Suddenly, he turned back into a boy! back to being afraid, afraid of everything he had outgrown, afraid of the dark, life and love, the very life he had grown to love and the love he has come to learn. Nightmares woke him up in sweats, squirms, and pantings, he gasped for air and dizzied from endless echoes of voices that once told him to be a man, but never showed him how. All by himself he learnt, fell, rose and somehow stumbled unto manhood. For it will bruise his ego to be likened to a woman or worse, to the wrapper that strapped him to her back once upon a time. it would be better to die! He dared not be vulnerable, for he is expected, assumed and supposed to be a symbol of strength; nothing short, else he is of no worth. Sweats are praised but tears are shamed, for they are a sign of weakness, a permissive will to a woman but an ill feat to a man. So he worked sculptured smiles unto his face, and wore silence for a dress, in an attempt to suppress, the emotional stress, that brewed inside. A well of tears, he wouldn't dare shed. Until tragedy struck and exposed his weakness, his fears, then his tears. the sad boy beneath my man of valor, stood bare before my frightened soul. My tears flowed into his, formed a river and we both drowned in misery. I should have seen it in his alarming insecurities, incessant jealousy, endless bouts of moodiness, the parade of his ego, the masking of emotions and the earth shattering silence that was the loudest gun shot. When he did 'shut up'. Intuition, pain, denial, anger, then a resolve to try harder. I tried and I tried... I endured the unbearable drudgery of staying and the uncertainty of waiting. then I became sad too; for how do I love a 'sad boy'? one shrouded in pain, cringing at every love stroke I gave, how do I love someone, who's burdens now reign over my name? for a moment I did endure, until it was the last straw. I snapped and broke up! for how do I love a 'sad boy'? when the last thing he needed was my love: my love, which was now sadly, even more pathetic.
There was a gigantic tree, Where I once lived, We called it the “Big tree”, beautiful like nothing you’ve ever seen. It’s leaves would wave in the wind like it was showing off it’s greens. I always look at those leaves introspectively.
When I was hungry, I wished it fed me, when I was broke, I wished it was money, but I hated to do the sweeping every morning. One fateful, quiet and lazy day, I watched from my window pane and caught how the leaves break free to flee, They float effortlessly in the wind, Only long enough before they fall to the ground as weed. I kept keen on this backyard tree, counting it’s falling leaves…one, two, three… and then I stop, interrupted by the thought of how much of it I will have to painstakingly sweep the next morning…I hissed.
But an epiphany soon hits me, there was something fascinating about these leaves… As they fall out of need and die, they still serve a purpose, both in living and in dying, in living for photosynthesis feeding the mother tree, Iin dying as manure nurturing the same mother tree.
These leaves had no eyes yet they have vision. These leaves have no individual names… just simply chalked up as species. But that never stopped them from being a part of something big. Now I’m outstretched on my bed, watching all my deepest fears crawl on the ceiling, I thought of you and me, better than any tree’s leave. We are way out of their league.
We’ve got a Face, we’ve got a Place, more significantly, we’ve got individual names and so the question arises… How purposeful do we live? and what legacy would we leave? when we finally drop from the family tree? We could Learn from the Leaves.
With life comes death, a beginning
and an end, to all things humans may
perceive, all we see, is born and lives,
then evolves until it dismantles into
disappearance, slowly vanishing beyond
our senses, as if suggesting nothing is
after it has been. Swirling particles
of hydrogen pulled together by a force,
labelled gravity to give, birth to stars.
By the same effect twirling dust and rocks
breed, planets scattered randomly through
a dynamic space expanding from day one.
Once more a beginning. Yet we’ve seen
supernovas and collapsing spheres,
mountains form and trees grow, flowers
blossom, animals reproduce, we multiply,
ourselves having babies if we are lucky
out of love, physical chemistry keeping
humanity alive, for a glimpse of immortality
striving to defy, time. Yet we’ve seen
mountains corrode under conditions,
atmosphere, sunrays, wind, snow and rain,
trees wither, flowers fade, carcasses decay,
into ashes babies grow to old age then pass
away. Everything inducing us to believe
all has, a beginning and an end, that with life
comes death, unable nonetheless,
to convince our spirits of the same.
Intuition proposing a never-ending always
has been, unfolding mystic carpet of bewilderment
and awe, where energy incessantly mutates,
and cannot be created nor destroyed.
I showered and shaved……………. I adjusted my tie.
I got there and sat……………. In a pew just in time.
Bowing my head in prayer………… As I closed my eyes.
I saw the shoe of the man next to me……. Touching my own.
