Glorious

I believe I saw a sphinx.

He stretched over his heels 

eyes transfixed at a door,

mine also

I stood in front of it

hieroglyphs were engraved on it

here I could understand it

and it read;

“The volatile prose of a poet’s hand is dead.”

When I looked back,

the creature was gone

like gun powder shot from a cannon

I slid my body through the creaking door

and found myself in a courtyard

long as my eyes could see

I met a girl there

she said to call her Bianca

She had cherry lips and green eyes

She was  pretty too

yet the most interesting thing 

Bianca could walk on walls

she giggled and motioned to me

coaxing me to do it

so I tried

and fell once, twice, seven

till I found my footing

I followed Bianca on the walls

then we came to a door

Neon,  impossible to miss

I went through it

and Bianca waved goodbye behind

everywhere was dark there

I heard a soft giggle

it came from an old lady

she had a quilt and knitting needles on her thighs

then she turned her back to me

I could only hear the klick-klack

of her opposing thumbs

and I went closer to her

her hands were as cheerful as her spirit

on her quilt bore words which read;

“looks can be deceiving”

immediately I felt a hurricane

before my eyes,  the lady began to crack

she fell apart like a clay jug

pieces of her laid at my feet

the earth shook again

everything was toppling in the air

and when it stopped

I saw a broken door

I pieced it’s part together like a puzzle

and jumped through it

The light on the other side blinded me

it was though darkness found me

no matter how I tried to escape

I dug into my pocket

and pulled out an handkerchief

the one my mother told me 

to take everywhere I went

I tied it around my eyes

and began to feel my away through

for the most part I felt nothing

then my hands touched something;

hard, smooth built

marble maybe?

I couldn’t make out the figure

and while I hurriedly rubbed my hands

I felt something else

warm, pulsating. Alive

It had a face 

what human could see here, I wondered

He grabbed my arm

I heard an agonising buzz

In moments, I would screech in pain

my voice resounded in the estate

I yanked my arm away

but he was stronger

he latched on even tighter

any harder and my bones would be crushed

So I stopped resisting

I let him drive the needle into my arm

when the buzzing stopped

he wrapped my arm in warm linen

and guided me across the foyer

with my one good hand

I felt for a door handle

he released my hand, stepping back

and with my last shred of dignity, I screamed;

“Before I leave tell me, what are you?

the silence and my lack of sight

caused me to believe he was gone

So I  went through the doorway

As I slammed the door with much regret, I heard;

“I am one less thing than you”

I  released my eyes

I could see mostly shapes

I hastingly unwrapped my arm

but couldn’t make out the words on my skin

then I heard an organ

it filled the space with  eery music

the music had a mellow and comforting element

at the same time, it sounded belligerent

like the only reason it was calm

was to provoke torture at the end of each note

and just when I was at the brink of insanity

it became beautiful again

I wanted to get out, yet wanted to stay

Finally, I decided to find the musician

I searched every cranny til my feet bled

there was no musician

there was no organ

there was just me floating in space

with severely blurry vision

and a tattoo on my hand

As I looked for the exit door,

I heard a sly voice; “Do you like it?”

It was the Sphinx.

“You speak! no, it’s driving me crazy”

“Fantastic”, he said, “but you should sleep.”

‘fore I could counter, my body became overwhelmingly heavy

I was falling towards the ground.

As my head hit a surface, I jerked out of  bed

I was awake.

whilst trying to recount the details of this dream

 I felt an ever so slight tingling

on my non- dominant arm

pulling up my sleeves, on my wrist was the tattoo

One word,

Glorious.

Follow the sun

7.38 AM

The streets are crowded

A glowing yellow ball

seats at a vantage point,

hiding behind rooftops.

Ike tiddled his flute

This early in the morning,

he had to go the farm.

He spent the first hour

lying on his back,

playing the instrument

then he buckled his belt,

and begun harvesting cassava.

Other kids his age would frown

at the thought of picking up a machete

or being stuck in a field

for most of their day.

They would rather play football

or shoot arrows at bush animals

but not Ike,

he didn’t see the need to play

when he had four younger siblings

relying on him.

Both his parents were gone

few rumors have settled across the village

regarding their disappearance.

Some say they couldn’t appease Sango

on the eve of the New Yam’s festival

as every man had to present his harvest

outside his hut.

In the still of the night,

Sango would descend on the land

and claim what is rightfully his.

However, the god was offended

by the measly bundle of cassava

at their doorstep.

He was so appalled that

he broke into the home

to kill them all.

Ike’s mother pleaded for the sake of her children,

asking Sango to spare her younglings

Pity overshadowed Sango’s wrath

so he agreed.

Others rumored that his parents

were so frustrated with their life,

and responsibilities

that they took off in the dead of the night

without so much as a farewell.

