Posts Tagged ‘Love’

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by Okoye Chukwudi Ezeamalukwuo

I woke up this morning thinking of Nkem –that beautiful ebony girl with sleepy eyes and seductive smile. I woke up this morning thinking of her –the way she laughed, the softness of her voice when she said OK, and the awkward manner in which we ended our conversation last night. It is not just the silence that hovers annoyingly in our chat these days that worries me. It is not just the occasional “How are you” repeated over again to make up for the lack of something concrete to say. No, not that. It is this nagging feeling that our relationship has entered into that phase where conversations become clichéd –filled with the same hollow vowels and consonants and very little passion that are insufficient to justify two hundred, a hundred, fifty or ten naira credit spent in making the telephone conversation possible.

I woke up this morning arguing with myself whether I should call her or not. Perhaps, this is what idleness does to people, having been in this state for over a year, I must confess that I am a slow learner, because I’m still figuring it out.

The time was 9: 23 am and I was just waking up, though still rolling and turning on my bed wrapped in my bedspread. The sun rays were pouring into the room like columns of hungry ant in search of food. My shirt was soaked through with sweat –there have been no electricity for two days now. I staggered to my feet and reached for my blackberry. It was off. I had switched it off last night to conserve the battery. What can a poor man in Nigeria do? I forgot about Nkem, and my thought went to my Mom. I saw her in my mind sitting under the rain with an open umbrella in her hand, selling okpa on the street. “What would she have said about situations like this?” I thought to myself. “When the desirable becomes unavailable, the available becomes the desirable.” Yes, that was what Mother usually said whenever she found herself in an unpleasant situation that she could not change –like when my father took a second wife and stopped taking care of his kids, or when she fed me and my siblings only pap for breakfast, lunch and dinner due to lack of money to make a decent meal, or when she withdrew us from private school and put us in public school. Mother was a typical Nigerian –resigned to her fate, irredeemably optimistic, always religiously hopeful that I wouldn’t be surprised if she found a way to crack a joke if faced by a firing squad. I smiled dryly at this thought, and switched on my phone. I had 35 new emails, most of them facebook notifications. I skimmed through them, and finally went to the ones with job adverts.

An hour later, and with 3 job applications sent, I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth. My thought went back to Nkem, and every emotion, every fear and feeling gradually returned accompanied by the argument –should I just call her or should I not. It was now becoming a tug-of-war –a fight between my ego and that little gentle voice. I took some water and rinsed my mouth with it. Then I spitted out the water, and I looked long at the broken mirror on the bathroom wall. “When did it come to this –debating and looking for a reason to call her?” I asked the reflection on the mirror. “This is Nkem.” I thought to myself. I could still remember the time when we had something interesting to say, when our love burnt bright, and our chats were long and intimate, full of longing and love for each other. “What happened to us?” I thought out loudly to myself as I stood there at the mirror, looking at my reflection. My eyes were still pale from sleep, and two stretch marks ran through my face. My beard was bushy and needed shaving. I ran my hand on my hair and sighed. “I need to call her. I have to call her.” I said wearily to myself.

A knock on the door just then interrupted my thought. I came out of the bathroom, and opened the door. It was my landlord’s youngest son –a boy of nine. He was standing there at my door half asleep, completely unaware of the battle going on in my mind. He must have just woken up then. His hair was untidy and so was his clothe. He was also barefooted. He always has this disarming smile, and a hopelessly naïve outlook on life even for a 9 year old. I smiled when I opened the door.
“Arinze, how are you? How may I help you?” I said to him.
“Good morning Uncle Val.” He muttered with a forced smile hanging conspicuously on his face. “My daddy wants to know if we can borrow sugar from you.”

I scratched my head. My six day old St Louis sugar was almost finished from overuse. I bought it initially for my personal consumption, but it had since become a public property, serving me and a family of six. I just couldn’t refuse to share something as cheap as a packet of sugar, or salt, or my only belt, or the occasional two hundred to one thousand naira I borrow to them which are never paid back. I left the door, went into the kitchen and brought out the packet of sugar and handed it over to him. He smiled, thanked me and ran off to their side of the house.

