Thursday, January 21, 2016


"Success is in communication, both internally and externally, understanding it and acting upon it with know-how." - Tijjani Muhammad Musa


Tijjani Muhammad Musa's photo. Poetic Tee "Here, take a sip"
(As inspired by Muhammad Bn Uthman)

Have you heard
The parable of water and oil?
When mixed,
What happens to the two?

Oil always rises,
Floating comfortably above water.
Water, ever-patient
Often wondered why oil does that?
So humble Water
Feeling disrespected, complained...

Tijjani Muhammad Musa's photo. "O Oil,
How mannerless, ungrateful art thou.
Didn't your parents,
Nay, ancestors ever told you
That I, they drank
To quench and not quench?"

Oil, rich, shining,
With all due respect, responded
"O sweet Water,
Starter of life. Feeder of springs.
You come forth easy,
Through mother earth in gentle gushes.

But I,
my mother, my father, my relatives all,
We experience it,
The life threatening, suffocating squeeze.
Yet, survive the ordeal
And even manage to come out, aromatic.

Tijjani Muhammad Musa's photo. Look at me, light.
Unstained, untainted, desirable, pricey.
Do therefore
Permit me, to rise and float above thy.
Not as a disrespect,
But to appreciate my tortuous ordeal."

Now, you know
Why Water pampers the Oil
Not because it is worthier
But because water is more profound.

(c)2016 Tijjani M. M.
All Rights Reserved

INFORMATION IS NOTHING... Poetic Tee "Here, take a sip."

Success is communication
Useless is any information
Without apt dissemination
From a source to a destination
Vital is knowledge propagation
Yet, amounts to mere speculation
If kept in constant stagnation
But, with mass communication
Accompanied by full application
Lo! Bear witness; Rise of a Nation.

(c)2016 Tijjani M. M.
All Rights Reserved

EVERYTHING QUESTS TO BE TOUCHED Poetic Tee "Here, take a sip"

What defines life, but communication
Maiden Word did much more than that
First grunt, gesture, symbol, letters too
Show me that, that quest not to be touched.

Seasons strive to tell of their contents
So does feelings, moods, heat, passion
Past through present talks to the future
Show me that, that quest not to be touched.

Cells alive, within, atoms even further
Heaven touches planets in commands
Joy, pain, laughter, baby cries do speak
Show me that, that quest not to be touched.

Waves, currents, osmosis and diffusion
Sight and sound, feel a touch that smells
Bond, bonding, bondage, even James Bond
Show me that, that quest not to be touched.

Even dead silence desires being heard
While the living wants to hear the dead
And darkness too begs light for its dissolve
Show me that, that quest not to be touched.

Most importantly a heart's speech in love
Smiles break off in runs from faces to say
What hides in thoughts so, so deep away
Show me that, that quest not to be touched.

Aah, my suit, shirt, shoes crave to be worn
And mountain's whispers to its foot, valley
The reverse telling tall tales that's too short
Show me that, that quest not to be touched.

Come, commune, communicate the feel
Divine design defines all revelations to you
Be it socio-culture, agriculture or architecture
Just remember, everything quests to be touched.

(c)2016 Tijjani M. M.
All Rights Reserved


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I attended a panel discussion in New York City last night, sponsored by David Haskell’s Forum for Urban Design. The attendees, as you’ll see on the invitation, below, represented a number of hefty publications – meaning the combined critical and journalistic weight of the writers in the room was almost enough to redesign Manhattan… 

Ultimately, the conversation was both stimulating and worth the trip – but I came away thinking two or three points still needed to be made. Although some of this did come up afterward, without controversy, whilst talking to David Haskell and the panelists, I do want to expand on and clarify some things.

First, early on, one of the panelists stated: “It’s not our job to say: Gee, the new Home Depot sucks…”
But of course it is!

That’s exactly your role; that’s exactly the built environment as it’s now experienced by the majority of the American public. “Architecture,” for most Americans, means Home Depot – not Mies van der Rohe. You have every right to discuss that architecture. For questions of accessibility, material use, and land policy alone, if you could change the way Home Depots all around the world are designed and constructed, you’d have an impact on built space and the construction industry several orders of magnitude larger than changing just one new high-rise in Manhattan – or San Francisco, or Boston’s Back Bay.

