A MOTHER’S HEART

images(3)

Narrator: KC’s phone rings just as he steps out of the shower. He is going to ignore it because he is late for work…no, make that VERY late for work; but his eye spies the caller ID and it is Mummy. He shoots a furtive glance at the wall clock and the positions of the hands on the timepiece elicit a sigh from him. He takes the call.

You will find out more about Mummy at the end of this story, but for now, let me share with you two things about her calls. One, you better pick them; everyone knew that if Mummy called and you didn’t pick, she would only keep calling back. And if your phone turned unreachable, she started calling everybody she knew who knew you and she would badger them until they badgered you into calling her back. The second thing to remember about Mummy KC’s calls is that they were never short: so the first thing you bought immediately you left home long-term was a Bluetooth headset.

Back to KC now; he adjusts his headset and while struggling into his boxers, takes the call.

Mummy: Helloww

KC: Maama! How far?

Mummy: (snickers) Nna m, I’m fine. Itetagokwa ura?

Narrator: Hehe…I know right? See, Mummy is one of those women who don’t like to be reminded just how fast the world changed in the time it took her to birth, raise and watch two children grow into adulthood. She once said that whenever KC calls her ‘Maama’, she feels like Mama Gee – Gee for General!

KC: Yes, mum, I’m up. Err…I’m preparing for work now so…

Mummy: Have you heard?

Narrator: I mean, who is he kidding? The toad doesn’t run in the daytime for nothing abi? Tsk tsk tsk

KC: (sigh) Heard what, mum?

Mummy: Ebola nu nu. They said you should put salt in hot water and baff with it before six o’clock. It is the only way to escape that disease now oh.

Narrator: KC freezes with one and half of his trouser sleeves on. He wonders if he just heard right.

Mummy: Kaycee? Hellllooowwww?

KC: Mummy, anom ebea. I heard you. Biko where did you hear that one from?

Mummy: Oh so you haven’t heard? Kai, devil is a liar! Oya, go and take your bath now now, with plenty of salt. It’s almost six o’clock oh…evil people. Who knows where they were hiding this news since and people have been dying like fowl, na-anwusi ka okuko! Tufiakwa!

Narrator: By now, KC isn’t listening anymore. He has his trousers all the way on and belted on tight. He has just done up the collar button of his shirt; now he pins on his cuff-links and reaches for his tie.

Mummy: Kenechukwu! Ahn ahn…what is wrong with this network people bikonu

KC: Onwero, mummy, nothing. The network is fine, I heard everything you said.

Mummy: Oh, thank God. Have you plugged in the mmiri oku? Get plenty of salt to add to it and…

KC: Asago m aru, mummy. I’ve already had my bath and I am late for work.

Mummy: Oh! You see their plan? Okwa ifuru ya? See why they did not spread this news kemgbe. Hm…don’t worry, nnaa, you will drink it. Just put cup into one salt of hot water and – chai, what am I even talking sef. (flustered) KC, nwere nnu tinye

KC: Mummy, I heard you the first time. I cannot do that. This is ridiculous nah, don’t you know salt is a serious dehydrating agent and can kill somebody when drunk carelessly? Haba!

Narrator: The man is getting angry now, more flustered than angry really. And Mummy can hear it in his voice – she birthed him after all. The wise woman knows she must change her tactics and quickly, she does.

Mummy: Oh ok, nna m. You are correct. I remember now, it is true. Ngwanu, just pour it on your body. You can boil small water – ntonto mmiri – with salt, run back into the baffroom and pour it on your body sharp sharp.

KC: And be smelling salt-salt when I get to work? Because I am now Ukwu nnu, okwa ya?

Mummy: (laughs)

KC: (hesitates for a split second…and laughs too)

Narrator: I laugh too jare. Heehehehe…okay, let me help you understand. ‘Ukwu nnu’ literally translates to ‘waist of salt’; it is a term used among Igbo folk, to address a lady who has a great future behind her. You know the ones bah? The ladies who are generally well endowed in matters of the waist and behind.

Anyway it happened that as Ada – Mummy’s other child – grew into maturity, she fit the ‘Ukwu nnu’ specifications more and more. Her brother first called her the name in a bid to spite her but she took it very well – too well, in fact – and soon, she was christened Ukwu nnu, in-house only of course.

That’s the joke. Oya back to Mummy, she is saying something…

Mummy: This boy, aru adiro gi. I’m serious joor. It is even Ukwu nnu that sent me the text message; I called her and she told me that she was baffing the children with hot water and salt already.

KC:  mock02

Narrator: Ada, a.k.a Ukwu nnu, is a doctor; not a doctor of Nursing or of Psychology or a native doctor oh – a MEDICAL doctor. She is practicing too, not as much as she would have loved to though because she and her husband have three children all below the age of 7, but practicing nevertheless.

So you know what KC is thinking: “Ada too?”

Mummy: Kaaayyyceee! Talk to me nau.

