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Friday, April 19, 2013

And I Shook The World From My First Day

I shook the world from my first day
As my cries awoke everyone in the ward
And each kid joined in the chorus
And they heralded my arrival

My sex dents their fa├žade
They want a boy
But I  forgive their myopia
For if they knew the bore greatness in their arms
They would have held me differently.
They would have spoken to me differently.

But I shook the world from my first day
With ear-splitting wails
Red in the skin
Mouth, a small black hole
And every one kid in that ward
Joined in the chorus
And they all heralded my arrival.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Silence (A Poem)

Zinc on rooftop
Cracks by the sun’s heat.

Bus stop.
Sandwiched between strangers
Rubbing sweaty shoulders.

A knock.
A door opens.
In bed, another stranger rolls over me.

Look him in the eye
I know he will not
Beat down doors to claim me.

Phone rings,
‘I love you’, says mother at the end
Of the line.

It took you twenty-five years to say?
Twenty-five years too late.

A Wiser Than Solomon II

I set my mind to search out deep matters and I arrived at this, that many women are like opportunistic infections; Their eyes move to and fro, seeking men with artesian wells of wealth at their backyards to latch unto. Only the wise man shall escape them. But sooner or later these women  fall into the hands of some rogue from the underworld. Innumerable are the souls that have been lost in the pursuit of easy fripperies.
One day as I sat by my corner, eating bread and savoring the mild saltiness of butter, I saw a young girl trooping in and out of the abortionist's pen and not so far off I saw a noble woman rocking an empty cradle.  How imbalanced and unfair nature is.
Here are four myths they told us while growing up, yes, five lies they told us:
-Lock a girl up and keep her a virgin; good men marry only good women.
-Do not be overly ambitious. Men are afraid of ambitious women and would rather do with those women with very modest dreams.
-Most times he hits you because he’s on heat.
-There’s a difference between sex and lovemaking.
-(Leave what is written on the body of the car and go inside the car); any man is a man.

Lies. Notions imbued with prejudice, simmered in a broth of narrow-mindedness. You locked me in a room and tied my legs to a bedpost in order for me not to spread them, so that when that good man comes along, on our wedding night he'd shall exclaim, Ooh lala, mon Cherie, you stayed put all for me? How I shall love you forever! No mama, there’re some things you failed to tell me. See Auntie Ogo who slightly escaped the nunnery because of her goodness, yet he treats her like a dish rag. She, a good woman who never knew a man. 
Goodness alone is such a fickle weapon. Mama there had to be more to shunning hanky-panky than that painful thrust on my nuptial night. I do not keep me for no man, for every man is transient. I keep me for me because it shall save me a catalogue of clinical woes. And there is more to this deal between man and wife than waking each morning beside a broad shoulder. Staying put has not made him love me more; it has not made him love me less.

In a certain town, once upon a time, there were two sisters. One was very good, the other evil. The good sister washed the plates and pots each morning, watered the plants, took the younger ones to school and brought them back, picked fleas from the dogs back and killed them in a container of kerosene, stayed by her grandparents bedside, shunned all youthful frivolities. But she did not expect much from life.All she wanted was some peace and quiet.
But her sister was the flip of the coin; uber-promiscuous, she went with all the men, fought in all the market places, had a love child. She was fearless and her eyes shone with wildness like a wolf's.
Well, a short while later, the good one went with a good and equally quiet man. But then, also came along a hardworking man who came for the evil sister and loved her more than his own tongue. They worked hard together and had rich prospects. But the good sister’s husband died and left her broke and she had to live off the evil sister, waiting on her cap in hand for what little handout she had to offer. This is a story I am still trying to figure out its moral.

“Well, that’s luck,” you quip.
Now who speaks of luck here? There’s no such thing as luck. I do not believe in luck, in fate, in chance happenstances. Luck is a reed shaking in the wind. Luck is dry tinder, igniting with readiness in the many fires of life. Luck is good things happening to you without you knowing why they happened. One ought to know why good things happened to them.  It ought not to fall on their lap like a ripe cherry. Show me a luck-reliant man and I'd show you a gambler on the road to destiny. For as he never knew why good came his way, he shall never know why evil would come his way and danger arrive at his door steps.

