars and trucks in Nigeria. In spite of the small percentage of the population that owns cars, Nigeria has an extraordinarily high rate of serious traffic accidents.)

question of time
speak your words
nothing in my hands
don't mind
life is war
if men were god
truth is bitter
more days
my problem is not your problem
high life
o taste and see
not as you think
who knows tomorrow
see the work of god
let them say
no event -- no history
how shall we escape
are you god
princeless youth

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