True self

Your longings

attached to a thespian smile

captivates a wandering soul

tho’ it’ll take you a while longer

to remember how to breath again.

these nimble feeling in your bowels

is rumbling, swelling up, bursting out

your spirit is an unrestrained beast

recycling the dreams you’ll dream again

like a sillouette in the dead of the night

you slip into a formless, void space

thoughts dance up your crooked spine

nothing that doesn’t want to can be obviated

Sometimes peace screams through silence

sometimes silence is the peace

truth lays beyond the borders

of this consciousness and an astral plane

Then comes a glimpse of epiphany

We are but spirits in human drag

Nothing we see is real as it seems.

We fight everyday

to find diamond reflecting in darkness

Within self

Outside self

But in reality

There exist  truth within  truth

Strangers on A bridge

After the rain, the town bell chimed on that cold morning

Susie stumbled across the street in a drunken daze.

Last night was just one in several that she had collapsed at the tavern.

An ambiguous fog loomed in the street

Her heels clicked on grubby cobblestone

There were  no body in them

No  birds in the sky

no wind in the air

she could barely see ahead.

But then she saw him. A figure sitting on the bridge

when she got closer she saw the fear and loss in his face

He leaned back against the air, and released one hand from the rails

“Don’t!” she yelled

He acknowledged  her presence by reaching for the rails,  like his life depended on it, and it did. “If I do it, every thing will go back to normal”

“No!” Susie who had fully snapped out of her high now and was hyper alert said, “Nothing is worth this”

The man began to cackle which led Susie to conclude that he maybe relapsing from paranoid schizophrenia

She got closer, she noted that he was middle-aged. He was handsome in an eccentric way. “What’s so funny?” she demanded

“Birds don’t know what to do when you have no need for them”, he said, “you won’t understand why I have to do this….”

“What is it? Susie interrupted ,”dead beat dad? or was your mum a pill hoarder? did she hang herself in the middle of your one room flat and left you with starving mouths to feed? No wait! that’s me! so I’d be damned if you tell me I don’t understand.”

Susie was seething with ire, how dare this ruggedly quaint idiot act like his life was hard, enough to fall to his doom when she hadn’t slept on her bed in seven years. Her warm soft bed felt grubby and lonely. If any body should be sitting on the bridge counting down to meet the grim ripper, it should be her.

She rushed towards the bridge and hoisted herself to seat beside him

“Whoo oo there!, the stranger stuttered, “what do you think you’re doing?”

“Talking with you reminded me of how much  simpler life would be if I just disappeared.

“Hey,  I was teasing. Ha ha. I wasn’t really going to do it”, he said jumping down “see, give me your hand. please”

“No! you said it yourself, if I feel this worthless, I probably am”

“look at yourself”, the stranger started, “you  courageous woman, I can’t pull the value from within you, but I can promise you  that it is there, you feel culpable and clearly we’ve got a ton of similar problems that Dr. Jekyll couldn’t fix, So let’s head to the tavern and share a cheroot”.

Susie was both impressed and  hesitant by his aphoristic banter

If you feel no different afterwards, I will personally hoist you up there” , he  vowed

“I guess you’re right”, Susie conceded grabbing his wrist.

He placed his jacket over her shoulders, “the name’s Vickram”

“Susie”, she said staring into his cinereous eyes, risking a smile, “there’s something about you”, she admitted.

“That, dear Susie is called hope”, he said as they disappeared into the fog, towards the direction of  Dean’s tavern

Therefore I am

With each fleeting moment, I am confronted by what is, and what isn’t. This is seemingly a colloquial thought, one might argue that the things we see and feel  are meant to be and that’s it. If we allow ourselves to reach beyond our psyche and tap into unprecedented knowledge,  it may become more feasible that ‘what is’ stems from what exists as much as what is felt, and the interfacing harmony of it. It is the interpretation of time, space, and soul  as the core of our existence.  It is something that is intangible and unquestionably fleeting. It is what René Descartes summed up in five words.

There was a time that I thought being imaginative was a delirious habit. I’d stare at a blanc wall and a tumultuous mind would recreate that wall in the most alluring, pristine way and even add dimensions to it. Whether I realised it then, or not, this was a form of  existing consciousness. Then along came the Ego, the imposter I assumed to be the real me, he’d coax me into believing how awful that imagination was.

Of course he’s right, it’s only a boring wall.

Except that it’s not. It’s whatever I want it to be because I could seat in the core of the soul, where distilled emptiness and silence  harmonises the wall to my creative desire. In a way, it is a knowledge that redefines artistry and philosophy, including writing. Therefore, I employ us to tap into that seat of consciousness, never-mind what the Ego thinks. It isn’t real, but you are.  Your mind can either establish or annihilate you, and I believe that in our own little world, we can be heroes.

A Love above All

Real talk guys.  This week I have been forced to accept the truth about how I love, and I realized that I know even little about love than I thought I did.

Through the word of God, we get an Insight on the love of God, we see how he walks with us and does not discriminate, but most especially we learn about how he forgives us even before we ask, in fact even before we turned away from him, and then we may want to compare it with the conditional, materialistic love that human share. Indeed, we have a long way to go in order to be Christ-like.

