Younglan's Elbow Room Poem: Review by Sylvia Onyeka

by Alewa House, published 6 months ago

Title: Elbow Room

Genre: Spoken Word Poetry

Artist: Younglan Ft. Edge Golbador

We are all seeking for space, and that is what makes Elbow Room by Younglan inescapably significant. Be a part of the awakening, “Work very hard that you might earn a place among stars”

Elbow: The elbow is the region between the upper and lower parts of the arm that surrounds the elbow joint. The term is specifically used for humans and other primates. The function of the elbow joint is to extend and flex the arm grasp and reach for objects.

Room: A portion of space within a building or other structure separated by walls or partitions from other parts.

In tune with primal traditions, whether of African, Middle Eastern or Nordic origins, Transportational music by Edge Golbador opens the Elbow Room. The unmistakable feeling of levitation, searching, expansion, and ultimately creative conjuring transports the listener into the words forming our present day human realities.

“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”

As humans, the transience, impermanence and shiftiness of our emotions and actions is revealed in this opening lines. The poet reveals that our experience either as individuals or as a people is answerable to change, continually, in a state of flux. However, we must, while our emotions and temporal knowledge lasts, take the necessary action that will better our lives and for the betterment of our community. We cannot leave our destiny entirely to chance or based on the fact that we cannot foretell the future. This line of thought is clearly revealed in the ensuing lines.

“So I am hating the president now

So that I might just love him later. . .”

In a beautiful use of juxtaposition, Younglan expertly balances the emotions of love and hate, subtly bringing leadership and governance to accountability. While not promoting hate amongst the citizenry for leaders or advocating blind followership by the citizenry, the poet implies that matters of state and life generally is a learning process, and as such, must be subject to regular review and accountability. As Socrates, one of the greatest statesmen and philosophers, opined, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” The same is applicable to present day governance and the living experience of every person.

“The earth has had enough of the poor man’s blood

These days, it regurgitates it even”

Meaningfully titled, the Elbow Room by Younglan is a search or demand for space by individuals and peoples to express discontent, either in politics, in health, religion, education, or lifestyle in general. The above lines are eloquent testimony to the discontent which citizens in every country across the globe feel against bad governance and politics deprived of humanity. The aim of such discontent, being to create significant awareness, stir up knowledge, and in some instances, revolution all in a bid to achieve betterment–better living conditions, better remunerations for workers, better health care services, better communication approach between leaders and followers and governance over-all because despite the seeming allegiance with protest and revolution the call for caution is strong.

“But if we all get guns

Then we all might die soon!”

However, whether or not the poet ends his diatribe with a call to arms or sues for peace. . . the listener will find out upon downloading and keenly listening to the piece.

Younglan’s excellent rendition, well-paced with controlled emotions, (just short of an outburst) alongside the superb blend of imageries, rhetoric, similes, and metaphors is an undeniable pointer to the fact that the poet in Elbow Room offers the creative world a master piece in the tradition of Taban Lo Liyong, Bob Marley, Achebe, Aime Cesaire, Langston Hughes, and every other bard who, in defense of humanity, has spoken out against injustice and oppression. This is one message that is sure to outlive us all.

Consider this review a tip of the iceberg. The entire piece is totally worth your listen, and remember to leave a comment and reach out to Alewa House with regards to sponsorship, downloads, and general details regarding Elbow Room, our effective tool in chiseling out corrupt practices and carving the tomorrow of our dreams. Elbow Room is a clarion call to which every person of good conscience must heed. Otherwise, “Can’t you see scars?”

Enjoy every bit!

Sylvia Ohiaeri Onyekachukwu

Youngman Africa Development Foundation

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We Need an “Elbow Room”: An Appraisal of Younglan’s "Elbow Room"

by Alewa House, published 6 months 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

Listen or download Elbow Room by Younglan for free.

Younglan's Elbow Room Poem: Review by Lengdung Tungchamma

by Alewa House, published 6 months 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.

Much respect to Alewa House! This poem was neat. All your work has been neat.

Elbow Room review by Lengdung Tungchamma