Here is another side of that tale. The hardworking man sees an evil woman and falls head over heels, falls right under her hex. But his parents would not give their blessings. But the lovers wax hot in their love and the son threatens to disown his parents. They split so much airs, caused so many grievances and vexing the old man and his wife. Reluctantly, the oldsters acquiesce and permit the union.
At the reception, the couple bends low and wiggles their hips so hard at the parents, as if in victory, mockery even. The guests mutter, With all this gyration, they'd sure be needing hot water to press down their swollen nerves tonight.
In time, after the spirit of the celebration had worn off, she begins to bully the man, nagging him to migraines, driving him to the bottle and making him lose contracts, job after job. Fought him and over him in public if he made the unfortunate move of glancing at a girl or if the girl was the one who looks. The young man is miserable and he says to himself, I shall return to my father and say, Father forgive those times my wife drove you out when you came all the way from the village to visit us. I have no job now but can I work in your farm and together we shall build a ranch?  But he remembers the wedding day, how he danced so hard and he changes his mind and endures the torture at his wife’s hands.

Leave what is written on the body of the car and get inside the car, any man is a man, they told her and she grabbed a bum off the streets. A bum whose occupation was football-watching at the street corners. He loved his bottle of beer and his plate of fried fish more than his own life. All day she is at the market buying fish, trying to keep him at home. What would people say when they see my husband everyday at the roadside restaurant? she says to herself. She guts the inside of the fish and feeds them to the neighbor’s cat, sprinkles flour and salt on it and fries it to crisp just as he likes. She waits at the table because the bum she got off from the streets would be returning very soon. May his club win, she prays, for if they do, he’d lick his plate clean and ask for a second helping. But if they lose he’d come home beered up,refusing to touch his meal. He'd lay sprawled in bed and sleep off his disappointment and he’d not even make room for her in her own bed.

The howling of a battered dog? The bleating of a lost sheep? Someone’s cry shatters my sleep like glass. BIM. BIM.CLATTER. CLATTER. CLATTERRRRY. Furniture dragged aside. Torrents of steel utensils rain down. Someone’s heavy breathing. A man’s. Pause. Someone is sniffing. A woman. The walls of our room reverberate. I reach for my torch at the foot of the bed and turn on the light. The noise awakes Mama too.
‘Where are you going?’ she asked.
‘They are at it again.’
‘So?’ Her face is a cocktail  of sleep and sarcasm. ‘Please turn off that light and let me catch some sleep.’
‘But he could kill her one day.’
‘Then we’d rest. Or do you want to go over and shine the torch light for them? That woman doesn't hear a word. She should steer clear when he’s on heat.’
A chorus of yelling children joined in the noise but like well-modulated choir, their cries died down as soon as it began. I turned off the torch light and rolled back to bed.                                           

Sunday, April 14, 2013

I Was Blind

I was blind
And you were my Seeing Eye dog
But you wandered off
To eat a juicy bone

And I was
The sugar in your tea
But you were hot water
Crumbling me

We were actors
Rehearsing a scene backstage
But when the curtains drew
Another took my place

You were a building
I, the scaffolding
That must be done away with
When ‘building’ must progress

Wasn't it yesterday?
That we tossed names for
Our babies unborn
I burst your pimples
I cleaned your toe nails
A fortnight ago
I did your dishes
On weekdays
And your laundry
Each Saturday

But you
Being the Seeing Eye dog that you are
Saw a juicy bone
And wandered off

Dear sisters
I warn you by the harsh harmattan winds
By the confluence of River Niger and River Benue

Don’t do like wife
When you are not yet wife
Don’t cook like wife
When you are not yet wife
Don’t spend like wife
Sleep like wife
Think you are wife
When you are not yet wife

But I was blind
Sweet sugar in his tea
And he, hot water
Crumbled me

One night I departed into the city
To seek the one my soul loves
Dispel of him the hoax
Cast upon him
To say to him,Return oh thou my love
I have made super
But no, it is not our last
Punched the feather pillow to shape
Sewn all the holes in the blanket

But the police men caught me
You are under arrest
Why are plying these streets
When all the street lamps are dead?