Ike doesn’t recall much from that night,

except that his mother sent him

into the other room in their minute two-room hut,

and instructed him to not come out

till dusk.

In the morning, his parents were missing.

In Ike’s world,

there was no time for football

but on this particular day,

the sun was deterrent to his job

He straightened his posture,

and in a burst of fury he exclaimed;

“Oh Osun, You know my heart and all I wish to do

is plowing the earth so I may feed my siblings.

I have no shilling,

only a leaky thatched roof above my head.

Why must I be cursed by the sun for my ambition?”

When he finished, the sun grew black

Ike froze in fear.

He wondered if the day of reckoning

the high priestess spoke so frequently of was nigh.

He could feel his heart implode in his chest

and minutes later, the sky became bright again

but something had changed.

The ember hue beamed eastward,

away from the field.

Ike picked up his machete and gear

He ran across the fields into adjacent farms.

He ran into the village,

past the maidens bearing terracotta pots upon their head

He crossed the village stream

and came to a halt at the east border of the village,

before the forbidden forest.

The forest was home to the gods

Only the high priestess and witch doctor

were welcome to enter for their customary rituals.

Without much pondering, Ike ran into the forest

He came to a halt at the foot of the tallest palm wine tree he’d seen.

That was the vantage point of the sun, he was certain.

He dropped his gear and tugged his weight up the tree.

Once at the top, he could see not only the village,

but other settlements,

even the city of Lagos,

where the traditional King lived.

He was amazed at the view surrounding him.

It occurred to him that he wanted more.

He wanted to explore life outside his village.

Eventually, he conceded to the blinding sun rays

and climbed down the tree against his wishes.

What he saw bemused him.

At the foot of the palm tree.

Ike was looking at a polythene bag

filled with iron ore.

He considered grabbing it

and running away

but he was no thief,

and besides, only a dumb fool

would steal from the gods.

“It’s yours,”

A familiar voice came from beside the tree

Ike stretched his neck to see his mother.

“The gods are rewarding your good will,

you could leave this village and live comfortably in Lagos,”

she continued, “or you can come with me, Ikechukwu.”

He wanted to wail and roll in the dust.

He had no strength left in him.

Eight years have passed since he last saw her

His eyes locked with his mother’s

and he knew if he left with her,

he wouldn’t have to toil the soil another day in his life.

He would have peace.

But, he wanted to be more

so he held her face, pecked her cheeks and bade farewell.

He grabbed the bag and begun his journey home,

away from the fading sun.

The tunnel

 

We thought we could escape our troubles. We thought if we climbed the ladder fast enough, no one would stop us.

 

Across the bed from him, I sat.

“I like you, I really do.”

He blushed, licked his lips and placed a palm on my thigh. I liked that. I shut my eyes and allowed myself to dwell on this simple pleasure. His hands lingered from my thighs up to my waist before grazing my cheeks. I opened my eyes to meet his pearly hazel ones. It was the first time I permitted myself to look so closely into someone’s eyes. It was intriguing to see them dilate. He parted his lips and I listened to the words that fumbled out….

A Volcano erupted in my heart. My being was shaking; like an earthquake, like an explosion went off in my head. My ears could bleed, my voice was gone, My lips were quivering from the horror when he said, “I trust you”.

I jumped up, and for a second or five, I was patting myself as if searching for something. His face grew worrisome and he constantly asked me what was wrong.

“I have to get out of here”

“Where to? this is your house”.

“Nowhere,” I replied, “Just need a walk.”

I sprinted out the room into the night. My legs were moving, one after the next. The people I walked past were staring at me, as if in shock or sheer curiosity. Maybe I have something on my face but I’m acting as normal as I possibly can. My mind is a war zone, the more I try to focus, the more nothing seems to make sense. All I see is a tunnel of darkness that I’ve never been brave enough to walk through to the other side. But now, it beckons me and right there in the park, I could make something out of the rusty air. A tunnel.

“Idara,” I heard a voice call from within the tunnel. It sounded like a child with a thick accent, Western African perhaps, “come”.

“Why” I muttered hesitantly

“Because you will never be able to face your truth if you don’t”.

I heard the fluttering of wings, and seconds later a butterfly was in front of me, so close it could perch on my nose. In a blink of an eye, it’s wings would change from violet polka dot to black with white streaks then to brown and white with blue streaks then again, and again, each time, a unique blend of colors. I was too mesmerized that I almost didn’t notice that now there were two of them, and in a millisecond five, then twelve and they just kept multiplying. They formed a line before me and begun flying into the tunnel. I pushed some air down my lungs, took a step and then another and I was inside the tunnel.

My mind was simmering with thoughts and they were chaotic but with the light from the butterflies illuminating my path, I felt less anxious. I noticed the walls had phrases and sentences inscribed on it and there was a sense of familiarity I had when I read them, I remember them because I lived them.