KC: Mummy, this is silly. How can Ada bath those children in salt water? Do you know how salt feels against the skin when left for long without washing it off? And how it smells?

Mummy: No no…mba nu, not like that. Immediately you baff with it, the salt will penetrate inside your body and kill all the Ebola. The small that remains on your body you can wash out with water and even rub pomade sef; onwekwanu onye ga-ama na iji nnu saa aru? Nobody will know.

KC: Mummy, just stop it please. These things you are saying don’t make any sense to me and even if they did, I am late for work. I can’t go back into the bathroom to have another bath!

Mummy: Ok, nna m, don’t shout oh? But you’re wearing long sleeve and trouser to work, okwa ya?

KC: No, ma. I’m wearing net singlet and iron pant – today is Cultural Day at the office.

Narrator: Oooooh boy…dude is not smiling!

Mummy: (lets out a half-hearted snicker) silly boy. Please can you just take a little hot water, mix it with salt and wash only your hands and head?

KC: Mummy…

Mummy: Please kwanu, nna m. For my sake, biko. I know you don’t believe it but do it ka obi ruo nu nne gi ana. Ehn, please let your mother’s head be at rest nau.

Narrator: If you have a mother, you know what comes next. She will tune her voice to that frequency mothers alone know which will make the inside of the left side of your chest feel liquid. Then she will start to talk in a voice that is choked – but really only SOUNDS choked – on tears. And she will soon remind you how she carried you in her womb for nine months and how your birth was especially the hardest among all her children because your head was so big.

KC: Kai…what kind of wahala is this now?

Mummy: Kenechukwu biko, do this for your mother. I will never beg you to do anything like this again, maka Chukwu – I swear.

Narrator: Story!

KC: (sighs) Fine I have heard. Oya cut the phone and I will do it when…

Mummy: No, don’t worry, I have credit…I want to hear when you’re doing it.

KC:lonely02

Narrator: Poor guy!

So he is fully dressed right now but for his jacket, and the time is just five minutes shy of 6am. If he will avoid the worst of the CMS-Marina traffic, he will need to leave his house latest 6:15. He also knows that these five minutes before 6am will be the most miserable of his day if he doesn’t heed Mummy; so he click-clacks into the kitchen, plugs in the kettle and perches on the kitchen counter waiting for the little water to boil. Through all of this, he tries not to dwell on the fact that his mother is on the other end listening to him bustle around – it feels weird because he thinks that this situation is the kind one only found oneself in with a lover.

The kettle whistles.

Mummy: Enhen, it has boiled.

KC: I know joor, shebi it is me that plugged it?

Mummy: Ok sorry. Ngwa put salt and wash your hands and your head.

Narrator: KC pours a little hot water in a bowl, dilutes it with even less cold water, pours in some salt and begins to wash his hand in it. Then he shuts his eyes tight, bends his head over the sink and starts to wash his head, taking care not to wet the headset stuck in his left ear. He has this odd feeling that he ought to be saying some incantations, to complete the ritual. And he feels thoroughly stupid.

KC: (voice muffled by lips pressed nearly shut against the torrent of warm salty water) You said what?

Narrator: What? She said something? Oh wait…she is praying! Lawd, we nearly missed that. While KC is doing the rituals, Mummy is doing the incantations.

Mummy: (speaking in tongues) Roboskatatatatat Yerimamamamamam Shokotoreskitidididi. Every monitoring spirit of virus and viruses, all the evil Ebola demons trying to steal Kenechukwu’s soul. My son is a son of the king – nwa Eze – and no weapon fashioned against him shall prosper. I send you out now, you stupid Ebola. Holy Ghost…fayaaa! Holy ghost…fayaaaa!!

Narrator: At this point, KC doesn’t know whether to feel loved, grateful or embarrassed. He has ad enough; he calmly removes the headset from his ear and pours the last of the saline mixture over his head, unsuccessfully trying to keep it off his collar. Might as well finish what he started.

He walks back into the bathroom, wipes the wetness off his head and hands with a towel and afterwards, dabs on some cream. He unrolls a strip of gum – he hasn’t had any breakfast – and pops it in his mouth before shrugging on his jacket. Then he grabs his keys and briefcase, and rushes out.

He has just driven past the estate gates when Mummy calls back.

KC: (sigh) Mummy?

Mummy: Nna m, don’t mind this network people. I have prayed for you, you are covered with the blood of Jizoos oh?

KC: (dryly) Amen

Mummy: (exhales) Enhen, they also said you should be eating aki-ilu. You know aki-ilu nau – bitter kola?

KC: (distracted) Unhuh

Mummy: It is bitter oh, but it has antibiotics and anti-fungus. You know I read Biology in Sandwich, I know. It is very powerful oh.

Narrator: KC can’t help the smile that creeps across his face, just before he shakes his head. This woman has indeed mastered the art of being impossible and adorable, both at once.