I seek the one I love
I said
And they laughed me to scorn
And detained me till morning

But I was blind
And you my Seeing Eye dog
You spotted that juicy bone
And ran away from me

Dear sisters
I warn you
By the scorching sun of the tropics
By the rainy nights of July

Do not kiss too long
With your eyes still shut

But I was blind
Scaffolding to ‘work in progress’
That is cut into pieces
And used for firewood.

Unseen Hands

They say our faith is our crutch
What we use to excuse away our inabilities
Wish they knew
It’s much more than that
It is our spinal cord
We'd be 'vegetable' without it

In the place where I grew up
Solipsism is sham                                                                                                                     
Atheism, a luxury many cannot afford

For without warning
I could awake submerged in flood
I could get news that Uncle got blown away in church
Auntie could be in that last flight to Abuja
A drunken mob could stone junior to death in school
For what he didn't do

I need those Unseen hands
To keep the waters of river Niger
Confined in its banks
I need those Unseen hands
To thwart the machinery of the bomber
Let those hands bear up the plane Auntie’s in
Let them keep the angry mob away from junior’s school

When all things fail
I need belief in something higher than I
Let those hands bear up the bus I shall ride in to town
Keep Mama’s soup fresh when there’s power outage
Let them help me find a taxi fast enough
When granny has her fainting spells
I need them to remind government
That my school’s been shut for six months

Stop eyeing me
Because my ‘Amen’ is loudest in church
Listen, I need hope
My school’s been shut for six months!
(And preach on preacher!)
Tell me I am not statistics
Tell me success has no geographical location
Tell me greatness is no respecter of persons
That I am not empty-headed because I was born at
Such a time as this
Oh lead me to a rock higher than I

I need those hands to wield the affairs of my life
For those who promised me a bright future
Have snuffed out all the light and are having a field day in the dark

I won’t judge you
I can understand if you do not need them
Cause you've got 911 in your place
Even if we had 911 over here
Would the thick hold-up let them get to my destination timely?

I need those hands, men
Cause over
We  just have to live by faith

Saturday, April 13, 2013

There's A God Called Poetry

I hear him in unexpected places
I hear him in the thudding of the stiletto down the hall
In the noisy chatter of market women
And in the croaking of toads at night

I hear him in the boom of my father’s voice
(The voice he preserves for his reprimands)
I hear him in the calls of the groundnut seller
In the screeching of the tires on the pavement
I hear Him in the last cry of the slaughtered goat
In the sudden yelp of the sleeping child
Hear him when the mortar hits the pestle
In the whistles of the laborers

In the jingling of bicycle bells
And in the shrill niggling of my mother’s complaint
He is in the eyes of the poor beggar knocking at my windscreen
In the angry scorn of the lady
Bespattered with mud by a careless motorist
I see him in the shivering of the leaves
And in the unfurling of petals
I catch sight of him when my cat licks her paws       
In the swaying of the beaded waist of the dancer

He is in the shy twinkling of fireflies
In the missing tooth of my younger sister
In my dog scratching her ears
And in my grandmother picking her tooth

I feel him on my chapped lips on a harmattan morning
Feel him as the rain hits my face
In the scalding of my tongue when I taste hot food
In the hands of a lover at my waist
In the gentle kicking of the fetus

I hide from him
Yet He pursues
I hide my face between my legs
To escape him
Yet I smell him

There’s a God called Poetry
I smell him when I walk past the bakery
In the tickle of my armpit in a hot afternoon
In the wizened touch of my grandpa
In the twittering of a thousand birds
And in the rushing of a mighty wind

The Call

At your command
I have kicked off my sandals
And lain aside all that distracts
Here I stand
On shaky feet
The warmth of the earth
‘Who am I?’  You ask.
‘A writer.’ I say
What is that in your hands?
'My writery.'

