Reviewed by Omar Muaz
Book Authored: When Flake Sails
Book: Silence Is The Beginning Of Hell
Author: Abdulbaki Ahmad
We combat our nerves by writing dust-dispersing poetries, be that as it may, Abdulbaki ruefully combats his fearlessness with tales of stand-in-awe. Silence Is The Beginning Of Hell is a collection of poems that put to paper massive amounts of Northern frith; how North becomes a bloodstream; and how BH insurrection fueled endless smoke in Maiduguri. The author is able to have my virginity ravished by defining what creativity is and assuredly, his lines are as beautiful as rising moon and as sad as sand-devil lifting a great wind-blow of vandalism, kidnapping. None could ever detest an artist as Abdulbaki after reading Silence is the Beginning of Hell, for it is sweater than sweet, peppier than pepper and icer than ice.
In CONVERSATION —what have you witnessed in the body of these smokes?—I read creativity. I read art. I read literature. I read how his nib dig down papers in rue. I read that without left ribs, there'll be no women. I read smoke of blood. When I was reading those lines as he answered that he witnessed; "Thighs. Hollow walls. Rivers of sperm. Days whose faces are incognito pages. Riverines of pain..." I found my friable self in a belly of bewilderment until his last lines. "...Virgin seducing men with a vigour of sluts. Rooms whose bellies are graveyards of hope." "What does escape taste like?" After getting myself out of the coma of creativeness, "Salt" faltered me. It tastes "Blood spiced with red pepper. Cinnamons soaked in the saliva of the dead..." CONVERSATION, the first poem in Silence is the Beginning of Hell buried me in cemetery of hopelessness. How escape taste put me in mind of how I escaped death in the smoke city of Maiduguri eleven years ago.
The moment was indeed dark when BH terrorists massacred fifty-plus school boys at Buni Yadi Secondary School of Yobe State. The massacre was uncouth enough that the BH group earned the title "world’s deadliest terrorist group." In MÆLSTROM, the author, Abdulbaki, described Buni Yadi as an orgasm of smoke. He hyperbolically described the whole scene in fly and flight. The first stanza: "In Buni-Yadi, a boy woke up searching for his soul in the body of wind. Sprayed with bullets—" cut me to bleeding that I rushed to get first-aid in the subsequent poem.
In the memory of Baga escapees comes after WHAT IS/NO INFINITY in which the author dedicated it to Leah Sharibu. One cannot forgive himself for every ounce of silence created against injustice and negligence of peace as opined Ben Ige, poet and playwright. The author sadly described the situation literarily that one doesn't need to google it for bodhi. No any great mind or literary enthusiast would regret reading this creative poetry book. Abdulbaki is an indulgent poet. He did justice to all the vandalic stories he narrated as I too escaped from series of BH attacks when I was in Borno.
The poet, removes cloth from his words and brings to them desert. He eats hazel nuts and fresh walnuts at the same time. He's religious but uses dirty words in his poetry to mean good or explain tragic scene. Lines from NEGATIVE reads: "...Dear sister, I heard your vulva has now grown hands. Has grown limbs. Has moulded new religion. From remains of pain's sperm... Breasts glistening in sweat. Sperm. Hate. Love. Death. Hellfire." As a person who has been off erotic writings, I found NEGATIVE boring and likewise MEZZOTINT. Yet, the poet's creativity is like a marvel women standing by a road with black brows and eyes like night, hostly insatiable in the matter of coupling. Would you dare unpick her!
I love Abdulbaki. For Abu Ali, he wrote TEARS.
The most used word in the whole book is "smoke." In his last poem title "Seven Random Facts About Me" he wrote " I flayed the reviving clit of Maiduguri to know the genealogy of smoke." Midnight H-ours-S In Maiduguri: a manual for a tongue that only knows the taste of smoke, Listening To Voices Of Widows In Dalori IDP Camp and Why I am Not An Escapee: A Soliloquy. These are so far, the best poems I have read on Earth. In these poems I see blue thunder. I see dearth. I see savage. I death. I see eternity. I see heaven. I see a see. Abdulbaki isn't just genius but an extra-genius literary icon who curves out of metal water. The title of the book is enough to tell "be silent and be dead."
You need this book. Go and read it. Thank you.
Omar Muaz is a Nigerian Writer, Poet, Educationist, Co-host of Girl Child Education Right and Support (GCERs). He's a member of Sunshine Literary Club, Yola and a current student of Arts and Social Science, Faculty of Education, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria Kaduna-Nigeria, 400 Level.