Self-destruct

I adore you
You despise me
I reach out to you
You draw away from me
I’m endeared to you
You find me repulsive
I cry for the pain you cause me
You laugh at my tears
I want to build you up
You want to self-destruct
You detest me – the one who loves you
And court those who plot your fall
Now you find yourself in the dungeons
Tell me how long before it’s the end
For what measure of time you stay ousted
Before the end begins
And Gog and his cohorts lick the dust
I pray you, do not stay away too long
For you my soul yearns
This great gully between us
I can reach out across no more
And in the event that this made no sense
And self-destruction is the way for you
Just know I was the one who loved you
The one who still loves you despite

One Night And What You Wish

He paced nervously back and forth in his private study.
”I need you to claim responsibility for Idara’s pregnancy,” he announced to his son.
“What!”
“You heard me.”
“Dad!”
“Name your price.”
“Dad, I can’t believe……”
“Name your price!”
Pause. 15 seconds.
“I….I….I’ll need to sleep over this dad.”
“You will not sleep over anything! I said, name your price!”
“I’m sorry dad but this will have to wait till tomorrow.”
Dotun could read his father’s desperation. Suddenly he felt like Duncan Mighty. He shook his head in disbelief at how quickly the table could turn when you “stumble” on “important” information. He blessed the day, no, the night – that opportune night – when he had caught Idara and his dad in “the act.”

“How dare you tell me to wait?” his father barked, breaking into his thoughts. “In this house, I call the shots…..”
“Well not anymore dad!”
Uneasy silence.
Now helpless, he said, “Alright son, please just say what you want and I’ll do it for you. Anything. Just name it.”
Dotun reeled out: “A university education in the US. Freedom to live my life without your busybody interference. And a well-funded bank account, so that nothing goes wrong.”
His father’s eyes narrowed a bit. “What could possibly go wrong? And how much are we looking at here?”
“I don’t know dad. You call the shots, remember?” The scorn on Dotun’s face was obvious.
His father thought long and hard, before acqueising. “Done. You start in September.”
Dotun smiled. He knew that if his mother ever learnt the truth about the housemaid’s pregnancy,  his father was toast.
There was something else about that smile. It was the realisation that he had just unlocked the door to an endless goldmine.

Absence makes the heart….

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The cold evening breeze slapped his face as he ventured into the alley. He hoped at least that his longer strides and faster pace would get him to the train station a few minutes earlier than usual. He worked nights in a dance club as a bouncer – a job that barely met his needs.

The colored lights that twinkled thru the windows of the buildings nearby were not enough distraction. December’s festivities were virtually nonexistent for him now. All he longed for was home.

His wife Nneka had called from Nigeria to say she wanted out of their 4-year old marriage. It was a sham, she thought and didn’t anymore want to be part of the charade. He had pleaded for patience. More time.  ”Till when?” she had yelled in frustration over the telephone before bursting into tears. He fell silent. The truth is, he didn’t have the answer. He still needed to get his ”papers” so that he could legalize his stay. A snort escaped through his nostrils. He didn’t even have enough to buy his plane ticket back home.

Life as an illegal immigrant was not as simple as that of others. His daily worries were not the same as those of the average citizen. He had to bother about getting and keeping a job. He had to deal with exploitation from dishonest emoloyers – immigrants themselves – who cashed in on his situation to cheat him on wages. He was concerned with how to avoid getting nabbed by the authorities and being repatriated. He could not hold an apartment in his name or register assets in his  own name! What was life without the  freedom to live?

As he entered the warm interior of the train station, a team of three policemen on patrol walked past him. He became more cautious then, heaving an audible sigh of relief when he was certain that he was not the object of their considerations.

Then the thought struck him. As the train halted, he was greeted by the rush hour flux of workers exiting the train and returning home. A mischievous smile spread briefly across his face. One of these people would soon pay him some heed! He deliberately walked into a fair-skinned man, who didn’t waste time to give him a piece of his mind.

“Mais putain! Are you blind or what? Do you need magnifying glasses or something, Monsieur?”

“Excusez-moi mon gars. My eyes are fine alright but you really were so tiny, even a clairvoyant couldn’t have seen you.”

Whack! came the slap across his face. Whack! he retorted.

Spectacle created. Cops appeared on the scene. Handcuffs snapped tightly around his wrists. Things had played out just the way he wanted. Not without a few bruises though. His belly was hurting so badly.

