FADE

Spotlight’s on me
I look around
Hoping these eyes
Aren’t staring at me
Suddenly the dress
Mum picked out
Doesn’t feel that
Glamorous anymore
The flowers in my hair
Are falling off, dying
The petals crumble
Colors; white, gold, purple
Slowly fading
No one’s staring anymore
I’m forgotten
But the spotlight’s still on me
I run but the light follows me
I stop and scream
– Let me go! –
I hold up the dress but
It’s in flames
From the hem up,
It turns to ashes
I run into the bathroom
– This is a nightmare –

IfiokAbasi Okop
© 2019

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HAIKUS

1.
Life, fresh out of water,
Leaving the old one behind
Sails in wonder

2.
A star melts trying
To rest firmly on a crown;
Lost, forgotten soul

3.
In worship, mountains bow
Rocks cry out, oceans roar,
This heart joins nature

IFIOKABASI OKOP
© 2019

Numb

There is a numbness in my head
A searing pain that threatens to strip me of my sanity
And blur my senses of whatever hold on life they have left
So much that my hands cannot thump my chest
Cannot allow me to say it is alright and that I have help within
Groaning out to remind me of who I am and why there’s life in me, but I scream

The numb becomes a pain that only allows me see the trauma
And bitterness and anger I carried for so long
That I could not forgive myself because of
And has now taken control of who I am
The numb has spread to my fingers
I cannot touch my face, to feel the life that lives in me
Cannot feel the warmth on my skin
The blood that flows through my veins

I stagger backwards and I feel a panic rising in my chest
Up to my windpipe threatening to come out through my mouth and when it does
I gasp for air, for a breath
I steady myself by a wall and with wide eyes I take deep breaths
Swallowing as much as I can force down then the tears come
Willingly, patiently, next they become sobs, loud
Choking sobs and in that moment I feel the life seep out of me
Slowly, without a fight and my legs, weak, throb
Throb so bad I can no longer stand so I slide down while hugging myself

It is not going to be alright
It won’t be alright until I see the help right within me
Silently saying ‘it’s okay’ all the while I was fighting with myself
Telling me to stop and allow him fight because my defenses are down
With the numbness and pain
But I could not see it because I took my eyes off him and focused on me
My pain, my panic, my hurt and so it’s not going to be alright
Until I stop fighting alone

IFIOKABASI OKOP
© 2019

GOD’S LETTER

This love that leaves a bitter taste on my tongue
Is the sacrifice I promised I would have for you despite your flaws
You give me your heart in pieces
your brokenness is what I long for
the only thing I want from you

Mending is what I do with you
This process that shows you the love I hope you see
And I hope imprints on you
I do not give your heart back in pieces
I give you this new one, designed to be bound to me

Your gaze makes me feel like
I’m all there is in your heart
I tuck your hair behind your ear
Hold your hand, look at your face
I want you to follow me
I definitely have a lot to show you

IFIOKABASI OKOP
© 2019

REDEMPTION

When you think of redemption
You think of letting go the pieces your life has become
To be put back together
You think of wholeness, newness
When you think of redemption
You think of brokenness
The image of you crumbling, like a folded piece of paper
Your head between your knees, rocking back and forth, mumbling words, seeking help
When you think of redemption
You think of a new page
The already drawn out lines – direction from your Creator
He said, here’s life, a blank sheet, decide if you’ll follow the lines
Or scribble across the page
When you think of redemption
You think of a new person
A life bereft of old trappings
A life, anew
Because love
Because transformation
Because newness
Because God
When you have redemption
There’s that Peace that passes your yearn to grasp its meaning
Redemption let’s you take those baby steps
Your hands in God’s, your steps right behind his
When you think of redemption, you know there’s hope.

IfiokAbasi Okop
© 2019

RHYTHM

I am the music
The rhythm that moves to no beat, moves to a silent fear, a fear that the music will stop
My body is rhythm –
Looking for an opening, a scar to let this bottled up angst and terror move to the beat
Wait, what beat?
-The fast, irregular, jarring leaves my hands in the air, my mouth in my heart
I’m flailing, a lost soul in an abyss
The music is spikes, needles in my brain, insanity comes, slowly, silently, holding breath, holding life
The music is ice, freezing time, freezing me –Limbo
I pause the music and I’m still, no breath, no life, still
I press play and I’m the wind
The last beat holds my breath
I don’t want to let go
If I press replay, can I stand this, again?

IfiokAbasi Okop
©2019

STILL I STAND

Does your mind say the opposite of what your faith says?
That the strength in you cannot rise above the fear clutching at your throat, threatening to squeeze out the already faint voice that says ‘I don’t have the spirit of fear, but of love and power and a sound mind.’

The fear cowering your defenses, making you more vulnerable than you already are, telling you, yes, the night is dark and that you’re about to step into the blinding, discomfortable darkness. The fear floating like the night breeze; not chill, not cool, not reassuring but restless, defiant, whispers one ear into the other, ‘you’re alone, look, you’ll trip, there’s definitely a pit and you’ll fall into it.’

The voice gets louder, harsher and you scream out, ‘though I walk through the valley and the shadow of death hovers over me, I’ll fear nothing.’ You will say it till your mind and body and every hair on you skin stand in obedience, taking down iotas of doubt.

Someone once your faith is doing the opposite of what you fear.

Fear comes in when you are at your lowest, tells you you are human and that humans fear but you look at it in the eye and tell it, ‘I’m not human, I’m superhuman because what I have in me is superior to the power that’s in you.’

You tell fear, yes life breaks people, takes them through storms and losses and pains and makes them clutch their hurting hearts wishing life could seep out of them, wishing they could be free. You tell fear, STILL I STAND.

Still I stand through the failed courses, dead CGPA’s, empty bank accounts, biting hunger, depression, hospital beds. I stand through the days I feel like hiding under Vet Mountain and not let the sun see your tears. I stand through the days I feel alone and lost and completely forgotten.

Still I stand, holding on to that hope that says ‘do not fear, because I am with you.’
The one that tells you, ’walk with me, watch me and learn the unforced rhythms of grace.’

You are a miracle God is building into a story the world will go on telling even when you’re up there with him. A story that will hold up people battling with fear.

My friend once told me this and I’m telling you, ’you are many things, but you are not afraid.’

You are strong, powerful, full of faith and light. You are full of God’s strength that does not bow to fear.

IFIOKABASI OKOP

(c) 2018