Category Archives: Prose/poems

Poems presented in prose forms or prose presented in prose form.

Unbranded!

Reprisal to Nneoma’s branded

By

Chinedu Ifechelobi

I was yours! Right from the start. I saw you years before you saw me. In my dreams, all perfect in the cotton fields, everything sweet, me longing, arms wide open, you smiling, gliding towards me to hold and never let go…

I knew you years before you knew me, in the car with your parents, going to church, singing at the Sunday school, dancing and floating in the air, draped in laces, adorned with braces. I loved you

I loved you, even before you noticed me. I was young wild but wise from the start I knew you were all mine, smiled from a distance but you didn’t notice, waved as you passed but you didn’t look, called out but you ignored you were mine but you didn’t know. So I wandered, my sweet little heart in search for you but in the wrong places, I came back all broken and battered wishing you would see, notice and know, only to see you also in my state, weary from the same journey…

I came for you ready to make you see, ready to die for this cause. Seeing I had nowhere to go, seeing you were all I had, seeing my weakness, you opened your arms, not to mend my bleeding heart but for the desire to own, to brand. I smiled, you saw deception. I opened my arms, you saw a trap. I gave my heart, you saw a bargain, I smothered, you saw seduction. I spoke of dreams, fantasies and a future we could own you saw an explorer waiting like a predator to pounce on his prey. I gave you my heart, you offered your head. Many times I tried, I pleaded, screamed and insisted but you were consumed with your need to brand and to possess. Many times I gave in to you so you would see that love was not all about getting your way, but the more I gave in the more you pressed, the more we were headed for the loveless abyss. Many times I walked away hoping that the loneliness would remind you that love was all that was needed. You couldn’t be bothered, I was made for you and you for me, so I always came back. The world was cold, hard and wicked without you.

So many times I came back, for all my heart needed, was you. As many times as I came back you sent me back to the wolves. All I wanted was to love, to share to give, to lead and to build. We could have, but all you wanted was to play, to own, to dominate and to brand and I knew from my sojourn with the wolves it was all they wanted too. So when you sent me back this time, I found among the wolves a sheep! She is neither all I want nor all I need, but she’s my heart’s balm. She takes me for me, stares in my eyes like she sees stars on a lonely night, sees through to my heart when I speak, loves me to the last jagged straw. She’s not all I wanted but she has become my all, she’s not all I need but she meets all my needs. For this sheep among wolves has become my ride to die chick. This could have been us but you wanted a place to put your stamp but you failed to see  that the last piece of my remaining heart had no space for stamps; UNBRANDED

PUPPY LOVE

puppy love

When I finally gave up, it was because everyone else had given up, everyone else had submitted to long hugs, kisses and affection. I would never have pegged myself as a ninny, changing to suit the crowd but I had become an oddity. A rare object to be showcased in glass and scrutinized. I was not admired, I was inspected over and over again, looked over for faults and flaws. Some declared that they would not have nothing to do with me they thought my uniqueness ugly. Some admitted that I had rare charm, but my charms soon wore off in the face of my resolve not to give up.

Like the rest of my kind, I was born cuddly, lovely to behold with heart melting features, despite the lovable qualities, I was born to be strong, to be fierce, to be steadfast and to guard what was mine! For acceptance and for affection, the rest of my kind shed their stronger features till I was left on the shelf, the lone voice wailing reminders of our other qualities.

The world came to me like they came to Job, “Condemn yourself” they said. “Curse your nature and accept our love” they cried. They said they could not bear to watch my constant rejection, my loneliness. They hated the pain I endured and they couldn’t bear to see me picked and dropped over and over again, cuddled for a while, then left to face long periods of wintry cold.

When I gave up, it was to find acceptance. None of my kind still looked like I did, none of my kind still bore the deep marks we were born with. I gave up to look like the rest of the crowd, I had suffered too much pain for being different. I remember the last time I was picked up, I was admired for a while and I basked in that admiration. I was loved and cherished for an oh so short while. I was dropped when others of my kind came by, all cute, cuddly, adorable and inviting, all the things I was not! My next potential lover did not even pick me up, I never even enjoyed the warmth of his arms, he never stroked, never cuddled, just inspected and rejected!