It is my rod and my staff
In this burning bush of life

Throwing The Garbage

In the place where I grew up, the people love to pepper their talk with adages. When they were unsure about a thing, they’d say, Like the dog, I’d better deep my legs into my water before what’s mine becomes another’s. If they had very tight schedules, you’d hear them say, Like the mad man, I've got so much to do, including my dance at the market square. Or when a neighbor slaps our butt for sticking out our tongues or wriggling our tiny bums or just being impertinent to an older person, no one complained or hauled anyone to court for disciplining someone else's child.It was common belief  with them that it takes a village to raise a child.
But there’s this adage that I never loved, yet so true, so applicable and often used on me: If it pleases a child, he can sit on the loo from sun-up to sun-down, his chores still await him. On my mother’s lips, it was a final resolution, a dismissed case that the task you've been dodging would never be delegated to another.
Perhaps the dishes have piled high, or that crazy dog has defecated all over the compound; the dirty clothes in the basin are pressed down, shaken together and running over, or the cars needed washing. I’d run into the toilet praying, Let this cup pass away from me, forcing out what was not there in my empty bowels, lifting the plastic covering of the toilet seat high enough to  let it bang so that the noise would warn everyone that I was doing serious business in there. But then a knock would come, “This child, what in the world  have you been doing in there? Are you shitting out your intestines?”
“Mummy my stomach….”
“You can seat there for eternity, those dishes still await you.”
“Please tell another person….”
“You must be joking.”
In those days, before the government thought it wise to create the Municipal Waste Management Board that employed those good people that came to take your dirt from your doorsteps, throwing the garbage was my least preferred, most loathsome chore. It was condescending. But as a kid I didn't mind this task. It even posed as a kind of adventure to me; I,tagging behind an older sibling, asking inane questions: That mad man that lives in the dumps is he married…? Why does he- why does he-feed on the dirt if he’s married…? Can’t his wife cook him a meal and then take him home and- and they would open a shop together and...? until you were hushed and threatened that the object of your curiosity would bounce on you if you so much as whispered.
But when you have become pubescent and your own body becomes a perplexity, an entity of bafflement to your young mind-when you had to be careful so no one would elbow the small and strange protuberances budding on your chest and there happens to be a boy you were infatuated with down the lane who, however does not notice you; and there is another who stalks you unashamedly though you do not care a fig about him; throwing the garbage is just… ah, I just could not bring myself to do it.  What if he( my crush) saw me or maybe someone from school…?  Gratefully, with time, I did not need to bother my head with these. My saving grace was my younger siblings who still enjoyed the adventure the chore possessed.
However on this occasion, being back from boarding school for the mid-term break and needing all the sleep that the accursed rising bell that chimed daily by five a.m. had deprived me, none of my younger ones were home (they were in a different boarding school) . The refuse bin was a quarter full.
To prevent it from getting to the brim, I began throwing some of the dirt over the fence, of course after I must have crept slowly, darting my eyes about, making sure no one beheld my act. I threw them into an old woman’s farm,well, only degradable matter: the gutted parts of fish, egg shells, dead rats, orange and paw-paw and pineapple peels, stalks of vegetable etc, etc. I felt my crime was only benign, not so culpable. After all, the old farmer would  need the manure.
Yet incipiently, the odor crept into the house. I had a few more days to stay and I began the countdown: Four…Three… Two…. 
Not that I was callous enough as to think my elders, maybe my mother or uncle would carry out this task while I was home, No way. Even while we were all away, the neighborhood kids helped them with the garbage.
But this morning, still lolling in bed and summarizing my sleep, with everything in perfect harmony: the skies bright even though the sun was not yet out and from a distance I could see the moon taking a bow. And I, reveling in how much weight I had put on, how the prominent veins and scrawniness have disappeared after a week of home-made food. I, reveling in the thoughts of how tighter my day-wear and school uniform skirts shall become…., I heard her voice from outside:
“Mmmhn,' she sniffed. 'This dustbin has begun to smell badly. Ezinne…!”
I threw the duvet over my head, curled up and began snoring anew. Not today, I prayed, not today.
She was already in my room, pulling the duvet off me, “Ezinne.”
I stretched and produced a long yawn.
“Carry on so long as you can, but as for that garbage, it must be thrown this morning.”
“This morning?”          
“Does it sound like I had water in my mouth when I said that?’
“This broad daylight? No one throws their garbage by this time. Let me do it at night.”
“Don’t let me repeat myself.” She strode out of my room.
Finally it’s today! I’m done for. The thing which I greatly feared is come upon me. Perhaps if I had begged her, my mother might have acquiesced even though her face now wore that unflinching resolution characteristic of mothers, God bless their hearts! But in those days, as opposed to now, I hadn't mastered the art of inveigling, of being polite, of rubbing backs, of pleading my case and being obsequious when the need a rose in order to have my way eventually. For if you grew up in the place I did, you needed to be a pro in these arts. Their mastery made your life a lot easier. Back then sadly, the only art I was interested in learning was the puffing and dusting of shoulders, mastering an insolent pout and strutting to the music playing in my little head.
Juvenile you think, but there was more to this garbage thing than met the eye. It was way too bright for me to wheel a barrow. Supposing I saw someone from school, how would I re-explain to my friends that our house was not really teeming with a herd of domestic staff that carried out such mundane domestic routine? Then on further probing, (those girls could probe, Lord have mercy!), what would become of my reputation when they discovered that there was no garage filled with exotic automobiles, no army of drivers, no swimming pool, no cousins abroad sending me beautiful fripperies, that these fripperies were actually from the secondhand clothing shop? Ah mother,why? No box filled with skinny jeans; I wasn't even allowed to wear trousers!
I braced myself and brushed my teeth and hair, all the while murmuring and grumbling. On a second thought, I applied perfume generously.(Now, in retrospect, this vain act makes me laugh and I want to ask my younger self: Chick, the perfume, what was the motive? You were going to the dumps!)
I loaded the rusty barrow. The puppies yelped and yanked at my ankle-length skirt, begging to be petted. I pushed them away. This hour forbade sentimentality.
How loudly that barrow gritted as I wheeled it across the streets; its noise, an addendum to my shame.

