The world moves too fast
Not a moment to spare the sluggish,
The haggard or the weary
If you dillydally a while
She tramples you
And trots along
Without a glance
Have you battled with dream and reality
when both are one and the same?
Have you had to grasp
what you thought was a fragment
only it was just a dream?
Have you struggled to accept
the savages left
by the storm of life
while drowning in the thoughts
of the used-to-be
the peripheral visions
of what ifs, could-bes and if evers?
If you haven’t,
You are yet to live
If you have,
As long as there is one more sunrise
And one sunset left for you
Nothing is impossible
No agony is greater than the yoke
Men fastened round my love
Her lines they bounded with metres
Her flow they have blocked with patterns and rhymes
Her end they constrain with rules
I crave the freedom to paint her as I deem fit
She’s born of my thoughts and feelings
Sorrow would be less so
If there were rules to grieving
I’m breaking her rules
My tears are dried up
like the rivers in
They are sealed
in the inner sanctum
of my soul
Now, you must cry for me
for I’ve no more
To me, this day is more than a birthday, that’s too ordinary. But what could make a birthday more than an anniversary of the day in which a person is born?
A second chance at life?
I got both, because if the devil had his wish I would exit here the same day I entered it. And I would be labeled so many evil things and more. But the Lord in His infinite mercy gave me life, again.
A birthday used to be just the celebration of my birth. When I ended one year and started another. After my twentieth anniversary it became, “what’s the big deal? Everybody has them. Someone has one every day.”
And now, there are so many thoughts and feelings attached to this day: happiness, apprehension, panics, blessing, anxiety, and gratitude, their incessant and persistent attacks can be so overwhelming and frustrating – A time bomb waiting to explode.
Over the years, I’ve learnt to accept them, feel them all, sort out the real from the imagined, and forge the strength to beat the delusion.
Today, I woke up again with the dread of facing the long day, my birthday. Because I had a doctor’s appointment, today of all days. Memories of my birthday not too long ago in surgery and ICU flooded my mind like rushing water. I was going to see the doctor who hacked off my limb on my birthday. I wanted to hide in bed all day. But then, I armed myself with the remembrance of all I had to be grateful for. The little things like sneezing without pain, stretching without whimpering and turning without grimacing. I’m grateful for the blessings of the people in my life who never let me feel bad about my life for a second. When I think He seems too far away or uncaring, I see Him in them. These little things make me realize just how blessed I am, and how much good I have in my life. They outweigh the bad.
Today, I realise that good or bad, there are benefits to everything; one simply needs to find them.
And that, birthdays are more than celebrating the inevitable passage of time.
When I found the album it was caked with dust. I wonder why it looked like a relic of the Second World War, I had flung it to the back of the closet, where I couldn’t reach it. But now I can, I’m much better, stronger and steadier. I opened it and was surprised that it opened to the last picture I saw. It was the picture I took at the front of our old house on my birthday five years ago, before everything fell apart. Except it looked nothing like me. I was darker, simpler calmer and very innocent with big eyes; uninteresting and young, but of course I was younger. I was dressed in a sky blue shirt and a dark blue knee-length jean skirt.
It shows the legs, nice, shapely smooth calves. I had nice legs, I know it and people said it too. They looked awesome, but they didn’t feel like mine. The last time I saw the picture, my whole body went still and everything around me too. My heart wouldn’t stop hammering at my rib-cage. My eyes were so heavy with unshed tears, I wanted them to drop to at least mourn their dead mate. But they wouldn’t, so I flung it.
Today, the picture look so unreal and so far away, a lifetime away. I looked down at the left limb where the rest of the leg was supposed to be. It stopped mid-air like a frozen raindrop waiting for someone to press the play button. And the right leg has put on a muscular and fierce looking armour; wearing protruding veins and scars, its warrior badges in place of its former sexy look.
The residuals of the traumatic experience has faded into occasional nightmares and buried amidst counsels of accepting the present, look into the brighter future and forget the past. I closed the album and stared at the face looking back at me from the mirror on the wall and wished she could tell me what this is, healing, denial or acceptance?
I need no legs
I’m one with
And the sky
On a low stool a pensive housewife sits
Out of this realm lost in her thoughts
On the swing a girl sweetly sings
Of life and love and ever after
Old or young need a little of all
Outside in the yard another hums her tune
Off and on she teases her brother who oils his bike
Once in a while his eyes dart here and there
Over the fence, towards the door
On the seventh darts he whistles loud ‘n long
One by one they bounce out of every corner
Orange, blue, yellow in diverse shirts
Onto the bike he jumps and pedals
Over and over; round and round
One after the other they repeat the cycle
Over and over amidst cloud of dust
On the swing the girl claps and hoots
On the low stool now stood a child of three
On her left her mother smiles in glee
Of the joy that childhood brings
*Every lines of this poem starts with the first letter of my name, but it’s not about me.
The Lonely Path
by Olufunke Kolapo
Still on this indented seat
Weary watery eyes from this ancient sight
Mine mind craving an escape took a flight
I, the unwilling partner tagged along
We walked hand in hand among
Brushes of treasured moments turned memories
We heard the eerie crunches of bits of our dreams
We gulped the bittersweet taste of our mistakes
We drank the stale milk of our guilts
The sickening stench of stillbirth dreams
Hung in the air ferrying thunderous voices
Of the wrong choices
And slipped chances
We heard the heartrending sob of lost loves
The never-ending groan of their broken hearts
We inhaled the wistful fragrance of their sad love songs
We saw under the sulking moon the ugly scars on our palms souvenirs from holding too tight
And the ragged residue from letting go
Not for lack of valour
But for loss of vigour
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When in a vacuum of fear
icier than harmattan wind
Your friendly warmth
When I’m entangled in a
web of anxiety
Your kind words
raised me up
You lend your wings
You cheered me on
when I’m one with words
You encouraged me
when I’m lost in words
I’m so glad to fly with you
most fortunate to know you all
Strangers who turned friends
friends who become kins
I’m sending the warmest
thing I have
My heartfelt good wish
United in words we remain
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