I Can’t Breathe

So, you give yourself a treat
Basking in the Euphoria
Of Pizza, ice cream and Shawarma
With your dry throat
Enjoying the constant flow
Of a very chill Pepsi
As soon as they announce
One day fasting and prayer
…..I can’t breathe

All night Long
You had a one night stand
Twerking, rolling and standing
On a long thing
But when it was time
To spend one night
With the King of kings
The Creator of all long
And short things
….I can’t breathe

During the Pandemic
You were the Minister of information
The broadcaster of all Confirmed
And Death cases
Now that God has kept you alive
To broadcast His Word
And Minister to his children
….I can’t Breathe

Yes!
You can’t breathe in
The polluted air of Immorality
And exhale the Purity of Divinity
You’ve given your body
All the attention
And sentenced your spirit
To life in detention
No matter the balanced diet you eat
Your Life is not balanced
If your spirit man is not gallant

Beyond the seen
There’s a life behind the scene
Beyond the full feeling
There’s an in-filling
Where drunkenness is normal
And Doggedness is not carnal
Here, there are no neutral grounds
If your feet are not standing on a secret
They will smoke you out like cigarettes
Living too casual
Makes you a casualty
Your Spirit Life Matters

Uwe Etim
© 2020

Who Am I?

I have sought a definition
A sentence that could give me full expression of who I actually am

Am I a girl?
Is my life best expressed in the gender
In the XX of my genotype
Or in the comely form of my phenotype?

Am I a youth?
The leader of tomorrow; the pillar of today,
Am I one of the millions of jolly fresh faced persons
Brewing with passion but lacking in knowledge,
Just hustling to make it?

Am I a Nigerian?
Do I get my identity from my southern roots
Trying to fit into the mold of societal stereotypes?

Am I a graduate?
Is that laminated certificate in my box my identity card
Such that I am quick to shove my titles in peoples faces
Using that as a basis for unhealthy comparison…
But deep down I know
I am not my profession and my profession is not me
So help me answer this question who am I?

Guys, it took a long time to realize who I was
To understand that I couldn’t find myself by looking inward
but looking outward
that I would only see my true reflection
when I look in His mirror
that my true life is wrapped in his death and glorious ascension
that my life is not about the external but the eternal

but that my real identity is in JESUS
not in gender or status or nationality or age or education or skill
so who am I?
I am a child of God, a joint heir with Christ
I am a spiritual, supernatural, extraordinary human being
Trust me,
I am not just a girl, I am not just a youth,
I am not just a Nigerian, I am not just a graduate, I am not just a poet…
I AM A CHILD OF GOD!

Damaris
© 2020

Parent Thing

Hail Mary, full of Grace…

Tell mothers their children are gifts with gifts in them. Not slaves who who will give birth to more slaves.

The Lord is with you, blessed art thee…

Tell fathers the world is changing, toxic masculinity is not therapy for the trauma.

Amongst women, and blessed is the fruit…

Tell children; your parents are gods. Adore and revere them. But never be afraid to tell them how you feel or pursue your dream. Deal with your trauma before bringing another kid into this world. Honour and respect all humans equally, God is the greatest, and madu abuho chukwu.

Of your womb…


Parenting is a partnership between parents and their kids. And like all partnerships, as long as the other partner is rational enough to think, their opinion on matters that concern them should be considered, too. You can be a good man, a good woman, but if your kids are not doing well, you will be tagged a bad parent. What does it tell you? The child holds a stake in this parenting business. Consider, build and uplift them. Not entirely in the conventional way, but in the way that is convenient for you and them.

now and at the hour of our death, amen

Ice Nwa Ǹkwọ
©2020

Hello Ladies

They asked us out after the age we intended to marry
They begged us to wait until they were stable before we become soul mates.
Our hearts desires to be sisters to our daughters and sons have been crushed
How would our offspring understand us?
We’re left with the gate of loneliness when they leave or when he dies as the case may be.
But this was not how it was written…
They waited together and got their promise
Her clock got better with age even after menopause
She died before him and he was never lonely
So when God is on your matter it becomes an adage
It would always be done deal as long as God is on gear too.

Kapiché?

Azubike Hannah
© 2019

Judging the Judge

Do not judge if you do not wish to be judged
As simple as it seems, I assure you it is not
For in the deepest recesses of my mind
I already classed you… Everytime

The watch you wear, the time you spend
The monies you lend that do not compare…
To how much you are self aware.

Funny, I already judged you
You who sleeps with she(s) and wake with hymns
I’m sorry you dare not speak…you’re dim
I’ve judged you

For you think I did not know of the lies you told
Grow a pair, its getting old
And yet you judge me so

Who gave you the right to judge me? Answer me
Who gave you the right to judge me?? Answer…
Answer me, I…
I
I

Answer me.
But I… turns a deaf ear
I is self righteous
I is indignant
I is blind to me
And me does not listen to I
So I ignores you and lets this continue

I, You, Me
The tripatite judge of all who be
Seeking justification in an existence parallel to HIM

In a self created universe beyond HIS reach
Using standards we know won’t stick
Just winding down the clock with every tick

I would rather not be judged by HIM
You would rather not be judged by HIM
Me would rather not be judged by HIM
Cos HIS ways are just and would turn ours to dust

– Somto Onubogu (2019)

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL – Part 1

The most beautiful girl my experience taught smiled at me today
It has been a long class and I thought I was following till that smile
I have myriads of questions but I fear my mates might have a comic relief
So I try moving my shivering lips apart in an attempt to smile back
My grades are average so why the warmth in her smile?
My grades are average so I must be missing something a brighter student can point out
Soon after class, a tap on my shoulder, and I turn to see a pair of joy-flooded eyes
I can’t hold her gaze, my legs are trembling and I have a sudden urge to pee
I sit down, clamp my legs together with my hands between them
She seem to notice my discomfort so she pulls out my hand and holds
“What have I got myself into”, I think
Without mincing words she tells me she likes me and would want a friend in me
On the 3rd attempt at trying to talk and not recognizing my voice
I clear my throat and all I can mutter is ‘okay’
I could change classes and routes and never see her again but she has other ideas
She walks me home, my palm in hers
With each laughter and chatter, I feel at home
She tells tales too beautiful to be true about herself;
Describes her thoughts of me in ways my exposure has not afforded my imagination
I unpack boxes I leave packed because I was always on the move
Now I am home

ChyD
© 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