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Many moons ago,

I went to the market square,

Saw a beautiful goddess

And was left bereft of word

.

I then remembered what my father used to tell me

“Son,

Metaphor is the horse of words;

And when a word is lost,

A metaphor is used to find it.”

.

When she was about to walk past me,

I quickly closed my eyes,

And knelt to pray.

And behold, she did not pass.

Today, we celebrate a year together.

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Today, I celebrate myself

Do I contradict myself?

Very well then I contradict myself,

(I am large, I contain multitudes.}    Walt Whitman

 

 

Let it not be said that my God is a faux god.

Let it not be said that I was not broken.

Let it not be said that I stayed broken.

Let it not be said that I lost in the battle of love.

Let it not be said that I do not contradict myself.

Let it not be said that I am ONE—I am an entity.

Let it not be said that I am not a paradox.

Let it not be said that I am a perfect being.

Let it not be said that I did not fail.

Let it not be said that I never felt insecure.

Let it not be said that I never felt vulnerable and weak.

Let it not be said that I, Àlàní, who ate 20 wraps of pap and asked for more is not the son of my father.

Let it not be said that I kept quiet in the face of tyranny.

Let it not be said that I was cowered into silence by shame and her agents of backbiters.

Let it not be said that I’m ashamed of who I am.

For I am ME, and today I celebrate all of ME; the ME that was, the ME that is, and the ME that would be.

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The Falconer

She meets a bearded demon clothed in Agbada,
He tells her tales of his Ancestors,
Who could reduce an ocean to ashes,
by breathing fire.
 

 

He mixes up promises and lies
In a chalice of affection
And shoves it down her throat.
Although acrid, she falls for the saccharine flavor.
 

 

Then he parts her red sea with his staff of truth.
He breaks her heart, gorges it out,
And sacrifices it at the Osun shrine.
She then gets tossed into the evil forest.
 

 

But she finds her way out.
She comes out stronger,
Defiantly grows another heart,
And ready to love again.
 

 

She is gutsy,
She is brave,
She is the epitome of strength and hope
She is a falconer— in the making.
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Unrequited Love

I showed you what love looks like,

But you took advantage of my crystalline form;

I became helpless as it briskly morphed into something amorphous.

You made me feel good, and then bad;

Sometimes lucid, clear in attitude as fine crystal,

Other times you seemed possessed by impalpability.

How wrong I was in thinking you understood me;

You welcomed me into your arms,

And then pushed me away just as fast.

Tasting sweet and sour,

Blowing hot and cold,

I was lost in the morass of your nebulousness.

Pain mixed with bliss,

A familiar type of feeling,

The beginning of a storm.

Even amidst the tempest,

I clung on to the lifeboat of hope, without a compass,

Hoping to find your welcoming harbor.

It felt like a wilderness,

But my belief held strong,

That I’d find my way to your Canaan.

To you, I was a nuisance

To me, you were a prison I could not escape from

I wanted to walk away, but it wasn’t that simple

I desperately wanted out of this prison,

Only if you released me.

And then it happened;

Reality dawned,

I woke up from these dreams.

I realized they had been hijacked by reality.

The gates only existed in my emotions.

The gates were open all along.

You’ve always been an effigy.

After eulogizing your absence at the funeral of love,

Singing epicedium,

Chanting dirges at her burial,

And etching an epitaph on her grave,

I have decided to walk away;………in peace!!!!!

The mermaid I met in Uncle Sam

Just last week,
I went to one of the beaches in Uncle Sam,
And I saw a mermaid just off the shore at sunset,
With an unsparing lithe figure.
I watched from afar as she swirls her hips;
Back and forth…..grandiosely.
Not to a music but to the tranquil rhythm of the ocean current.
I ran up to her,
And I sang her a Paean.
We hugged,
And I carried her and folded her into curvatures of a plane,
And placed her in an aquarium of love.
To protect her from the randomness and storms of life.

Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun (Adichie Chimamanda)

Nothing but respect for Adichie, she is a genius.

Half of a yellow sun is about the inferno of the Nigerian civil war; laced with a love story. A book every Nigerian should read. Adichie joined the list of prominent writers who did their part to keep Nigerian history alive in the heart of Nigerian readers since our government has decided to expunge history from the educational curriculum. For this, we are grateful. The book was properly written and intended for the African audience, albeit some debatable points. But then, like our elders say- until the lions present their own historian, the story of the hunt will only justify the hunter. So if anyone wants a debate, go ahead and write your own story or proceed to America and engage Adichie.

This is not a review so I would advise anyone interested in Half of a Yellow Sun to simply pick up the book and read. However I was particularly impressed with the laconic mention of the Asaba massacre using one of the caricatures named Alice. Olanna who is Igbo and also one of the main characters dated a northerner called Mohammed (Adichie showed us a northerner once loved an Igbo).
Like someone had said, she revealed her gift as a “perceptive observer of human behavior”.
How she was able to dovetail the civil war in this fictitious book is virtually unbelievable.

