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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Modern Pursuits



Do not pursue companionship.
Do not pursue it so hard you lose your individuality.
Didn't you learn lessons from your grandmother?
Until you saw her obituary posters, you didn't realise she had a first name, a second name and even a nickname. 
She was always somebody's something: somebody's wife, somebody's mother, somebody's relative. Her name was lost in duty.
Do not pursue companionship.
Pursue the singularity of your person such that no matter who you wed and bed,
No matter what great lives are pushed out from the spread of your thighs,
No matter whose friend or employee you are,
Your name is not forgotten. 
We were not all made for the spotlight, but don't we all have a right to a name? 

Do not always seek to be agreeable. 
Do not seek malleability in this world that seeks to bend you to conformity.
Haven't you learnt lessons from those women who have made "yes" their favorite language?
Yes to people who ride roughshod on them.
Yes to in-laws who keep meddling. 
Yes to debasing jobs.
Yes to society and its shallow concepts.
Do not always seek to be agreeable.
Pursue immunity.
Pursue it such that even praises sang loud and clear
And stones of cynicism hauled at you,  
None fazes you. 

Do not pursue survival alone.
Do not pursue to only get by, blending in to the ebb and flow of the ordinariness of everyday.
Do not pursue survival alone.
Pursue relevance, to be the answer to the wailings of muted hearts.
Because life...
this life is fleeting.




(image source: eatdrawlive.com) 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Lazy Dreams On A Thursday Night





I want to be
A photographer's dream
A designer's muse
An artist's meditation
A poet's cogitation
Only for the vanity of being 
the centre of someone's attention 

I want to see the world
I want to hold a lover's hands while we gave at the magnificence of the EiffelTower.
I want to feel the texture of the walls of the Egyptian pyramids
I want to crash an Indian wedding and watch the bride dance in red sari
I want safari rides in the jungles of Africa 

I want the niceties of luxury,

the finer things of life‎
I want to be as bold as the thoughts
Milling in my head

One day,
I want to write my own gospel



Image source: pinklion.com 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The little acts of self-love



Self-love is not another ultramodern, cute, cheesy, insular concept that is divorced from the simple acts of everyday.

It is washing your own dishes more vigorously, less shoddily because the guest you're about to serve is you.

It is breaking habits like picking your teeth till your gums bleed.

It is ditching your brother's glasses and visiting your eye doctor for your own prescription. 

Self-love is buying orbit in the traffic jam.

Self-love is refusing to let the quack beautician use superglue for your faux lashes.

It is visiting your dentist. It is spending the weekend with your bestfriend rather than in the company of that boy that doesn't care two kobos about you.

Self-live is taking a bath at night, brushing your teeth at night not just when you want to snuggle up with a lover, for you too deserve freshness of breath when you wake up in the morning. 

Self-love is not rocket science. 
It is wearing less often those designer heels that threaten to shatter your ankles with pain.

It is just as simple as going to bed when your eyes are tired.
Self-love is as simple as taking a selfie before you do that.‎

Emotional Detox



If you're tired of being passed from arm to arm to arm like a child carried by every guest at its naming ceremony;

Or you're tired of taking detours, avoiding some streets because in them you have erected monuments of heartbreak which you haven't forgiven yourself for;

Perhaps you're tired of being trifled with like a slab of meat on the butcher's table that everyone fingers and haggles without buying;

If you're tired of having lost your originality because your ideas have  been drowned by voices of lovers past;

Then you need some time away to breathe.

Love is magical, I know, but it's dazzling splendour is not your prescription for such a time as this.

Love is sweet, I understand, but you've had too much of it that it has drilled holes in your teeth. 

Now come away for you have spread yourself too thin like blue band on every slice of bread and I am just concerned that one day, you might just disappear.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Come Away

Come away from this maddening crowd for some time alone; come away for a cup of tea and commune with your thoughts. Pull the window blinds and shut out the rowdiness from the world outside. Head to the shelf and pull down dairies of old. Wet a finger and browse through the pages. For we are in search of a little girl.

We’d search for that little girl, eyes shining with hope and a pressing need to see the world beyond the borders of the soil on which she grew. The girl who yearned to discard every strand of the mundane and all of society’s hampering notions—notions imbued with prejudice.

Listen. Hear that gentle voice of rebuke, like a mother’s, now building in your head:
“Many is the time I thought to reach you. Many is the time I called your name. Have you not grown past the point you pleaded and grovelled, with bruised knees and tear-stained face, all for to be loved?

“How do you deign to be so ordinary in such a conniving world; wrapping yourself with the sheer fabric of ignorance in the fierce storms of life? Do you not know, have you not heard, that naivety no more is a virtue? That the world holds no patience for the simple and that there are not enough people to trust to chaperon you through life?

Henceforward, you shall enjoy your own soliloquy and gasp at the profundity of your thoughts. Yes, show yourself some love in the plenty of time. You’d sift every friendship, every intention; you’d store the wheat of profitability and let the winds blow away the mundane.