KC: I know, mum. It is very strong. In fact, I am chewing some now

Narrator: He blows up a tiny gum bubble, pops it and continues to chump with a smile. It is banana-flavored, his favorite.

Mummy: Oh, wonderful. Thank God. Kenechukwu, okwa ima that if you do fast and marry, I won’t be disturbing you like this again. Your wife will be taking good care of you and I will only be calling her as a consultant when…

KC: (bursts out in loud laughter)

Narrator: EL-OOOH-EEL!!!

Mummy: (chuckles)

KC: Mama the mama! Nne m, I have to go now biko. We will talk later, bye bye.

Mummy: Ok, nna m. Bye bye.

Narrator: KC is now sitting in traffic jamming its way up Eko bridge towards the Island. He sighs. She finally did it, he is thinking, got me to go to work late. His phone beeps and he flips open the message; it is a picture file from Kunle:

images

 

Mention me @ojukwu_martin on twitter

 

 

Advertisements

it rained again today

I came across this poem and fell in love, not just because it’s a well-crafted piece of art but because boy, I PLAYED in the rain as a kid.

Its writer is a wonderful young man by name of Alyazid Alexander Osinachi Okoli who writes under the pseudonym, ‘The BlackInk’. (Ghen ghen):) When asked about himself, this dude only says “I am a graduate of the great University of Nigeria, read pharmacy…that’s it!”

Hmmm…this poet pipu can like to talk short short shaa. 😉

I’ll drop a little warning before I stop blabbing and post it already; Don’t read this poem as a grammar-savvy intellect or a grown person for that matter, read it like a child, through the eyes of the little boy or girl you used to be.

So! Here goes…

 

IT RAINED AGAIN TODAY

childintherain

its raining again….
my little com-com is set
i can hear its drum play
atop our zinc,…chidera lets go

slippers would bar my flow
bare-footed i set for the door
jumping like a milking goat
i scream out loud in joy

its raining again….
My little legs,dangling
held close by my dirty pant
arms spread wide, i soar in the rain

nne went to the market
as usual my plates are unwashed
but maybe she would understand
it afterall rained again, today

its raining again
legs dancing in the mud
sliding up and down the dirt
with absolute reckless abandon

what other fun beats playing
not just it,but also in the rain
screaming,”rain rain go away”
but wishing it poured down

more more and more

it rained again today
mama’s Cain awaits my bum-bum
but right now who cares
tell her it rained again today

– the blackINK.

Mention me on twirra @ojukwu_martin

BOKO HARAM: a ‘Thou Shalt NOT’ list

Boko Haram

Sometime between the night of April 14 and the morning of April 15, terrorists invaded Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok in Borno state, Northeastern Nigeria; they were clad in military uniforms, armed and in trucks. When they left the school, they reportedly carted away 234 teenage girls (roughly between 16 and 18 years old) who were then in the school to write a paper in the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination. Most schools in Bornu and other states of Northeastern Nigeria had been forced close before this time due to the recurrence of such attacks which often left students and teachers dead and kidnapped; these attacks were claimed by Boko Haram, a terrorist group. The group traces its inception to 2002 and has officially adopted the name “the Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad”, which is an English translation of Arabic, Jamā’at ahl as-sunnah li-d-da’wa wa-l-jihād. It is known in Hausa as Boko Haram which by semantic extension of Hausa words, loosely translates to ‘Western Education is sinful’.

By name and actions, this terrorist group has made it clear that theirs is a fight against rationale and logic; surely, battle against education and all forms of new-age development while existing within the new age can only qualify as irrational, and by their manner of execution, evil. The kidnap of the school girls provoked outrage which has, thanks to technological perks of the new age, quickly become global as #BringBackOurGirls campaigns continue to trend all over the world.

A lot of speculations, suggestions, orders and cries have been issued as regards what ought to be done by the government of Nigeria, families of the kidnapped students, citizens, the world and even Boko Haram. This essay will not belabor that already thoroughly hassled subject matter, instead it will focus on what Nigerians ought NOT to do in this fight to stop the terrorism.

 

THE NOT-DO LIST

If we must rescue these Nigerian daughters from their captors, Nigerians must NOT:

  1. Stop Asking Questions.

After nearly three weeks since the incident happened, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, bowed to global pressure and held a media chat on Sunday, the 4th of May in which he took questions on among other pressing issues, the Chibok mishap. I was unable to watch the session but I read the transcripts and while a number of good questions were raised, the president’s answers were – apologies to Hon Obahiagbon – higihaga and lacked vital power of conviction. Two days later on Tuesday, the 6th, CNN reporter Isha Sesay held live interviews in Abuja with Messrs. Doyin Okupe and Labaran Maku, the Senior Special Assistant to the president on Public Affairs and Minister of Information respectively. I watched the live broadcast and in the few minutes it lasted, I learnt – and I am sure, most of the world too – for the first time about actions the government had taken to salvage the situation; most worthy of mention among these was the set up, according to the report, of an information centre not only to answer questions but also to issue frequent updates to the public on the matter of the girls’ kidnap.

