Monday, 31 January 2011

Jewel-Melody for Elizabeth

First published on the 25th of June 2010

I don't know why but I didn't start off liking you much. We weren't friends and I prefered Jokesman to you. But your love stayed strong, unyeilding,constant and I grew to know you, understand you and like you very much.

Many unfortunately don't have someone like you in their lives and it makes me wish I could share you so they could know just how wonderful it can feel.

You taught me that there's nothing too high for me to reach, too hard for me to fail (even maths!) and I thank you and even though I say it everytime to you when we talk, I just want to say again. I love you mum, thank you for everything.


The very bones of you
Yielded and moved to birth me.
The flesh of you tore and
Pumped blood, pus, water
On my clumsy eyes.
The tears of you, mingled with
My sweaty dark head and
You saw a miracle.


The bones of you
The flesh ripped from you
The very meat and blood of you
I love.

My Mothers Eyes are Volumes 2

First published on the 2nd of March 2008, this is a follow up part to The Melody to Elizabeth-My Mother

Mrs Idowu (as I call my mum, she was once my teacher so it stuck) wasn't always my friend, I was very much a daddy's girl and I remember so many clashes between my parents over my discipline, I would commit a crime, dad would let me off with a speech and a hug and mum would scream at my dad 'Wale! If she's spoilt rotten and grows up irresponsible, its all YOUR fault!'

I thought the woman didn't like me. She came down hard on anything I did wrong, was swift to punish and slow to praise. it never occured to me that after waiting almost 8 years to have me and me being a split image of her, she saw herself in me and wanted to (rightly or wrongly) right the wrongs in her own life, give me better access to opportunities.

It took my father's death to enable us build the bridge. At first, I thought we were friends out of necessity but I later realised that it was genuine and deep. We had shared so much together, good and bad and for the first time, we saw each other as women, not mother and child, but women, sisters, walking the same road of life, her with all the experience, I with the hunger to know. Leaning on each other, we could be symbaotic, weaning each other , yet dependent.

Most of my writings are based on my mother, she is the prototype of my heart. Sometimes, when I write things that bring some deep seated memories to the fore, tears seep from my eyes, for I wish I could experience my childhood again with the new eyes with which I see her.

My mother is beautiful, she is joy and pain wrapped up in patience. She is my teacher, sister and friend. She is the harbringer of my birth and rebirth, the one who invited the muses to take dwelling within my soul and school me. She is love, she is discipline, she is heart that hurts itself to make me a better person.

My mum was meant to be here with me today, but circumstances stated otherwise, yet she is not bitter. She is hopeful and filled with love soaked prayers. I don't feel bereft, I feel protected and that is good.

My Mothers Eyes are Volumes 1

Recently, I've found myself missing my mother more and more. I haven't seen her since 2008 and circumstances prevent us from doing the travelling but believe me if I could I would and I know its the same for her. We compensate by calling every week but there's nothing like being able to just cuddle into her stomach like I used to do when I was a child, or to eat her food and smile into her face. Its nothing like smelling her skin as she hugs me tight, especially if I've been crying or just hearing the tinkle in her voice as she laughs.
My mum rarely laughs now and it makes me so sad. I wish I could make her happy, my mother with the beautiful eyes and I know one day she'll peal with joy again, by God's grace she will laugh again.

First published in April 2007 the 14th...

Recently I've been watching Gina Yashere's presentations on video as the Nigerian mother Mrs Omokerede and it is fascinating that so many people said she reminded them of their mum. I'll be seeing my mum in a couple of weeks and while I'm excited, I also tremble, its amazing how fast we revert back to being a child once our parents show up, no matter how successful or grown up we've become.

I look forward to those special meals that is my mum's way of saying 'I love you ' and 'sorry' (plenty of arguments there) and those audible 'humph' to tell me she doesn't approve of my latest hairstyle/dress/guy. And yet I dread them , because I know I'll be a child again, and I don't want to be a child, I want to be grown up yet grown up life is so hard and being with my mammy (can you believe that!?) would so make it seem all better.

Yet sometimes when I talk to her, I realise that slowly but surely, my mum is becoming the child, she's slower, less energetic, a lot more forgetful, smaller in size somehow and she asks for my opinion more, sort of looks up to me and I'm frightened , because it means , I'm becoming an adult and will one day be someone's mammy and one day she'll depend on me just as I have depended on her and will I be worthy, can I take care of her as she has of me?

Have I learnt enough off her to teach any child of mine? Will I be as good a parent as she has? Can I face the things that she has for me?

I think of this and I want to capture the moments , the moments when I am a child, her child and enjoy them and when the time comes for her to be my 'child' (hopefully a long time away to come) she'll have a wonderful time too. So this is for my mum, a poem I wrote for her.

Have you seen my mother's eyes?

My mother's eyes are eyes of water
They pour and gush cleansing streams over me

Have you seen my mother's eyes?

My mother's eyes are eyes of sunlight
They banish afar the shadows that lurk within me

Have you seen my mother's eyes?

My mother's eyes are eyes of air
They blow a breeze of comfort to my wandering soul

Have you seen my mother's eyes?

My mother's eyes are eyes of rain
They cascade down and quench my thirsty spirit

Have you seen my mother's eyes?

My mother's eyes are eyes of fire
They ignite and flash with passion at my pain and issues

Have you seen my mother's eyes?

