Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Lunatic Wanderer

"Not all those who wander are lost" J.R.R Tolkien
They say I have no destination. They say my movements lack purpose. I agree I do not have an itinerary like they do and my life cannot be summarized by a military schedule book. I do not stand like they do, waiting for the same bus to take me through the same dreary roads everyday.
And that is because I would rather be free to wander.
Their paths are fixed and unchanging. They call it order. I ask what order means when the roads cannot speak to you and you cannot hear the trees sing. I am free to wander. That is why I follow the road that calls to me. I walk the paths where the trees sing the loudest and the gossip of the shrubs most perceptible. When I walk I do not follow a straight line like they do, like the ants do too. I sit on the ground close to the whispering shrubs. I press my ears to the road. I sing along with the trees and dance with the mud by the roadside. I listen as the shrubs gossip about the ugly politician who passed that morning on an ill-fitting agbada. They listened and laughed while he bragged to his entourage that the agbada was made by the best tailor in Europe. "It's either Mr. European tailor forgot our politician's pot-belly while taking measurements or the belly was still growing at home!", the father shrub declared! "Maybe the European did not know the belly was real!", another ventured! They cheered in agreement. The pot-belly was indeed fake! Wonderful newscasters these shrubs are and I will not miss hearing the news from them!
But you call me lunatic when you see me kneeling beside the road and laughing with the weeds. Yet it is you who is insane, both a blind and a lunatic Bartimaeus!
Those wanderers who are lost, they are lost because they will not stop to hear the chatter of the butterflies. It is the butterflies who will tell you when the road to your destination has changed. And the roads, you see, change everyday. I know because they tell me so. The lost are those who will not stop to see the new road markings on the barks of the aged ferns. They are those who do not seek the river the sun draws on the coal tar at midday. They assume they know the way. That is why I wander. I wander because the means is really an end- the real end. I wander because my quest must be new every new day. I need not know the way. I will find the way every new day!
I wander because the earth is mine to own. The earth will not own me. You brag about the things you own. I laugh at the many things that own you! I'd rather be free! I'd rather be free to wander- to paint my dreams with the songs the Irokos sing and the prayers the Kola trees offer. I'd rather be free to be lost  than be bound like the sane. I wander because the trees once told me that wonders always lie in the paths hitherto unknown. And these trees you see here make such wonderful story tellers! They say the wonders from our dreams are real and that we ought to spend our waking hours searching for them. They say every straight line is a combination of little zigzags. Those who get to the top of the Everest take many detours, and it not folly taking a detour to see the beauty of a wild flower. I wander because I'd rather see the wonders from my night dreams. I'd rather search for wonder than live pedestrian.

Monday, 27 November 2017


My casket will be polished to look like mahogany, seeing the undertakers always want us looking our best. The many voices of the brethren will ricochet of its silent surface and cut the dry harmattan air into pieces. But because I will not die a hero there will neither be a flag for mother nor a gun salute to make the birds scream and rant. The search party will see my shoes at the shore. I kept them well.  But they will not see my body.
It was the sea’s outstretched smile and minty savor that drew me close. But I will drown today. The mermaids are bent on it. They, together with the waves, have formed a half circle around me. They push the current back when I try to move. Now they know I’m tired. And the spirits are taking turns laughing at the futility of my many swimming certificates. We were not taught how to die in class.
The lisp of the wind is breathy, like a rich baritone. The wind is closer at sea. I will simply sleep among the waves and wake among the mermaids. Perhaps the mourners will sing as haughtily as the wind and mother will remain as calm as the waters below this storm. I hope the men too will cry and the dogs will not bark at my kindred spirits in attendance.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Summer Rose

I found you close to the valley. My summer rose.
You found me closer to the valley. My summer rose.
My heart dances to songs with certain melodies. Why do you sing so? Your starts and stops, your breaks and bridges, your certain melodies; they pluck strings in my soul region. They pluck strings with the gusto of an affectionate, brutish amateur. And ere I remember my long lost promise never again to let my heart rule this graying head, my waist is already weaving circles around the imaginary lines they place all around me. And then my leg is moving with the confidence of the agama lizard, taking on old allegiances and crushing them with the grace of the peacock.
I hesitated when I found it. That was not because my summer rose was inferior to the others. It seemed a sin to touch one so beautiful and untainted. And I was loath to be a cheat. As enchanted as I was by the strokes and the curls of your finish, I drew away. The green grass ripe for harvest called to me. I strode away knowing I never escaped your grip. The traveler’s curse isn’t that he is either away from home or that he has nowhere to call home. It is that once or twice in his life he is rudely reminded of the little, tiny droplets of that place he once called home. Did I not see you painted with the clouds? Did I not see you in the sands of the desert? Did I not see the blazing sunset speak your name so softly I was left speechless? But that first touch after the first was quite difficult. I feared for you. I feared I would hold your spine so tightly it would crush you. I feared I would smother you and then leave you when the freshness was gone. Tender roses seemed unfit for my calloused palms.
My love song. It isn’t as pretty and as seamless as I would have had it. And that’s because I didn’t want my summer rose to possess me at first. I was the moon you shone on. Your light poured the shine I radiated for the moonlit play of the earth’s young. I would like to say it was your enchanted smile or your cascading laughter. I would have liked to say it was your caring gaze and simple but bold beauty. I might have pointed at your welcoming embrace and your lingering kiss; at the warmth of your presence and the easing softness of your friendly stare. And I might have said it was the comfort I found in your eyes that made me stop again. I would have said the fears were gone the instant I saw you. But that would be another’s song. And I will sing you my own song for you, summer rose.
The fears were there when I stopped before you, wondering if the quiet smile in my eyes was love. My fears were there when I looked at the stars to decipher what your own smiles said. When our locked gazes lingered, the warmth from our common space was what taught me to step sideways and pluck lovingly at your sculpted stem. The warmth here melts the fear away. On this other homecoming, this one done without fanfare and panache, this homecoming to the home that always was; on this other homecoming,
Is this enough to say I always loved you?