 

The difference between the two live broadcasts, apart from the latter being significantly shorter and ironically, in even less conducive setting, is that the interviewer asked the right questions and insisted on concrete answers. Nigerians must emulate that; we must NOT stop asking questions, the right questions and having asked them, we must then insist on somewhat concrete answers.

 

 

  1. Value fear of foolery over human life.

Apart from the many questions begging the government’s handling of the disaster, there are many other questions which have arisen and been circulating social media. These questions, by their structure, relay the suspicions of a certain group of people that the entire kidnap debacle is a sham; this group hinges these suspicions on the premise that the kidnap has some undertones of political sabotage and general foul-play. Some of the questions are captured below in the forms they originated with very minor restructuring:

“Why aren’t the names and pictures of the kidnapped girls published by the school, state government, WAEC or mass media?

Why aren’t the names and pictures of their parents circulating as well?

How come the escapees (some of the girls had reportedly escaped while being hurled away by the insurgents) have not appeared on television for interviews?

How come all 234 students are in SS3 when the entire school has a population of 1200 students?

Did the Bornu state government really give N1m each to parents of the missing girls and if yes, was the money mere compensation for their loss or something more?”

 

While some of these questions are easily answerable by hitting Google, others such as the reason behind the dearth of visual information on the identities of the kidnapped girls remain unanswered. And suspicions have thrived on this; Nigerians are wary that the entire kidnap saga is a premeditated, even farcical drama orchestrated by the opposition to make the Jonathan-led government appear even more inept.

 

These suspicions have even carried over to cast wary eyes on the recent offer of military and logistical help to Nigeria from the United States; the doubters have cited instances of post-US involvement in violence-torn countries viz Syria, Liberia, Afghanistan, et al and they ask, “what will the United States want in return?”

 

While some might and have indeed voiced that – find these suspicions paranoiac and even outrageous, I believe that their existence is proof that Nigerians are paying attention and are thinking. This is good and must not stop because as the Igbos say, onye ajuju anaghi efu uzo. He who asks questions never loses his way. At the same time, the doubters and all Nigerians must realize that if indeed this kidnap is a staged make-up by the opposition and we are all going to look like fools when it is blown open, I daresay that this is one foolery worth practicing.

 

There are a number of things that could be done to defuse the possibilities of this ‘scam’ turning fatal for us as a country – for example, our local media could sit up to ask more questions even of the US-led aid, demand for information on the identities of the kidnapped girls and their families and promptly return feedback to the listening public regardless of the response to the demand, etc – but there are no other options to save the #ChibokGirls besides whatever little action can be mustered by an unarmed public in raising awareness and crying out for help. Assume for an incredulous minute that the kidnap is fake and the bragging video recently distributed by Shekau was a product of technological tweaking, the myriad of attacks, latest among which are the Nyanya bombings, have been real enough – we scraped real Nigerians’ razed flesh and bones off the floor and donated real blood to the injured; the Monday massacre of over a hundred people in Gamboru Ngala of the same Borno state seems real enough too.

 

If there is even the slightest chance that even one girl has been kidnapped and is right now being fattened for the sex-slave market in Sambisa, Nigerians must NOT stop crying foul. If the only price we have to pay, in the event of this truly turning out to be a hoax, is carrying the tag of fools, Nigerians must NOT be afraid to look foolish – it wouldn’t be the first time.

 

 

  1. Make this into a regional or religious matter.

A man residing in Southern Nigeria with his family is watching the news and the Nyanya bomb or kidnap of girls from Chibok breaks. He watches until the news presenter completes her report then he says, “Nawa oh, these Hausa people sef! God help them oh” and he retires to bed for a good night’s rest. This scenario is mirrored in many families in all parts of Nigeria except for parts of the Northeast and federal capital territory that have been affected by the terrorist attacks. It is an inclination by the ‘unaffected’ Nigerian to stereotype every Boko Haram insurgent as hausa or northern, and so long as they restrict their terror to the northern states – their ‘home states’ – it is okay. This thinking is not just wrong but potentially fatal.

 

Researching the uprising of Boko Haram, the distasteful but glaring truth is that Nigeria bred Boko Haram; first by leaving a vast amount of uneducated youths unaccounted and uncared for; second by ignoring the ‘minor’ violent operations of the group in the few years after its emergence under Ustaz Yusuf in 2002; and finally, by turning a blind eye to the cultivation of the idle youth into mercenaries and foot soldiers of the sect. Nigeria is responsible for the growth of this terrorist sect into a large debilitating and malignant global tumor. We did this collectively, as a whole nation of South, North, East, West, Central, Christians and Muslims. And in its bestial attacks, the sect has not spared any sections.

 

I am aware that some supposedly holy men of God, especially affiliated to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) hold a different opinion. They theorize that the bombings and kidnap are all anti-Christian; an Evangelist Owojaiye published a list of 180 of the abductees to prove his claim that 90% of the girls are Christian and so – he affirmed – it was targeted at Christians. This is misleading and a cheap strategy to continue to live in self-denial while profiting from a pitiable situation.