I sighed. With plenty of room on either side……… I thought,
‘Why must our soles touch?’ It bothered me, his shoe touching mine.
But it didn’t bother him much. A prayer began: ‘Our Father’…………. I thought,
‘This man with the shoes, has no pride. They’re dusty, worn, and scratched.
Even worse, there are holes on the side!’ ‘Thank You for blessings,’ the prayer
went on. The shoe man said…………….. A quiet ‘Amen.’
I tried to focus on the prayer……. But my thoughts were on his shoes again..
Aren’t we supposed to look our best. When walking through that door?
‘Well, this certainly isn’t it,’ I thought, glancing toward the floor.
Then the prayer was ended………… And the songs of praise began .
The shoe man was certainly loud….. Sounding proud as he sang.
His voice lifted the rafters…….. His hands were raised high.
The Lord could surely hear.. The shoe man’s voice from the sky.
It was time for the offering…….. And what I threw in was steep.
I watched as the shoe man reached…. Into his pockets so deep.
I saw what was pulled out………. What the shoe man put in.
Then I heard a soft ‘clink’ as when silver hits tin.
The sermon really bored me………. To tears, and that’s no lie.
It was the same for the shoe man… For tears fell from his eyes.
At the end of the service…….. As is the custom here. We must greet new visitors,
And show them all good cheer.
But I felt moved somehow……….. And wanted to meet the shoe man.
So after the closing prayer…….. I reached over and shook his hand.
He was old and his skin was dark….. And his hair was truly a mess…..
But I thanked him for coming………. For being our guest…
He said, ‘My name’s Charlie………… I’m glad to meet you, my friend.’
There were tears in his eyes……… But he had a large, wide grin..
‘Let me explain,’ he said…………. Wiping tears from his eyes.
‘I’ve been coming here for months…… And you’re the first to say ‘Hi.”
‘I know that my appearance………..Is not like all the rest.
‘But I really do try………………..To always look my best.’
‘I always clean and polish my shoes…Before my very long walk.’
‘But by the time I get here……..They’re dirty and dusty, like chalk.’
My heart filled with pain………… And I swallowed to hide my tears.
As he continued to apologize………. For daring to sit so near He said,
‘When I get here………… I know I must look a sight.’
‘But I thought if I could touch you….Then maybe our souls might unite.’
I was silent for a moment…………. Knowing whatever was said Would pale in
comparison…. I spoke from my heart, not my head.
I called someone lousy today. But what I really wanted to say was
“you’re a waste of God breath”
Go take a bubble bath with a jelly fish so that hardened heart can be sliced out of your chest and iced set in an orange and white cooler almost frozen until it’s time for a helicopter flight to later bind it with an expectant vessel a host that will better cherish and appreciate each life giving beat.
I mean since that’s what you so callously did to me figuratively speaking at least.
I wait now hardened, frozen, hoping not to thaw before the time to fuse with another is prime. Wondering anxiously like Dorothy in the locked castle chamber fearfully watching the sands drop through the mystic hour glass regretting the disregard for home seeking adventure and finding imminent death.
So yeah, that’s all the stuff i was secretly thinking and didn’t say.
Lousy kinda sums it all up anyways.
While four hauled on ropes
with all their might to heave
the vessel the rest of us pushed
as hard as we could for it to slip,
over rolling wood stems of nearby
centenary trees, cylinder boles cut
collected and positioned neatly
on the beach. Feet sinking in sand
scorching skin for what could have been
the last time, ingenious procedure
to thrust the mended old ship
at sea, once more to sail where winds
would blow her, hope would lead her.
Little did we know the two would take
us far into nowhere abandoning tars
to the mercy of blistering quiet.
No gale no direction other
than sudden calenture affecting
all the crew the captain miles
away from any coast under
resulting in acquaintance
with self. Until storm was greeted
with joy mouths wide-open
like kids sticking tongues
out to seize drops of unsalted
fresh water after seven
days of compulsory rum
depletion. Invigorated a new
battle introduced its imminence,
waves as high as ancient temples
were the rival faced
while lowering sails to survive
unwilling to surrender yet
searching for land
through reluctant biting lashes until,
the last billow we saw captured
us and closed our eyelids,
“Baba, my girlfriend they cheat on me, I never catch am, oh, but I know it”
“Wetin you want make I do for you now?” Baba Ajibodu asked, he is feeling uncomfortable in the room with this Femi character. Torn jeans, rough hair, red eyes, and purple lips. No different from the lunatic Seyi, on the next street. He reached into the calabash on his right. “Take, put am for ground make she cross am, anybody wey sleep with am, go drink water die ni.”