You’d also help people realize that their local Home Depot is an architectural concern, and that everyone has the right to critique – or celebrate – these buildings now popping up on every corner. If critics only choose to write about avant-garde pharmaceutical headquarters in the woods of central New Jersey – citing Le Corbusier – then, of course, architectural criticism will continue to lose its audience. And it is losing its audience: this was unanimously agreed upon by all of last night’s panelists.

Put simply, if everyday users of everyday architecture don’t realize that Home Depot, Best Buy, WalMart, even Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Waitrose, can be criticized – if people don’t realize that even suburbs and shopping malls and parking garages can be criticized – then you end up with the architectural situation we have today: low-quality, badly situated housing stock, illogically designed and full of uncomfortable amounts of excess closet space. 

And no one says a thing.

To use a musical analogy: you can have a thousand and one interesting, inspired, intelligent, widely referring, enthusiastic, even opinion-changing conversations about music with almost anyone – including what that person listens to, why, what soundtracks they own, what “bip-hop” really means, whether or not “post-techno” exists, what they actually want to hear on the radio, should file-sharing be legalized, is Chris Cornell this generation’s Sammy Hagar (answer: yes), etc.

But to infer from that conversation – because nobody mentioned Stravinsky or Bach – that those people are philistines who don’t care about music is absurd. In other words, maybe my cousin can’t cite Deleuze and maybe he has no idea who Fumihiko Maki is, or even Frank Lloyd Wright, but does that mean he doesn’t care about architecture?

As it is, one critic writes for approval by another critic, who writes for another critic, who writes for some editor somewhere, or for the head of a department, and no one wants to step out of line. You want to talk about a videogame, or a Tim Burton film, or castles as described in the books of J.K. Rowling – but nope: it’s all Zaha, all the time.

Meanwhile, subscription rates are plummeting.
Further – though this may contradict what I say above – strong and interesting architectural criticism is defined by the way you talk about architecture, not the buildings you choose to talk about.

In other words, fine: you can talk about Fumihiko Maki instead of, say, Half-Life, or Doom, or super-garages, but if you start citing Le Corbusier, or arguing about whether something is truly “parametric,” then you shouldn’t be surprised if anyone who’s not a grad student, studying with one of your friends at Columbia, puts the article down, gets in a car – and drives to the mall, riding that knotwork of self-intersecting crosstown flyovers and neo-Roman car parks that most architecture critics are too busy to consider analyzing.

All along, your non-Adorno-reading former subscriber will be interacting with, experiencing, and probably complaining about architecture – but you’ve missed a perfect chance to join in.
Which brings me to two final points, and I’ll try to be quick:

1) Architectural criticism means writing about architecture, not writing about buildings.
Incredibly, in the midst of the talk last night, one of the panelists mentioned Archigram – almost wistfully – commenting that, despite a lack of built projects, Archigram still managed to dynamize and re-inspire the architectural scene of its era. This was done through ridiculous ideas, cheap graphics, a sense of humor, and enthusiasm. But, wait, what was –? Oh, that panelist must have forgotten, because he immediatetly went back to discussing buildings: not ideas, not enthusiasm, not architecture.
Architecture is not limited to buildings!

Temporary Air Force bases, oil derricks, secret prisons, multi-story car parks, J.G. Ballard novels, Robocop, installation art, China MiĆ©ville, Department of Energy waste entombment sites in the mountains of southwest Nevada, Roden Crater, abandoned subway stations, Manhattan valve chambers, helicopter refueling platforms on artificial islands in the South China Sea, emergency space shuttle landing strips, particle accelerators, lunar bases, Antarctic research stations, Cape Canaveral, day-care centers on the fringes of Poughkeepsie, King of Prussia shopping malls, chippies, Fat Burger stands, Ghostbusters, mega-slums, Taco Bell, Salt Lake City multiplexes, Osakan monorail hubs, weather-research masts on the banks of the Yukon, Hadrian’s Wall, Die Hard, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison, Akira, Franz Kafka, Gormenghast, San Diego’s exurban archipelago of bad rancho housing, Denver sprawl, James Bond films, even, yes, Home Depot – not every one of those is a building, but they are all related to architecture.

Every item in that list should be considered fair game for truly exciting, dynamic, and intellectually adventurous forms of architectural criticism. (And, obviously, many people already are writing about these things – including some of the panelists from last night. I’m just making a point).

2) Finally: The Archigram of today is not studying with Bernard Tschumi and openly imitating The Manhattan Transcripts. The Archigram of today works for Electronic Arts, has no idea who Walter Gropius is, and offers more insights about the future of urban design, space, and the built environment to more people, in more age groups, in more countries, than any practicing architectural critic will ever do, writing about Toyo Ito.