My heart ached with each rejection, was it any wonder I chose to give up? I gave myself up to the ministrations of an opportunist lover. I was groomed by my lover, decked out and prettied up too. He pampered and oiled my coat, he fed me choicest meat till I was cuddly and chubby, he clipped and filed my claws to blunt smoothness, he put colourful ribbons in my hair too. All through my change, I never barked nor whined, I wanted to be like other puppies.

He offered me up for sale after he had loved me, after he made me lovable, he turned his face to younger puppies just waiting to be molded. I did not mind when he turned his back for I was snatched up the second he dropped me. I looked like the rest, I smelled like the rest and finally, I was loved like the rest!

IF YOU WERE KIDNAPPED

If you were kidnapped, yes you, gi nwa onye m bu n’obi, gi nwa bu ezi oyi m, if you were kidnapped

I would be very pained

I would be bothered and be downright uncomfortable

Tears would spring to my eyes and spill down my cheeks at the thought of your torment

I would worry endlessly about you, I would wonder if you had been harmed,

If you were in pain or if you had been tortured

Situations would revolve in my mind and I would picture you in them all

 

If I heard you were kidnapped, I would ask, why, who and what for?!

If I was told boko haram took you, I would shake my head and wear a straight face

I would shout, mba! Nkea akali go!

I would scream for your return

I would petition the government and security agencies to demand action

I would call on all human rights groups to fight for your rescue

 

If you were kidnapped, I would understand the pain your parents would feel

I would feel their heartache, their sorrow and their loss

I would feel their confusion, their hurt and their despair at their sad lot

I would feel their pain as keenly as if they were my own parents searching for me

I would call up your parents, sit with them, cry with them, say words to make them feel better

 

 

If you, my friend, were kidnapped, I would never forget

I love you, you are a part of me, I wouldn’t take your loss kindly

I would do all in my power to get you back

To make sure that memories of you never fade

I would always listen for news of you

I would attempt anything and everything to get you back

Your memory will never be lost, not to my other interests, not to epidemics, not to other cares and worries

 

If you were kidnapped, I would want you back

I would want you back because you are precious, because you are priceless, because you are an important piece of me

 

I would do all these for you my good friend,

If some females in some obscure part of the country were kidnapped

I would not be bothered, of what use are they to me pray tell?

My passion to bring back missing people only extends to people whose loss affects me!

Any other person, I will forget!

 

 

Note: “Gi nwa onye m bu n’obi” – “You that is dear to my heart”. “Gi nwa bu ezi oyi m” – “You that is my good friend”. “Mba, nkea akali go” – “No, this is too much”

 

 

A LIFE OF WORDS

by

moi

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I see the world in words, the beauty of clear pictures brought alive by words strung together to evoke vivid imagination

I am seduced with words and by words, flowery speeches of passion I return to read over and over.

Beautiful writing beclouding my senses softly and certainly like no bright picture ever will

 It is in words I see emotion, the description of dirty bitter green jealousy, the vibrant red of hot pulsating life, the disgusting dull brown of greed, pettiness and slime, the stench of decay obvious in yellows and greens dotted with black.

It is in words I see most clearly

I tell my stories in words, the beauty of family, the light hearted freedom of friendship, the warmth of humanity, the pain and joys of living

I love in words. Passion, desire and deep yearning expressed from the depths of my heart. Me, giving the best of my gifts for the one that holds my heart

I hurt in words too, shouts of pain and tears from my soul expressed in the words I write. Angry outbursts of disappointment, disgust and disdain, I spew them all

It is in words I grow, knowledge is best expressed in words, in the things I have deeply felt enough to write for others to read, in the things others have written too and in the words of instructors who circle my life

It is in silence I will die, the clear pictures formed by words totally fading away in the face of sealed lips shut in death. The eyes that send appreciation to my lips tightly shut, the hands that pour my passion finally stilled.

It is in words I live my life, silence for me, is death!

