1st October

At first they came like Angels
Wielding umbrella’s
Like guardians of the galaxy
Sent to relieve our malady

Then they came with brooms
Chanting for change
Sowing seeds of discord
While inciting rage

They’ve drained our wells
And looted our jewels
Our land is parched
Thirsty for blood

Now the center won’t hold
The edges are splitting
Our prayers are dwindling
And hope is foreign

When they come again
With baskets of empty promises
Sweet melodious lies
That tickle our ears

I hope you’ll remember
That change resides in you
Your choices today may haunt you
Your children and their children

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FALLEN ANGEL

I see the headmistress

Garnished in red

Knees bent, head bowed

Between his knees

She gags and chokes

Nodding to lusts rhythm

Stealing life from Lucifer’s shaft

Like a starved lizard

—————————————————–

I see the Lord of lies

Lavishly disguised

Eyes shut, lips trembling

He laughs and chants

Words void of meaning

Dancing to Lust’s rhythm

Sucking bile from Delilah’s teat

Like a demented dog

—————————————————–

I see two fallen angels

Standing at crossroads

Tears falling from their eyes

Into baskets of promises

Bound by fate yet world’s apart

Eternally entwined

On a bed of roses

And a pillow cascaded with thorns

…GUILTY PLEASURES

****

You love me

When the lights go off

In the dead of the night

When the moon is out

****

You keep me

Behind closed doors

Under the sheets

Where the world can’t see

****

You hold me

Like a dirty secret

Then Kiss me

Like a guilty pleasure

****

I’m your worthless treasure

Unwrapped and devoured

Drowning deeper

In your fallacies

****

Someday soon

When I awake

From this mirage

Of shame and fear

****

I will carve a crown

From my tears and scars

And learn to love

Myself again

​NIGERIA IS NOT OUR NAME


Nigeria is not our name

It’s who we are

                        ******

Home is where our heart is

She has a heartbeat

Our evergreen waste land

Our emerald treasure

Serenaded with  curses

Showered with shame

Stripped and sold out 

By wolves in sheep skin

               *****

Headless vultures, lying sweet lies

With baskets of promises

That seduce and entice

With umbrella’s and brooms

They’ve withered our leaves

And drained our wells

Scattered our seeds 

And soured our fruits

          *****

Our land is parched

Thirsty for blood

Now, zombies wield machetes

Chant prayers then spray bullets

Daughters in Dubai, selling sex

Sons in suits crafting mails of doom

But our land is barren

Crying for justice

        ******

Our heart is shattered, 

Broken and battered, So

We nurse her like an old wound

Love her like a stubborn scar

And bless her with our lips.

Nigeria is not our name

It’s who we are, our birthright

Our bloodline, dipped in diversity

              ******

Pulsing with magma

Flowing from the deltas

Borne from the embers 

Of past heroes and warriors

Yes! This eagle will soar

Yes! Our sun will rise again

When you get to Aso

Tell His excellency

             ******

Our umbrella’s are leaking

Our brooms our broken

Tell him to keep his change

And bring back our girls 

Tell Him we  heard the call

We’ve  pledged to serve

Our home has a heartbeat.

Throbbing through our veins

             ******

Nigeria is not our name

It’s who we are.

Reunion


​ Tonye stood in the middle of the corridor, searching for someone to bail him out of an awkward situation.

“Tee what are you saying now? Let me stop by your place later… We could work on Dr Shaka’s assignment together ”

Jennifer was saying something but Tonye’s mind was far from their discussion; his eyes were searching franticly for a familiar face from the crowd of students pouring out of the lecture hall.

“Tonye! You’re not listening!…Are you mad at me? Everyday I literally have to chase you down just to have a conversation.”

He turned to give her a polite rebuff only to find that she now stood a few inches from him.  Her enormous breasts were pressing against his chest, and her red blouse had a few buttons undone, giving him full view of her cleavage. In an effort to distract himself he looked up at her face and caught her pouting her over-glossed lips. Now he was getting really uncomfortable.  He turned away from her  and breathed a sigh of relief when he saw a few faces he recognised and seized the opportunity.

“Jennifer, I’ll talk to you later, yeah” 

He called out while pushing past the throng of students trying to exit the narrow passage. He picked up his pace and fell into step with his friends. As he approached them he noticed, they were smiling at him and making hushed remarks. No doubt they had seen him and Jennifer.

 Mofe, a tall boy with clean cut features and an athlete’s body spoke first

“Lover boy, you no wan give these girls break o”

Tonye laughed and tried to brush the subject aside but he knew that this would be the subject of many future discussions. Henry, who was one level ahead of them, was visibly fuming and giving Tonye the evil eye.

“Wettin dey worry you, Ehn Tonye?! How you go just leave Jennifer like that? See me see trouble o, na wettin the babe do you na? You just fall my hand…come, this your fine boy forming don dey too much sef”

  His lips parted to say more but he only let out a loud high pitched hiss with one lanky arm fixed on his hips. 

Tonye and Mofe turned to each other at once and burst out in a guffaw loud enough to attract the stares of passing students.