My mother's eyes, her eyes are eyes
of love, of pain, of wisdom, of a sage

You should see my mother's eyes!

Exits and Entrances

First published on the 14th of April 2007, this is a poem where I had to explore my emotions about home and leaving home. Home for me is my mother's heart. Wherever she is is home to me.

I recently went to an Oxfam poetry do, where I had to do some reading there and I was given the topic of, my thoughts on my arrival into this country. It’s funny that I had never thought of my emotions about leaving home. I have lived with my mother after all for 28 years! It should be an epic! But alas, (who is this Victorian, if I may ask?)

Anyways in this land, I have faced things I never thought I would, some things have happened to me that I had only read about in books. I have experienced friendship that defies race, colour and sex, I have also had betrayal, I have met open hearts, arms and minds and I've also enjoyed the horror of racism, but its all good. I am who I am, I shall not cry because I have no reason to be ashamed. So I share my thoughts on my coming here, maybe I'll write about my different lives also one day, but for now, read this and be safe.


It is 5.30 am
My bags are packed, in the living room
I am dressed
My household hesitantly wakens
Reluctant for this journey to begin
My mother comes into my room
For the last time?
Smiles a halting smile
As she sees, I am awake and dressed
She comes towards me and
I have a strong urge to hold her and say 'mummy'
I give in and her hands hang to her side
First, I was almost offended
Then I remember my mother doesn't do farewells well
We gather in the living room
My brother, sister and mother
Two friends also, who have come to say goodbye
We pray, I kneel
My mum lays her hand on my head
'Be safe', she says
'Remember who you are and let nobody make you ashamed'
'Be safe'

She suddenly rushes to her room and returns
Her red towel in her hand
'Here take this and never forget'
Orisha ewe mapa’ya mi lekun
We must not cry
We have no need to cry
This is no funeral or maybe it is
Maybe it is the funeral of my childhood
A severing of my ties to my mother's wrapper
A final goodbye to the child I was.

I have to go
My boxes are loaded away and my mother stands
Almost shivering
She turns to her sister and asks her for the time
But my mother is wearing a watch
The last announcements come for final boarding
I hug everyone except my mother
She is shivering but smiling
A fragile, glassy smile that looks like it will shatter
I crack a silly joke
Everyone laughs

I walk to her, put my hand luggage and guitar down and hold her
She stands, gives me a weak smile and whispers
But I do not hear what she says
So, I lean closer
'Be safe she says 'and never be ashamed of who you are'
I nod and smile, bend my head and touch her eyes
'You must not cry'
'You have no need to cry'
She smiles again and my aunt butts in
'If you don't move on,
They might leave without you'
I pick my stuff up and
Turn away

I have asked that no one walk with me
I walk slowly, not looking back but
Knowing they are still watching me
I get to the final door
The airhostess smiles
My face is wet
I wipe my eyes
I must not cry
I have no need to cry.

ps: I put in a picture of that incredible woman with speaking eyes; my mother and my performance of the piece at the Apples and Snakes gig 'Brothatalk' in London

Thursday, 27 January 2011

What Class of Citizen?

First published on the 14th of April 2007, it was an account of the humiliation I suffered at the French embassy in London when I was invited to participate at a Writer's Festival. The invitation was important in itself because a local Nigerian poet who apparently had made contributions to the community had unfortunately passed away and I was to do a form of eulogy.
To put it in sort form, my treatment at the embassy was shocking, the staff were rude and condesending. Despite all my papers and ticket being in good order, it was one random excuse after the other. Later the woman just came out with 'sorry we're not convinced about your class of  Nigerian citizenship'! Please what is that?!

Remember some time ago, I was so excited about going to France for a writing do and what not, well I can tell you, I've never had disappointment like that before. I went to the French embassy and for two long days, I was shunted from one red tape to the other, after numerous phone calls, explanations, etc, I got the message loud and clear, 'we don't want you in our country! Mainly because you're black and we do not believe that you are a writer. Besides what do you write that is so good, you've been invited to France for it?'

I tell you, I have never been so humiliated in my life, the people who invited me were so embarrassed but what could we do?

Taking from that, I think we all learnt something, for myself, that I must always remember, while away from home, I become a chameleon, my identity has changed, I'm no longer a female writer, I am a black female writer and in a lot of places that would always come first, for my inviters (I know, I couldn't just find the right word) there must be no naiveté about discrimination and no assumption that everything is straight forward because it isn't. I kept being asked 'why do you need a visa?' I wanted to scream!

But we are only beaten not down, many good things are happening and will continue to happen, we must just always, ALWAYS keep the faith and our heads up and high.

Names, sticks and Soles

First published 17 April 2007, this was an account of my personal experience with the whole race issue. I had never had to identify myself by the colour of my skin pre 2004, so it was ery much a shock and disturbance to me

There's been a lot about race, equality and identity this month with the whole abolition story. Not making light, this is a very important part of our history, my history and its effects are still with us today, in the form of the BNP, race fights, the need for discrimination laws etc, I just read today about a prominent politician in France (go figure) say that all races aren't equal (he 's a real throw back to the Orwellian story) but he was trying to shed off his racist form because elections were coming up (and yeah,like every black, Asian person would rush to vote him in!)