 

Boko Haram has made it very clear that their enemy is westernization and anyone who is in support of it. Also on many occasions, elite Islam scholars have arisen to condemn the sect as a misrepresentation of the ideals of Islam which is primarily a peace-seeking religion. Anyone who is aware of Nigeria’s perilous history with religious crises and yet chooses to ignore facts in favor of this fanatic charade is either blind or thoroughly biased or both. And must NOT be heeded.

 

 

  1. Perpetuate a proven fruitless blame game.

On the morning of April 14, a few hours before the Chibok kidnap, a bomb explosion in a bus park in Nyanya claimed over a hundred lives. The president visited the scene of the blast later that day but was sighted the next day first in Kano for a political rally and then in Ibadan at the celebration of the centenary birth anniversary of the Olubadan of Ibadan. News of these actions sparked a lot of dissent among the Nigeria public who quickly launched into tidal wave upon wave of blames. People attacked Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s family, his university degree in Zoology and even his hometown of Otuoke in Bayelsa state. How could he have been so insensitive?

 

In all of these however, no one thought about the Olubadan who along with his chiefs and people, welcomed the president to his party barely 24 hours after the explosion and fewer hours after news of the kidnap started to trickle in. Nor did anybody consider the hundreds of Nigerians who turned up at the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) rally at Kano on that day, cheering and waving flags. How could they have been so insensitive?

 

The blame game was vituperative, biased, painfully tangential to the issue at hand, and overwhelmingly ineffective. As is characteristic with the art of pointing a finger, all other fingers pointed back at the pointers – Nigerians, until people decided it was time to really act rather than continue to ply the art. People took up the #BringBackOurGirls campaign on different levels, in different places, to different places, and in a few days, the world couldn’t help but notice. The entire globe has seen people in uniform colors, rallying with placards and songs for the return of the #ChibokGirls and the international news media are camped at our doorsteps. Because of the intense pressure generated by this campaign, we’re seeing action or at least, a very striking semblance of it from the president and his government.

 

An adage goes thus, “the lizard who sits in bed, blaming the sun for blazing too hot or the rain for pouring too heavy will die of hunger” Clearly, blames get no one anywhere and must NOT be continued, especially when they only serve to assuage one’s need to vent in a situation that requires much more than mere venting.

 

 

  1. Get distracted by the First Lady.

After having vowed to lead a protest to Borno state even at mortal risk to her person, the first lady of Nigeria, Dame Patience Jonathan convened another high-powered meeting in Abuja with concerned parties on Sunday, the 5th of April. She reportedly burst into tears in a video that has gone viral since then, tagged ‘Chai…there is God o!’ The first lady was also linked with ordering the arrest in Abuja of Naomi Mutah, a lead protester for the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. While the charge has been denied by her aides, the comments and actions of Dame Patience Jonathan in the face of this crisis have been summarily embarrassing.

 

The #ChibokGirls case is one which cries for a mother’s voice and a feminine touch, and in a world that is quickly awakening to the power of womanhood, one can only muse over what significantly commendable differences a more articulated, less compromised, less unwittingly jocular first lady would have made. Dame Jonathan’s peculiarities are not strange to Nigerians but in the face of a crisis whose magnitude has bared us all to the eyes of the world, we must not get distracted by her.

 

If you’re reading this and thinking “Didn’t he just say we mustn’t throw blames?” then please read again. The Nigerian focus cannot afford to be dislodged from the search for these children especially considering recent developments; not even for the first lady, it can’t.

 

CONCLUSION

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”

#BringBackOurGirls

 

Mention me @ojukwu_martin on twitter

Every Sunday

church

This poem is about love

And it is very long

It is a long poem that tells the story of a kind of love

Not the kind of love you read about in romance series

And not the kind you see in soppy soaps

With dark-haired men and yellow-haired dolls

Who never have children because then what color would their hair be

This poem is about love

It is a long poem that tells the story of a kind of love

A love you will not recognize

A love that is disrespectful and blasphemous

A love that does not know its name

I don’t expect you to understand

Don’t understand

I only wish that you would pay attention

No, don’t pay attention

Don’t pay anything

Only listen

It is yet one of the harder requests ever requested

Requesting that one listen

Because we all like to hear our own voices most of the time

But still I wish that you would listen

Only listen

 

This poem is about love

Love that started in the church

In the house of God where the devil worships on Sunday

Every Sunday

And the demons burn incense and bath in holy water

This poem is about love

Love that started in the church

Between a boy and a girl who sat on either side of a man and woman

He was a chorister

Join a choir today

But he did not sing in the choir because he was too good a singer

So he sat just behind them and sang aloud

Sang better than they sang on Sunday

Every Sunday

Every time he sang so that they could hear that he was good

He was singing aloud when the man sat beside him

And a woman followed and sat beside him

And a girl followed and sat beside her

And he was singing aloud just like he sings

Every Sunday

 