“Henry! konji no go kill you,” Mofe said, and continued in-between fits  of laughter.

“If you like her, go chyke her na…abi, you no get liver?”

One look from Henry and Mofe tactically changed the subject and soon they were bantering over the match between Chelsea and Arsenal.

Three of them crossed the brown rusty gate that was the sole demarcation between the Faculty of Engineering and the rest of Choba campus. Tonye watched most of his course mates littered around the canteen, some seated under umbrella’s with chairs nd tables beneath and others clustered around different stalls hawking drinksdand snacks.  He sighted students with zobo, some with bottles of mineral in hand and others munching hungrily on eggrolls, meat pies and other snacks. A few  groups sat together while others sat alone absorbed by their phones. His trio of friends  were discussing controversial topics and light hearted subjects as well. He either smiled or  nodded as he locked eyes with some people he knew.  Chika, one of his close friends smiled backed at him, and her dimples were even more evident. With that he felt a sharp stab of pain. So far anything that reminded him of Preye, his ex-girlfriend caused his heart to ache. But, with much effort he pushed the sad memory away.

Tonye and his family moved from Abuja to Rivers State albeit reluctantly.  His father Chief Amakiri retired early and decided it was time to fulfil the many dreams and aspirations he put on hold while making money. Part of it was relocating to his home town, getting his family acquainted with the people and environment that influenced and moulded him to the man he became. 

Everyone disagreed at first, throwing fits and tantrums but after his mother joined him. Any further resistance was futile. Tonye was excited, he had never been outside the borders of Abuja and the explorer in him longed to discover other parts of the country but his enthusiasm died down when he thought of Preye. He wasn’t sure what love was or what it felt like but he really, really liked her. He seemed to find himself in a tight spot.
It was only natural that Tonye talked to his father about his worries and Chief Amakiri assured him that everything would be fine.
“There are very beautiful girls in Port-Harcourt…take a look at your mother! When you get there you won’t even remember who Preye is. Son, I know you think you’re in love and all, but you’re just sixteen, You have your whole life ahead of you.”

 On and on his father went reassuring and promising, chasing away all doubts that befuddled his decision. He followed his father’s advice and left Abuja without a proper goodbye-without any goodbye. If only he knew how wrong his father was, leaving Preye only made him realise how much he cared for her; absence really did make the heart grow fonder.  Some days he craved  her presence and contemplated running away to Abuja but the disadvantages outweighed the merits so he decided against it.

Tonye, Mofe, and Henry strolled lackadaisically the way towards the far end of Choba campus. They manuevered through the short cut to the gaming station. This was their Friday routine,  they would ay and bet on games  before going to their hostel.  They hurried along to avoid Mr. Dike catching up and scolding them, with one of his many demons ending with them becoming meat sellers or bus conductors. He was an assistant lecturer by day and a pastor after school hours. The boys really didn’t care much for his stories, his comical gesticulations always gave them a good laugh but once Mr Dike began his hour long epistles, they had to be finished no matter how long it took. Mr Dike was a sour name amongst most students. 

A sudden silence echoed around the boys, followed by the repeated koi-koi sound of heels slapping against the tarred road. A petit form emerged, wearing a black dress flared at the end; she seemed to sashay towards them. Some boys had already begun moistening their lips in an attempt to wolf-whistle or holler as she walked passed. Tonye was glued to the spot, reminiscing of his soul mate who looked more and more like the lady approaching them. There was something about this strange woman that caused the hairs on his body to rise while a wave of current swept through him. His heart skipped a beat and his pulse quickened as reality hit him hard.

“Preye! You! Jeez, Preye!”

Without thinking he ran to the approaching frame and lifted her up in a bear hug.

Her hazel eyes twinkled and she bared that charming, dimpled smile he loved so much. Tonye felt faint and weak from the shock but she caught him and he rested his head on her shoulders. What felt like a few seconds passed and he mustered up enough strength to stand by himself.  He looked at her squarely and the air around them seemed to sizzle. Three years had passed yet she had not . . . when his eyes roamed further he saw a woman, Preye had matured from the skinny, giggly school girl he knew into a very glamorous lady.

However she was still his Preye, sweet beautiful Preye. He laughed out of joy and she hugged him tightly. Her body was soft and feminine against him and he felt a rush of pleasure through his body which was already charged and heated. He surprised her-and probably himself- when he released her hold on him, gently lifted her chin and kissed her full on the mouth. She tasted like heaven, but he could feel her pulling back way too soon. He cupped her face and held her in place, pouring all his unsaid words and pent-up emotions into the kiss, deepening it, until he felt all her resistance dissolve. He would have stood there at the side of the road holding her in his arms and kissing her forever but his wishes were interrupted by a shrill voice from behind the small gathering of students.
“Chineke nna me, Tonye what am I seeing?!” Mr. Dike barked 

Born Again


Like a renegade
Sent from hades
He came to bargain
Words like sugarcane
Painted and laced
He Campaigned
Offerings of praise,
To share his surname
I was blinded by fame

He was champagne
Spiked with cocaine
Took me to mountains
Left me with migraines
From his blame games
I endured and prayed
Swallowed complaints
Bile was my gain
Salvation to no avail

Abused, enslaved
Wounded and shamed
Vulnerable, insane
Bled out and drained
From scars I obtained
No tears to waste
Courage I feigned
His loss my gain
No reason to be ashamed

Right now I reign
Victory!… I slayed
He will come again
With fury like flames
to taint and shame
The name I made
He will try in vain
To break my vein
Return to hades I’ll say

I’m born again!