Thursday, 24 November 2016

What Love is

It’s easy to like friends and develop a fancy for your peers. It’s also pretty easy to like those who root for you. They cheer you on and believe in you when the next turn isn’t very clear to you. They are worth liking, loving etc.
If you know the 30 keys to attracting the right partner, you probably know you should dress nice, act nice, be nice and then throw in some seduction. Get a hook. Make it large if you’re looking for a huge catch. Get your hook coated in your sedu-oil and place it where Big Fish is likely to make an appearance. If he/she bites, kablam! Congrats baby, you got a catch. Sometimes you undress your prize only to find out it was the smallest of fishes dressed in unending layers of armors of insecurity and low self-esteem.
Selfish desires aren’t signs of love. They are not. Reciprocating goodness is praiseworthy. If the entire world would simply do this our world would be unrecognizable. There won’t be Hitlers, Mussolinis and politicians. That’s enough to turn the world right side up. However, reciprocating isn’t even love. Love is so much more.
Love is the old father who although made mistake after mistake and doubted for years still became the father of many nations and the progenitor of the Jewish race. Love was what forgave his wrongs, smoothed them out and straightened him up. Then love gave him more than he could ever ask for. That is love. Love is the father reaching out to his young who had squandered a third of his wealth, kissing him, welcoming him and giving him an inheritance even before he apologized for the one he lost. Love waited out for him, forgave him before he asked, reinstated him without caring or asking questions of him. Love is Jesus in the midst of the Pharisees, the guilty adulteress before him. The shame was fresh in her eyes. She was caught in the very act of adultery. The verdict was death by stoning and she knew it. It was neither her first time nor a random act. It was her lifestyle. Love is Jesus is going beyond the Law. “Woman,” he said, “I do not condemn you. You are both innocent and free.” Love did not mind her lifestyle. Love gave her a chance. Love looked beyond what others saw and gave her what she sorely needed- hope and affirmation. Her life became a huge testimony.
Love is this: you are guilty of sin and wrongdoing and ought to be punished for it. But someone came along and paid the price for you. You weren’t good when he did it. You don’t need to be good for it to be true. He did it without paying attention to you. Love is the scene on the Day of Final Accounting. You ought to stand before the Judge but you won’t. Others who did what you did will jolly well go to hell but you won’t. Isn’t this unfair, you ask, that the Judge will let criminals go free and declare them innocent? No, it is not. It isn’t unfair, it is love.
Love is this: nothing is asked or required of you. Absolutely nothing! Love is free. And love isn’t about what you can do. It’s about what has been done for you. Love is the Gift God gave humanity. There was nothing bigger to give so He gave Himself- all of Himself.
This love doesn’t ask you to do. Don’t do, only believe.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016


If you would ask me
Before glowing frangipanis
And this tittering fireplace
If you would ask me one last time
What love is
I will not point to tanned crumpled sheets
where this initiation was sealed
Or to crammed attics
and mementoes from that chance meet
Or remind you of countless shared
soft, quick whispers and
heady, intoxicating giggles
I will not speak anymore
Only clasp your hand forever
Without malice or fear