She was not a chorister

Remember, join a choir today

She just joined her father and her mother to church on Sunday

Every Sunday

Every time she dolled up in Ankara and silken wraps

She blow-dried her hair with a hand fan

A souvenir from a cousin’s wedding

And she tied it with a yellow headband

A souvenir from a broken heart

And she got in the car and went to church with her father and her mother

Every Sunday

Her father sat down and her mother followed him

Her mother sat down and she followed her

And sat down

Just like she does on Sunday

Every Sunday

 

Pause

Rewind to the last stanza

Not this last last one, the one before the last one

He was singing aloud when the man sat beside him

And a woman followed and sat beside him

And a girl followed and sat beside her

And he stopped singing

He stopped singing aloud like he used to on Sunday

This Sunday

 

He stared

And she pretended not to see

Still he stared

At her full head of dark natural curls

Bound up in a mellow yellow bandana

Grow some dark natural curls today

Buy a yellow bandana, a mellow yellow bandana

Her eyes were hazel and hazy

As if they struggled to cover up mistakes done by, gone by

Her eyes were set a tad too far apart

As if they struggled against their own chemistry

Her nose was a slight button of caramel-tinted flesh that overturned like a fancy W

And her mouth was full with lips lusty and lined

Sun-dried tissue peeled off here and there, like roasted bundles of human phloem

Roasted and ready to eat

And he stared at them too long because he wanted to speak to them

No

To her

He wanted to speak to her and hear them speak to him

But the man and the woman sat between

Garbed in white and unmoving

Like the seven seas and seven hills

Where the seven dwarfs lived with Snow white and the princess, Obeledu

The man and woman sat still

Garbed in white and unmoving

Holding hands

Whispering and pecking when everybody else shook hands

 

The girl stood and made for the altar

Her offering bunched in her hand

She walked like the answer to a charmed human prayer

She walked like she knew she was the answer to a charmed human prayer

The man sat still, the woman sat still

The boy sat still

But only for another second

Then he stood and made for the altar

His offering bunched in his head

He walked like a charmed human prayer

He knew he was a charmed human prayer

He had no money in his hand but there was a song in his heart

All things bright and beautiful

All creatures fair and caramel

All hazel eyes and hair plentiful

The Lord God made them all

 

He waited on the stairs and she never came

Till he dusted his seat ready to give up the game

But then she came and she was the same

Like he had seen back in the pew, just the same

I think I know you from somewhere

It was the dumbest line ever

Learn some suave lines today

No, I mean it

Learn some suave lines

No you don’t know me from anywhere

It was the straightest jab ever

True, I don’t. Give me your number

Smile

Let’s go downstairs

So they went

Down the stairs

And they talked on the way

Down the stairs

About crying babies and praying adults as they walked

Down the stairs

 

Give me your number

No

I shall return here, same time, same pew on Sunday

Every Sunday

Just to see you again

Smile

You are wrong to assume that I will be here, same time, same pew, on Sunday

Every Sunday

Sigh

And they talked some more on the terracotta

A few yards from the gate of heaven

The huge narrow gate to paradise

They talked about foreign languages and strikes and campuses abroad

Then the mass was over

And the din of shuffling feet and bustling voices rose to a fever

Pitch like it did

Every Sunday

They poured forth from the gate of heaven

The huge narrow doorway

 

Give me your number

No, you’re a stranger

In the church we’re one, almost like family, not strangers

It was a suave line

Remember, learn some suave lines

Smile

Give me your number

The dark curls shook no

With the mellow yellow headband in tow

Remember, buy a yellow headband, a mellow yellow headband

The boy smelled the man coming

The girl smelled the woman coming

Give me your Number

No

Aaarrrgh

I shall return here, same time, same pew next Sunday

Every Sunday

Just to see you again

The curls rejoiced in the mellow yellow flames

I hope you do

Smile

Sigh

Give me your name

Smile

And they lived happily ever after

Every Sunday

 

This poem is about love

I warned you that it is very long

I warned you that

This poem is about love

A love you do not recognize

A love that is disrespectful and blasphemous

A love that still does not know its name

I did not expect you to understand

Don’t bother

I am just glad you paid attention

And you listened

 

Her name was Omoye.

 blacklove

I am @ojukwu_martin on twirra

 

 

 

10 ABSOLUTELY UNCOMPLICATED THINGS ABOUT WOMEN

Come, what’s all this noise about women and an innate complexity? “Women are complex, difficult, unpredictable, irritable, erratic, incomprehensible”… is all I ever heard as a growing child. As I grew, the talk only got worse; interestingly, I discovered the even more distorted opinion that women are indeed in support of this peddled talk. I mean, WHO in their right mind would want to be complex and difficult and unpredictable and irritable and erratic and incomprehensible? Apparently, the answer is women.

