I have 50 Naira

I have 50 naira
My favorite note.
She used to be beautiful
Blue, fragile and promising
But I still loved her.
Right from childhood,
50 naira held a bouquet of colorful promises
A plate of rice and stew
Plenty wraps of coconut candy
Fanta
Happiness

But then she turned on me
Had a makeover
Became glossy and glamorous
And slowly became worthless.

She used to command respect
now 50 naira has esteem issues,
hardly making any impact when she stands alone.
A once revered note that now only has value in its multiples
50 naira has let me down.

50 naira has now has mood swings
I only get to find out when I arrive at the market.
I just discovered that 50 naira and sachet tomato aren’t in speaking terms
50 naira and onions are no longer friends

50 naira is treading a dangerous path
The path of 5 naira… The path of irrelevance
I’ve tried to warn her.
She said her fate is not in her hands.
That it’s not her fault

50 naira is breaking my heart.
She has changed
Grown distant
I still hold her in my hands but can’t feel her impact in my life.

Damaris Akhigbe
©2021

Kings and Pawns

“We’re all Kings and Pawns,”
Napoleon Bonaparte once said,
“We’re all Emperors.”
“We’re all Fools.”

Funny he should say that.
We, like two Kingdoms, square up.
Blacks against Whites.
Decisions. Decisions.

What’s in your hand, sir?

King Pawn to King Four.
Small beginning steps we take
Believing we’re each of us
The only star in our own movie.

But Knight to Queen’s Bishop Three.
Counter moves from counter selves
We sabotage our own efforts
And wonder what’s afoot.

We’re all Kings and Pawns
Though each man in his own heart
Thinks himself different from all.
Superior to all the human-ness.

What’s in your hand, ma’am?

When Bishop takes Bishop,
And we face our true desires
We all deny our deepest truths
For Ego’s sake, for Pride’s joy.

What miserable life we lead
As we approach our end-games
This chessboard cleared of all
And the space evident in all things?

Queen to King’s Rook Three.
Discover Check. And trouble finds us.
Run we may, but hide we can’t.
Now matter where we turn to.

What is this you have in your hand,
Oh fallen man – son of Eve?
What is this you carry in your heart
Oh, daughter of the damned?

If King takes Knight Pawn,
I hope never again will it be said
That we sought for what we knew not
And that all man listened to his own heart.

We’re all Kings and Pawns,
A man once said to the world.
And he – that brilliant devil – he was right.
We’re all – all of us – Emperors. Fools.

Ask not what Mgbeke plans for dinner.
Wonder not when Mgbafo will get married.
What’s in your hand, people of God?
Mind your own business.

Nonso John
(C) 2021

PRESENCE


A Place as quiet as a grave but becomes a city of risen bones
Place of fortitude
Place of guidance
Place of tranquility
Place of Joy
Place of exaltation
Place of increase
Place of light
His presence is that place
Oozing with fragrance that sticks so the world can perceive his glory
Build you up like a fortress
His presence is a foundation your faith is built on, it will stand strong
Withstand the turbulence that this world brings
His presence is where you ought to be
His presence is where you would see him

Uba Isoje
©2021

FLAME ON


Isn’t it sad how in a blink of an eye, your world can just flipped like a light switch
You were once top draw now it seem like you have been relegated to the bottom
You thought you had finally carved a niche for your self
That your art will set the world on fire
That nothing could stop you from climbing that pedestal and get higher
Suddenly reality hits you like a drunk driver
That sometimes, the only thing you get higher on have now become dark clouds forming in your lungs
Or drowning your pains at the depth of the green bottle
You wish it could take your thoughts far away from this world like a space shuttle or shield your mind from harsh reality’s sun but even that ain’t strong enough

You have come to realized that Life can become that bully always ready to treat you
But all you ever desired is a soft landing
Become Superman so your skin can be tough
But you see these streets, she no get Joy
What was once beautiful like Helen of Troy
The streets will destroy
Plant a decoy to take your gaze from your goal
Throw mirage of fame and fortune, her aim is to cajole
Sinking you deep into depression and locking you in her hole

Your heart is finally empty, she has stolen your soul
Now you are wandering loose like a kite
Looking for who to take away this noose off your neck and free you from your plight
But in all these struggles, one thing must be gained
That Flicker of hope and faith that you must refuse to extinguish
That call to turn on your human torch and continually show the world what you are fantastic for
That call to distinguish yourself from the lot
That call to tear up the old story and write yourself a new plot
To drift your mind from the norm into certainty