As stated in the beginning, I want to keep it real. If holding grudges were a course in school, I would get a A++.  Unfortunately for me, I happen to be really good at it, and this exactly the toxic energy I am trying to rid from my life.  The word of God says; Guard your heart and I hear him whisper to me especially saying; Idara, for your sake, guide your heart. This is no coincidence because anger is a desire of the flesh, and what I do is that I give people three chances of redemption, after the chances are used up, they become dead to me. No matter how deep our friendship is,  I could slowly erase anybody like we didn’t know each other for over fifteen years. I am so good at it and it hurts me so much because that is not the person I want to be anymore.

I want to take an example from my Lord Jesus Christ, this was someone who was persecuted solely because he created the world, and loved his creation. I see God’s amazing love in my life every time because it is in his nature, and if Christ could love me just for being me, then I could love everybody for being themself. Right now, I am in the headspace where I know that  I need to consciously place God’s love over self-love, and flee far far away from unforgiveness, and anger.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to pride, the seed that sprouts stubbornness in my heart. For the most part, I am an extremely sensitive person, so I use pride, or rather pride uses me to make up for it but the truth is, I just want to lay it down at the cross of my saviour, and walk away with nothing attached to me. I need God’s love like I need to breath and I need to love like God, for if not for his love, my life would have been over before it even began.

 

A love above all

Never-ending beauty of renaissance

To err is human,  for forgiveness is divine.

 

Speaking of redemption, the Super eagles came through today at the world cup. Ahmed Musa is the only  Nigerian player with the most goals in world cup history. Let’s keep it up.

 

The Preacher’s Daughter

Matilda sat on the first row. Clasped hands to her midriff, the holy book at her heel, listening to congregate voices, bellowing a tone she’d known since was born with all their energy, they sounded like an approaching thunderstorm.  The man she called father sat on a pulpit, glaring earnestly at the crowd who sat with their heads bowed. Not a minute later, he erupts from his place, yelling at the rolling thunderstorm to cease, the heads dare not raise. He starts;

“You  depraved unruly wantons, surely not only four people have ten shillings for the offering basket, for it is not I, but he, who commands us to give in order to see his glory.”

In unison, the congregation lurched towards the basket, including the leper who could barely move unaided, for they yearned to be worthy.

Satisfied with his deed, the preacher wore a pleasing simper. The choir continues. Matilda was deep in thought, for the family did not give, they were only benefactors of the offering, as preaching was her father’s sole profession. The church dispersed, wearing a dolorous aura after the sermon, for father had told them that they were sacrilegious and the Lord died for the righteous, like him. He told them that they were fortunate, for he served as a light, leading sinners to righteousness.

Ma would do a big cook-out after church, every Sunday, usually Matilda would be delighted, but she was older now, she felt contrition, perhaps due to insomnia and night terrors she had each night, or perhaps she was befuddled by the travesty of her family’s faith.

In the following week, Matilda stirred a ruckus at home by refusing to go to church.  In her family, there was no bigger offense. Ma pleaded and cried. The preacher reiterated;

“Listen to your mother, foolish girl. This burst of rebellion is a ploy from Satan to destroy your righteous soul, if I do not see you in that front seat, then you might as well not be home when we return”. Satisfied that he has scared her straight, he yanked on his wife’s arm and they left, for where could she run to, she had no friends.

Matilda sought this golden moment, she slung a bag over her shoulder and set off to discover life without looking back.

Over the next months, Matilda lived in a shelter, she met with all categories of people, a disgraced former militant named Joel, and Katya, a trollop and mother of three were her best friends. They had such ample life experiences that it moved her to keep a journal. One day, she would publish their stories.

In the following year, Matilda moved in with her boyfriend, Harry. His affections for her were questionable, but she figured that inviting her to live in proved them. She relied on him and soon exhibited a proclivity for debauchery, like Harry. Over the next three years, a more brusque, sullen part of him began to unfurl. He’d criticize her for everything, including what she dared to think.  Consequently, the night terrors reappeared.  She had an epiphany of why she left her family, Harry was no different from the preacher.  By morning, she was gone.

Two years after rehab, she started working in a small scale company that rented qualified potential employees to big scale companies who need employees on a short-term contract. In rehab, she had learned to focus through meditation. She got to interact with people, channeling back her hobby, journaling.

Matilda made decent money with her job, she quite enjoyed it too. It was at work that she met Paul, who became her life partner. She was content, but one night, the night terrors resurfaced. Paul woke up to see her in frantic tears, he prompted her to talk about the most dreaded topic; her past, her parents. Paul intuitively discerned the source of her panic, that weekend, he took her to his fellowship. She worshipped with believers and for the first time, a glimmer of peace like no other intruded her heart.

Over the following weeks, she studied the holy book and to her amazement, she found a deeper understanding, in contrast to what her father taught. She realized she needed to forgive her Pa, so she prayed about it daily until she became whole.