At the tunnel entrance, I read:   “you were always there for me.’ I recall smiling when I wrote that. I recall feeling lonely afterward.

“when I count my friends, I count 1 person 10 times”.  I know who that was for, it came from a sincere place.

the next one read; “you’re the bitchiest bitch out there, but you’re also the only person that piggybacks me home when I’m drunk”. Actually now I just think she’s a bitch.

The farther I got into the tunnel, the more cynical the phrases were. “This may probably be the last time you see me, I’m not going anywhere but I can’t promise I won’t wander off.”

The other read: “I can’t stand the pain, it makes me cry. I want people to care, I want things to work out”.

At this point, I noticed that the butterflies were reducing, disappearing. I was feeling unsure again, anxious. In an attempt to forge on, I staggered through the never-ending corridor with my resilient companions.

The next I saw went thus; “it’s not in my nature to express myself so wouldn’t it be weird, stupid to people if I started expressing myself? wouldn’t it seem like I was impersonating someone I’m not?” 

I sidled on like a lummox drunk in a grave-yard, I refused to look at the walls any further. I tried focusing on making it to the end, but my mind wouldn’t stop buzzing and I kept on wishing I was out of there, I’ve never been more restless.

My gaze settled on one final inscription on the wall and I couldn’t help but read it through; “so once again I was alone staring at the walls as it were empty like my soul.”

I stopped. Thrusting my back against the wall, I read the phrase again as I slowly sank to the ground. The lights fluttered around me urging me to rise to my feet. I couldn’t move, I’d lost all my strength.

“I was alone…the walls…empty like my soul, alone…walls..empty, empty….

The butterflies wouldn’t stop but I ignored them whilst they continued to vanish.

“Get up,” the voice was back. “Come Idara”

“I can’t,” I yelled, my voice resounded through the walls. I watched the butterflies fade until the last resilient wings were flapping right before my nose. Its light began to flicker and went dim until it was gone. Everything went silent and cold. No insects. No buzzing. No light. Just me alone in the dark tunnel.

“I can’t,” I whispered. “I can’t”

 

Yellow Roses

Green pastures roll by for several minutes and then there was desert land.

I plastered my eyes to the minut window, not staring at anything in particular.

All I could note was the abrupt transition from abundance to famine.

“Ma’am, could you put on your seatbelt, please?”

I rotated my head; lengthening my neck to get the pudgy middle-aged man in full view.

I complied.

ticket, please?

I reached inside my favorite tonic-black jacket, slowly pulling out a paper and extended my arm towards him.

His eyes fixated on it for a few seconds. “Thank you” he said, handing it back.

As he motions to leave. “Excuse me” I said shyly ” How long is this bus ride?”

“Where u headed?” he asks.

“Amphetamine city”

memiors09

He glances down his wrist. “about 3 more hours from now” walking away

I sighed heavily, Propping my back against the rails of my seat

I peered out the window again; now it was a corn field. Acres, acres, and acres of corn.

Time seemed to churn slowly, slower than a store clerk stacking cans of Campbell chicken noodle soup at Walmart.Seemingly delighted at how despondent and nonchalant we seemed to be.

Earphones In.A tablet in her hands. The girl adjacent to me was fidgeting aloud on her device; completely transfixed solely on becoming the next candy crush champion.

yea, I know what it means to be possessive of a thing. A relic, and not being able to give it up.After all, that was I was sitting here; on this humid godforsaken Friday evening yearning to alight soonest at the last stop.

There was something about that place—— or someone that hypnotized me.

“This diary is my kief, hashish and opium pipe. This is my drug and my vice.” ― Anaïs Nin

The repeated honking by the driver jolted me back to reality.’

Earphones in, eyes shut. The herculean brawn behind leaned back.cushioning his neck on the headrest. sweat beading on his forehead.His blonde mane seemed to highlight his freckled chin and highly tanned skin

“Damn”, I imagined, a wave of stale wind drove into my face; ” a bottle of India pale ale would have been quite handy at this point of the voyage”.Rooky mistake.

From my peripheral vision, I noted the gorgeous lean lady with the “Audrey Hepburn” neck. Hair braided back with a few perfectly scattered on her neck.She was undoubtedly entertained by the elderly woman beside her with velvety blue eyes. The latter was seemingly excited; her pupils dilated; perhaps that’s was why she was chatty; Perhaps a listening ear was all she needed to offload her heart’s burden.

Our need to drown time in unique ways captivated me to weave this tapestry.It was their need to spend time that compelled the way I spent mine. It’s been about 50 minutes journey left and I’m still sitting here.legs crossed.scribbling this.  Acres of land, Green pastures, velvety blue eyes disperses slowly with clouds tumbling in.

I look onwards to the horizon, anticipating the sunset dawning on us and right then, I caught a glimpse of yellow roses sprouting from dust beneath my feet.

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