IT IS A new town – it has a new name – Ayeto, and a new, appealing look, but old demons lurk within its dark alleys, flow in the gutters, and sneer at us from treetops.
One of the old demons breathing with us is the scraggly mad man. Is he even a ghost? Inasmuch as the incident has died down for five months, some of us live in fear. I am one of them. Continue reading
Nmesoma sucked in her lower lip to trap the sigh threatening to escape her mouth as her Khadija’s lips touched her ear in a feathery kiss. Long, slender fingers caressed her arms, moving up until they intertwined with her hand in the space between her head and the headboard. With her free hand, she traced her fingertips gingerly along the older woman’s spine. As though excited from that sensation, Khadija flicked her tongue against Nmesoma’s ear, traced random lines on the outer edge, and let her tongue snake its way into the opening of her ear. Continue reading
You had gone to the salon that Sunday evening to let go of your weaves and wash your hair. You could have used a razor blade to cut the thread the hairdresser used to stitch the weaves to your hair while staring at the mirror in your bedroom. After that, you could have washed your hair under the shower. When you were done, you could have put on your generator, turned on your hair drier, and dried your hair. You could have taken out the flat iron, partitioned your hair into segments, applied hair cream that promised to prevent hair breakage by giving super strength to the hair, and used the beauty device to straighten out the curls of your hair. It would hurt when the edge of the steaming device touched your sensitive scalp, but beauty in a Black woman’s hair has never come easy. Like your mother, you had learnt chemicals and artificial heat were the penance for the sin your natural hair was. You could have arrived at beauty’s door all by yourself, but you decided to go to the salon. Continue reading
AS EXPECTED OF Saturday mornings, Freedom Park is almost deserted. Brown-coloured tattered leaves rustle on the ground as soft breeze sweeps them in an aimless, haphazard manner. The air is redolent of palmwine from the jamboree of the previous evening. Gliding through the park today, Chidi remembers everything she desperately wants to forget. It was at this park she met Nia two and a half years ago. She can’t feel regret, if she wanted to.
Uganze decided to die on Friday, October 13th. Living had become a painful chore. Death was a much-needed relief, a release, from her lifelong sadness
There were times she found happiness. Or was it happiness that found her? She would take it in large doses hoping it would last longer than the last time. Nonetheless, inexplicable sorrow, which felt like an entity living within her, had so many mouths munching away at her happiness in large chunks leaving her empty. She was helpless: she could not fight it – the sadness that grew from ennui, later morphing into lethargy, only to contort itself into something malevolent, dastardly. She tried sharing space with it. This act of magnanimity ought to have made sadness show an iota of lenience. Instead, it draped layers and layers of its heavy cloak around her frail shoulders as it grew with her through the years. It was a painful emotional burden. Continue reading
“One day the river will overflow.
And there’d be no where for us to go.
And we would run wishing we had put out the fire.”
Asa’s Fire on the Mountain.
IN HER FINAL days, Nelo used to tease me saying I would have her close by if I poured her ashes to serve as manure for the mango tree we had planted earlier this year. That fantasy never materialised into reality – her siblings crushed my dreams to dust as they thumbed through the pages of Holy Scripture to say cremation was sinful.
This is not poetry;
it is an address to women that dim their shine that they might be bearable to the sight
For those women, who dilute themselves that they might taste “better”.
For those women who, like beautiful cubes, shave their rough edges and sandpaper themselves to fit into round holes.
Indeed, this is for those women that bend
And break and adjust to fit.