Christ-mass

It is the mass for The Christ
A celebration in honour of the Saviour
Procession started by some wise men from the East
With an overflow of shepherds on a field

What is Christmas?
It’s a mass for the First begotten
A celebration in honour of the Lamb
The birth of our Advocate

What is Christmas?
It’s a mass for the Heir apparent
A celebration in honour of The Word
The Word becoming flesh, dwelling with us

What is Christmas?
It’s a mass for Love
A celebration in honour of Love Himself
A redemption plan borne out of Love

What is Christmas?
It’s not about you or your fleshly desires
It’s about loving, caring and sharing
It’s about putting a smile on someone’s face

Christmas is LOVE!!!
Merry Christmas

– Chukwubuigwe
(c) 2019

What in the world

What, in the world, does a plus sign
Have to do with Redemption?
Like, this math is flawed.
Go figure.

What, in God’s heaven, does precious gold
Have to do with street grounds?
Like a mat is, floored.
Go figure.

Dem dey go, dem dey go, mass choir.
Singing Hallelujah. Trumpeters.

Join the congregation.
Don’t miss it.
Because, flawed as it is.
The maths will begin
When this mass is ended.

And we’ll go in the Peace of Christ.
To love and serve the Lord.
Amen.

Nonso John
©2019

Do not touch

I may not be liked but I do lovely
So people love me even though I don’t place my value in their stead
Some have tried to run me over
Because they are amazed at the incredible things I do which they call nothing
I might not be the best today but I know my worth
And so,
I look forward to playing more competitive games not just ‘whot
And when I beat you again, all you can exclaim is ‘what the hell!’

The Niel
©2019

Your pride

I searched her face for a sign: something, anything to convince me about the Principal’s statement a few seconds ago but there was none. I couldn’t feel my legs anymore as I dropped back into my seat and Mrs. Hakeem rushed for me.

When I got a call from the office of the Principal through his Personal Assistant stating that I was needed urgently, a lot of thoughts fled through my mind. I had just returned from lunch at the office when the call came in. I didn’t know what to think. Was Simisola sick? Did she have an accident? Did her father show up –as he had been threatening he would—at her school? It just didn’t cross my mind that Simi, my only child would be involved in bullying of any sort. So I was amazed when the Principal said, “your daughter flogged a child into coma.”

As soon as the call had dropped, I picked my purse and keys, locked my office and left the building in a haste. I only remembered on my way out to call Mr. John, a colleague, and ask him to tell anyone who asked that I was called at my daughter’s school.

The drive to Simi’s school that afternoon was filled with mixed feelings. Unlike the normal excitement and ecstasy I felt when going on the usual monthly visits, I was filled this time with fear and rage. What had happened to her? I feared. “Oh, is it that man, her uncaring father who had come to take her? I raged. Whatever it was, I would soon find out.

I hurriedly pulled over at the Visitors’ park and didn’t notice the windows were still wound down. The security tried to call my attention but I ignored him. It was Harmattan and there could possibly be no rains. The dry winds blew harshly on my face and on my thoughts. I was almost sure by now that it was her Dad, he had come for her.

As I walked to the Principal’s office, I met a few members of the staff. We exchanged greetings. Their faces wore expressions of sympathy and shame. My heart got heavier. I didn’t have an idea what the problem was, so I hastened my steps. In the office, even as the Principal tried exchanging pleasantries, I remained worried. I wanted him to spill the beans as soon as he could. It was until he asked that Simi and the house mistress, Mrs. Hakeem be called in that I began to think, it may not be her Dad after all. Yet I still knew it was a serious matter. I began praying inaudibly.

In a few minutes, Simi came in with head bowed, shoulders slouched and fists clenched in front of her. Mrs. Hakeem walked in, after her. It was then that the Principal started talking about why I was called. He started by saying that Simi had been a good girl. I nodded in panic and saw  Mrs. Hakeem nod too. Then, he said that he was disappointed in ‘my daughter’. She had flogged a 13-year old JSS3 student mercilessly. I sprang up before I knew what I did.

