Young

My mother’s thigh were my stepping stone to the world beyond when I was born.

Day in. Day out. I sat there listening, never understanding the sounds from her mouth.

I clung to her bosom, it was all that I had.

I remember my first movie, Elizabeth Taylor being swooped off her feet.

Maybe I could be a damsel in distress in a marble courtyard  someday, I mused.

It was such a  honor to be chosen as a damsel when I was young.

Some night, mom was my enemy, other nights, dad was my enemy.

Both nights I had someone I could confide in, an ally. My brother.

He stood up for me when  I was defenceless.

The hero I’ve never known until the day he became  mute.

The intimacy I had never appreciated until we became estranged.

Not by time, space, barrier, but by words.

I watched him detach, I watched him change.

Before my eyes I saw him become what I could never describe, what he may never be able to explain.

And that day came when I held his hand, I cried and bursted out in anger

He bowed his head for he didn’t want me to notice the creeping duress that was becoming too real.

His unflexible smirk revealed a cold war unfurling within him, he was no more than ten.

When I was born, I clung to my mother’s bosom, it was all I knew .

I knew my knight in shining armor all too well,  until he went missing, hidden inside a conch.

Now, I have even less than I did then, but I have chosen to be a knight to nobody, but him.

He is small and compact but  will always be my ally.

Then I met a man and when I told him this, he told me, “youth is wasted on the young”.

As we steadily approach the third decade of life, I have to admit that perhaps he was right.

 


Thanks for reading my daily thoughts . Have a lovely weekend and don’t forget to  share your comments and subscribe to get my free ebooks . Much love <3

Image Courtesy:  Silas Onoja on Twitter

 

A Lover’s Quest

Your haughty eyes

Your formidable charm

I suspect you’ll  have more to unravel 

           I want you nowhere near me

                               tonight

       But when this last drop of wine           

                 lingers on my tongue

     perhaps you’ll  be more befuddled 

                   about my innocence.

Suspicious

The disappearing act

When I first saw you, I thought you were beautiful. Tall, tanned, Indian. And  I looked like me, awkward, weird. But I knew it was you I wanted. The most brilliant mind in our year. I wanted to pick your brain, even if you wouldn’t look me in my eyes, even if your lips wouldn’t linger on mine, I was infatuated with your mind.

on a winter’s night. I  wore my converse, and nearly not enough makeup, to the solstice ball with all arrays of fair beauties with rosy cheeks and bodycon dresses.

“This is lame,” I thought; leaning on the wall, nursing my gin and tonic, watching folks reveling. Amid that dim neon florescent hall, I recognized you in a navy suit.

I recall how suave you looked. I remember an intense current course through me like never before. I stopped thinking. If I didn’t; I would inevitably convince myself how terrible the idea was. I downed my drink, hauling myself from the wall, then I met you at your heel.

I was jittery when I yelled;

“do you want to dance with me?, you lowered your ear close to me on my ground, so I repeated it. You said, “okay”.

I began to move my heels, then my hips. I closed my eyes so I would feel the music. I took an ephemeral moment to contain myself, the man of my dreams dancing with me, and when I opened my eyes, you were gone.

I wish I could say I didn’t expect it. I wish I had disappeared instead.

The House Dragon

 

Twas the night before Christmas

Throughout the city,

not a creature was stirring

All was still and quaint

well, except at Emily’s house.

Emily was my neighbor,

I know not how true her tale is,

but she swears it unfolded right before her.

 

Yesterday,

Emily was cycling on the open road,

Yesterday,

She was feeling optimistic, it was infrequent

Christmas was in two days.

Running errands for her mum

She paddled her bike

whilst humming the first noel

and watched the sun play hide and seek

earphones in, noise out.

Out of nowhere,

Emily hit the brakes a second too late

and the bike was destabilized

which left her tumbling on  the snowy path

She hobbled to the morass

despite her sprained ankle,

to find the cause of her downfall.

Her frown melted away

at the sight of a Dachshund

behind the grass.

She played with it

and hobbled right back home

leaving her bike behind.

 

Her mum gasped at the sight of her daughter.

“Dear God, did you have to duel for the paprika?”

“Nevermind my ruffled sweater mama, I found me a furry creeter.”

You should return it,” mama said

“But mama, Dr. Jeremy says I need a friend”

so her mum gave in.

 

Christmas Eve,

Emily made a wish

and cuddled her puppy

til’ sleep took her away.

when her lids came apart,

she was drowning in sweat

similar to the night terrors

Dr. Jeremy urges her to subdue

She clutched her bosom

and searched even the nooks

to find her dog

but instead, she found

the Christmas tree had fallen

the gifts, smoldered with fire.

littered on the floor were ornaments,

and mama’s chicken pot pie.

A horrid, vile dragon rested peacefully

 

Her marble eyes lit up,

“my Christmas wish has come true.”

 

 

 

Alien

What would it feel like
if I stand on the edge
If I happen to be in close proximity to it,
then what?

what if I could walk
maybe I am lighter than oxygen
or maybe I’d get a concussion
either way, I have to know.

but baby girl, you don’t float.
beyond sea level,
everything must tumble

Gravity.

Round and round
it’s all fun and games
once, forgotten
twice, twirling

Stop.

My hands look strange,
like tentacles
attached to an alien being.

I wonder,
what is the single greatest distraction
from self-love.

 

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.

(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.

 

Wild Card

You just chose the wild card.You are an expressionist.You are considered part of a modern generation; generation omega. You’d cast your cares away and listen solely to your wild heart.

Money is of more virtue to you than discipline.You crave freedom as you cannot survive being confined, Freedom is what unites you to your ego.

Young people love to wander far and wide, you seek to elope; don’t you? Travel to all corners of the earth and if the locals ask you,” why here?” you grin and retort; “why any place?” for in your heart you already know, better now than never.

Fill your heart with love wild one as it will distract you from your responsibilities, pretend that this one person is all that matters.Give your soul to the chance that you will be young forever so that when you crash; you will crash hard.Pretend that they are all you care for and rebuke anything that drives a wedge between you and them, but heed my caution, these trust issues will arise like fog at dusk threatening to cloud your judgments even further, pulling them so far from you that they refuse to acknowledge you, even to their own self.

Do not let your insecurities define you wild one, do not let your mind be dismayed by your physical attributes, for they are worth nothing but the age-old insidious monster, depression.

Do not disguise yourself with an exterior that is not yours either; for you will become a prime target to those more troubled and insincere than you, and with time, it will not only take its toll on you, but you will integrate into their culture…becoming one of their own.Burying yourself behind frail wobbly walls.

Let your secrets remain unspoken and your truths stay unchanged.Many will come and most will vanish but do not attach singular priority to any.Indulge in the life you desire, but check the opinions they throw at your feet. Watch them; for they may either make or break you.

In all you do, aspire to do it tremendously, even though you do not have an inkling how, for malnourished ambitions has destroyed many-a-vibrant personalities such as yours. I would know, for I chose the wild card too.

“Treasure the beauty of youthful life and the wisdom of adulthood.”
Lailah Gifty Akita