I went back into the kitchen, washed the dishes from yesterday, warmed the leftover foods, and put the kettle with water in it on the stove. Tea and bread –that would be my breakfast. The water boiled and I poured some into a cup with Lipton in it. I searched for the sugar and remembered after few minutes of ransacking my cupboard that I had just given it out. So I ran over to my landlord’s place to retrieve whatever was left of it.

11: 07 am. I was sitting on my bed slowly sipping my tea, and going through my phone at the same time. I noticed a status on facebook that read: “How can something so sweet, suddenly becomes stale.” It was from Nkem. The time stamp said that it was posted about 11 hours ago, which was less than an hour after our last phone conversation. Guilt and anger both swept through me.
“I should have called immediately I woke up. I should call her.” I said loudly to myself. Still I made no effort to dial her number. Instead I sat there sipping my tea. “If the relationship was becoming stale, it was also her fault.” I thought, almost smiling to myself then like I just discovered a cure for Aids, “yes she should have called me this morning too instead of posting trash on facebook.”

I finished breakfast and tidied the room. Then I made use of the toilet, showered and dressed up. I checked the time after I put on my clothes, it was 12:52 pm. NEPA as Nigerians prefer to call electricity was still unavailable. I picked up a book to read but it was hot inside the room. I opened a window, the sun rays that flooded the room were so irritating to my skin that I quickly closed it and drew the curtain. The room — stuffy — sat in uncomfortable dullness. I decided to sit outside. I picked up my phone; the battery was already almost down. “I should at least text her and see how she was doing.” I thought to myself as I paced the room, searching for the right words, and the right way to put them in order not to sound too needy and less in charge. After about ten minutes of soul searching, or to put it more aptly vocabulary searching, I typed: “Hey babe, how is your day going? Hope all is well? Do have a nice day. Love you.”
I erased the last two words, then typed them back, then erased them again. I typed “missed you” in their place. I scratched my head and thought about it. “Love you. Miss you. Love you. Miss you.” I repeated the words to myself as if saying them over and over would deliver me from the sick feeling in my mind. I looked up at the ceiling. Besides the dilapidated and worn out plywood which leaked water during the rainy season, there was nothing there for me. “Just call her.” The little voice in my mind whispered gently to me, “Just call her.” I shook my head, switched off the phone without sending the message, and stepped out for a walk.

More than three hours later, I still haven’t called or sent the text. My phone had been switched off since then, so I didn’t know if anyone tried reaching me through it or not. I had initially intended to walk around my street and back, but on stepping out, I’d bumped into an old friend. We both had a lot of catching up to do, a little more strolling, and two bottles of beer to help water the garden of our friendship. I came home at around 4:22 pm. NEPA was still unavailable. I took a shower, changed my clothes and lay down on the bed. I switched on the phone, nine emails and one text message. The text message was from Nkem, and it read, “Hey Val, how are you? Hope all is well. We seriously need to talk about everything. Hear from you soon.”

Something jacked off in my brain. The stubbornness — those walls that I built — which had prevented me from calling her all day gave way and in its place; fear. “What exactly does she mean in the text message?” I thought to myself. I stood up and started pacing the room. My mind was racing and I was also biting my tongue. I dialled her number immediately. She didn’t pick up the first time. On the second try, she answered.
“Hey My love, how are you baby.” I said as gently and as lovingly as I could.
That was when my phone battery died.

THE END

Okoye Chukwudi Ezeamalukwuo, photo by Emmanuel Ezeh

Okoye Chukwudi Ezeamalukwuo, photo by Emmanuel Ezeh

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by David Coxson

1st Jan, 2015.

He remembers Kate. He gets his old diary, looks at the dates, and smiles. It had been rough, he thought to himself; quite rough. The new year will be different, he assures himself with the same sad smile upon his face.

2014.
April 15th.

He met Kate. It wasn’t the most romantic of ways. . .or perhaps it was. Kunfe had gone to Sweet Sensations to dig himself into some quick lunch, and Kate had been the girl at the counter. He’d thrown a jibes about phones hung around the breast region not ever having a good network reception afterwards. She had laughed coyly and somehow, he had got her number. It wasn’t a hard thing.

5th, May.

