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

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A chip of ice- for mum

Your teardrops would battle fiercely
From the corners of your eyes
They would force their way through
The rigid, unyielding valley of your eyelids
And when they fell
They would stab your cheeks, twist your nose
And sting the recesses of your jaw

Yet when they fell,
They were like the sudden rain that mocked the Sahara
Like the mango tree growing in the Arctic
They were a wonder, and so were you.
For you loved me
Like icy cold, angry waters hammering on rocks
Falling

From unbelievable heights, through the distance between us
Screaming, raging and filled with the frustration
That your decades had fed you
As you crisscrossed naked open seas, flogged by the sun
And through lush green forests
With dwindling mud tracks and filthy streams
Falling

Defying boulders and meanders that had beaten you into thin ice
And kept you on your tiptoes with your back bent
Trying to meet my needs
Through cold, dark nights when you slept
With the biting in your belly
With the uncertainty of worry
Yet you flowed, silent and rapid
Falling,

Through the secrets you swallowed as you went by
And the hurts which never made you cry
And the sorrows you fought to bring forth life
With a charming smile on your face.
You shamed the hardness
That shaped your life
And you crashed against my rocky heart
With the weight of ages of ice
You flogged me, you tore me, you tested me
In my blindness, you were my foe
But I have received the warmth sparked
By the slap of your coldness
And I have melted in love
Your love is hidden in my heart of ice

Ndubuisi Chioma J
© 2019

BEAUTY

Beauty.
There. The name I call you.
When I think of your romance.
The honey droppings you coo
Taking me to heights of pleasure.
Blissing me out.

Beauty.
The colour of pollen sprinkled
On the ovary of my mind.
When You sigh, when You speak.
Impregnating my soul with little You’s.
Birthing futures untold.

Beauty.
It’s the avatar of Your words
Taking shape, casting shadows
On the walls of my beating heart.
Making my petals into wings
Teaching butterflies in my tummy to dance.

Beauty.
From down in the brooks and rivers
All through the scrolls and letters
As the Great Nebuchadnezzer
Witnessed, No book had ever
Recorded Your fullness. Ever.

Beauty.
There. The name I call you.
When I remember Your intimidating love.
Of how Mighty You are in all things but one.
Your need and desire for me.
Beauty without Flaw.
My Yahweh.

Nonso John
© 2019

Let these lines stand proof i said it

I will script beauty on tomorrow’s face
I will forge next year into my productivity phase
But just in case I forget to remember to begin
Let these lines stand proof I said it

Time and tide twiddle thumbs
Idly laying languid lessons
We grow and lose our best selves, on our journey to finding us.
Let these lines stand proof I said it

Bet. Everything will make it known. Even
Birds. Twi-twi-twitting, heralding the coming
Birth. Pangs only last the night, no more room to
Let. These lines stand proof I said it

For so long I died to dine with him
For a taste of life and love I sat with him
I rose from that table thorn free
Let these lines stand proof I said it

Such will be history’s song
The stories we paint with every heartbeat
To live to love to give to all
Let these lines stand proof I said it

An army that wins with no casualties
Floating on faith through a storm of uncertainties
Many sick healed would be our reality
Let these lines stand proof I said it

A month is surely time enough
With all five fingers put to work
May it be the one that fulfils it
Let these lines stand proof I said it

Ezeonyeka Godswill
UC Truth
Nonso
St. Davique
©2019

Freedom

I want to be free to live,
A life free from difficulty,
A life with no tragedy

I want to be free to walk,
walk and never be stopped
Free to walk away from that sin that enslaved me,
Free to confront the devil that estranged me

I want to be free to speak,
Oh let my tongue leak, the truth.
I want to be free to spill out words that heal,
Words that plant and uproot futile roots

I want to be free to see,
See beyond diverse challenges,
See an adventure in the midst of peril

I want to be free to smile,
A smile that brightens and brings joy to a troubled mind and uplifts the weary heart

I want to be free to dream,
Dreams that are not assaulted by ferocious nightmares,
Dreams that give the assurance of a bright future

I want to be free to give,
Give without demanding to receive
Free to give myself up, just as Christ did for us

I want to be free to worship,
Acknowledging him who has dominion and lordship

I want to be free to love,
Unconditionally, exclusively and indefinitely

I want to be free to be the creators poet,
Free to get my papers wet,
With blue blood as they surge freely through my pen

I want to be free to write my piece,
Without chaos afflicting my peace

I want to be free to be the “me” that I’m supposed to be,
Not regarding people’s thoughts and opinions of me

I want to be free from pressures,
Free from peer pressures that accelerates my blood pressure
Free from living to measure up and forgetting his “treasure up”

I want to be free from the shadows of my past,
Free to take off this obfuscating mask
I know I committed crimes and crossed lines but I want to be free to bask in his ever redeeming light,
Free to actualize that in Christ, I am worth a Jew’s eye

I want to be free
According to God’s will
Flourishing like the flowers
Gushing with full strength like the waters
And as a tree planted near the rivers whose root spreads across like the garment of a diva

I want to be free expanding in knowledge
thrilling in the realm of possibilities
healing the broken souls with those words gifted from above

So, I desire to be free
Free from the seal of fear and jest
Free from imperfections and wrong decisions
Free the rain of confusion that overwhelms the kingdom on the inside,
Free from the floods of lust that empties grace
And takes away God’s face
I need to be free!
clothed with righteousness on the race
Nurtured on the way
Living to become my very best

Princess
The Alchemist
© 2019.

Slavery

I spoke to Runs girl once,
She said her anger is her source
As she was forced to this life
By her Uncle who came like a thief in the Night and her virginity was the casualty
So the penalty is death for all those who now commit the crime of sleeping with her
She blames they, them
For the mayhem she cause their Marriages
‘I wouldn’t pay for damages when my case has been adjourn’
Everyone I told turn a blind eye to my hurt
Now my heart burns with hate
If you stare at me, your fate might be a night to that hell I have been put through
I and my crew will screw all of you till you forget your wives and call us Boo
She like many others are Nigerian avengers
Fighting the ghost of their abusers
And I too felt her pain
A slave to a past that had been stained,
But can be snow if she chooses to let his light glow
Even if life has given her a low blow as she wrestles with her past demons
She can tag him in
He will guarantee her the win
Then the will to talk of his saving grace with pride
Everywhere she goes, she sows seed of hope to girls like her who are still slaves to rippers of souls
Tell them the past matters but the future is what they want to see and behold

Victor Isoje
(c) 2018

A Portrait of Sacrifice, with Blood as Paint

A band of butcherers chant,
As they drag crying sheep through,
Smashed rocks and dirt clouds,
Swarming, to slaughter point,

Its fluffy coat sheds, to mingle,
With mud puddles and grim slime,
It swims in darkened blood,
And sways, to torturers’ feet stomping,

As shredding skin paints the path,
To the altar, with red hue,
A portrait of life takes shape:
Suffering, to death,

But if through its last cries,
It sees losing self could be worship,
It’ll fall, to paint its dying as,
Living worship to God, “Sacrifice Infinite”.

Ikenna Nwachukwu
© 2018