The first time I saw the book title: A Boy’s tears on Earth’s tongue, I smiled and grinned. I decided to take a deep breath and think about the subject matter. We have a boy and his tears and Earth and its tongue. Now, to relate with these four things: Tears, Boy, Earth, Tongue. Tears are water and tongue harbours liquid which is water also. When a boy’s tears mix with the Earth’s tongue, his tears become unseen; unnoticed because the water on the earth’s Tongue would definitely over shadow the tears from the eyes of that little lad. It is deeper and mysterious relating with both.
This brings us to what the society thinks about the Boychild. He is covered by what is greater than him, he is covered by many societal principles and policies which at some point in his life he is confused in pursuit of many things unseen, many things to defend, many things to conquer, many things lurking at his dreams; at his own race in life. But this is not to say that it doesn’t apply to the girlchild, we already have millions of voices out there speaking and agitating for them.
Relatively, this can be applicable to the universe as a whole, like a boy and a girl, a man and a woman but there is this aspect of a boy’s life that the society has abandoned for long.
“When we talk about friends and love, some are not sure to join the tale… They have called some names in the dark with the tone of need…” (Tales pg. 38).
This aspect that we shy away from talking about, this part of society where our mouths are puny and weak to talk about and the society fail to understand or see that these set of people are also fragile like their counterpart.
“…they are silhouettes of beggars whose faces you can’t find in the darkness of our own time…” (Boyhood as a feeling pg. 25)
Hence, voices are sprouting day in, day out to speak out about these set of people; The Boychild. Sometimes we term it as weakness from these people; we see it as people trying to glorify their own weaknesses and not their strengths. Even when they try as much as possible to break out from these societal stereotypes and vices, they have depravities and demons fighting them here and there. The society made them muted actors, actors given roles that made them look like super humans that must not feel pains and sorrow, actors that must not show their weaknesses and pains and shortcomings. Actors that must comparatively follow the role the society foisted on them without speaking or talking about it. Actors whose physique reigns of handsomeness of the world but inside of them are tales that are too heavy for their mouth to speak. They could act on this movie you created but not always mute like you have programmed them to be.
“Someone says something is wrong with a man who was a girl in a boy’s skin… easy to crush by bullies’ tongue… he can’t go back to his placenta for redemption…” (Broken Mirror pg. 31)
“…They are the ones you see sitting in solitude to knit strength into their broken tissues of hurts, and wear the fabric of healing… And roll back into their cave after the ovation…” (Tales pg. 38)
The book which has fifteen poems in total and forty-six pages is described as timeless collections and masterfully written by a mind that is aligned with existence and essential value of human experience by Funso Oris, one of Nigerian foremost poet, literary critic and scholar based in Chicago, USA. The book is well received by prominent literary critics around the globe which includes the likes of Jide Badmus, Adedayo Adeyemi Agarau, Micheal Ace, Funso Oris and Aremu Adams Adebisi.
However, the poet, Tukur Loba Ridwan used this work of art to question these societal beliefs. He finds home in heart drifting into a façade of anonymity to deliver a fine poetry collection that are of coming of age. A poetry collection that is defined by long and vast experience of time and future of a stretched home of art and the changes that come with the immediate understanding that man is ruled by the universal law of inequality of the fingers; later we would be sounding these dreams of boys’ voices along the paths of rosy atmosphere and speeding time into lives to become part of us that cry out every day for attention.
“Boys bottle up death inside and call it strength… home must be reached before they turn, torn by the teeth of tale tellers… who don’t know what a boy’s tears taste like on earth’s tongue…”(Boyhood as a feeling Pg.25)
These lines grip like fire on a dry leaves, like a tornado searching for where to perch its horrible hands. We may likely focus on the fantasy that the world made available for us all, wandering into a vacuum daring our strength and prowess but on the wings of those boys crying Abba father in the streets of our hearts are tales to be told in the morning of our testimonies. Boys have pains too; they cry, they are fragile and can be broken like pieces of broken bottle.
Boyhood as a feeling, boyhood as magical timing experiences of holding dreams and conquering self with a larger gut, it brings definition of who they grow up to become.
“Nothing like freedom, nothing like racing back into your lover’s arms… to die in the eyes like constricted pupils, waking up to nothing where all feels…”(Reconciliation, pg.26)
Sometimes we are consumed by what really stand between us and our breakthrough. Sometimes holding our fears in the arms of our lovers are the only means of survival, trying to make ourselves lovers to those who loves us or to ourselves without breaking.
Tukur took a journey into the heart of the Boychild defining the demonstration of total freedom. He defined the taste of tears and how it tastes on the lips of sorrow and agony and on the faces of circumstances bottling us up in our daily life yet, he was able to gather an immense resemblance of home and a faraway recollection of memories for those bodies who are tales on the lips on mother earth. He recreated Ochanya; he created another Christmas in his verses. He then created a spectrum, and saw eternity in two folds. To find god on the screen of his thought, he deliberately held us captive with undiluted lines that spin into separate worlds and graced our mind with love and factual reasoning of what poetry should be or look like. He was deliberate with his lines and verses.
Meanwhile, Tukur was able to relate his experiences of growing up and Boyhood-ness to us through his own experiences as a boy crying on other’s behalf. He created the same ban and restrictions that the society expanded between the two genders- boy and girl, Man and woman. He maintained his stretched opinions playing no sides about these genders but presenting his judgment in a balanced way. He tells where he is coming from and where the society is actually going with some points reflecting on the source of his liberal understanding of what the society has actually unified in it strive to balance itself. Therefore, A Boy’s tears on Earth’s tongue is delivered in such a way that you can dip yourself into it and return back in a full glowing regalia of a new you. Tukur makes it possible that you remain helpless after feasting on this book.
This earth’s tongue clearly shows the different taste of living and existence of humans in the universe; the struggles between different people of different race, the Joy, the hope, the sorrow and agony. It clearly states that all fingers are not equal and cannot be equal because nature has made it to be so. Dramatically, in a relatively environment like ours, one tends to gather ambition and creative drive so rare to wrap himself in words and verses of what the world looks like and that is what prompted Tukur to take his time in this train of thoughts where abnormality seems so real to the eyes of the world.
Later we would see this as an offering to elevate our art in the mainstream. We may not likely hold ourselves into stanzas and metaphor beyond our imaginations but we must end up leaning on the surface of who we are. Tukur strongly tells mutability and fluidity of this universe into an open field of mind breaking thoughts. He dines uncommonly with ambition of serenity and holds mind together for a future so vast and larger than the mind of creativity. Later, we would hold onto his words to create a world of poetry, a world of futuristic determination and life of words collated in one book. He did a marvelous work with this book.
“…how he needs a man to become a man … like his body falling onto his broken mirror to find himself back; to live like a butterfly whose wings are cardboard of rainbows” (Broken Mirror Pg. 31)