We Need an “Elbow Room”: An Appraisal of Younglan’s "Elbow Room"
by Alewa House, published 7 months, 3 weeks ago
There is a philosophical argument which proposes that man is a product of his surroundings. The notion argues that the sum of man’s decisions, actions and inclinations are innately imprinted by the impressions he/she has witnessed. Although the counter argument proposes that some persons can transcend the complicated social conditioning of their society. It is inherently difficult to outrun the impact of the experiences that one has grown accustomed to.
Poetry has a way of baring out our impressions of the society. It is a channel that expresses the deepest sense of our vulnerability, our strengths, our fears and even our love. But sometimes, a poetic piece has the power to transport us into a place where we can both reflect and introspect on the choices, the experiences and the decisions that have led us to the moment that we are in.
Younglan’s “Elbow Room” begins with the familiar angst of a character in contradiction. The contradiction arises from the most familiar of places.
The human desire to navigate the pitfalls of the emotions of love and hate.
“Everything you seem to love now
You might just end up hating
And everything you seem to hate now
You might just end up loving
So I am hating the President now,
So that I might just love him later”
Across these few lines, a deeper story unravels.
It is a story that lays its soul bare over the rest of the poem.
A story of the contradictions of man’s experiences.
An experience which in some ways; has grown accustomed to the futility of the system.
When Younglan discourses the society in the way it projects its values, he replays the very plot of the sad society that we are immersed in. He discusses a society where hardwork is constantly being preached, but in hindsight; the most successful individuals are the persons who are steeped in the less than stellar ways of politics.
The contradiction in the experience is thus; while the politicians live a life that is different from the one the masses experience, the masses still lie in awe of the politician who continues to pillage the values of the masses. The politician has no restraint. His lack of restrain, by default creates a sublet of identities. It creates the “collaborators” who are content to wallow in fear and live in the status quo. The second group is the one he describes as the ones that might become “monsters.”
There are other contradictions within the story of the Have and Have Nots that he projects.
For instance, when he talks about getting guns, his answer is thus,
“But if we all get guns
Then we all might be gone soon”
Or when he talks about the state of the poor, he says
“The earth has had enough of the poor man’s blood
These days, it regurgitates it even,
For it thirsts for the blood of these bloodthirsty politicians, so”
Up until this point in the poem, the biggest question had been what direction the poet wanted the story to go to. The end goal was not to just offer up the state of contradictions within our society, or to just highlight the experiences of the masses who suffer inexhaustible hardships while politicians loot, pillage and walk away.
The end goal was something more subtle.
A certain kind of defiance that wiggles its way out of a dilemma.
Younglan projects himself as an outsider on the inside of a society that offers him as much contradictions as the one he battles within himself.
When he plays within the fringes of love and hate at the beginning of the poem, he found himself choosing to decide upon a route that will end in an outcome that feels the most secure.
His decision is to approach the tougher end of the contradiction first.
His experience and the nature of the society he has grown in, makes this a herculean task.
But it is a task he can maneuver because he has found a way.
The way, and in the end, the “safe space”, lies in the manifestation of the people.
Ever since I listened to the poem; my greatest question had been what the elbow room was.
The truth is, the “elbow room” is a free scope. An adequate space for work or operation; when it comes down to it, the “elbow room” is every individual deciding to choose what side of the contradiction they will prefer.
What Younglan has succeeded in showcasing is the binary of society, where action and consequence is deeply visible.
This is the part of the story that we sometimes fail to see. Every line of the poem is in constant conflict with the next because every line is a consequence of the next action. The politician, the collaborator, the masses who may become monsters, they are all deep psychological products of the society that they are familiar with. Their actions and decisions, whether dictated by love or hate, remains inherently dependent on the experiences that they witness.
The impact of that decision will decide how every individual unites under a common protest, a common election. The revolution in the end is for the common man.
The man in the streets may feel imprisoned by the way of his society. That is only for a while. He/she will find his/her free scope. And when he/she does, the revolution will be as they always say “televised.”
“Elbow Room” is not a typical poem that allows you to be outside of the experience. It drags you in because it speaks of a familiar space that we all understand.
From the moment Edge Golbador’s Falsetto warms over the sweet chords at the beginning, and he wails those enchanting cries, you are drawn into the experience that suggest that whatever is being said requires your mind to be at peace.
The society we survive in is burning into its nadir.
From the deepest hooks of oppression, we must find an elbow room to move into our own truths.
Maybe this piece is a rallying call to us all.
What is your elbow room?
Reviewed by Elijah Abuni Peter
by Alewa House, published 1 month, 4 weeks ago
Before now, content creators could only submit video requests via cloud providers to Alewa House by mail unlike for stories and album/singles. This will change starting from today, Alewa House content creators will now be able to upload and sell videos. Content moderation is still not going away anytime soon. This is because the company has a strong intellectual property protection culture.
Secondly, the updates also comes with a better designed dashboard with detailed analytics for each of content creators' digital assets. Alongside is location insight, since it is very important to know where content creators' audiences come from.
You will also find a detailed breakdown of your earnings on all your digital assets
Our sole aim at Alewa House is to give power to content creators and that is why it is deliberately designed from the onset to allow Content Creators to earn from followers. The first of its kind. Right! The more followers they have, the more money they make. Here is a brief illustration from Singer and Songwriter Edge Golbador:
Spread the word to family, relatives and friends that have digital contents that would like to sell or monetize? Spread the opportunity for content creators to earn for life.
by Alewa House, published 7 months, 4 weeks ago
I have always believed that great poetry should be the voice of reason.
When men lacked the language to communicate what they hold in their hearts, they resort to poetry.
Younglan's Elbow Room is a touring poem. Its title is misplaced. If I would name this poem, I would call it "Khadiija's Voice". Khadija being an unknown protester that joined in the #EndSars protest of 2020.
Elbow Room is a rejection. A rejection of our politics, our politicians, our system of governance, and our values. When he said "Look at us now, we are monsters", he could have been referring to the unprecedented, deadly, looting that happened during the lockdowns. Do you know, no one was killed during the main #EndSars protest in Jos, but that at least 3 people died at the warehouse where plateau citizens were looting?
We broke down the roofs of the structure, destroyed the gate, stole useless metals and went face to face with soldiers that had guns. We had become monsters.
But it is the making of selfish politicians, pot bellied big for nothing men that have denied us our rights and refused us the right to complain or cry. "An ordinary councilor in Tudun Wada has 6 cars", all bought with our tax payers money. When the new Councillor of Jenta Adamu came on board about 4 years ago, the first thing he did was to get a new car.
Yet every politician claims to be working for "your interest", the "voice of the masses", and to be worried about your plight. At least, when the election comes. Lies.
The touring thing in Younglan's poem is the hope. He lays his hope in the youths, that we will vote for the kind of society we want, and if our votes are rigged, we will vote again. And we will vote again. "Until the revolution becomes you and me".
A great poem should not end without hope. It should offer a vision. A dream. This one does that.
My only criticism of this work is that it was too short. Too short to say everything. But on a second thought, poetry should be short and mystical!
I expected to hear Edge Golbador say something, his voice was soothing but the absence of any words was disappointing.
There are very few poets in this city, Younglan is one of those. I'm always delighted by his work! Always. Dear Jos, you are blessed. Relish your greatness!
May we become the revolution.
You can find the poem here. https://alewahouse.com/watch/4583990495/
Much respect to Alewa House! This poem was neat. All your work has been neat.
Elbow Room review by Lengdung Tungchamma