You’d hold your cool through these tough times. For it is the butterfly with broken wings that will not leap up and color the skies with its wings. The poor bird does not sing in its nest. You’d sing your song and bask in the melody of your own voice, yes…even if no one is listening.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Girl




                                        
(After Jamaica Kincaid)‎


Avoid boys. Avoid those boys whose hands never leave their groins. Do not eat at the neighbours' place. But if you must, do not eat like you are enjoying the meal lest they think your mother is a bad cook. Do not play with those neighbourhood urchins raised on goat milk. Stop eating so much, you will put on weight. Put a bowl in that corner where the roof leeks. Throw a pinch of salt on the earthworms to kill them. Make eba with very hot water. This is how to haggle with the tomato seller. This is how not to haggle before she throws tomato water at you. Squeeze lime over snails to take away the slime. Did I hear you begged those children for biscuit? This is how to shave your hairs. This is how to fix your pad so you won't leave a trail of blood in your wake. But I did not beg any body for biscuit. Always carry a shower cap in the rainy season. This is how to know a man that would take care of you when you marry him. This is how to know a man that would stop giving you money once you've married him. This is how to know the one that would become a he-goat and turn you to a fishwife. Do not accept gifts from unknown men. This is what to take to stop menstrual cramps. Have I not warned you to stop reading ashewo magazines under candlelight? Stop peeping through the neighbours' window to watch adult films. This is how not to reduce your bride price. But I do not read asehwo magazines under candlelight. This is how to chew gum in public. This is how to fart in public if you can't help it. This is how to dance in a ceremony without dancing more than the celebrant. At 28 you are still busy doing ashebi for others, where are my grandchildren? But you said I should avoid boys. You mean to say at your age you do not have a man in your life?






(image source: fineartamerica.com. inquisitive girl by Xueling Zou)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Heart Collector

I am a heart collector 
Hanging the artefacts of every misadventure 
Now my walls groan
Under the weight of each pain I've created


Mathew,
The room you made for me was too small
I was too tall for the bed you laid for me


Mark
I am not worth your ‎tears
I am not worth your sleepless nights


Luke,
This anger will corrode ‎ your mind
Selling our story to press won't make you rich

Dear John,
Forgive me‎ but I waited for you to evolve 
Not many women know how to mother grown men

I am a collector of hearts
Haunted by the relics of each misadventure 
And  nightly, my walls weep
For every pain I've created

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Once I Stalked A Beautiful Woman



I stalked a beautiful woman
A few years ago
When my gait was still shy
And I was not yet beautiful

I stalked a beautiful woman
With quivery  bosom and 
Ample hips
She had a dainty walk on heels
And a loud talk I heard
Even in my dreams

I tried her walk on heels
Buy my ankles got swole
Stuffed my chest with tissue
But they fell off by the way
I tried her loud talk
But my voice was too deep

A day came and she gave me a ride home
I sat flushed in her presence 
Her beauty stifling  me
I ran up the stairs ‎and cried 
For my tongue had failed me
I wished I asked the questions
Now milling in my heart

For some time 
She went away from our very little town 
I sat on her spot in church each Sunday
For I wanted to see the world
Through the eyes of this pretty woman

Then she returned 
Even more beautiful as you please
Bosom still quivery
But I no more was enthralled
Hips still ample 
But no more was I dazzled
Her talk was still loud 
But it ceased to feature in my sleep

And I never ever stalked the beautiful woman
For I too had become beautiful

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Your Brother



Your daddy was a preacher
In the church down the lane
Prescribing Bible-realities
For our everyday malaise

Your bother was the boy
Who wore a face so long it swept the floor
He had a badly drawn tattoo—head of an eagle
That appeared the artist was in shivers while he worked
Chickens and goats disappeared in his wake
Yet your daddy
Kept prescribing 
Bible- realities for our everyday malaise

Your brother only smiled—   
Gap-toothed, like a lecher
When he was with a certain wild-eyed girl
Under the staircase

One day
They took him away, loud and furious
And cudgelled his brains with clubs
I mourned him, deep and long
Till my daddy beat me out of my blues
“No one mourns prodigals this long”

Your daddy, 
Crying his son’s name in his dream
Died of a heartbreak
And the church down the lane
Lies empty and harangued







Monday, November 3, 2014

Learning To Exit

Little by little, I am unlearning tardiness, having seen how much 'African-timing' has stalled my individual progress. But over time, I have come to know that showing up punctually is not the only skill to be learnt in mastering time; there is a gift of tact that comes with knowing when to round-off; of making a graceful exit in ones daily encounters. 

Sometimes I take for granted that sixth sense, that inner perception that announces to me quietly that a matter has come to an end. It tells me when I have outstayed my welcome; It whispers to me that this love is going unrequited; it comes with this  knowing that dawns on me that I have just arrived in a place where I haven't been invited.

It's the sixth sense that tells me to end the call and quit yammering on the phone because I have lost the audience of the other person at the end of the line. It tells me   when the joke is over-flogged.

But at times some of us are so full of "faith" that we keep pressing, hoping to effect a change and in our faithful pursuit, we make a fool of ourselves.

I have come to know that there is a sheer line between doggedness and desperation; between the persistence of faith and the acts of foolishness. Sometimes I get drunk on my own sense of self-acceptance that I assume  that I would never suffer rejection. But I learn daily that not everyone would find me beautiful; not everyone would find me clever or fun to be with (and obviously their opinion doesn't count).

I have learnt  that desperation makes a puny out of you; that punctuality in arrival isn't enough.  There's a beauty in wrapping up tactfully, in closing a chapter without tearing the pages of the book; of walking away from that door that has chosen not to open and saving your knuckles the perpetual pain of knocking. There's a grace in slipping away quietly, without dramas, without creating scenes.

Arriving on time is beautiful but learning to exit is even more graceful.





(image source: 
http://cloud.graphicleftovers.com/37335/1089917/it-is-time-to-go.jpg)