Konya Shamsrumi: What
is the process of writing a poem like for you? Is it a lot of hard work or
Abdulkareem Baba Aminu: It could be easy, when the
idea just comes to you, sometimes while driving, in the shower, just walking,
anytime really. But it could be difficult when you pull up a chair at a table
and begin, with the intention to write one. But I must say some work I’ve
penned intentionally have proven to be successful with readers.
Konya Shamsrumi: Please
describe your sense of identity in this or any possible world in imagery or
Abdulkareem Baba Aminu: An artist. Nothing more,
really. Maybe that’s because I’m fortunate, and blessed enough to be able to
express myself in almost any artistic way possible. I paint pictures from words
in my head, and I write words from images I dream of. That doesn’t sound in any
way pretentious, does it? Because that’s the way it is.
Konya Shamsrumi: If any of your poems could literally save a
person’s life, which poem would it be and can you describe the person whose
life you think it would have saved?
Abdulkareem Baba Aminu: I think in my case, it would
probably doom such a person even further. And I reckon it would be Schizophrenique,
in which I try to profile an egomaniac, and end up projecting one. The last
line, ‘Who cares about the past?/I’m haunted by the future’ intends to scoff at
those who can’t let go of what’s been, but reveals an obsession with what will
be. Almost as if I’m saying ‘don’t worry about that, worry about this instead’.
Not much help there, I’m afraid. I don’t think any of my poems have that much
of a superpower.
Abdulkareem Baba Aminu
There will surely come a day
That will leave you in tatters
Time when everything turns grey
Even your royal hardness shatters
When they make you feel like a no-one
All their smiles, hollow
The warmth, once was, now gone
To a place you cannot follow
Through all this, I remain Me, to You
But when you start to call me you hesitate
It is something you just cannot do
Your heart, rife with strife and hate
And I, too, patiently wait
Pretending so pure a caste
Every move you make I capture and suture
Who cares about the past?
I am haunted by the future.
©2014 / Abdulkareem Baba Aminu
Konya Shamsrumi: What does Africa mean to you, as potential or
Abdulkareem Baba Aminu: It’s my home, and also for a good chunk of my favorite people. And home, to me, is the most important place of all. It’s where you live, love, dream, and eventually, if you’re lucky, die. Potentially, it’s just like the cliché goes, the future.
Konya Shamsrumi: Could you share with us one poem you’ve been
most impressed or fascinated by? Tell us why and share favorite lines from it.
Abdulkareem Baba Aminu: Picking one poem in this case would be extremely difficult. Impossible, even. There are so many which have impressed me, and more which fascinate me. Poetry does that to one fortunate enough to have access to it, as well as an appreciation for the art form. I reckon I’m fortunate like that, and this in no small way has an influence on the way I write whatever I’m writing, whenever I’m writing.
Abdulkareem Baba Aminu is an Abuja-based writer, award-winning journalist, editor, poet, illustrator, and cartoonist.
Richard Ali is a Nigerian writer whose poems were first published in 2008. He has served in the National EXCO of the Association of Nigerian Authors and sits on the board of Uganda’s Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation. A member of the Jalada Writers Cooperative based in Nairobi, his work has been published in African Writing, Jalada, Saraba Magazine and elsewhere. The Anguish and Vigilance of Things is his debut collection, was published in 2020. He practices Law in Abuja, Nigeria.