She became an Associate Manager at her company. One tumultuous day, Judit, a colleague requested for her. Judit informed her of a man seeking a menial job to make ends meet. Matilda went out to see a gaunt version of her father. His eyes leered on her,  a deep cry fell out his mouth as he fell to his knees, disdain overtook him, but she looked at him with compassion and declared;

“I forgive you, but I am not God.”

 

 

This story delineates the hypocrisy of religion, as in Africa and most nations. Most times, budding believers lose their faith because of the scrutiny. The morality of our actions doesn’t inhibit Christianity from being an individual race; Moreover, we are not our parents.

 

 

 

 

 

No Man’s Land

We come from the same land

dear brother,

I trusted you

unheedingly,

We walked through the desert

me, yearning for a new beginning.

 

 

Your skin like mine is dark

your flag like mine is green

I’m not a slave.

But like the Portuguese pirates of the old world

you’ve branded me, a cow

and while you feel safe in your lofty bed

I cry without end, locked in a cell.

 

If dehumanizing me earns you a fortune

then our bureaucracy has failed us

the Nigerian police can’t see us as equals

Buhari is blind

and my brother

even as you stand before me

I know you can’t see as a human

In no man’s land,

only money talks.

 

See my hair,

they twist and curl in the wind like yours.

Oh, how naive I was

to have resurrected hope on sighting you

but when I learned

how  hedonistic you’ve become

With my last strength

I yelped,

My countryman, help me! brother, please.

You told me,

there is no brother in the jungle

before you disposed of my virtue

to a fate worse than repatriating to Nigeria,

Death in the Mediterranean.

 

 

 

 

A piece in light of the ongoing slave trade in Libya.

 

 

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”

 

(In case you) Find your ghost

“A Toast,” she said, raising her glass, “to my adorable cousin, may no man ever traumatize her sexually, and physically like my uncle; her father did me”.

The venue went cold with unwavering tension. Out of nowhere, the head table overturned, shards of glasses glistening as they struck concrete. From the side of her eye, she saw her dad lurch towards the father of the day, gripped him by the throat before he could utter a word, his eyes red with fury.

And just like that,  the party was over.

 

********

 

Some secrets are too perverse to remain hidden. Secrets that burrow a hole in the middle of one’s chest. This is the story of a young maiden plagued by the ghost of the repressed emotions that she has never been able to confront.

This is the origin story of Alexander.

Born to working-class parents, the family had nearly nothing, except for a Volkswagen Beetle. Dad was never home; always at work, gunning for that big break that would catapult him to the next phase of his career; and mum, she too was hard at work, holding down the fort. Doing what good mums do.

About 18 yrs ago, on one of those evenings, an uncle visits for a meeting with dad but he didn’t come home that day which wasn’t unusual. At the time in Nigeria, you couldn’t just pick up the phone and call someone, NITEL was somewhat popular but people were adapting rather slowly. He stayed over solely because his village was somewhat far away and the sun was setting.

Her family were subtenants renting a one- bedroom apartment with a shared bathroom and while her mum and brother stayed in the bedroom, she slept in the parlor feets away from her uncle. Sometime between thirty to eleven and midnight, he drew closer and closer to her, then he began fondling her prepubertal body and genitalia…

Like a good little girl who always behaved in front of her elders, never spoke unless spoken to; she remained mute but then again, she was always a quiet kid.

Thought more than she spoke.

Wrote more than she was willing to say,…but that broke her. It solidified her antisocial exterior; her social awkwardness. Until this day, she would never be able to make eye contact or flirt the way normal people do.

********

A lot’s changed, the family lives in a big home, that old beetle replaced by numerous automobile model from Honda to Range Rover. What hasn’t changed is, dad’s still as busy as ever, and those flesh wounds never healed.

If he had stayed where he belonged—in the past, perhaps the ghosts wouldn’t haunt her.

Last she saw him, he came to the house with his then fiancée, to introduce her to dad and get both financial support and his blessing for their wedding. That was her chance to confront him, reveal these ghosts to the woman who probably thought she knew him so well, in front of her dad; so he would throw him out of their lives forever….but she didn’t.

Couldn’t.

Turns out she wasn’t ready. She would never be, but she knew she owed it to her younger self, that poor girl deserved even one honest moment where she didn’t have to hold it all in and pretend it was all okay.

It wasn’t until that day, years later, at her cousin’s naming ceremony when she climbed on that stage and her gaze settled on him, that her ghosts were enraged, threatening to unleash all the emotions of the past that have subdued her physically. Sobs welled up in her throat, her head buzzed with unsettling thoughts. This wasn’t the right time, but then again, there’s never a right time to talk about sexual abuse. Either she’d do it or she wouldn’t. So she swallowed hard, parted her lips and let the words spurt out….

A deafening silence.

A moment of sincere epiphany.

Through all the ruckus,  she swears she saw a little girl, not more than six years of age at the far end of the blinding stage lights whisper, “Thank you”.

From that moment, she began to see herself more as a force to be reckoned with and less like a victim, began trusting herself. She’d given herself the single greatest gift,

Freedom.

Some secrets are too perverse to remain hidden,…..

In case you find your ghost.