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Wiser Than Solomon

There are things I cannot find room for inside of me, certain things I cannot contain. That a young man and a maiden would frolic for a long time, for years, yet he goes off to marry a total stranger. And it leaves my young heart in bewilderment. What happened to all those days they paraded hand in hand our street, their laughter ringing in our ears;  those nights of buying Suya at the mallam’s place, their love brighter than neon signs? When love dies, where does all the ‘I love you’ go? This is a plague under the sun, a waste of time and emotions.
A man treats his wife like a schmuck because she has increased in breadth, yet his neighbor ogles her behind his back. Another woman is loved with utter devotion by her husband such that anything she requires and desires, none is denied her, yet her yearnings are with the driver or the servant boy. This is another evil under the sun.
One day on my way back from school, to avoid the intensity of the sun’s rays, I took a short-cut, a track road surrounded with small bushes and there, I came upon a young man and a woman, razor in hand, piercing their hands about to mingle their blood, binding their souls to an oath. And I say this is meaningless, the folly of young love.
At the window of my house, some other day, I looked through the glass panes and I saw the women who have laid their life long partners to rest and how they have moved on with their lives, first with gentle strides for this transition is not so easy. This I observed from my corner and I realized that no man born of a woman is indispensible. Death is a worse deal for the dead than it is for the living for sooner or later the living move on with their lives.
Yet there are women devoid of understanding who have let their lives sink into oblivion because someone walked away. I know such a woman. She lives in my street, she lives in yours too.  Ask me for an object to personify her in the hay days of the affair and I’d say a red lipstick.  Then ask me for another to personify her after the epilogue of the affair: a black smelly hair net.
Her life stalled as activities around her mushroomed. All day she’d sit on a low shaky stool. Elbow on knee, jaw in hand, leading the life of a wounded animal. She wears her hurt like a halo. Daily she dusts off pictures and letters, souvenirs of the good old days and at night hot tears roll down and we can hear her grizzling and sniffing, refusing to take the break up with equanimity. Very often does man put asunder to what God has joined together, let alone what He hasn’t!