While I was still trying to understand where such behavior came from, he made the statement. “your daughter flogged a child into coma.” That was when I slumped back into my seat and began screaming, “Simisola Ogechi Akala has killed me.” “Madam, calm down, calm down Ma.” I heard Mrs Hakeem say as she rushed for me. Her plea wouldn’t console me.

After about thirty minutes, I am sitting in the car with Simi. I parked my car after I drove us a few meters away from the school gate.

“Simisola, what is your problem?” I ask, not looking in her direction.

My cheeks feel cold from the tears dried up by the harmattan wind and my eyes sting: hot and teary. She doesn’t respond. I pick the envelope that the Principal gave me. I didn’t open it then because he already told me its content- a suspension letter- but now, I open it and pull the letter out. I give it to her to read aloud. She does. I barely hear anything she reads because she is muttering the words.

When she is done, I take her face in my palms and look her in the eye. She begins to cry profusely. I let her go and ask her why she did it. She says the junior girl was rude to her and her classmates were looking to know what she would do.

“So it was your pride that put someone in the hospital and I have to foot the bills now. Eh?”

“She was asthmatic.”

“You shouldn’t have beaten anybody!!!”

“I’m sorry mum.” And she bursts into another round of tears.

“You are a child of God, Simi. Even though your dad is far away, which is best for us, you know how your dad…I point to the car roof, behaves. Love is God’s nature. It should be all you do and know. You would have let the junior go and reported her to the house mistress. Your classmates and some other students saw you right?” She nods.

“They would have witnessed for you. Pride is a very stupid emotion to act on. The Bible says God resists the proud and because you know God does not hate anybody, you understand that he hates such character and attitude. Everything done in pride doesn’t give glory to God. Why are we created?”

“For His glory”

“Good! You didn’t give God glory. You acted in the flesh!”

“Mum, I’m sorry.”

“I know. So what do we do?”

With a voice shaken from crying, belching at intervals, she said, “We will go and visit her in the hospital. I will use all my savings. You say what is best for us to buy.”

I hug her tightly, and say a word of prayer in gratitude for God’s word and His work in our lives when we let Him.

Kendra Okpara
©2019

Golden Boy

One step in front of the other
I watch you plant them
Like a weary traveler who has lost his way
Your back is burdened with a sack full of disapproval
And a lifetime’s worth of disappointment and doubt
But you shoulder it like it’s nothing
You smile at me, golden boy
And make me believe there is beauty to
The cracked burden of the tortoise

You’re just a little eccentric
I tell myself, every time I catch a glimpse of your pain
I believed I could heal you
You made me believe I was,
And I trudged behind you gladly
Cherishing every moment you put the pack down
And opened it.
But you never got rid of anything in the pack, did you?
I think you loved the sweet torture
Of owning exquisite pain
I learned to appreciate the beauty in pain
And see the hope dressed in disappointment

So I did nothing
Till you slipped right off the edge
And scattered in a burst of gold dust
Slapping my face with the truth I should have seen
had your beautiful, golden smiles not blinded me;
That I had no power to make you happy
That love could be as strong as pain
Or could be its equal

So as I stand at the edge of your cliff
I want to hate you
But I don’t
I will remember us as we were
And I will choose to be happy, golden boy
For both of us, I will choose life.

Miracle Ifechukwu
© 2019

Dear God #2

To follow you
Anywhere
Anytime
Anyhow

2

I’m on a boat sailing to the shore where you are
The waters, still, remind me of your love –
Unwavering and completely overwhelmimg
When I’m stuck and can’t go any further, you still believe in me
I’m sorry for not trusting you enough
For not doing the little crazy things you want to me to do
For not completely giving in to your desires
I’ll listen to those little nudges inside and obey your voice
I am not going to hide the light that you have put in me
You know what you’re doing
You know what’s best for me
From now on, I put all of my faith and all of my trust in you
I see your hands stretched out to me
I love how warm and safe it feels
I don’t want to ever be in a place where you aren’t
I want to follow your lead

Your darling

– Ifiokabasi Okop (2019)

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)