TOES

The slow walk began with a step
As we tethered on to a certain future

We are uncertain

For we could turn back and still be walking in the same direction
All the love we heard mentioned are but echoes of thunder from the cloudy skies that never rain
We wonder
If the future is a path worth threading
When we barely have enough to mend what’s left of our faith

These shoes hurt on many sides
No one should be allowed to walk in our shoes

I have wondered when the colorful pictures we are painted in would stop being a shadow of itself
Seems the only shade of truth is the color of our reflections

But I’ll walk on in those shoes
No matter how tattered they be worn
This I have sworn
To keep believing past where my eyes can see
Till the day comes
When I’ll walk past my failing faith to belief
I’ll keep patching, tailor my feet on a straight path till I am dead
For an uncertain future is brighter than any certain past I’ve thread.

UcTruth
© 2019

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Balcony

A good journey is made up of few events,
but one important thing
Is a happy and relieved ending.

I have seen
The journeys the men of my country,
And seen that they have
only begun to stop fighting like animals.

Now we fight a different way.
But to fight like that is not expected of my journey.

Yet this balcony of exclusion
While keeping me
Safe from the journeys of other people,
keeps all the stories I would learn away from me.

Okay, I’m going inside

The Niel
© 2019

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

Questions

You think you need something
you get it
And then you need another thing again
It goes on and on
Like a black spiral
You can’t stop
You are insatiable
You gorge, inhale, gather till your barns are overflowing
You stand, and look, and smile, with a satisfied air of pride
You acquire all your heart can think of
And then
Then…
Then….
You feel empty again.
Your barn’s full on the outside,
But you are empty on the inside
You grope and grope
You catch nothing
You surround yourself with people
Addictions, achievements, to feel something
But
You feel even emptier
Like a far stretched desert land
Why Man, oh Why???
What’s the purpose of gathering
When it does not fill that void, that deep, dark void
WHY????

EMENIKE CHINWENDU VICTORIA
© 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

I am here with you

I look ahead, I see the past,
I close my eyes and feel the beat,
Of the chest, I tried but tears dropped,
I challenge my mind, trained my faith,

But all this while,
No better days,
I am trapped in the center, the middle,
Life is hard, much harder when you fail,
I lost before, losing again,

The eyes of the sky is black,
And the womb of hell, blue,
I am ready to go, no more,
Farewell mingling toil and wine,

But,
‘Wait!’ dear farmer If you can,
Accept this hoe for your soil if you will,
For I am the end of all sorrows, a new dawn,

So stop and stoop,
Now till and till again,
Gather all worn out tools,
For I am here with you!

Ugwu David C
© 2018