Emmanuel Iduma was born and raised in Nigeria. Emmanuel is the author of The Sound of Things to Come (The Mantle, 2016) and A Stranger's Pose (Cassava Republic, 2018). He received an MFA in art criticism and writing from the School of Visual Arts, New York. He is a co-founder of Saraba Magazine and co-editor of Gambit: Newer African Writing. Follow him on Instagram @emmaiduma.
While in university, the highlights of stories I wrote occurred to me during strolls. My parents lived on a university campus in Ile-Ife, at the edge of the staff quarters. It would take me twenty minutes to get to school from our house. I walked mostly at night. Done with the day’s work, and so fatigued I sometimes dozed on the road. I saw the value in being somnambulant, and the promise stupor held: the right name for a character on the tip of my tongue.
Someone asks: Why did the world ignore the Baga massacre? Why was the Nigerian government swift to respond to the Charlie Hebbo attack and hesitant about Baga? The answer, which I share plaintively, is bracketed by a word, “numbness”—the numbness that comes from a repeated and stupefying devaluing of human life.
The Kiss (1935) by Man Ray
The first dream is of a dry kiss. Her lips touch mine but something does not pass in the process. It was a hesitant affair; we were waiting on the sidelines, waiting to be taught. I have failed to imagine how she looked at me afterwards. How dissatisfied were we?
I think now, we hadn’t been taught to kiss.
The Lonely Ones (1935) by Edvard Munch
“In traditional societies, everything that made sense of the world was real; the surrounding chaos existed and was threatening, but it was threatening because it was unreal. Without a home at the center of the real, one was not only shelterless, but also lost in non-being, in unreality. Without a home everything was fragmentation…