After a couple of dates and some breath-taking moments together with Kate, he had confided in Jane. Jane has been a very wonderful friend. She had told him to take it slow, and not to get hurt.
In her words; ”Guy meets girl. They overwhelm each other. Chat about everything and late into the night too. Gradually, chats become boring. Everything talk-able has been poured into the first few weeks. Then comes the late replies. Sometimes, there would be no replies. And the love starts, or appears to start dying. And someone gets hurt. So, Kunfe, don’t get hurt.”
He had promised he would not, and that Kate was different.

9th, July.

The first sign. Un-replied whatsapp messages. Last seen proved she kept coming online for two days. There should be no excuse for not replying him.

11th, July.

She replied. She had been very busy, and whenever she logged in; it was to check incoming messages. There was no time or chance to reply them. He had told her he understood.

20th, July.

Another un-replied message. She kept coming online but would not reply. Was he over-reacting or too sensitive? He had to calm down, he told himself. Message was replied 9hours later. A ”busy now” would have sufficed, he thought.

1st, August.

He intentionally didn’t send a happy new month message. By text, call or whatsapp. Why does she expect him to be the first to always do that? Disappointedly, she was too busy to do that too.

2nd, August.

”Happy new month, dear. Sorry it came late.” He had to do it.
She replied ‘Kk.’
It was unlike her. Until now, she had never abbreviated. He loathed it. The ‘ks’ and ‘kks.’ He sighed. It was coming.

4th, September.

For two months now, he had been the one calling her. She’d earlier beeped or sent a ”call me back”, and now, those have stopped. He was beginning to go crazy. He loved her. God knows he did.

22nd, September.

He had promised to never call or text her until she does. And he would stick to it. Good radiance to bad rubbish. Why is Kate never like Jane. Sweet Mary-jane; always understanding. Even the taunts and teases were soft on her. She could handle any joke in the world. But Kate? The slightest innocent word would be twisted to make him look like the devil. To allay his welled up anger and frustration, he whatsapped Mary-jane. As usual, they ended the chat with a laughing Kunfe.

October. . . November. . .

She’d simply whatsapped him for the important holidays, and family or friends’ events. He’d answered casually. End of chat. The love was gone. He was sure.

25th, December.

He waited till evening to wish her merry christmas. He knew she’d be waiting for him to do it first. That was always the problem. She always wanted him to do everything first. He hated it. He realised they haven’t seen or gone on a date with each other for two months now. She had been too busy.
She replied: ”Very early for you to do that. Merry Christmas anyway.”
They had a little chat. She had to do something.

1st January, 2015

Enough is enough. Never unearth what wishes to remain buried. He looks at his watch. It is 3:15pm and she still has not called or texted to wish him a happy new year. She will always claim she loves him. It is evident she doesn’t.
He tears out a sheet of paper. And begins to write:

1. Find a new love.

2. Take it slow with her.
Will not overwhelm her too soon.
Be mysterious as it fuels the love longer.

3. Would not open…

Phone rings. Hidden caller Id.
”Happy new year, Sweetheart. You mean the world to me and I’d never lose you for anything. I want you to know I really love you. I’ll be coming to see you tomorrow…”

He tears the paper before he realises it. He bit his lips tightly as he volleys the paper into the bin. He could never stop loving her, come what may.

Coxson David is an aspiring writer and a student of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta. A member of Talesmen literature, and Da’Sacred Poetry.

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

by Okoye Chukwudi Charles Ezeamalukwuo

Some of us want to be loved. Some of us want to be respected. Some of us want to be feared. But few of us have the natural attributes in their right proportions to acquire one or more of these. Most of us don’t even know what we want, where we belong, where we are going. Most of us just have weight and occupy space, drifting through life unconscious of the value of time, of the power at our disposal, merely existing without living.

Love, Respect, Fear. Three attributes that run the world. We all desire one or more of these three. Some desire to be the name on everyone lips, uttered with passion and affection. Some desire to be the ones that get the salute at every turn. To have the world look upon them with awe and admiration. Some desire to be the ones that get the mountains to move. On whose name every kneel bows and every tongue confesses.

Love, Respect, Fear. I have always wondered which of these three is the greatest of all? Which of these three is most vital for a human being to live his life comfortably and effortlessly on earth, without having on his death bed to look back with regret and pain at things done and undone.