 

Americanah, however, is a book about race, immigration and the power of first love. The first few chapters made me nauseous when all she talked about was hair. I found it boring, and it reminded me of one of my exes who always talked about her hair and took it upon herself to educate me on the different types of hairs and wigs. I would pretend to be listening but in reality, it made me sick. It’s the same thing I felt in all chapters where the crux was hairs and saloons. As it went on, I started enjoying it. I could transport myself back to secondary school days and fit some of the stories into my life, I could easily represent some of the characters with my friends. A typical Nigerian secondary school, the kind of experience we all had.
In some chapters, I quickly boarded a boat of imaginations to the life in America, carefully and joyfully fitting some of the stories into my life and that of my friends in America.
The way some Nigerians in Diaspora turn to political commentators on Social media, knowingly or unknowingly comparing life in the west with life in Africa; their own way of killing the distance between home and Abroad, the urge to breach a certain gap, to fill a vacuum, to travel home-using the social media. The struggle of hanging on to that Nigerianness, pretending America cannot change you.
The way Africans suddenly realize they are blacks after landing at the American Airports. The unending discussion about racism, pretending to understand racism more than the black Americans, sitting in front of the television playing victims but would never go out to join in on protests. Everything was meticulously touched in this book.
Seeing your highs and lows written in a book; the lows you cannot talk about staring back at you with audacity—yes!….That is the kind of power the book wields.
But still something was wrong, I can’t really place it, perhaps the way it was written. I still do not think the book was intended for an African audience. Even though the book is majorly about Africans, one could argue it’s one of those books about Africans intended for the western audience (NOT POVERTY PORN). I didn’t have this feeling when I read “Half of a yellow sun” or when reading anything Chinua Achebe. But then, there is only one Chinua Achebe. Also, I think the power of first love demonstrated using the two protagonists, Ifemelu and Obinze was exaggerated. Sigh! I can’t even remember my first love. Exaggeration-they say, is a necessary recipe for good writing.
I also think Adichie should have mentioned the prejudice that exists between African Americans and Africans, she shied away from it. Even those who morph into Atheist after experiencing 24hrs of electricity and speedy internet in the west—sigh
Well done Adichie, your writing adroitness deserves a bow.

For anyone who is interested in an extensive review of Americanah, you can read (this)

From Love to Selflessness to Eternal Happiness by Olusegun Tinubu

Is it possible to be permanently happy? The key to happiness is in undiluted love and selflessness. I am not talking about ephemeral happiness, the one that we get from worldly goods in life, such as life achievements and positions, or from a boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, or even parent. These ‘things’ are subject to decay or change and so is the happiness they bring. That is where we miss the point, we search for happiness in the wrong places. How dare you place your burden of happiness on another human? How fair do you think that is? How dare you place your burden of happiness on worldly desires? The truth is our desires are insatiable and all they would ever bring is temporary happiness. We live our lives trying to please others so as to be happy but we forget that there is no written script on how to get people to love us, we can only do our part by loving and expecting nothing in return as you have no control over other people’s actions. The key to achieving eternal happiness is in selflessness and love, just as the secret to greatness is in serving. We have to understand that our reward is not in the hands of “man” but rather in the hands of the One who is the Master of the universe. Jesus said: As the father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love, and if you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be full (John 15:9-11).  Any man who perfects these acts would live a blissful life but a man who continues to attach his state of happiness to the opinions of “man” or worldly desires would have more days of disappointments, sorrow and sadness than happiness. Undiluted love means we long for the welfare of all beings, rejoice with people, yearn for their prosperity and the same applies to your enemies. For there is greater blessing in loving than being loved.

However, practice makes perfect they say, we have to practice the acts of selflessness and undiluted love by making conscious effort. As we make these efforts, meditate ceaselessly upon them, the journey to eternal blissfulness becomes so short and later achieved. A man who prides himself in his ego can never achieve eternal happiness. Our Lord Jesus Christ came to this earth as human and he lived a perfect life by perfecting the acts of loving and selflessness. Ridding oneself of selfishness has to be carried out without the fear of being ridiculed and trampled upon, remember your reward is in hands of the one who created the heavens and earth. There should be focus and conscientiousness in the effort of ridding oneself of selfishness by watering the seeds of love and selflessness that have already been planted somewhere in your mind by God.

Your friends and even those you love selflessly will mock you, ridicule you, accuse you of inconsistency, and even multiple personalities because you will fall sometimes but do not worry, only a hammer persistence can drive a nail of success. True courage is not the absence of fear but the mastery of fear (Zig Ziglar). By the time you have rid yourself of selfishness and mastered the act of loving and selflessness, all the ridicule, and mockery can no longer inflict pain on you, they would recognize your eternal happiness and naturally respect you but also remember that your reward is in the hands of our heavenly father.

No one was born selfish, we are what we are today due to the things we picked up or learned while growing, and just as we learned or picked these things, we also possess the power to drop or unlearn them. There is a Chinese proverb that says; the best time to plant a tree is 20years ago, the second best time is now.

Learn to love and you shall see in all souls, even those called “degraded”, the divine beauty, and shall know that it will not fail to come forth in its own season. This is one of the heavenly visions; it is out of this that gladness comes (James Allen, 1864-1912). Begin your journey into the gateway of selflessness today, for there lies the Elysium of abiding joy and eternal happiness.