“Sade! Abeg carry water come!” Femi shouted, after two big Eva bottled water, he was still feeling thirsty.
“Why are you drinking water like a camel na?”
“I no know oh” he lied, he wasn’t sure, but he knew what was going on. Baba Ajibodu had said, ‘anybody’. He knew what was coming next, and it scared him, he wasn’t ready to die.
(cont from Intro)
Jason stood before me with a look of hurt on his face, mixed with resentment and confusion. “You’re leaving me, Erin?” he asked. I looked at him with a knowing look on my face, then down at my suitcases. A smirk came across my lips. “Yes, nigga”. I’m leaving you. What the fuck does it look like? I can’t keep staying here going through the shit that you put me through. Just know that I’m the best thing that you’d ever lose. He was taken aback, then spoke, I love you and you’re not leaving me. Please, I know that I haven’t been the best, but I can work on myself and get help. I pro….” I cut him off ” Bye, Jason. I have a plane to catch, I said and turned to exit before I was grabbed by the hair and snatched to the floor.
Jason put his hand around my neck and sent a burning slap across my face, busting my nose in the process. Blood seeped all over my white Dolce coat. Before he could hit me again, security burst in and pulled him off of me, giving me a chance to get my shit and run as fast as I could to catch my uber, never minding my blood stained clothes. I was more than relieved when I got settled into the car and we pulled off, heading for the airport.
After arriving at the airport and spending like 20 minutes getting checked in, I was finally aboard my LAX flight, heading for Atlanta, Georgia. I could feel the anticipation building in the pit of my stomach at how glorious my new life would be. I couldn’t wait to get settled into my new luxury apartment, find new friends, possibly find new love, continue building my brand, and kick my fuckin feet up knowing that I’m living my life to the fullest. I had never been to Atlanta and I heard there were pretty nice men here. I, personally, was a sucker for that deep southern drawl that they have. There is nothing like it. I looked out the window, just imagining.
So caught up in my thoughts, and the conversation coming from a handsome man sitting next to me, I hadn’t even noticed that we’d arrived until the flight attendant said so. I took in the unfamiliar scenery and it was so beautiful, just like I’d thought it would be. I stepped off the plane and allowed my lungs to take in as much fresh air as I could. “Ms. Beauvais?” my driver said. I nodded my head with a smile, handing him my bags to put into the trunk. He opened my door before running around to get into the drivers seat. “How was your flight, ma-am?”, he asked me once inside the car. I looked through the mirror at him, brows raised. He was kinda ugly, but had a swag thing going on. “It was fine, thank you”, I replied before turning my attention back to the passing scenery outside my window. He kept talking, trying to start conversations, but I just turned my music up on his ass. I wasn’t even interested. If only he knew what kinda day I’d had before I made it.
I looked down at my phone and saw that I had 15 missed calls, all from Jason. Just as I went to call back, we pulled up to my complex in Buckhead. I didn’t even wait for my driver to open my door as I sprang out and ran to the elevators to find my apartment. When I arrived, I took a deep breath before unlocking the door and pushing it open. It’s like the gates of heaven opened up when I laid eyes upon this apartment in person. This mufucka was fit for a queen! White plush carpets, white and gold furniture, bamboo blinds, wooden floors in the bedrooms, vanities in the 2 bathrooms, oh my. I could go on and on. Taken aback by the beauty of my new home, I took off my shoes and slid out of my blood stained white coat and took a seat on one of the luxurious couches in the living room. Now this is what I deserved. I was starting to like Atlanta already.
to be continued…..Cheers
What scene would you want to be enveloped in
more than this one,
an ordinary night at Domino’s pizzaria,
Soft music jamming at the background,
Glasses of wine staring at each other,
the telephone silent,
a pen tilted back in my hand?
It gives me time to think
about all that is going on in my mind-
Let’s make out,
Or better still,
A night stand would do.
All this thoughts are stuck in my head,
while over there the world sails on.
But beyond this table
there is nothing that I need,
not even a job that would allow me to row to work,
or a black colored G-Wagon
with Yellowish leather seats.
No, it’s all here,
Like the clear ovals of a glass of water,
Everything that I need-
A book by Elechi Amadi,
not to mention the beauty of beauties staring at me,
and the way these three candles-
each a different height-
are singing in perfect harmony.
So forgive me
if I lower my head now and listen
to the sound of your voice,
while my heart
thrums under my shirt-
frog at the edge of a pond–
and my thoughts fly off to a province
made of one enormous sky
and about a million empty branches.