Its amazing that racism is very much with young people, the number of racist attacks from the young are alarmingly increasing, yeah, you'll still hear some of the old (like Jim, in Eastenders) mutter things like; ‘they're over here, over pampered and breeding like pigs!’ (And I always thought those were just the Americans!) While it seems for now, there'll never be a right way for immigration; it is hard to be away from home, as an old African saying says
' No matter how comfortable a stranger's house is, once in a while, the heart will hunger with the memories of the lowly fireside of home'

So its so painful when young English people attack in the streets, pelting with eggs and yell 'go home n****r' but what is equally amusing and dismaying about it is when young Asian lads also do the same, I'm tempted to ask 'what are you on?’ You're Asian and just as I've got a derogatory term given for the colour of my skin, so have you, for the country of your origin! This is not a we versus them rant, this is asking why? Why after all these years, we're still fighting these battles based on our looks, beliefs and ideas, and why after 200 years of ending one menace, we're still fighting to end another. I look at this world sometimes and wonder why? What’s the point? The sky is big enough for all birds to fly, so why?

I heard again after a long time, Labi Siffre's song 'Something Inside So Strong' and I realise that God (whether you believe in Him or not) has put something on the inside of us that makes us pick up and go when we're knocked back or down, many don't even use it to its full capacity, while some are a practiced hand, difference between quitters and winners I guess and that thing is called resilience.

For today and many tough days to come, I pray you find your own wherever it is hidden and as a philosopher (Tai Solarin) once said 'may your road be rough' for only then can we appreciate the strength in our soles.

Please enjoy this poem, I wrote it for Identity


Sweat blood pain tears
Sweat blood pain fears
Sweat blood pain
Your shackles may tie me down
My spirit however flies

Sticks stones break bones
Sticks stones break groans
Sticks stones break
Call me whatever you will
My name however remains proud

Hate rage beat chain
Hate rage beat slave
Hate rage beat
Your power might seem overcast
My strength however goes on

Year after year, you have pulled out my tongue
To silence me
Yet I have grown another and sung
There is something in the black earth
As long as my feet remain on the ground
I will not be broken
You cannot stop me
You cannot stop me

Forgotten-The spirit of Christmas present

First posted on the 16th of December 2010

As we get into the swing and spirit of things about the season, it is very easy to see that the focus is less on the reason for the season and more on presents and food. Many have their wish lists as long as can be, many parents and people will be visiting the shops for every half price annd BOGOF deal they can get, many cards will be bought and given, many paper hats worn, silly jokes read and duly laughed at, many things that have absolutely nothing to do with the reason for the season.

Whether we like it or not, the reason we celebrate Christmas is because of the CHRIST in the mass, it is the mass about a gift from God to man, a sacrifice of love, an invitation across realms. The world has changed it to Xmas, put a fat man in red suit as its representation and made it all about what we can get and eat, but that is not why we should celebrate.

We should celebrate because in a world where many are dropping dead like flies, we are still alive, we should celebrate that we have certain freedoms that many don't have and in our celebration we should remember and pray for those who don't enjoy our pleasures no matter how simple.

This is the time to be a community, to reach out not only to your families but also your neighbours and just the person you meet as you walk down the street. A few weeks ago, it was reported that two elderly people died in their backyard in the snow and they had neighbours, but no one heard their cries for help, no one noticed until it was too late.

This is the season to emphasise kindness, love and friendship, many are lonely, without families, hope or joy. This is the time to have less things and more friends, it is the time to give love, for in giving, you receive. this is the time to show truly what God designed and meant when He sent Jesus to the world, That He sent Him as healing to a broken desolate world, as a symbol of love and hope to the empty hearted and lost.

My Christ is the reason why I celebrate this season, He is the gift I've received and the great thing is, He is a gift I can share and gladly I do. So as I wish you all my friends the usual greetings of this time, hear it differently from my lips to your hearts. Merry CHRISTmas and may we all have a New Year filled with joyous surprises.


Wrapping paper falls off
the Nintendo Wii;
the shaving mechanism, mysterious in its case;
the newest Take That CD;
the blender, shiny, never to be used;
the knitted jumper, garish in red and white;
the bath kit for someone with only a shower;
the perfume, chocolates, bottles of cheap wine.
Gifts mostly politely accepted, tucked away or
received in joy, set to use immediately.
Wrapping paper falls off and no one
notices the baby in the manger hidden
beneath them all.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Gimme some lust

First published in 2007

There has been this big debate about love and lust and it has been very interesting. I tell you, the number of romantics still roaming the streets! They should be shot! Do you know how many people still believe in the 'love at first sight, music when he/she appears, everything looks brighter when he/she is around' nonsense!

I say ' down to all dem people with dem mind in rainbows and flowers and give me people who know that what you see is what you get, there ain’t no sunshine, no flowers no nothing when she/he gone because there ain’t in the first place!

So I'm representing, for lust, pure sweet lust (please just make sure my pastor never hears) and I give you this poem in defence. Enjoy!

True Love

I could tell you things
Tell you I love you
When all I want is to know
If your skin really is as soft
As it looks
If the promises your smile gives
Are as true as it beckons

I could compare you to a bright sunny day
Say you come out brighter
Tell you; I'd die without you
I'd give my life to you
When all I'm wondering is if your lip gloss
Tastes as good as it looks
And would you quiver, if
I touched you there?