 

FIRM THIGHS… an SMC experience!

by

Moi

My thighs are firm now, they haven’t always been. They tightened after my 10 month experience at the School of Media and Communication, Pan Atlantic University Lagos. I applied to the school to study for a Master’s degree and actual schoolwork commenced August 2013. My hips were full then, full and fleshy. My thighs were round then, round, meaty and appealing. My cheeks were chubby, I looked well fed, polished with no stress markers on my face. Don’t misunderstand me, my life before SMC was not stress free but at least I was paid for my worries. At the SMC, I paid a healthy fee to be worried.

My thighs are firm now, my facilitators made sure of that, Dr. Ike with his endless assignments, perfectly structured criticisms and heavily veiled sarcasm, he drove me to extreme worry, Dr. M’s stare that always galvanized me to action or froze me on the spot, then there was Dr. N, my mentor who you just had to please to get pleasant marks and pleasing her unfortunately involved pages of serious writing, interlinking ideas and analyzing issues, you could get a whole 3½ marks out of 5 marks for pleasing her, 4 was possible in very extreme cases. My facilitators really put fire under my feet and I flew around trying to satisfy all.

My chubby cheeks were the first casualties, they melted away under the strain of gritting my teeth through Dr. Otu’s lectures and laughing uproariously at Doghudje’s blunt depth, I still believe gritting my teeth melted the cheeks faster. I wore a new face, a slimmer, pinched face, fashionable but unlike me. My new face was slim enough to distort effectively in horror over statistics and all those figures and formulas I never thought I would see again. I wasn’t getting enough sleep either I had too many assignments to sleep easy at night, I made up for the lack of sleep though, I made up during Communication research classes, apologies to Dr. IM the research guru, but I really wasn’t interested in disproving theories and identifying some communication reinforced phenomena.

My hips melted away next, in their days of full prominence, eyes strayed to them before those eyes grudgingly and very slowly made their way up to my face. The walk from the bus stop to school took care of those hips, the constant race to beat the 9:00am timeline also took its toll on the hips. Then those endless walks I took around V.I mourning another low score or mulling over a tough assignment didn’t help either.  They also probably shrunk under the strain of so many class presentations when I stood long minutes addressing a class just waiting to launch their attack sorry make their contributions. I look at my hips now, a pale reflection of their original glory and I wonder how studying can so physically alter a person.

My thighs firmed up, those meaty chunks that would have made any cannibal’s entire year firmed up. The endless races did it, all that running wearing high heels firmed my thighs like nothing else would. I remember the race to submit topical seminar thesis, it was my last race and I ran it with my heart in my mouth. There was the everyday race to get into the cafeteria before 1:00pm, I shed the calories I would have ingested even before I ate the food.

I wear a new look now, my new look is far nicer than my original look am told. After 10 months at the SMC my mind is far sharper, my stand is firmer too. I look new and different because I am new and different. My new image is a true reflection of a better me.

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survivors

BRANDED!

You were mine! I owned you. If I had evil powers to own souls and people, I couldn’t have owned you more. You were mine from the first time I saw you. I branded you invisibly and I called you mine. I was never going to lose you. You were never going to get away from me. From the second you said hello to me, I knew I was going to own you.

You didn’t know this. You were young like your mates, you were full of life, doing what young men did best, wrapping hearts round your finger, breaking them and moving on. When you looked at me, you didn’t see your future or your everything. You saw a girl like every other girl ripe for the taking. When you spoke to me, you didn’t speak like you were talking to the centre of your universe, you spoke like you were talking to the orange you were bargaining to buy and suck dry.

I heard words you didn’t say, I knew what you were and who you were. What you were, was a sharp guy, love ’em and leave ’em type. Who you were, was MINE! I set out to reel you in, you thought you were getting me, I knew I was getting you. For every successful step you counted with me, I counted milestones with you. You sought to trap me, I pretended to evade you. You tried to devour me, I pretended to be scared. You thought you were the hunter, I knew you were my prey. I reeled you in deliberately, I branded you, I covered your eyes too. You became mine with every attempt you made to get me.

First I owned you, then I recreated you. Constantly shaking you down to make you lose all the things I didn’t want. You thought you were pretending, I knew I was forming you. Of course you strayed, many times you wandered away but you always returned. Sometimes you tried to break free, you made a bid for your freedom but I always dragged you back. I was fascinating, warm, soft and hard, I wasn’t yours yet so you always came back trying to hook me, every time you came back, I trapped and shackled you.