A few hours later, he was seated in the comfortable interior of a cell in the police station. His case had been decided. He would be put on the next day’s flight to Lagos. A wry smile spread across his face. He’d be home at last! Home to be with his wife and the 3-year old daughter he had never held in his arms.

In the days when he was ignorant, he’d have sworn that absence made the heart grow fonder.  Now he was certain: absence makes the heart grow number. This was definitely true for Nneka, in whose case, also, absence had probably made the heart wander. And if he was foolish enough not to know what and who mattered most, it was certain that absence had made his mind grow dumber.

‘Sweet’ Find

She stared, then blinked several times mouth agape, at the most embarrassing drama just unfolding before her eyes! Segun her husband stole a quick glance at their guests, who each looked away either out of  embarrassment for their utterly bewildered hosts or to hide the laughter that was just refusing to be stifled and would soon give them away.

Standing in all of her innocence before them was 3-year old Tonye, their hosts’ brilliant daughter, brandishing something  in abject i-told-you-mum defiance. A tongue-tied Preye bit her lip.

10 minutes earlier Tonye,  her daughter,  had nagged and nagged her for a wrap of Tom-tom sweet. Preye had refused, because it was bedtime already. Besides, she was totally against going to bed with a sweet in her mouth – a complete no-no in their family’s dental regimen.

Several more ‘harassments’ after and Preye ordered her daughter to bed with one mean look of gavel-like finality. Slam! The defeated young lady sulked her way upstairs to her room. Or so she thought.

Until she returned defiantly with her ‘sweet’ find. ”Mummy I won’t give you my sweet,” she taunted in her slightly musical voice. She then turned towards her daddy and implored him to help her open this ‘sweet.’ When mummy turned to look at her little girl’s spoil, there it was: a tired-looking, teeth-battered but still intact wrap of unused Durex! The ‘contingency plan’ that had never left the ‘shores’ of her handbag. Until now.

Escape with me

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Escape with me mate
On the sprightly ride
These skies are hostile of late
Is it the tide?

If the grass is greener
On the other side
I think it might be meaner
If now is denied

Escape with me mate
Better not wait
We can’t be wrong
If we brave it young

Lifted Veils

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He lifted her veil
Spirit afloat
Plunged into the abyss
Of her soul divine
Through eternal gateways
Ethereal eyes
Uncharted territories
Discovering
Unearthed secrets
Unearthing
E’en for a moment
The first of many happinesses

She ”lifted his veil”
In total surrender
Sweetly revealing
His inmost weakness
Gently commanding
To yield of his ego
Softly burrowing
The masculine defense
Uprooting truths
Erstwhile entrenched
Saintly secrets that
Will never stay the same

Day 8 – First Impressions

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Image: herapereira.com

That night
When you danced
The maiden dance
And I would not take a first look
It was that I might question
Your boldness
Your dare
To appear before me unsightly

This night
There’s no dance
No festival,  no cheer
I seek that I might find no other but you
And to question how that scar is a fallout
Of your feminine valor
This I’d rather have
Than a thousand maidens worth of cowardice

Day 6 – Aurora

This way and that
Wind swishes the grasses
Breezy vestiges
From night’s light shower
Energizing gusts
Nature’s elixir
Salvaging antidote
Curing delirium

Alluring memento
From the pottery’s finest
Beautiful with blemish
Glorious in imperfection
That’s Aurora my dawn
Firstfruits of life’s wage
I’ll savour you today
I’ll savour you tomorrow

Day 4 – Question of Materiality

Significance, or lack of it
Does it matter if you take me for granted?
Distraction, a shift in priorities
That’s how I know if and what I matter
In this game of relevance
You and I both understand it’s a question of materiality
The distinction between substance and mirage
The honesty to admit our lack of innocence

Ole Gran’

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Ole Gran’

I have me here this ragged doll
You gave me it when I turned 5
I’ll not forget this story book
That was your gift when I turned 10
It’s got the best stories ever told
When I turned 15, you got me my first guitar
You said life was nothing without music
And if I could make mine, the better!
At 20, you gave me this camera
Again, you said, “life’s nothing without memories”
“Create your own”
These memories have made me
But not as much as your greatest gift –
Your ear – your listening ear
That I find priceless
Into it I spoke, whispered, confided, sang,
Sometimes shouted and nagged
Even when you disapproved, you still listened
What’s an orphan to do without one like you?
Thanks ole gran’ for being you.