I could tell you some things sweet, untrue
Draw you into my arms, not touching you
When all I ache for is to drag you, down
As I grasp your hair, ravish you with my lips
My hands, my teeth, me

I could tell you many things
Convince you, I love you
Why not
Let me show you instead?

Something Interesting

First published on the 16th of April 2007

This whole love , lust debate is fantastic! I have so many people coming out of the woodworks (see it?) saying 'gal, the lust we shared is what's keeping the love going' well not everyone used the lust in the past tense but you get what was meant.

So I'll keep my next two entries focused on good ole LUST! enjoy!!


I, succulent surface of a pomegranate
want that primal greed
you, the eager teeth sinking within
now bite quick, fast, hard
take delight, indulge, enjoy
me, as I give, juices in your mouth.

and here is another


I don't know what goes
When you think
On in your mind
Of me
But I know what goes
When I think
On in my mind
Of you
Hands on your body
Lips on yours
Love me like I want
Hold me, Yes !
This is all about me and yours.

Love Attack!

First published on the 14th of April 2007

I have been attacked! Friends who have visited this site, have attacked me asking how I could shamelessly pander to such hedonistic, libertine ideas! But I asked a question to my defence and no one so far has been able to answer me staright in the eye, so I plead here.

I plead poetic liberty to say what would normally not be said,
so that the tongue might be free.
I plead poetic truth, the lie can only travel so far 
till the truth catches up with it.
I plead poetic diahoerra, that which I see,
I must speak,
I cannot hide away from this foible of mine,
it is ingrained, niggling till I give in, shuddering at its feet.
I plead poetic egoism,
I believe I can see beyond the man, read his mind,
form his thoughts before he finished thinking them,
his eyes vast windows to his dirty soul, and
I look within and dredge,
Stirring up the muck and yet cleansing.
So I plead,
I plead, I am a writer, it is what I know,
what I do best , what makes me really be

Love Rock

Posted first in 14th April 2007

This is to y'all who think I hate Love (truth is : I do) but I know some believe in it like they believe in God and I respect that, so I give you something I wrote when I also was a believer


Steadfast steps through the crowd
To your waiting side
I do

Beaming into your eyes
You're all that I see,
that I know

Standing by your side
Binding myself to you
I will

Looking into your eyes
See a future ahead
I am

Taking your hand
My circlet of trust embraces you
I give

Walking back with you,
A new life to begin
I live.

Now that I've made y'all happy, I go back to my lust tribute! haha just messin' with y'all. I'll just give somethings straight as they come, make of it as you will

Can the weather change your skin?
So they told me
But I'm still black as sin
Can the distance change your heart
So they said
But you're still fond to me
Can people change in the distance like the weather?
Over again I have heard
But they are just you and me.

And here is one I wrote so long ago, one time when...

You wouldn't be my
'All of the above'
In a multiple choice
Question sheet
But you would be my
'Due to popular demand'
A beloved repeated request
And I would
'Grab my copy now'!

and this tells it all eh?


I just wanto be on this plateau
Darkened aureole of heavy savannahs
Running through the clefts and mounts of this plain
This dark plateau

I just wanto die on this plateau
Ebonic scents of luxuriant abundance
Slipping with liquid fluidity to the centered peak
This dark plateau
I just wanto live on this plateau

Powered force akin to engulfing flashes of flames
Carried with powered volcanic eruptions of lava
Carried up, flung and slung down.
I just wanto need
This dark plateau

Blessings of every kind

Posted first on the 14th of April 2007

I have been very fortunate to be invited to some really good gigs for a poet and a female black Nigerian poet at that and some people may knock it but I thank God for every blessing that has come my way. In my writing circuit, hearing people abuse God is rife and I never stop being shocked by the whole thing, I mean how do puny humans get off insulting a deity?

They have no control whether they live or die and yet it comes so easy to them to 'rebel' against a higher power. well enough about them, just wanted to put in new stuff and next entries will be some story extracts. Enjoy!


This is for the vulture
Flying low scavenging for food
Brother, don't blame him
Another's death is his feast
For without he would die.

This is for the eagle
Flying strong hunting prey
It is not his fault
Another's carelessness is his triumph
There is no mercy for the foolish

This is for the hawk
Flying in search for that gaol
Be not annoyed, my brother
Your straying chickens fill his beak
Insufficient red dye is no good excuse

This is for all birds strong and wild
Yours is the wicked beak, the sharp talon
Strong birds, strong lives
Reflecting the ways of men
May I never be found weak.


I wish you could read my mind
Find disturbances, grievances, fears
My smile is larger than my joy
My joy is small, if any at all
My mind is a book, lost, dusty, rude

I wish you could live my dream
Discover horror, pain, grief
My laughter is louder than my pleasure
My pleasure is small, if any at all
My dream is a nightmare, lonely, scary, unknown

I wish you for a little while
My mind, my dream
Understand this, you are not my enemy
I just need you to know and
Be aware of me.

Christmas Politeness

This was written on the 16th of December 2006 and its a bit out of date as we're now in January but do enjoy and please feel free to leave your comments. God bless (yeah I said it!)

The holidays are here and its the time to eat and be merry , see family (if you have any still talking to you) and gain weight you'll spend the entire next year trying to shift. But is it really? What happened to the Christ in the Mass? Yeah I've heard of all the baloo about it being a pagan holiday and the church hijacking it but wait a minute! it still doesn't mean that something phenomenal has happened! Christ was born and accept or not, His birth and death and resurrection has spun a whole multitude of people and events having something other than the madness of this world to cling to.