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Love, lovers, loving etc

I know it’s not 14th February but love is not for 14th February alone. If you don’t see love in the air you really need to keep reading. If love is all you see, sister this is for you! Cos I see love in the clouds and in the horizons, all blue, red, pink and all the colors in between. I was motivated to do this because a special friend has found a special friend. Kudos to a brother who ain’t searching no more! As for me, it’s the season of specials and specialties. I’m excited for the finders, the found and the rest of us who still have big microscopes in their hands, eyes and ears!
Even if you’re not human you still like some humans. You fancy the way he walks, the way she talks and the way he calls love rove. You like the fact he calls Peter Feter and calls van ban. Relax if your head is already spinning and your heart weaving tunes out of tuneless melodies. You’re created to love and be loved. Even if it’s not the dude next door it’s gonna be someone somewhere someday. Maybe the blogger. Yes!
Does your heart warm uncontrollably even during cold draughts? Do you find yourself smiling uncharacteristically, giggling in the midst of a family reunion simply because you remembered that someone? Do you think you’re a little, tiny bit out of your mind? Do you envision the future and assign certain special roles to the someone? Do you doodle around with someone’s name when you should be balancing accounts? Are you foolishly happy, sentimentally unreasonable and out rightly silly yet proud to be so? Symptoms, symptoms, symptoms…
You smile at total strangers for no reason and interpret the fact that one alphabet in your name is also in her name as an important omen. Overnight you’ve become a sign reader. Everything is a good sign including the new car that just splashed muddy water on your best clothes. It’s a sign you’ll use a new car for your wedding. Did you also notice you both have red shirts? And that was what he was putting on that day you first saw him. Isn’t that such a cool sign? Congratulations!
You think you can spend every waking minute together and never get tired. I know it feels like nobody will ever understand or know what you feel. You feel you and that someone are the only special people on earth. And you wish nobody will interfere because nobody understands.  But it’s not entirely true. Only you can feel what you feel in the special way you feel it. However, chemistry isn’t unique to one person. Come on, it’s as common as salt and water- sodium-chloro-oxymoron! Don’t be sad because of it, be happy. It simply means you never walk alone!
Love is a beautiful thing. It makes superheroes of ordinary people and makes dwarfs of giants. Impossibilities seem distant and its boundaries undefined – drastically robbed of aura. Reality becomes a blur and your new “lovingness” gives you fresh lenses with which you see the world. Welcome to idealism my fellow crazy idealist- now you believe you can do just about anything. Old loyalties seem less powerful, less needful and less compelling. Weaknesses are wished away or out rightly overlooked. You sincerely believe you will write the world a love story that will make Romeo and Juliet suffocate with jealousy in their literary graves. From my heart I congratulate you.
Every journey has a starting point. It’s a good thing you’ve started. Now you need to remember that heart and head aren’t enemies. They are friends. Love isn’t stupid. Love is sacrificial and sacrifices aren’t stupid things. They are products of whole, sensible heads and hearts. Don’t major on your feelings and forget your heart. Don’t limit yourself to externals. Love comes in different packages. The best came in a cattle’s hay box on one Middle Eastern night two millennia ago. Yours has come in a special package. Don’t neglect that package and its content. Now that you feel on top of the world you have the benefit of the feeling to get yourself there. Now that you feel Shakespeare was a learner use your motivation to get yourself beyond the feelings to the act of showing love. Let those feelings propel you beyond feelings. You and special someone owe yourselves that little.
Love is not really a feeling. Feelings are symptoms, good symptoms I must add. There is so much more. And the so much more is better that those goody-goody feelings. Love is a trust, a sacrificial trust. Love is not blind. It is rather choosing to see with the eyes of faith rather than the eyes of doubt and condemnation. Love is sacrificing because you trust, not because the other party is worth all the trouble. Loving is knowing the other party is actually worth more than the trouble although he/she really isn’t. It is giving all when you haven’t received all and beating the drums of one who is too beaten to beat those drums. Love is choosing to believe when there is nothing to believe. It is giving yourself because there is nothing more, nothing better to give. Love is beauty, wonder, perfect and everything else in between.
Now, who wanna show some love? Don’t even hesitate.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Twinkling Tiny Star

You’ve stayed so long in the dark and you’re totally fed up. You really want to find the way out. Moving around the dark feels like wading against the currents of an angry river. Its hands stretch, clutch your feet, cover your eyes and hold your neck. Your feet are immobile, your eyes blind and your voice lost. Then it lays hold on your heart and pours over it waves and waves of fear till you think your heart will drown in your belly. Your chest constricts before racing off, panting like an exhausted locomotive. The dark is lent a strong voice because of the fear it commands– an unreasonable, overpowering fear. You feel at a loss because you have lost use of your most trusted sense- sight.
But you haven’t lost your best sense- your sense of head and heart. If you will pay attention to them you will transcend the fear. You will see that the hands of dark are guides for you. There is no grip on your neck, only a friendly hold on your shoulders. Don’t move against the river. It wants to take you home.
Night is when you’re all broken like Humpty. Waiting for the king’s men and their horses is using night wrongly. You’re going to be disappointed. Use night wisely like the third Humpty. Dream up ways to get back up. Look out like Humpty did and see the lone twinkler in the sky. Although his parents had deserted him and his light seemed too little to light any traveler’s tired path and although there was no thunder for his siren, he kept on shining- solitary dimple in sky. Humpty saw him and found a friend. Then he got up and joined the waltz in the sky.

Twinkling tiny star
Lone emperor of the skies
Long was my search
Aches and break hearts thus far
Was it a cloud covered your eyes?
Bemused tiny star, smile in his words
It was you, child, that was lost
That scoured the grounds rather than the canopy
Child, night has no clouds
I have always been where I ought

The star’s first sighting is to me like the cockerel’s first siren long before dawn. Day may yet be a long way off and the Sun just setting off for his journey to the East, but now I’m sure they will both be here. I will dream while I wait and wait while I dream. I will now continue my journey with mended Humpty. Now that we have seen the solitary light in the canopy, let the sun meet us along the way.

I, I have found a star to hold
A precious gem to keep
Creamy bowl of helium-sulphide
I have found a star
A fellow lone walker
I have found
Light for the music
Twinkles for the dance