I refuse to accept that. On behalf of the beautiful good women my life’s path has harbored in the past and present, I refuse to see this talk of complexity as anything but hokus pokus.

IMG_20130409_084433

It was Mother’s day yesterday; in appreciation of motherhood and in essence, women, I present my proof…

<drumroll>…<armpit-slaps>…

 

10 ABSOLUTELY UNCOMPLICATED THINGS ABOUT WOMEN.

 

1. Everywoman likes to be called baby, ESPECIALLY if she says she doesn’t.

2. No woman likes to be called Mama Izuu or Mama Aliyu or Iya Momoh.

3. Everywoman will smile, REALLY smile, when you compliment her looks, especially her hair AND more especially if it’s true.

4. Any woman who yells and curses at her husband in the labor room is back there in less than a year.

5. All women like that they’re women, even with all the pain and abuse that they ever-so-complain about.

6. Everywoman classifies men into two groups – snacks and meals; snacks are flashy, sweet and brief. They only satisfy your temporary nibble needs. But meals are whole, rock-solid and for real. They hang on for the whole ride.

7. Everywoman will say she prefers ‘meals’ of course – balanced diet and all – but they all crave some sweet ‘snack’-time twice in every while.

8. Women like it when their men treat them like the weaker sex…because they know they are not.

9. Women whenever they get together, like to talk (NOT gossip) about what people did; special treatment is reserved for what people SAID.

10. Most women above 25 have told their girlfriends that all men are snakes at least twice.

10(b). All of them knew they were telling it to the real ‘snakes’

 

So to the woe-mongers, I say: Complicated ko…complex ni! Our women are simple…and beautifully so.

DSC05249

 

 

WHILE I WAIT FOR HER

Love01

So, most of my friends have put a ring on it! A few others are already making preparations for the realm of “I DO!” A handful of others like me; well, we are just taking our time: the mere reason why my wonderful family members won’t let me off the hook. Whenever unavoidable circumstances find me in family weddings, they keep on chipping suggestive questions at me; “what about that friend of yours” (of course a friend who is a girl) or “are you aware Tunji just got married, is marriage not a beautiful thing?” For the bold ones, they come direct for my throat; “when are you getting married?” I have since gotten used to their ‘pestism’ though. All I now do is to smile, grin and give them my drop dead gorgeous wink.

As for my immediate family, dad has since given up on me. According to him, “the boy will come around when its time.” The same cannot be said about Mrs Funmilayo Oloye Thomas though. She still hopes against all hope that something good can come out of my Nazareth. You hear her say things like, “my friend’s youngest son just celebrated his third son’s birthday!” In other words, “my own first son won’t even bring home a girl! You have a mouth-watering job that would make any sensible girl jump at you. You have an apartment of your own. You are decent, good looking, caring and a typical take home to mama! So what exactly is the problem? Have you lost your toasting techniques? At least let your Father give you some tutorials. He used to be magnetic in that department you know?” “And still is” I can see her adding with a wink at my Dad.

And over and over and over she would continue. Most of the time, her husband doesn’t even try to calm her down. Else, she would get to that point when her European eloquence is dumped for her Yoruba – English. The last time he did, she was so angry she told him he would have to go on a mandatory fast “for the children’s future partners since you think I’m being unnecessarily ‘female-ish’ and emotional about all these. Ma Funmi mi at all! (don’t Funmi me at all!) So fun mi (tell me), Babatunde Rotimi Jibola Oloye Thomas! (Mum goes for his name in full when she is angry) at what age is he bringing a girl into this house? After all, bibi sa la bi? (we gave birth to him) Abi what kind of palapala is this?”

And because Dad is a wise man with the interest of his tummy at heart, he just gave her a peck and hurriedly took the nearest exit. I mean, who are you to argue with Mrs Oloye Thomas?!! Or olorimeji ni? Oh boy! See me infected with Maami’s Yoruba-English gig oh!

In all, what these loved ones don’t know is that I’m seriously taking my time to the greatest length. If it takes me 3 years to wait for her, I don’t mind. As I keep telling my sisters, I have a superb taste where females are concerned. If I have my way, I won’t mind the hour-glass shaped woman. They call it figure 8. I call it Figure Eve. But really, I would be the happiest man on earth if I have me a correct African woman. This is not necessarily in the skin color (not too light and not too dark will do though). When I say ‘African’, I mean a woman who won’t mind showing off her hair once in a while irrespective of the length. I know my sisters and female cousins will cut off my head when they read this but come on, a brother can still dream right? It’s not every day you want to see the Peruvian, Brazilian weave. I totally love the elegance and sophistication with which females carry this hair-do; unfortunately we do get bored at times. No disrespect, but it makes them look … the same!