LOVE
Love as was preached by Christ; is the greatest of all there is. Yet it didn’t stop him from being betrayed, abandoned, scourged, spitted upon, kicked, denied, dragged on the streets, crucified and killed. Most times people say, Love is all that matters, yet when you look at those same people, you see them living very miserable lives. I have come to understand that when people say they love you, they usually believe that they are automatically entitled to certain favours from you. I believe that Love is a useless weight if it’s without Respect and Fear. Respect; in the sense that there is something about one that you admire or are bound to. Fear, that you are afraid of losing the person, or his/her friendship or association.

RESPECT
Respect; some say is a compromise between love and fear. But this definition already makes Respect a Love-Fear thing. Is it ever possible for people to really respect you, without actually loving you? In my school days we respected the offices of the Principal and teachers. We still respect the offices of the President, Governor, Senators etc. These offices don’t demand that their occupants be loved or feared, they just come with the territory. But for the occupant to really make impact, he has to lean more on the Love or Fear side of the spectrum. Else the respect becomes nothing but a symbolic gesture.

FEAR
It is much better to be feared than to be loved wrote Niccolo Machiavelli. Most people understand well the concept of pain. They are more incline to obey with a gun on their heads, than with smiles and sweets. Human beings are mostly wired that way. But no one is ever really comfortable with something that scares them. They may follow you today, but they will surely despise you tomorrow. Nobody praises a tyrant when he is power, they may remember him ten years after he has been removed with nostalgia, but today they are opened to working against you.
Fear like Love is a powerful tool, that consumes both the giver and the receiver.

Having looked at these three, I feel that Respect is the best of all. Respect you can control. You need not worry if people love you enough, because you know that they fear and admire you. You need not worry if people fear you enough, as long as they love and feel you. Respect is a compromise between the two extremes that is Love and Fear. Respect is in the middle. All you need to do is to adjust the knife edge of your metre rule in the right direction at the right time, and you are good to go.

So how does one get Respect. Real Respect (not official respect) is earned not given. You need to go into your inner chamber and evaluate yourself; your strengths and weaknesses, your gains and losses over the years. Be honest to yourself in order to reinvent yourself. You need love, but you don’t need the world’s love, it is ever changing, ever swinging. You need a first and foremost to love yourself, then cultivate a little love here and there, from your teachers, your bosses, your chairmen. You need to be feared, but you don’t need the world’s fear, what you need is to stamp your authority, mark your turf, and do not compromise unless it’s a matter of life and death, or for the right price. Step on some small toes that refuse to step aside, and people will start taking you seriously.
Remember it is not really love that you want, it is not really fear, many people don’t need to love you, many people don’t need to fear you, just earn their Respect. Love and Fear, a mixture of both, applied in the right doses will gain you admiration, affection and awe.

Remember it is not going to be easy, it will definitely be hard, but with practise, performance and perfection, you will make impart on your society, school, church, association etc. Life is a one time thing. You need to enjoy it on your own terms. Learn today to live it, and not just to exist for other’s rules and regulations.

The statements, views and opinions in this article, are solely those of the author, and does not necessarily represent those of Lyriversity.

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

by Onugbolu Sinclair Chisom

Hands held tightly together with emanating smiles filled with radiance. The scene was in the serenity and ambience of a cool and calm neighbourhood in the zone 1 area of Abuja. Two lovers stood staring into each other’s eyes, speechless, with only body language left as the only means by which they communicated their undying love for each other.
Nothing else in the world mattered except for that moment of silent screams of love professed between these two love birds.
I knew he had fallen In love with Funke and even when I had tried countless times to make sense of my feelings, I still arrived at the same conclusion. It was time to stop fighting.
Going back to how it all started was a bother sometimes, as was with history and dates in general to me, but this was one story worth committing to memory. A lane down memory’s highway worth walking.