And yearly, ways are found to squeeze Him out of our lives, its like we are afraid to find out He is really alive, as my dad used to say 'The world denies that which it fears the most, hoping in denial will be safety' Sorry people, e no go happen! I belong to a writers' group and there are several people who just take delight in running down God, Jesus, the church and religion as a whole, I personally don't mind the last one but its the first three that really bother me and I ponder

what is man, that he thinks
it is gaeity to insult Diety?
with no knowledge of what comes
when that final curtain falls
wisdom would say you don't make friends that way
yet man raises his puny fists
shakes them at his own risk
how can you fight the Unseen?
aren't you scared you silly being?
if you can't plan your day to its very end
why tempt damnation that way?
no one's promised old age or a decent death or a bed
no one knows the time,
how , where and when so even
if you don't believe
couldn't you just resist besides,
your unbelief doesn't mean
God's not real.

Merry Christmas to all believers and Happy Holidays to those who don't, please enjoy it, you don't know, what tomorrow brings and we have the new year to look forward to. God bless us everyone!

Remembering the Day of Rain 2

Still in deep thought about Dike. I think the beautyful ones are not yet born as Kwei Armah said but the exceptional one die too soon.

On the 13th of January 2007, the poetry world lost someone who had always been a forceful gale in the poetry performance climate. With a style that hit you full in the face leaving you no choice but to suck in deep and breathe, his performances always left people breathless. One with a cheeky smile, he drew you in into his words, his facial expressions, his tone and then he swept you off your feet like a hurricane and spat you out again but you never felt broken or damaged, his torrents cleansed.

He was always quiet but you knew he was there, the second time I met him, I turned to Anwen Lewis (another poet) and said 'he is a beautiful man' graciously, he smiled but didn't say a word, mortified that he might have misunderstood me, Anwen reassured me with 'he likes it when people say he's beautiful' I never had much time to know him, despite Bolton being 25 minutes away by car, for the train bound like myself, it could sometimes take forever to get to Manchester, so I skipped out on a lot of events, but the few times I made it and met him and watched him perform, it was always a delight, my favourite of his was 'Tired'.

Now I wonder if in so many ways that we now see he was trying to tell us something. It takes a very strong willed man to take the decision that he took and that holds my respect. The last time I saw him was at the Tongue and Hammer slam in Bolton, he walked past and I said hello and a poet standing next to me (I forget who now) said 'Dike looks a bit thin don't you think'? And I replied ' But he's never been a fat person, has he'? Little did we know that, that which sucked his life force was kept hidden from our eyes by his determination to go on, his poetic zeal and his struggle to go under his own terms.

Dike died alone. That is I think what hurts me on the inside because I don't think anyone should died on their own. My mind has raked over the different possibilities that could either have saved him or made his passage easier, especially in the Nigerian context where people are always around you, it is alien to die on your own, but he did and I mourn that. However, I also celebrate him, for he was a good poet and man. Everyone have their faults, Dike did have his but he was a good man. He saw my performance for the first time, gave me his card, and told me I would go far, he and Segun Lee French introduced me to the Makeda group and I had a brilliant time.

At the Identity workshop, he had nothing but encouragement for me and even when he disagreed with some points I had made, he wasn't arrogant about it. Several times, I had to call him to say 'Sorry I can't make it' and he would say 'Next time then' Only there would be no next time now for him, for me to see him. With Dike, it is over, the end.

This year, he sent an email round to the Identity group saying something like 'Glad we all made it into the new year'. That was his feeling and something I will hold on to. Dike was glad for everyday, despite his pain, he was glad. So I am glad for every time, I met him, spoke to him, and saw him. I believe his memory will live on, through the things he had done, the people he had mentored, his very essence.

And we would remember this remarkable man who graced our lives and we would tell upcoming poets, performance artistes and writers about this man who's act was electric and we would make them wish they had known him. We will tell them about this man and he was called Dike Omeje.

Remembering the Day of Rain

I wrote this piece on the 26th of January 2007 after I heard the news. I was so shocked and I felt slapped. It was the first time, something that awful had happened to me since I came into the UK (more was to come) and I couldn't just wrap my head around it.

Dike, I remember you today lifting my head to the heavens and blowing you a kiss. Adieu you beautiful beautiful inside and out man.

Today, we bury Dike Omeje, returning his body back to earth. Today, we let go of the last physical reminder and take what we know only in doses of recorded words, books and pictures and of course our memories. Today, we resign ourselves , it is the TRUTH, we give him back to earth and we turn away and go back to the business of living, surviving, being.

I cried this morning, not for Dike, not for myself but for his mother. No woman should have to bury a child and I cried for her pain, her loss, her grief, I cried for the sharp sting of bereavement she will carry for the rest of her days, and I prayed for her, that she would survive each day having less pain than the day before. It won't go away, I know but may it be bearable.

Today is the day we give back someone who was sent for a while to add that sparkle and pizzazz to our lives, we give back the one God sent to let us know what it is like to know a man sprinkled with angel dust. Today.

I wrote this for Dike and read some of it out at his wake and I want to say thank you to the many people who, even though, they had never met him, shared in the grief that we all have. I want to say thank you to friends who called and wrote to say 'we are with you in grief over this loss of life'. This milk of human kindness that so binds us is deep and thick. Thank you.