You lost the fight, you were definitely going to. I captured and enslaved you. My power over you was great, I branded you and you belonged to me. You followed wherever I went. I deliberately cut you loose a few time but you always found your way back, I knew then that you bore my mark, you wore my brand too.

Now you call me wife and I call you husband. We do not talk of my power over you, I am content to let you believe I have none, you know I have a lot, but you don’t know if I know it. And so I’ll guide you through life subtly, always in control but never letting you know, constantly agreeing yet disagreeing with you. Society will forever encourage us to be together and nobody will interfere, such is the beauty of marriage. Till the very end you will lead me where I wish to go, wearing my brand. We are married!

Hot brand

OSU MY FOOT!

“Osu! Tainted by association!” my Uncle Ike roared at me while I stood, a lone figure amongst members of my kindred, my only ally in the gathering although she was a bit shaky too was my mother.

“Richard is an Osu, tainted by association” my Uncle roared again, as if to burn his words permanently into my head. He really needed to roar at me to bring me back to him, because I was already lost in thought, examining the phrase “tainted by association”. I had never heard it before in life but I easily understood that what my Uncle was trying to say in a colourful way was that my Richard was contaminated, like germs on good food or like food that had fallen to shit.

“Tainted by association!” Uncle Ike roared again jolting me out of my thoughts and of course irritating me by his constant use of the phrase! O gini di? Couldn’t he talk without saying those words repeatedly? It was beginning to annoy me biko! “Omalicha” he called me, “I gaghi anu Richard, he is an osu!” thankfully he refrained from adding the hated words this time.

My darling Richard, strong determined, dogged Richard, caring friend, motivator, advisor and lover. My 1st and only choice, he wasn’t born osu, his family had been free from that horrid, senseless tag all of his life and his relations were currently still not regarded as osu. So why was Richie m different? I will tell you after I explain what osu is.

Osu according to my people in Igbo land refers to people who took solace in idols either for respite from persecutions or for protection from their enemies. Bottom-line was, once those people asked the deity’s protection, they became outcasts, living sacrifices to the idol, outright lepers not to be interacted with. Nobody was allowed to have relations with them, marrying them was definitely out of the question. Marrying an “osu” did not liberate the “osu”, it made you “osu” too whether you were male or female.

Back to my Richie! He became “osu” by interaction, let me rephrase, prolonged interaction. My dogged darling had lost his parents in a freak accident immediately after his service year and had had to fend for himself and two younger sisters. The Sisters quickly attached themselves to Uncles, Aunties and friends and got by while Richard struggled to make a proper home for them. A wealthy couple from Richie’s hometown had offered to help him out. They were osu! My Richie was advised repeatedly to disdain any offer of help from the couple, wealth did not make them acceptable in the eyes of his people, but he refused and accepted their help. With them, he spent many years, he secured his plum job and established his part time business, he made a home for his sisters and brought them all under one roof again, he prospered! His benefactors were awesome people who cleared the part for him while he struggled every year he stayed with them, he was regarded as one of them, apparently he stayed so long he became one of the osu people.

I met my Richie 2 years back and he told me his story. I loved and admired him for it and I confidently told him that living with people considered osu did not make him osu and such nonsense was outdated. How little I knew! I brought him to my family to announce our intentions and my Uncle Ike was practicing his borrowed lines on us. Uncle Ike and elders who knew nothing of his struggles, nothing of his strength and perseverance and absolutely nothing of his love for me. I was still deep in my recollections when Uncle’s voice pierced through again, “Omalicha, I nuo osu, I bulu osu and you cannot spoil the family history and lineage by tainting it with osu blood. I still think hearing the taint word that last time was what pushed me over the edge and I burst out, “Osu my foot!”. I can still hear the shocked gasps of the entire family and see the expressions of outrage on their faces, the slacked jaws of my immediate family.

In 2 days’ time, I will be safely married to Richard, I do not expect my kinsmen to be there, only immediate family and our friends, this means that in 2 days’ time, I will either become osu or remain a normal human being to normal people who do not hold on to ancient customs? Which is it?

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