* * * *
‘I know you are still with them, you cheat! otherwise why do they call you as often as they do, aren’t they supposed to be your exes?’ Ifeyinwa shouted at the top of her voice as I looked on in complete awe.
It was always a problem when I get a call from a female, I was practically restricted from using social media, and it was usually verbal harassment from time to time.
She was the drama queen of queens, the executive producer of all things acting.
My friends would ask, ‘Emeka, how do you do it? I swear you dey try.’
‘Na God oh!’ I would always reply.
I wasn’t a player like she had made me out to be, she would always check my phone even though I locked with several codes and patterns, a feat even the prestigious CIA would find tedious. I still wonder how she did it, but trying to figure it out will only make me age faster.
We made up more times than models aspiring to be beauty queens, our countless fights and subsequent break-ups were too numerous to count, and also phenomenal each time. But on this faithful day our conversation ended thus, ‘F**k you, I don’t care what you do with this relationship anymore.’
It stuck in my mind, I had vowed not to continue with it, to forever end it and face whatever may follow. I decided also, to look no further as I was convinced love was not for me.
Ifeyinwa’s relationship was but a needle among other needles in a haystack. I’d had my fair share of bad relationships, some of my prior experiences terrible, others, not so much. . .and I had decided not to keep looking.

* * * *
‘Meet my Funke baby.’ My overly jovial friend in his usual happy mood said as he introduced me to a mermaid or a goddess whichever I believed her to be as I stared with arms outstretched, everything paused around me then.
I felt a rush of emotions so strong backed up with an overdose of adrenaline. My heart was racing and I began to feel hot inside. I wondered when I suddenly began to develop impromptu fever. Then I realized it was the effect of her skin against mine.
‘Hello.’ I said as I struggled for the right facial expression and the right words.
‘I’m funke. . .Emeka, nice to meet you, my pleasure.’ She said in a rather musically voice.
Right then I noticed the birds gathered on a nearby tree to listen to her voice. It was melodious, like a nightingale at the break of dawn. In her meticulous NYSC enforced white T-shirt and shorts, she looked like an angel, and I felt like I had been touched by one. I did not have the words for her eyes as I struggled to look away from them. I was jolted back to reality by Patrick when I realized I still held her hands and muttered a quick apology.

* * * *
I had recited to myself “she is not yours to think about” countless times in my head anytime my mind threatened to go out of its boundaries. Besides I wasn’t going to be coerced into falling for anyone else just because the connection felt great.
Or wasn’t I? Secretly I yearned to see her again even though I made sure my actions or words betrayed no such emotions.
I would sometimes ask Patrick, ‘How is your Funke baby? Omo that your chic makes so much sense oh you know bah?’
And he would glow like a thousand watt bulb with an ear-to-ear-smile and say ‘Funke fa? I know oh, she’s so fine but na God oh my brother.’
We would share a good laugh and I died after every one of those conversations.
Then came the cultural day, a day set out for the display of various cultures and traditions, guys and girls were adorned in various traditional attires, costumes and accessories depicting the vastness of the Nigerian culture.
Funke looked be-dazzling, dressed as a queen in Edo state, royalty was definitely befitting of one so lovely with her sedate walk and shiny spotless skin. She turned heads with her royal gait. I took a couple of pictures with her which I vowed to make multiple backup copies of. I was not about to lose such a digital relic.
The mandatory three weeks passed rather uneventful after that. Some people had anxiously waited to get their posting letters while others were confident about where they would be posted to.
I was among the anxious lot and my posting took me far away from any prospects of ever crossing paths with the graceful Funke. I tried not to think about it, but I had little control over my mind any time it veered towards thoughts of her.

* * * *
Months passed and it seemed like I had successfully been able to suppress any proactive feeling once nurtured towards her. I hadn’t gotten her phone number just her blackberry pin as was the trend then; as such I had to make do with a once-in-a-while chat with her. I hardly knew what to say to her in all of conversations then, until I found out she is a dedicated fan of the arsenal football club like I am. This was match-made in heaven. I genuinely enjoyed her virtual company each time we would chat and suddenly we lost contact again.
It was actually my fault as I had become a technology/gadget prostitute. I jumped from phone to phone and device after device I was insatiable and as such communication was unsteady.
Several months had gone by yet again, before I felt I was settled with a device. I had gotten tired of the emotional instability as well, and as such I decided once and for all to approach her. But I would do it with caution while gently preparing my platform from which to launch my already prepared manifesto. I was ready for Funke, I was powered and ready to go.