Here is a thing I have observed under the sun, in the few decades I have spent on planet earth: Success makes love easier. A rich man’s love is like eating well picked beans but a poor man’s love is like a bowl of beans fraught with stones.  One either decides to eat it ungrudgingly, thanking God that at least you found  food to eat in the first place, smile through the experience and hope for a brighter day; or you grumble while you are at it.
Not that the love shared amongst the well-to-do is immune to life and its many vicissitudes; but plying a pot-holed road with a bad motorcycle can never be the same experience as plying that same road with a strong and healthy car.
But would I deny, that many a night  have I heard the muffled cries of a bartered woman in a mansion and because the walls are so thick, the fences so high and barb wired, and the dogs so vicious and alert, no one dares go in to help her. This too is meaningless, another evil disease under the sun.
Here is another folly among men but more so in women; they go about sniffing at their beloved footprints like dogs; tracking and spying; scrolling and hoping to find something incriminating, something they aren’t prepared to face. Ask them what they seek and they’d be unable to work up an answer. It eludes their understanding that love is an act of faith: a love that must sniff to perceive, that must look to believe is fractured in some hidden places.
And when they eventually loses their beloved to another because the constant vigilance became nerve jarring, when their beloved goes to the one who lets them breathe, they mourn and cry. When love’s lost, many women’s tears are sincere but do not let a man’s tears deceive you. When a man cries, he doesn’t mourn the love lost to another, he simply cries because he’s been outwitted by one not much clever than he is.
One day I sat with myself and communed with my soul, to seek out hidden truths. I observed that they are those whom you can only love from a distance. Proximity would thwart such a love and afflict your soul with much pain.
I loved you so well till I became immune to self, for love ought to make one immune to their own whims. But like the opening of eyes after a crunchy bite from the forbidden fruit, I began to observe you in a lopsided manner, like I was a plumber and you, a leaky faucet. I got a hold of my box of tools to fix you. But no sooner does the love die a quick death, a love suddenly gone hypocritical.
I have resolved in my mind to go about this matter in this manner; I shall love, deeply and sincerely the object of my affection. But I shall not let my world revolve around you. You shall not be the life of me, the air I breathe; neither shall you be the chief source of my existence. And if you decide to walk away, I shall move on and love again.
When love lingers too long, heading to no definite direction, months and years roll by without the definition of an affair, soon the apple of your eyes becomes a speck of dust you must blow away.
Man is obsessed with appearances but most times the beauty of a damsel is indirectly proportional to her character and the size of a man could be indirectly proportional to his virility. Some women are as beautiful as their attitude is ugly and some men are as big as their will is small.
You woke one morning and absconded, leaving me with a three month old child. Ten years you returned to start anew with us. You stood at the door awaiting a warm reception, acting up, feigning ignorance and innocence, like ten years were only ten days or even ten minutes, trying to stroke my back into remembrance. Did you not learn in elementary science; that the cells in our bodies die after seven to ten year, that new cells are born? I have ceased to know you for a decade. The part of me that opened to your touch is dead. My body bears cognizance of you no more….
And finally here is my take on this love matter; Love should come with a life time warranty, a cross my heart assurance. Let the hands that hold me tonight be there tomorrow.  Let the breath I feel down my neck as I lay me down to sleep never cease. Let your side of the bed remain warm and even if you go away for a moment, may it never thaw till you return to make it warm again. Amen

6 Short poems

I.                    TROUBLED MATRIMONY
She lays awake
In the dead of the night
Listening to his private noises
When love dies,
What happens to all the
‘I love you’

II.                  STREETSIDE EXCHANGE
I have mastered the art
Of giving the body
Without the heart

III.                TRUST
She calls aloud in the streets
She raises her voice to the public squares
‘Don’t you get it?
No man can earn me,
I speak from the stance of one
Who has come to see man
For whom he really is:
I am a gift to be given
Not a prize to be won.

IV.                LUST
Oh let me…
Let me count your teeth
With my tongue

V.                  TRUE LOVE
I love you
Deeply and sincerely
But my world does not revolve
Around you
You are not the air I breathe.
You are not the life of me.
If you walked away
I would hurt
But I must certainly survive.
If you decide to die
I’d mourn you
Put you in a wooden box
Dig a hole
And bury you.