Videogames are the new architectural broadsides.
Being an architectural critic means writing about architecture – even writing about Le Corbusier and Toyo Ito, sure – but that means writing about architecture in its every manifestation: whether it’s built or not, designed by an architect or not, featured in a videogame or not, found anywhere other than inside a novel or not, whether it’s still intact or not – even whether it’s on planet Earth.

If a critic can get people to realize that the everyday architectural world of garages and malls and bad haunted house novels is worthy of architectural analysis – and that architecture is even exciting to discuss – then maybe the trade journals can get some of their subscribers back. At the very least, it’s worth a try.

Even if that means saying: Gee, the new Home Depot sucks.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

DEPART, APART (Poetry) Poetic Tee "Here, take a sip"

We may depart,
But are never apart.

It is Allah's Will,
That our paths cross.
Crossed they have,
Now none
Can uncross.

Each of us
Has left an impression,
Of who we truly are.
Some are good, true.
Others are who they are.

May we learn lessons
That'll be treasures for keeps.
To remember
With nostalgia,
Not distaste.

First cut, they say,
Is the deepest.
May be
that's the only cut,
We'd ever get.

So waste not
the chance,
To leave a good impression
On any,
You'd ever meet.

Take care now.
Wish you nothing,
But the best
And a smile,
Always :D

(c)2015 Tijjani M. M.
All Rights Reserved


A scene from an indian movie "Kingdom of Ants". Poetic Tee "Here, take a sip"

O opulence oppressor!
Hiding in the open,
Justifying injustice.

My blood, your paint.
My shirt, your canvass.
O Davinci of Death.

Know thy not,
I am I, immortal.
Fearless of your fears?

Killing my body,
Will never kill
My living soul.

The spirit lives on.
So does the struggle,
For what's mine.

Until truth
Prevails over lies.
Like light vanquish darkness.

My heart
Wears your hole.
Yet, wins once more.

Can't you see,
O blind one,
You're my prey?

This my look,
Is your bullet returned.
In death, I live anew.

My future
Is guaranteed. But yours?
Hate shatters, consumes.

I'm the trial you failed.
Your secrets, revealed.
Now, earth bears you witness.

(c)2016 Tijjani M. M.
All Rights Reserved


1. Garba Inuwa indeed its inspiring.

2. Ariadne Sawyer Amazing work.

3. Faruk Sarkinfada In death, I live anew

4. Tukur Dereri o Davinci of death

5. Stanley Phillips That was outstanding. Bravo.

6. Sulaiman Yusuf Assalafiy What a vivacious poem is this!

7. Brigitte Poirson Extremely intricate and complex lines that can only be captured by a poetic mind, to express obvious, but hidden truths.

8. Abdulhamid Yusuf Muhammad  
 This my look,
Is your bullet returned.
In death, I live anew

while you rote in hell
with anguish of hate
to last in your soul

from the day
you waylay,
is the day you fail

Nightmare of my death
is the sorrow you hate,
hunts you for ages.

Oh zionist zombie
vampire in disguise
soon you'l fail.

have dreams,
fantasy, and joke,
yet the soul knows no peace.

weak i look,
yet within that soul
lays strenght you hope.

concoct evil
as you wish,
But my Lord own is best.


...By Tijjani Muhammad Musa

Do you know one of the worst experiences in life, worst than death itself is having your child missing? Let me share a little of what it feels like to have a child missing. I once or twice experienced it, not long but long enough, if about 5-6 hours could thus be described.

My first daughter one day, as a small child strayed off and was lost in our neighborhood. I was home when the whole excitement started around 12 noon.

My mother kicked off the search by venturing into all the neighboring houses her grandchild would normally go to for one reason or another. We waited heart in mouth to hear her come in with the news of her whereabout, but with each going and coming, nothing.

Her mother, my wife immediately covered herself, and with the rest of the women in the house joined in the search, scattering in different directions. After every 20-30 minutes someone would return to base to inquire if she has been found. When given the negative answer, she would turn back and take to a different direction.

30 minutes turned to 3 hours and women in the neighborhood started joining the search team. Worries, distress, anxiety, anxiousness and more took over the scene. Of course prayers and optimism that she'll be found eventually kept hope and spirit alive.