* * * *
‘Area one, Berger, Wuse, Area one, Berger, Wuse. . .’ The conductors continued to chant at the top of their voices amidst other park sounds as we drove slowly pas the park.
I attempted to blot out the noise so I could effectively think of my approach. Staring at her picture seemed to do the trick as I had begun to filter, the voices became clearer in my head and without warning, I typed on my phone “give me your number.” This might not have passed as a pick up line or any kind of line anywhere in the world, but it was the genesis of a revelation and the end of the beginning.
I had broken the ice and my speech was going to be verbally delivered. She needed to listen to the sincerity and urgency of my profession of this love which had been at first sight. I was in the “Ghen-Ghen” mode as we often referred to “readiness” when we were kids.
For where? I didn’t profess any love to her, as soon as I heard her voice I started talking about irrelevant things after we had exchanged pleasantries. Things like the Barclays English Premiership, and life after service in general, among others, were what we talked about and as the saying goes, “my liver failed me.” I urged death to do as it would. This was the last straw after the long nights of practising and researching, I failed to convey my heart’s message in words and comprehensive sentences.
“wetin concern Ox-lade chamberlain with matter wey I wan reason Barbina?” I asked myself countless times as I wiped the sweat off my face.
I don’t know if it was the intense heat or the apprehension from the call that made me break into sweat. Either way I realized I was sweating profusely.
Days passed and I had gotten into a rhythm. I began to pour my heart’s contents in bits, and carefully measured bits they were too. Calculated in such a way as not to drive her away and also to drive home my point.
I was almost certain it sounded like a joke to her at first, ridiculous even. But as nights turned into days she had begun to see the seriousness of my efforts.
“What is it you want exactly?” She asked.
In what I decided was the “prime” conversation and without mincing words, I told her “I want to be him.”
That to me was the highlight of it all. After subsequent chats she asked that I be patient until we were able to arrange a physical meeting. The virtual communique had to be halted. She needed to see me to ascertain my sincerity and probably reaffirm my looks. I laughed as the thought entered my head.
“She won’t want to be with a monkey.” I said to myself.
And even when it was supposed to be on a lighter note, I was apprehensive and anxious within.
We met over lunch; at least that’s what it was meant to be even though we ended up not eating, we were carried away by the magic of it all. The day hadn’t started on a good note. I was extraordinarily late because I couldn’t find what I termed “the perfect spot” for our meeting. I was frustrated and tired but all that as I found out was not to matter. She picked our spot and it was perfect. We talked for hours on end, I still remember her bright smile that opened to reveal a perfect set of dentition. . .could anyone be more perfect? I thought to myself as I allowed myself get carried away by her eyes. I was often caught staring. I loved her.
I chose not to be given an answer there and then for fear of not being able to contain whatever feelings that may have burst forth from an already anxious soul. I wouldn’t have been able to contain myself, whatever the answer may have been whether it was a “yes” or a “no”, this was worse than a proposal. I couldn’t get my mind off her throughout the ride home as I struggled to maintain sanity. I sat in silence and thought.
I remembered how I spat lines like I was constantly in a music studio booth only for her to repel each time for fear of being betrayed. It was tiring, the journey so far had made me to reflect; she wasn’t playing “hard-to-get,” she was only guarding her heart, her exes had made things very difficult for her future that was to be “ME”.
My phone rang later that day, or was it night? And when I saw the caller ID “Funke” I ran out of oxygen. It was like asphyxiation. I finally picked and the only thing I could remember was, “I really like you and all, and I want to see where this goes so, yes I will go out with you” or was that the way she said it? Either way Funke was officially my girl.

* * * *
Time has passed and the magic of that day still continues till this very moment. Funke is still my “general wahala prescribed drug” from heaven. The angel that abandoned immortality for me, my better half and my companion. I often tell myself if she was Eve I would eat a basket of the apples. I understand the plight of Adam, and I am no longer angry at how the creation story turned out.
I am forced to bring my recount to an end, because time will never be enough and forever is too short in the long run to let Funke know how much I adore, care and love her.