He. Poet- Dike Omeje

You told us.
You told us
In ringing tones
Steady beats as your voice trailed
Over our skin, our ears, minds
Your words, philosophical, lyrical, true
In the midst of laughter and rain
So many starless nights
You told us
But you never uttered a word.

You knew.
You knew as
We walked the town of a million mirrors
Clinked glass, clicked shots
Smiled and said 'cheese' for the camera
You let us take memories in any form
That we pleased
Silent in your pleasure,
We would go back to remember
You knew
But you let us go on in our ignorance.

Now we know
Questions crowd my mind

Did you groan with pain at night?
Far from our questing intrusive eyes
Far from our glances that rapidly turn
From curious to shocked to pity
Did you hate the thought that we
Could love or hate you differently
If we had that emotion to link to you
Is that why you were silent?

Were you shrouded with your own agony?
Shuddering in stolen silences you got
Cursing the demon that ate within you
Yet using the same to bring out a power
We marvelled at every time
Did you hope for a salvation?
Or were you just determined to be remembered
For how you lived and died
With the stubbornness of the strong.

Questions, dear sage
Inquire how you faced the hooded one

Did you fight when his cold hands
Clamped around your heart
Or did you bare your chest,
Invited him to plunge his knife
Facing him like a lion
Did you still have anything else to say?
Or had you made your peace
Knowing 'come what may'

Did memories cloud your glazing eyes?
And voices speak to be heard
Or was all calm, silent, letting you walk
The mirrored river in dignity
To that cold embrace.

Did you struggle to breathe just one more time?
Or did you sigh with relief
This war, no more to fight
Whatever way you went, brave one
It won't diminish that you lived
A strong man and died
A courageous one.

Bard with the 'come hither' eyes
You have closed them, one final time
Your voice ebbs and fades
Our ears tuned to hear the echo as it falls
You have walked the road of the elders
Kissed the feet of the shrouded one
Held his hand and danced in time
Not this lifetime again to meet
But while you were here, you made clear
You wrote, you spoke, you. Poet.

Adieu Dike Omeje- silent at the steps

Ani-Valentine Angst

Written a long time ago (well in 2007) and the sentiment is still very much the same.

Twice I have tried to post a write up on Valentine on the system’s wiped them so no more, just enjoy!

Love is mush
Love is waiting by the telephone
For that elusive phone call
Praying that February is your month
And valentine your day
It is epileptic emotions run entirely by
Circumstances dictated by another
It is the eternal search for 'the one'
You are another's use.

Love is slavery
It is losing the power of self-control
Turning into a 'Yes dear, no dear, I only live to please dear' android
It is dreaming of being an equal
Yet becoming under, submerged by that desperate need
To be owned, to belong to another

Love is dominion
Enslaved with recycled cardboard chains
Shackled with roses
Kept sublime with wine and a little sex
Enough to keep pliant.

Love is boring
It is comfortable fat, sitting in front of the TV
watching another episode of 'East enders',
hoping your numbers come up in the Lottery,
Having curry for dinner again
Trudging upstairs and falling into
Cuddle and sleep.

Love is bad
It is tears, called by many names
Heartbreak patched up with chocolate and untrue apologies
A wining, dining cyclone wiping out all that is real
Giving fairy tale settings that leave out the 'happy ever after'
A secret open yearn for a ring
To seal the destiny as lost.
Love is...bah!

Responses welcome-play nice!

The Art of Forgiveness

Well, for those who read this jlog (a journal blog, get it) Thanks for your faithfulness and for those who just come and look at my lovely face, thanks for your whatever it is (fascination? ideas anyone?)

Earlier today I had wanted to write about how much I hated valentine and how I had never celebrated it as I always dated smart guys who picked a quarrel in January just to ensure we had split by February. Dissolving the cabinet as a friend put it.

I wanted to write about how I sent myself a valentine card at secondary school when I got fed up of everyone getting one each year and I having nothing to show for myself. I liked a guy (really, Demo, where are you?) but all my seniors liked him too and I don't have the strength to suffer for love (yeah, say what you will, I'm built like that)

I intended to eat my body weight in sweets and biscuits (I hate chocolate) and strangle anyone who gave me a pity face when I tell them I spent the day alone. I had planned to write all this, in fact I wrote it 3 times! This is my 4th attempt (I'm typing it first on Word, then cutting and pasting) Then I went to church (I can hear the hehen!, go on, I'll still speak) and as the sermon went on, I started thinking about all the men that had messed up my life either directly or indirectly, some have messed me up more than others and I realised, I still hated them, oh yes, I'm very good with the 'I'm good, lets remain friends' thing but I still hope they never find happiness and daily knock themselves for letting someone as wonderful as myself go.

Then I realised I had to let them go, really forgive, and then I could really move on and be. (As you would have guessed the service was on forgiveness and building each other up)

So I have stopped detesting, I have stopped hating, I am now forgiving and letting go.