This should always send excitement bubbling on your inside
That you can’t wait to Ex yourself from your past life
You can’t wait for this cross to become a source of strength
Can’t wait to flame on and set the world on fire
Can’t wait to speak resurrections to those souls that have wallowed too long in this graveyard
Can’t wait to help heal minds that have been marred
To clot hearts that have been scared
Yes, your hurt is what’s burning now but no pain is eternal
You can rise from these ashes like a Phoenix
And if you don’t like the song life is singing, just hit her with the remix
Never forget that you are that fire this world has been waiting for
So what are you waiting for,
Flame On!!!

Uba Isoje
©2021

Nostalgia

She said I write but it is not poetic
I guess I just recognize a selling point
Point me to the past I’ll be back at it
That first day I saw Godswill

Mmm


I’m emotional I beg your pardon
The things that connect when you meet a God person
I can at least afford to pay attention

All of that bed dressing
But I am not done with the lesson
Cedars got on stage like “We are the best thing”
Masks on my wall, I forgot to call Kizi

We grew from one location
To going on tour and we’re just beginning
They tell me “Bro, one day you go blow”
I smile and bow a seed will die to grow

I could make an anthem for the kain ship
You guys make me feel so fancy
There are stories that I daren’t tell
Movies make my head swell
Eating cabbage like it’s fresh bread
Being Nigerian is a king thing
I just kill all the dread
Luck or is it grace that I’m mehd
if you don’t walk on water
You’ll be doing so soon
What you are is enough
When it’s time don’t you bloom?

Don’t you bloom?

The Nielquchi
© 2020

I Am Enough

This feeling of inadequacy is clogging up fears In my throat I’m struggling to breathe in ENOUGH air for a day
I’m struggling to see the light my ART shines in dark tunnels
I’m struggling to see the FREEDOM bursting like light in many hearts

I stare at the stage and wish I were behind the pulpit
Spewing sleek words that must have been dry-cleaned for years
I yearn for the cameras to click on my face as I sashay even though I know my art isn’t a hundred percent

I forget I’m enough at where I am because I take my lessons
That I don’t have to prove a point, I only have to study and write my tests so every day, I can look at the score sheet, at the improving grades
And thump my chest, knowing, believing in the goodness of this PROCESS.

Everyday, I’m enough
I’m enough as who I am and who I’m evolving into

Ifiokabasi Okop
© 2020

Culture Shock In Christianity

Science says freezing hot food causes freezer shock
But since we don’t do Lukewarm
Luke warms the food back to back
Or freezes it till hell freezes over.
Let the freezer shock if it must.

The day I told my mum I won’t go to hell
Even if I die fornicating
She shouted ‘chi’m egbu’m ooo’.
‘It’s funny-Kate how the devil is fighting for your life’.
Old people think they are wiser
But I have read my history books back and forth
And the devil lost the battle a long time ago.

I tell people not to bother using a mechanic
That I have a transformer that can transform
Their wretched Volkswagen to a Ferrari
But they are afraid to hug transformer
Even if it will only zap them to eternal life.

They say trade by barter is our culture
And the church continues trading her Joy.
Even after Christ said it’s not for sale,
They still couldn’t take despite their starvation.
Instead they borrow wears they can’t afford
Snapping and posting with two fingers up
Captioned ‘for the culture’

Chy’D
© 2020

Mary’s Cross

Scandal has tingled the villagers’ ears
And engendered the gossip mother fears.
I find her, alone, dissolved in tears
From what she’s heard in the marketplace.

When I go for water, my ears start burning,
As I shop for fish, my feet start turning
To run, but I’m gradually learning
That their hisses can’t rob me of God’s grace.

They tell my father it’s a shame.
They tell my mother she’s to blame.
They whisper to others that I’m a stain
On the high reputation of this godly place.

A swollen belly can’t be hid
Nor the depths of disgrace into which I’ve slid.
Next, my marriage vows they’ll try to forbid
And work to see me exiled from this place.

In the angel’s words it was God I heard
He’s wiser than the scoldings of this world.
I’m told if I faithfully follow His word
I’ll hold the Creator of all time and space
In my arms.

Pamela Urfer
© 2021