* * * * * * * * * * *THE END* * * * * * * * * * *

Onugbolu Sinclair Chisom is a mathematician and computer scientist. A graduate of Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria. A founding member of Lyriversity. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria. You may reach him on twitter: @vaischancellor

Onugbolu Sinclair Chisom, Photo courtesy of Facebook Onugbolu Sinclair's image

Onugbolu Sinclair Chisom, Photo courtesy of Facebook Onugbolu Sinclair’s image

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

YOU ARE HERE

Posted: September 26, 2014 in Poetry
Tags: , ,

by Nancy Ewurum Chibuzor

I
You are here
But not here
Roaming the deserts of nostalgia
I reach out to touch you
But I catch the rushing wind
I whisper your name
But the echoes fling it back to me
I walk faster to catch up
But your fleeing shadow cast night upon my path
Like a blind man with no guide
I grope about for a steady hold

II
You are here
But not here
Swimming about in confused waters
I try to call your name
But the watery talons hold back my voice
I kick against the tide of frustration
But my flailing legs are indeed no match
For the currents of your absence
I cling to the reeds singing your goodbye
In hope of strangling that dreadful song
I succeed only in magnifying your vacancy

III
You are here
But not here
Sliding down the ice glaciers of life
I feel around for your warmth
But your footprints have long been erased
I listen hard for your returning footsteps
But I hear deafening silence
Like an avalanche plummeting hastily
I rush through life’s blizzards
In hope of finding the ‘still waters’
Amidst the death valley of life’s turbulences

IV
You are here
But not here
Levitating on the illusions of loneliness
I conjure up your imagery
Like Leonardo, I wake up still dreaming
I see you afar off
I pinch my nose and dance in circles
But I’m quite lucid
I steer towards your fantasized form
But with the mist; you elope
Grieved, I touch down and taxi into firm reality.



Nancy Ewurum Chibuzor is a project manager, a graduate Federal University of Technology, Owerri. You can reach her on twitter: @nansyie

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

by Okoye Chukwudi Charles Ezeamalukwuo

“God made man in his own image;
A being of love and boundless grace.
Man remade God in Man’s image;
A tool of fear, hate and disgrace.”

-The Journey of the Soul

Yesterday, I was reading the news and I came across the story that involves Kano state Sharia law and the destruction of countless crates of legal alcoholic drinks. I was shocked by this development because I thought Alcohol is legal in Nigeria. I thought that Nigeria is a secular state and that there is a clear separation between state and religion. To make matters worst, the comments from some people on the post did not help. They argued in favour of the destruction of another man’s legitimate business, stating that alcohol is wrong according to the teachings of their religion, and so should be forcefully resisted. Hence, it is right to destroy what is legitimate under our constitution and under the constitution of many countries in the world because someone told you some one thousand four hundred years ago that God (whom happened to choose him alone) told him that alcohol is wrong. Hmmmm…unbelievable.

My experience with the antics of Organised Religion started from birth. My childhood and most of my adolescence were spent in the strict adherence to the Catholic faith. I grow up in a family that wore the Christian Doctrine upon their skin (alas! not as much in their hearts). I was taught that Jesus is the ONLY true way, the only true teacher and that any other way or teaching is false. I was taught that Christianity (which happens to have about 1/5 of the world’s population) is the only true religion ordained by God, and that other religions were works of the Devil. This idea of being specially made me a bit arrogant and proud. Out of many, I was among the few chosen.
But as I grew older and started to study deeper and wider, I began to see the similarities of my religion with the other so called “damned” religions. I began to know many of the evil practises and actions done in the past by the Church in the name of God. I began to understand that Christianity is not the only Religion that thinks it is special. The Muslims, the Jews, the Buddhists and co also think that theirs is the only true Religion. Hence, I made a 180 degrees turn around, an epiphany. Today some friends and family members accuse me of being an atheist and in dire need of deliverance so to speak because I disagree with their narrow view of God.

The root of my problem with organised religions lies in their inability to tolerate opposing views. Each Religion believes that it is the One True Religion, the only one instituted by God and the only one good enough to make Heaven, while it believes that the others will be damned in hell for all eternity. We see this mostly in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In Catholic Church, it is called Heresy for one to preach anything that contradicts with the Vatican. In the olden days people were burnt at stake for Heresy. The clerics argued then that it was better to torture the body that is temporary in order to save the soul that is permanent. In other words, whether you like it or not we will send you to heaven but first we will pass you through hell on earth. We see this actions being practised today by the radical islamists, who bomb, maim, torture innocent people because they share a different opinion from their own. But the true is that…

“God calls not only with the Jew,
Nor has he special relation
With the cross, star and moon and few;
For God is of no Religion.”