Till Mama Returns

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I had just turned six when the soldiers first came visiting. I was sleeping beside Mama on the mat. Papa had gone to Nsukka to get his manuscripts and hadn’t return since last week.That night We slept earlier than other nights, the moon was hidden behind clouds of thick dust and smoke and the air smelt of dead rotting bodies buried in shallow graves dug behind the bushes close to the church.Mama told me it was the soldiers that had died in the front lines but I knew it was some of our neighbors that died from hunger or sickness and others were saboteur’s who were caught and killed. I found out from Edidiong an orphan whose parents were killed when soldiers attacked the next village. He walked here all by himself and lived in trees and begged for food. He took me there to pick body parts he could roast and eat. Mama doesn’t like him but He’s my only friend here, so when she goes out I sneak out to play with him.  I really didn’t like our new house. It was small, smelly and seemed to house every rodent and insect on earth. In the mornings there were rats and green scaly snakes  when it rained and at night mosquitoes, cockroaches and even bed bugs danced around my ear, on my skin or beneath our mat. I especially hated it because it reeked of stale piss. We were too scared to go  out alone at night, so we used the old Milo container to ease our selves and emptied it outside the house in the morning. I really hope the war ends before Ikem’s birthday, its in three days and  His father promised us that Miss Piggy from sesame street was coming to visit.
Mama is snoring softly beside me, I know she is very tired from the long walk to the Salvation Army office. She only came back with garri today- They had run out of supplies. I wish daddy was here.
Gbam! Gbam!! Gbam!!! there was banging on our door,  it made the  whole hut quake like a burnt worm. Mama jumped up from the mat alert and afraid. I opened my mouth to scream but mama gagged my mouth with her hands. The darkness of the room made the knocks sound scary and intimidating. My heart was beating so hard I feared it will burst out of my ribs, but something else came out. I felt a warm wetness as urine trickled down  my legs. I had heard stories of the soldiers  and what they did to little children and babies. They would force them to shit and make them eat it or gouge their eyes out and ask them to run, and while running they were shot. “No! Not my eyes” I screamed
Gbam! Gbam!! ‘We know say una dey dia’ there were two, maybe more, one was knocking the other was shouting.
We could hear screams and gunshots from a distance and the nauseating smell of burning flesh.
I jerk as mama tightens her grip on my chest. She is hugging me and crying. I start crying too as some of her tears wet my shirt. She lets go and I start wailing, I feel so safe in her arms. She peels my tiny arms from hers as I struggle to latch on and whispers sweet promises to me. ‘Nnam, bikonu, ebe zina. Biko, chere…Hide there’ She points at the stool close to the wall, the one beside the milo container. The space underneath  the stool is large enough to hide me  if I crouch and hug my knees with both hands. I run towards the stool as I hear another knock on the door, and mama hides behind the cupboard at the opposite end of the room. The  soldiers kicked down the door and barged in “Surrender or Die!” A hoarse voice croaked. They come in like a tornado, more vicious than the ones I saw in the cinema. Breaking, shoving, and hurling everything in their path-even Papa’s gramophone. I watch them level our new home to rubble and ashes. I shut my eyes and imagine I’m in mama’s arms again. One of the soldiers fling our mat and it  lands right in front of my stool with a thud.. I scream thinking they have shot me. ‘Na who dey dia? show yasef before I west you’ I freeze. My heart is thudding so loud I’m sure they can hear it too, because one starts walking towards me. Mama comes out of her hiding place then, arms raised and trembling. She is soaked with sweat and tears.
‘Na you dey cry like fikin’ one soldier barked ‘See as she jellow like oyinbo’ the croaky voice spoke ‘Kai mi ni ni! pall out now’
From a distance a man is chanting ‘Hail Biafra’  and then I hear the sound of an ogbun igwe, it sounds like the skies are being cracked open and  rocks are raining from the skies. There is absolute silence afterwards and I’m sure I have died and gone to heaven. I open my eyes and the soldiers are gone, the day is bright and I can see the sun, our roof is gone and so is our mat. All I see is grey smoke and black coal. Some women are crying, others lay still on the floor. I search and search but I don’t see anybody I know. I stand up and almost trip over a black tin. I look closely and discover its the Milo container, now a black tin with patches of green. I see the letters M and O written on it. I see Edidiong walking around with a bag. Picking burnt objects from the floor and also from some bodies. I run to him with the container and ask about mama. He frowns and says. They soldiers took her. I start crying but he shakes me and smiles. ‘She’ll be back’ I don’t know whether to believe or not. But I hold his hand I follow him. I have no home and no friends here. He’s my family till mama returns.