I forgive the boy who said 'I love you' and said it to my best friend too
The one who made me cook for him, then said it tasted crude
My pardon to the one who farted and blamed it on me
The one who wouldn't wash, wouldn't brush, or simply would not flush
The one who left the toilet seat up, or messed it with paper
The one who licked the plate after lunch and slurped his water
The one whose mum didn't like me, she said I was too fat
The one who said he liked my body if only I could lose the pouch
The one who hunched, belched his lunch, rolled his hips like a girl
The one who told everyone, I liked it rough and loud and a bit cruel (not true)
The fat , the thin, the bald, the weak, the bigoted arrogant fool
The one who named my boobs but said my ass gave him no clue
The one who got married on my birthday, the one who broke up with me
The timid one who sent a text saying, 'its not you but surely not me'
The flashy one, the messy one, the stark raving sex machine
The poet, the singer, the builder, the lover, the one's who's in between
The one turned gay, the gay who played straight, the one who became a woman
The one who made me sit on his knee, play dress up, or scream out his name and
the one got my heart but had to get away
I forgive these men, all these men, give all my pain away
But this is for the next man, who comes, if you're just as messed up,
Please stay away

Ps: in case I still have injuns reading my journal, the above was meant to be a poem, not real!

My Cowardice

This is a story that I have 'published' on facebook but I constantly work and rework it all the time, its part of my forthcoming collection 'The Melon Mile' so I look forward to what you think about this-Have a great week!

Blood is dripping on the floor and I feel relieved, for once, I'm feeling something so different from pain, it is relief and anguish rolled together. It is so strange but I am comfortable. I feel in control. I had gone to see my doctor again, after dieting hard for about 2 weeks, I could feel my clothes hanging off me. Surely, I would fit the bill and finally be on the road to getting rid of them.

He told me to get on the scales and then, he looked at me. For the first time, I saw my doctor look at me with something different from detachment. He looked sad and I shook my head indicating 'no'. "I'm sorry love", he said "but you are still a few points off the ideal, actually just a point." 'A point!' I wailed, 'do you know how long it got me to this?' "I know love but…" I jumped up 'don't call me love! I want to be rid of this, every time I come you have a reason not to put me on the list; I'm starting to think you're enjoying this'. "Ah now, don't say that, I honestly feel your situation but I must follow the rules, left to me you are well over due" 'Then tell them your opinion, tell them I'm running mad with the wait, tell them now and I promise I'll lose the point before next week.'

I was desperate now and tears and snot were running down my face, but I couldn't be embarrassed, this man knew my body better than some lovers I've had, so there was nothing to hide. "You see, I would love to do that, but the rules won't allow me. I really think we need to work out a strategy because I won't want you to get drastic with losing the weight…" As soon as the words dropped from his lips, I knew it was a waste of time, so I picked my bag and walked out leaving him with his words. They held no meaning to me anymore, the nurse tried to stop me but I just walked out.

I got home and started cooking, I made a greasy sauce and poured it over pasta, grated a thick layer of cheese and I ate. I pushed everything through my collapsed stomach and felt it stretch but I pushed in more, I am dying, slowly and its starting to feel good. I'm standing by the kitchen sink not bothering to sit as I push the food into my mouth. I see my large knife and I grab it and pull off my shirt, rip off my underwear and quickly slash, the pain pierces my head and my hand starts to shake, I try to slash again but my boldness has deserted me.

I'm crying now as my tears fall on my chest and sting me. I so want to cut them off but I'm a coward and the pain unhands me, so I slide to the floor, watching the blood rise and seep, rise and seep. I bleed easily but I know it's not deep, I cry because at this point I want to die; yet, I am a coward because I want to live. I pick up my shirt and hold it to the wound,crawl to my bag as it lies on my bed, my hands shake as I drop the shirt and ruffle through the bag to get my phone. I pick up it up and call, 'come, I've cut myself'

Looking forward to your responses!

Of Mice and Men

As you know this is an old post, but its so relevant because guess what?! Valentine is almost upon us again and the marketing franchise is at it again! So here something old becoming new, written when I was blue but now I'm brand new! (see what I did there?)


I'm TIRED of being alone!!! There! I said it! Now will everyone stop telling me how I should go about getting a guy or why I don't have a guy and simply introduce me to a guy. I mean I keep getting friends saying things like 'Oh and I know this guy, you guys would have been so good together BUT he's gay, engaged, unserious, not a Christian, an atheist, a player, short, bald, ugly, dirty, mummy's boy, fat, skinny, has pimples, Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Congolese, a fisherman etc...'(Which makes me wonder, what kind of friends do I have that they have such men in their circle?)

These friends are dating relatively normal men but when it gets to me, suddenly, all the men they know are Quasimodo incarnates! With friends like these who can avoid being an old maid? Shelf here I come! Just stick a 'repossess' sticker on me, cos at this rate, sell-by dates won't help. So I say it again, if you can't help me, don't point out my 'problem' ok or I'll be having yah! Anyways here's another poem, its been a while abi...sorry, been busy trying to get into Notre Dame! (you get?) Enjoy! One can never know what goes on in the mind of a man.

There never seems to be enough co ordinates between their thoughts and actions! Moreover, with the whole 'idea' that they are ruled by the contents of their pants and not their heads, that would seem quite right. (Accuse me of generalisation, if you will, I'm just quoting the common consensus) Therefore the whole mechanics of the 'Who, What, Where and How' (I presume, y'all know that a wise man never asks a woman 'Why?') is something that needs fine application to be able to get anywhere in a relationship.

And as I'm not the best when it comes to that (I only talk the talk ok, never been able to walk it) I leave it at this...

It is an abyss
This thing we call us
You not understanding me
I not reading you right
We come together, we fall
You rise, I crawl
We both speaking
Neither heard
We could be registered members of confused dot com
I'm reaching out but can't see
Your fine form of telepathy
You say my words aren't plain
they have more than they say
I wish your yea would be yea
So indeed, my nay would be as it says
But we'll keep second guessing wanting to know,
though not revealing
It is indeed an abyss
This thing called us

I know some of the lines are groan worthy but as I always say to my dear friend 'Millie'- Deal with it!

Starting Over (Rattle My Window 1)

Another year, another resolution eh? Well, I hope (fingers crossed) to keep this one going. I have been inspired by people like Kola Tubosun, Jumoke Verissimo, Tolu Ogunlesi, Lookman Sanusi, Lola Soneyin etc to wake up and start again, even if it seems like its impossible. (And it does!)
However, I'm doing it again. First, I'm uploading some old posts just to keep things going, then I'll start putting up new ones, so here goes; one of my favourite stories.

This story called 'Rattle My Window' was the very first story I got published in a newspaper in Nigeria and it is so dear to my heart. So I share a few paragraghs of it with you, if una like am very much, send me a few quid so I can get published!!!!

Joko stood in the room, standing close to the window and quietly whispered 'Denrele, rattle my window' She listened quietly for a minute, then she whispered it again, 'Rattle my window, you promised'. After minutes of silence, she said it aloud, and then shouted it, as she got more and more frustrated.

It had been said that the longer, time went by, the easier things would become but Joko knew it was all a big lie and as the realization hit anew, she fell down on the floor and started weeping. Denrele and Joko were returning from Iya Agba, Denrele's mother's place where they had gone to bury Baba Agba, Denrele's father. It had been a splendid occasion and according to the Yoruba custom, Denrele's father had been buried well. Yet on their way home after the festivities, it was obvious that Joko was visibly disturbed with Iya Agba's ranting about Baba not dying but being with her in the house.

She had gone on and on about it in front of everyone and Joko had had to take her to her bedroom, away from sight. 'Rele, I really think we should get someone to stay with Mama in the house, staying alone will only encourage morbid thoughts, she's insisting that Baba is still in the house and I know that she's just wishing things. People were starting to look worriedly around the house, you know.'
'But she speaks with such conviction you know, I actually found myself looking out to catch a glimpse of him.' 'You see, you're already getting affected just like everyone else, I actually heard aunt Titi say she thought she saw Baba walk past in the dinning room, but of course, she saw nothing' 'When people live together for as long as they have and there has been companionship and love, they get tight like this.' Rele gestured, clasping his hands together tightly 'I guess so tight they don't ever want to let go.'

Joko shivered involuntarily and stared straight ahead. Rele turned to her suddenly with a bright gleam in his eyes 'You know, if I die, and that is after I'm old, crooked and gray, I'd like to come back and haunt you.' He raised his arms like that of a spooky ghost and lunged for her. Joko squealed in mock horror and smacked his hands 'be careful! I'm driving and don't be silly, you're not dying on me.' 'I said when I'm old, crooked and gray.' 'Well I still want you around, I'd like it if we died together, you know something like in our sleep…I couldn't bear to be left alone.' Her eyes moistened. 'Now, now, don't go all weepy on me but if we didn't' and Rele smiled, 'I'd come back and rattle your window every night to tell you, I'm still around a-n-d chase whoever would want to have lustful designs on you.' He couldn't stop himself stop this point and he bursted out laughing. 'Jealous, jealous. But enough of this dying nonsense. You're not dying on me and that's final.' Her shoulders were set in determination. 'Yes mam!' Rele laughed as Joko stopped the car in front of their house and got out and ran inside.

Theirs was a life of bliss, having just gotten married almost a year before. They had dated for a year before tying the knot. Rele was a dedicated man who loved life and lived it. They were the perfect couple and people loved to watch them as they teased and laughed with each other. Joko on the other hand took life more seriously and she was more level headed, but Rele brought out the joker in her and she willingly threw herself into some of his new fangled, hare brained projects. He did these things with passion and Joko loved him for it. They were so much in love and life had gone surprisingly well for them. They had minimal tiffs and lived in good-natured companionship.

A week to their wedding anniversary, a wedding which had been unconventional as they couldn't wait to get married . They had quietly gone to the registry with a few friends on a week day and done the deed. Naturally, their parents were upset that they hadn't been party to the beautiful couple's day, so they had planned to have an elaborate party for their anniversary to make up for it. Joko had just returned from the market where she had gone to do some shopping for the party. She had put the chicken in the freezer and was about packing the pepper into containers when her neighbour came into her house, looking tattered, her head tie was askew and she wore different slippers on her feet and she asked Joko to come home with her. 'Maybe she has fought with her husband again, this woman! When will she learn to live in peace?' Joko grumbled within herself as she reluctantly left the kitchen and followed her neighbour out.

Her neighbour had been known to have such fights with her husband before, where on several occasions Joko and Rele had had to intervene. Their relationship could be termed crazy because they fought like cats but they refused to leave each other It seemed another fight had ensued. They got to the house and Joko noticed several shoes outside the door 'hum, there's even a crowd here already, then I'm not needed.' She was about to voice her thoughts out when the woman's husband opened the door. His eyes were red-rimmed and he ushered them into the house.

For the rest of this story, you'll have to wait for my book of short stories- The Melon Mile which comes out later this year-sorry!