-The Journey of the Soul

I have asked this question many times and I will ask it here again; when a religious person encounters a pagan religion, whose people live in love, peace and harmony. Whose people are warm and hospitable and treat both friends and strangers with love and respect, and also embrace him as one of their own, treating him with dignity, but have only the flaw of worshipping idols, will he still go about preaching to them to repent and abandon their “Evil Practises”? This question beats me…

I have argued somewhere before that the idea of being special by Religious sects is a very dangerous one because it will make man to do unpredictable things in the Name of a being as ambiguous as God. The Israelis (who are but 0.1% of the world population) believe that they are the chosen people. God created 7 billion people and chose only 7 million as his people…does this make sense? This theory has been propagated by them to justify the hedious crimes against humanity taking place in Palestine.
The same can be said of Christianity in the Dark-Medevial ages down to the crusades and the spanish inquisition. And Islam too.

The teachings of organised religions have split in two many homogeneous countries today. We see this in India and Pakistan, we see this in Israel and Palestine, we see this in North and South Sudan, in Iraq (Sunni vs Shite), in Ireland and Northern Ireland, in Serbia, in Lebanon, and even in Nigeria to mention but a few. Religion, I have been told is supposed to make us better and more humane. But what I have seen is neither of the these. I have seen families divide over religion, Countries go to war over religion, Marriages dissolved over religion, Children disinheritated over religion, innocents slaughtered over religion and etc. History is overflowing with the blood of the innocents killed by the holy sword of Religion.
God has become a victim in the hands of Religious heads, who use him at will to achieve their self-centred political and economical goals.
In my part of the world, Catholics hardly marry from any other Denomination in the Christian faith, yet we all are supposed to be children of one loving God through Jesus Christ…Make I hear!

Furthermore Organised Religion had impeded the growth in Science and Technology for many centuries. Man was busy trying hard to achieve Heaven while Earth rots away.

Earth is a Hell and not a home
Paradise; -a place yet unknown
Man in his quest to gain Heaven
Made a Hell of Earth; faith driven

-The Journey of the Soul

Problems that involved simple human reasoning were left to grow complex while Man waited on God. There is this lack of ambition and constructive reasoning among religious people, their eyes are perpetually focused above, and their attitudes are usually one of resignation to their fate. Their’s is an unrealistically rigid mentality that is incapable of independent reasoning. “My pastor told me” syndrome or “It is written in the holy book” logic. To them, Earth is a distraction, Heaven is the goal, thus everything is accepted in faith. “God giveth, God taketh, Glory be to his name.” Hence nothing is done to advance the comfort and convinence of the society as a whole. I have said it times without numbers, the day that Nigerians stopped overly waiting on God to solve our problems, that day will half of our problems be solved.

In conclusion, I believe that the end product of Religion should be to make us more loving, to make us more tolerant, more patient, more kind, more gentle, more humble, more honest, more disciplined etc. Thus if your faith is that which makes you less of these, which makes you more paranoid, more aggressive or demand the blood or tears of your fellow humans, my brother…”Know Ye well thy Path leadth unto Hell.”

“All Religion is part of truth,
None alone has it all by root
Any faith that practice not love
Is dead and far from God above.

-The Journey of the Soul

I believe that organised Religions by the fact that they are organised -standardised, are prone to manipulations by the CEO and board of directors who manage them. The chief aim of establishing those Religions I believe was to awake our inner self to try and find consolation in death while making the world a better and more loving place to be, but with growth and time, corruption which is the inherent in humanity entered into these Religions, and these goals were substituted for a more standardised versions; that of increasing membership, that of silencing dissent voices, that of money making and global hegemony.
I must state clearly that I too am a bit religious myself. I believe in a Supreme Being, controller of the Universe; God. But do I believe that he called only a handful of people to be his and condemned others…NO, with a capital. God is for everyone. He is not a product that Judaism, Christianity, Islam or any other Religion has a monopoly on. You do not need to enter a church, a synagogue or a mosque before you can order yourself a basket of God. There is no exclusive right or patent to him. He is as free as the air we breathe. And anyone who truly seeks him will find him in their own way.
For as it is written; “Seek (my good friend) and surely you will find.”

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and does not necessarily represent those of Lyriversity.

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.
–W.H. Auden (The More Loving One)

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity