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Manual Pictorial Guide to The Alpha-Numeric Language:

The alphabets and numbers in the rows and columns are a guide through which one can understand the language spoken in the future. For example, A symbolises 1. So when you say 1-20-5, it means A-T-E, ate.



1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26



In the end of the universe, will there also be singing?

We ask our mother while she gathers milk from the

Dragon’s nest. Yes, there will be great singing of UFOs

And flying saucers bringing us mules from the future.

Speaking of future, my mother made us trade our native

Tongue for an alpha-numerical language. You see, this

Was the language of the future, where man and machine

Could co-exist. Where my sister’s torn limbs found freedom

In the glide of the air. In the future, everything is machine-

Run. Nobody speaks their mother tongue for fear of being

Reduced to ash. Once, while we gathered mushrooms from

The moist sky, I heard a man complain, saying, o ti rẹ mi. And

That was the last we heard from him. In the centillionth

Year after my sister tore her limbs, my mother saw the need

To teach us the machine language. Because in the future,

Survival is hinged on how well you can talk your way out of

Things. In the future, one cannot afford to be introverted,

Because everything is run by machines. Once, over a bridge

At the window, I had flown my rocket-pack to a pharmacy

To get drugs for my sister. When I said 16-1-9-14, the robots

Had thought I meant only pain; so they strapped me to an

Electric chair, and began an intensive circuitry scan of my

Body. When I said: 16-1-9-14  18-5-12-9-5-6, they understood

I meant pain relief. I never speak of that day to my mother

For fear of what she might say, but in the future, mothers got

To be mothers by placing chips in the body of their offspring.

That way, when they said, “I am your mother, I know everything”

It was merely a planted-aid, not an intuition. As far and as long

As teaching the language goes, my mother never spoke our

Native tongue to us again. Even in this poem, 9  3-8-15-15-19-5

20-15  19-16-5-1-11  13-1-3-8-9-14-5  12-1-14-7-21-1-7-5.

Prosper Ìféányí writes from Lagos, Nigeria. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, his works are featured or forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, New Delta Review, The Offing, Indianapolis Review, South Dakota Review, Magma Poetry, and elsewhere.
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