And love again.

VI.                A LETTER FROM YOUR GIRL
Do become successful
It would make loving you a lot easier.
                              Yours sincerely.

(‘Street -side exchange’, ‘Lust’ and ‘True Love’ appeared first in Sentinel Nigeria Issue14;
‘Trust’ appeared in Sunday Sun Review January 2013)

Dear Bomber

Dear Bomber,
When we heard the blast and the fusillades, we knew you had struck again and perhaps, even now, you raise your glasses and click them at a mission fait accompli, or you are right now plotting another misadventure. And again, we are astonished, wondering what in the world to do to slake your insatiable thirst for bloodshed. Even this very ground is choking, unable to swallow the many blood you have spilled on it. This game of taking lives with impunity, are you not bored yet? You have carried on too long.
You are not animals; neither are you deranged people nor are you creatures past feelings of compunction. In your hearts we believe, that there are still glimmers of positive human emotions. We use to live as brothers until you signed this abominable pact of destruction and mutilation. Now we appeal to your sense of better judgment to take time to listen to the cries of your victims, these cries that fill your ears, yet you choose to ignore. Our towns are littered with orphans, widows and men bereft of all they have labored for. Each time, we leave our homes in trepidations hoping that today would not be our last.
This cause you so passionately defend threatens the stability and prosperity of our land. This willingness of yours to shed your life and that of others does not hold water. It is not a worthy cause. The litmus test for every worthy cause, religion or belief are based on these: is it good for God and man? Is it compassionate and considerate? Is it fueled by love? And in these tests, yours seems to fail woefully.  Your cause is fueled by bloodshed and hate and unjust anger and a desire not to see the betterment of your fellow men.
You cannot blame us if we do not share your philosophies, for it speaks against every good thing man believes in and it heavily opposes justice. Your philosophies treat life like it were some negligible entity.
When you kill a man, and as it is in this case, men in their thousands, you kill dreams; you abort destinies and these people’s contribution to the world. You make the world miss various wonders. You forcefully take that which you have no right to and you destroy what you cannot fathom. You may laugh and say, ‘well, death is an inevitable end to human life and we only hasten it.’ But we believe that though death be inescapable to him, Man was not designed to die in such an undignified manner, his life ending life a punctured balloon. So see, whatever props you on and backs you up opposes propriety.
And to the dear young hearts indoctrinated and conscripted into defending this belief in human sacrifice and making nonsensical the value of life, know you not that they feed you a string of white lies? Your life has worth and so do that of others. Your life is not yours; you did not strike a bargain with providence. It is a gift entrusted you in which you shall account for. This mentors and progenitors whom you sit at their feet speak of martyrdom but an unworthy cause has no true martyrs. In your hearts we know that they are faint shadows of doubt considering the worthiness of what you doggedly defend. A belief that measures it victories by the blood it sheds and counts its laurels by the tearful mourning of others and decks its adherents with epaulets of their own lost lives, is a far cry from a noble one.
Perhaps in this you seek significance, not willing to leave this world as nobodies but defenders of your faith. But we say, seek significance in adding value, not in stealing it.
Perhaps you have been erred and with this you seek vengeance, and we ask, which of us has not been failed some time or the other? Those who we have believed have failed by various degrees. If we all took to bombs and arms, what will be left of this country? But we have found bigger virtues to rest our hearts on; that of hope, love and forgiveness. We know you think these are weaker means to victory but we know these virtues have won from time immemorial. Convictions are not a test of logic. That you feel strongly about this matter, willing to give your life for it does not make it right.
And to the men that feed your guns with bullet, stoking the fires of your violence and having no better thing to do with their wealth, do not think for a moment you shall go unscathed. The day is coming, and it is now when your own clothes shall catch the fires you so readily ignite.
And we, choosing to break your hard bones with a gentle tongue, do beseech you, stop the wickedness. But do not consider us weaklings for we shall keep fighting back on our knees till your convictions are stymied and your boldness stripped from you.    

(First published in Y!Naija )