TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN.

If you are reading this, you are already here
The anthill is now a mountain
The pond is a sea
Life is now a fountian
Bursting with whatever troubles may be

If you are reading this
Dark clouds have converged
For the storm is now fruitful
Your feet and head await to be submerged
As all previous plans don’t feel as useful

If you are reading this you may be at worlds end
But “be not afraid” is the Lord’s trend
And his love is past, future, and present
Even at the world’s end

If you are this reading this
Know that Gods love is breath when you are left gasping
And his embrace can fill all your gaps in
The issues of life tend to always buckle under his name’s weight
And his word makes mountains mere exercise for faith

If you are reading this, you are already here
If you are reading this, you already won.

– Ini Brown (2019)

Why do You fear the stars

I do NOT fear the stars
I fear the sky’s span, its depth and breath, its embrace that swallows everything my size and yours and makes them disappear into insignificance.
Do you have the slightest idea what the sky does to you, mortal man?
That scape up there, it makes you marvel. It lifts a smile unto your face, drives awe into your heart. Your feelings twinkle with the stars. You feel fly. Fly like a firefly, a little dot of light persevering in a dark world. You feel like a peacock, strutting its gaily colored stuff. Just before it gets slaughtered.
The sky’s beauty is a stolen garb woven from a trillion diamonds, the stars that hide the cold, dark, unfeeling universe beneath its ‘skin’. The rule of that universe is selfishness, its path is self-preservation, its goal is self-elevation. And no mortal has ever won against its brutish march.
Neither will you.

Neither will the stars.
Like you, millions have tried to soar past the skies. They pierced it with towers, crossed it with rockets, coursed about it with satellites.
Like you, trillions have burned bright, over eons unfathomable. They gave light and life to worlds innumerable. They were the suns of their age, the stars that stunned our forebears.
Today, they are gone. All of them. All shredded trillion bits, devoured by the same universe. And the sky, this pretty mask of a cold dark monster, keeps its sunlight front, its fraudulent smile.
And the world keeps spinning.
I do not fear the stars. I fear the wretchedness they hide.

Ikenna Nwachukwu Alexander
© 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

Deep

For quite some time now,
I have been in the deep, ,
Pressed by some obese thoughts weighing on my heart,
Putting my heart in an humble state,
So, my heart has no choice but to take a bow,

Cut my head clean from my neck,
So, the storm in my heart,
Causing my mind to waver can shut up,
So my worries that chains me can break,

Then He told me to breathe,
Breathe? Can’t you see me drowning?
Breathe he said again?
Me and water never liked ourselves,
Breathe, Son, breathe

Well, I’m in the deep,
So, what harm will it cause me,
So, I took a breath,
And I saw that in the deep,
There lied waiting for me,
Like a wife waits for her husband,

There she lied,
Filling my nostrils to the brim,
Setting flames to my heart,
To burn out the ice caps,
There she lied,
God’s infinite Grace,
Telling me to take a dive into Philippians 4:6-7
Grace, a scandalous love!

Olaoye Adeleye
© 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

Dear stranger

Dear stranger,
Do not hold down your doubt, your anger,

Life is no ordinary poem,
With lines, stanzas and rhymes,
Life is no ordinary Odyssey,
With storms, fear and courage,

‘No’ your breath is more,
Breath of life is more than,
a poor poem, a poor journey,
And so I say,
Let the apparition show,
Let the street overflow,
With the words of psalms,
May the words of proverbs,
And Matthew fly across your mind,

But please dear stranger,
Do not restrict your doubt, your anger,
Let them challenge the Psalm,
And proverbs and all,

And when your inner man is ready,
And your reasonable war over,
Throw away all the broken armors,
Of doubt and anger and sit still,
For awhile by the river,

For I am the crown, the king,
The light, the peace,
The truth, life eternal,
In me every road,
Leads the way home,

Dear stranger,
Do not resist your doubt, your anger,
But come, follow me.

Ugwu David C
© 2018

False-Truth

I’m not good enough,
Daddy is taking Ada out for the third time because she aced her exams and I did not,
It’s the 4th time I’m being dumped for the better one who happens to bear my second name,
Yes! I took the pain to please my team and they chose David instead to take the lead,
Right now, I can’t look my wife in the face because I was not strong enough to rescue our only son before the car exploded in my face,
It’s 5 of 5 times I gave my opinion only to be overlooked by Tunde my coworker,
Who later brushed it up at the board meeting and was given a cool offer,
I even bet my life savings on the victory of my soccer club and the other club won,
And now I remember that it was momma who never believed a word a say because of the lie I told when I was two,

So, before I take my baby steps to death,
let me tell you that life has left me bullied by these thoughts and actions and betrayals and my pride with many rejections,
I even resulted to alcoholism but.. wait,
My religion abhors it so I’m formerly depressed,
These are the few I can tell,
I don’t want to tingle your ears,
And so far, all gesture given to me have been a clue for my escape away from this wicked world,

This was my life until I met one who told me I was made for so much more,
“Though the world’s pressure be heavy on me?”
But one sure word,
“Though I have been tagged as a sore looser and my dreams are dying”
But one true word,
“Though the stem of a tree be cut off and it’s roots wither but with the scent of water…
..That tree will grow again”

So before you pull the trigger to your brain,
Or drink that mixture,
Or have a last look at the beautiful skies as you sink in to the deep,
Or tie that rope to your neck,
Or write your last letter,
Give me the chance to rescue the hero in you,
Let me a minute to whisper to you that you are the one the skies have been waiting for,
Allow me to give you this scent of hope that there’s one who believes in your breath,
Your scent, your accent, your color, your posture, your smiles,

I mean your tears a so treasured so much that every drop sends a signal to the one who created you,
Truly you’re the apple of his eyes,
And these misdeeds are remodeling you into a masterpiece,
Your past do not define your future,
You are equal and more to that problem you’re facing,
You’re the champion waiting to happen,
So don’t give up, hang in there!
And just before another ‘false truth’ comes knocking at your mind’s door,
Accommodate this one truth,
“You are good enough!”

Azubuike Hannah
© 2018