And by 4 pm, despair and panic started to take hold. Meanwhile, I remained adamantly hopeful and confident in Allaah SWT that she would be found hale and healthy. Once I realized for real my child was missing, the first thing I did was call to Allaah in a sincere, devotional supplication.

I performed an ablution and prayed 2 raka'at in which I informed my Lord of my missing child (as if He didn't know ahead of its happening) and beseech of Him to keep her safe and sound wherever she might be. We know not where, but He of a surety knows.

He AWJ Knows exactly where she was and her exact condition. So, with confidence I begged Him to watch over her and return her safely back to us. That a sad development might not take place and leave us devastated. Thereafter, I took to the streets too.

As I walked, my eyes fell on every child of her age about 2-3 years, male or female. I tried to conjure her up in every child that passes me by, but of course my magic spell casted kept failing. So, a father would wish that the very next child his eyes fell upon would be his little angel.

Kids sitting, running, playing, arguing together, in company of parents, sisters, brothers, in front of their houses, away from home all reminded me of the treasure I had lost and must of urgency be found before night fall.

The fear of the innocent child, helpless and alone, experiencing nightfall for the very first time without love and protection created havoc in my already depressed heart. I looked up into the heavens, as if I could see God's Face and silently prayed.

I looked to my right, then left, ahead in front of me and often would turn to look behind me, then scan nooks and crannies, behind a parked vehicle, a table of trade, children gathered to buy something or watch a display and so on. My beautiful daughter was nowhere standing, sitting or laughing in their midst.

Good Lord, please, a tear would well up in my eyes and I would quickly suppress it and tell myself "Men, do not cry, pray instead." But I wanted to cry I told myself. "Not yet" a voice would say. "Wait first until she's found. Then you can cry. But for now, be strong. You'll need to be for her mother's sake."

Like a robot, I took one step after another filled with all sorts of possibilities, aided by ugly and worst case scenarios from movies, dramas, documentaries, features, narration, news and real life recounts each were crisscrossing through my mind.

Where does one start the search for a child that could barely utter a sensible, reasonable, audible word, call the name "Mummy", talk less of mentioning her mother's maiden name or describe her father or where her home is, just in case she was found by a kind hearted soul?

I didn't realize when a tear broke its bank from the over filled dam in my eyes and poured down my right cheek. I quickly wipe it off and warned myself to stop that. Reminding myself that all things are transient and nothing is permanent. This will come to pass and good will be its end.

"Inna wa'adalLahu haqq" (The Promise of Allaah is true) I heard myself thinking out loud. The real existence is Allaah. All other things are of shadow existence. He is the Only One that is real. The rest of us are illusions. Everything and everyone exists for a time ordained. Not a second more nor less.

I knew it was impossible for me or any of us to find that little girl except if Allaah (Almighty God) found her for us. I imagined our ward, then our neighborhood, our area and our locality on and on and on till I expanded my mind to accommodate the whole world. There was simply no way I could find her, no way.

The only way was God and to Him I turned my whole mind. I prayed my most sincerest of supplication, even making a covenant out of desperation. Offering something I normally wouldn't consider doing within my limit of devotional acts. More children and another giggled, laughed or cried past me, none was my lost child.

Thus my thoughts kept flowing as my feet gathered dust in count with my footage. My shoulders drooped, weighed and burdened with sadness. How can I handle her mother? What would I say that would be enough comfort or solace for a bereaved mother? The mere thought of that choked me. I didn't want to go back home.

But, by the time I regained conscious of my where about, I was back on our street. An invisible compass had guided my return home it seemed. I prepared myself to enter back into the house, expecting the unwelcome tale that she was yet to be found. I told myself, if that should happen, I would just pray 2 more raka'at and return back to the streets to continue searching all night if necessary.

Sudddenly, one of the children in the neighborhood saw me first and ran over to tell me excitedly "An gan ta, an ga Mamima!" (She's been found. They've found Mamima), holding and dragging me by my left hand fingers. Relief overwhelmed me. But instead of filling a sprut of energizing happiness, only weakness registered and took over.

I followed the excited kid into our house like a camel on a leash. I saw my daughter, my only child then, in this whole wide world of about 7 billion people, eating a meal in a bowl, placed in between her cute tiny waka-about legs. She rose her face and smiled at me and simply said ”Abba!". And everything else, disarrayed a few moment earlier, fell back into place.

I silently thanked my Lord and prayed it never happens again to me or to anybody else.

(c)2001 Tijjani M. M.
All Rights Reserved