And her size? I won’t be explicit in my description of her less you think twice about my spirituality. But a woman who isn’t infatuated or obsessed about being a size 7 is water to my thirsty throat. Of course, I’m not an advocate for eating without self-control; my mum is to blame for this (yes, Maami again!) because she spoilt us all with good food. I don’t expect less from the future Mrs. Faith Oloye Thomas. She need not be an expert, but she should be willing to pull some creative stunts in the kitchen. And she need not think me a slave Master; courtesy of my mum (sherrapu!), I got several lashes as a child for burning the food because what a woman can do, a man can do better. In other words, her pregnancy periods are all covered.

In case you find her first, could you please tell her to be herself? I hate pretence! There’s this best friend of mine. She happens to be married though. If not that she’s married to my very good friend too, I would have snatched her from him (hopefully, Oroghene Dubamo is not reading this.) when I think of Patience Ogoh, I see truthfulness. We met in a restaurant in school. She was eating amala dudu and okro soup with her fingers! Can you imagine? Who does that in this 21st century? I sat directly opposite her and did not even bother to hide my stare. I wasn’t the only one beholding this breath-taking, light complexioned damsel eating with her fingers. One thing led to the other and we got talking. Need I mention the fact that her eating etiquette would make Queen Elizabeth herself blush? I mean with the straight shoulders, well angled arms and all. Her best meal? Garri with cold water, lots of sugar, milk and ground-nut!

I know everybody cannot be like this unique friend of mine! But then, it is comforting when you meet someone and your first impression about them is that “what you see is what you get!” I love creativity in a woman also. It would be nice if she can hold her own in whatever conversation she finds herself. With the combination of smartness, intelligence and humor, Mr. Husband wouldn’t think twice about coming home to her every day. She has to be a strong woman!

I intentionally did not put the “God factor first”. No doubt I’m born again, soaked in the blood, drowned with Christ and my Body, Spirit and Soul belongs to God! I don’t expect less from her. As a matter of fact, “this criterion” is not in dispute at all. Even if she doesn’t have all the aforementioned “qualities” she must know who she is in Christ. I don’t expect her to know all the bible versions off hand (because I don’t)…and I’m not looking out for whether she prays 77 times 7 times daily. All I ask God for is a woman who has that sincere thirst to know Him the more. Even if she’s still growing, the fact that she desires to have a concrete personal relationship with God goes a long way. This I believe IS the desire of God. So basically; a woman who knows her stand with God, His purpose for her life and where He’s taking her to. I have dreams and visions, so it’s only natural I voyage in life with someone who is in line with God’s purpose for me. It works both ways; this I know. Allll-right, enough preaching.

After all said and done, I don’t ask for a perfect woman. I’m an epitome of imperfection. But thanks to Christ, the more I gaze at that Savior of mine, the more I see perfect in Him in view. Hence my firm resolve that I can do all things through Him who strengthens me! So, I expect my strengths will be a covering for her weaknesses and vice versa.

My dear wifey, I’m presently being groomed by God. I have an aim – to be in the mold to which God has called me. So I expect that where ever she is right now and whatever she’s doing, she allows herself to be molded by God. Wisdom has taught me that, “a good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds. Her husband puts his confidence in her, and he will never be poor. As long as she lives, she does him good and never harm. She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places and brings back exotic surprises. She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, diligent in homemaking. She speaks with a gentle wisdom. Her children show their appreciation, and her husband praises her” I see myself in the nearest future telling her, “Many women are good wives, but you’ve outclassed them all!” Wisdom still has these to say about her, “Charm is deceptive and beauty disappears, but a woman who honors the LORD should be praised. Give her everything she deserves! Festoon her life with praises!”

Finally to her….I have gone over different scenes in my head as to when, where and how we would meet. I do hope I won’t find you in the hands of another man though. I’m an absolute gentle man, but I can’t promise not to beat that guy up. You need not be afraid, I’m no Mike Tyson. I can hear my mum say, “Faith Oloye Thomas, be civilized! I taught you better!” You ask how I would know when we meet? Don’t worry, sweetheart. I hope you don’t mind the endearment, another thing my parents have spoilt us with is the way they shamelessly call each other sweet nothings. Those old guys are ehn, you will simply love them! Where was I again? Enhen, how I will know abi? Remember those Words of Wisdom, “the deep calls unto the deep and iron sharpens iron?” Exactly! That is how I know I will know! Most importantly, “there’s a Spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty gives understanding.”

I wait in obedience to God and confidence in the Spirit. So I pray that may the eyes of your understanding be enlightened that you may know the hope to which God has called you. May he give you beauty for ashes, strength for fear, gladness for mourning and peace for despair. Finally, may the peace of God which passes all understanding fill your heart and mind with the knowledge and Love of Him through Jesus Christ our Saviour. So while I wait for you, please hurry. You alone can fill my missing rib!

lonely02

I DO LOVE YOU!!!

By: Jedidiah Oluwadamilola Ifenla Oligbinde.

Dami schooled as a lawyer, trained as a photographer and loves cooking. She has the pen of a ready writer and so, whenever her imagination runs off – which happens very often – she never hesitates to put down! And you guessed right from her name, she believes in love *wink*