Monthly Archives: October 2012

#285 ~ Take A Long Walk

Walking has always been my respite from the cacophanic activities of my mind. It de -stresses and refocuses me, a good long walk. Within the  constant thudding of feet on the pavement, I feel the tension ease out from within me, and clarity re-enters. Have you ever had that feeling? Where you remember yourself? You remember your wildest hopes and dreams. You desire for them to happen now, whilst simultaneously you’re filled with an unnerving yet settling peace? Yes, it’s a good feeling

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#284~ S/he talked about A Hole in the World

She talked about a hole surviving in the world. Actually, I don’t know if it’s a she or a he, but he is a just third of she, so lets just make it a whole – that’s right, we were talking about that hole in the world.

S/he talked about there being a hole in the world. One that was gaping but hard to see. It wasn’t covered over, it was just buried deep under the sea of our disinterestedness. Our politics incorrectness and oblique apathy, our feminism and chauvinism which clouded this body of water, purply green

The colour of her bruises, in fact it could have been his, disguised under all those lies, the trials the journeys, and the cramped, monkey cage style, of living, who knows about the gender, by now the conditions have probably bent her.

All the politics and fighting about whose got the Rights, all the arguing and despising about who is Right, all the oohing and aaahing about whether we should turn Right, or left out of this windy lane, back to the green fields, chic markets and cargo stuffed aeroplanes…

So we decided to take these Rights of sexual liberation and sexual pleasure,  the Right to my body and the Right to…whatever

And we carved a deep fat hole in the texture of this confusing world, that wasn’t buried in a liquid sea, but in an ocean of media and hypocrisy.

With the splayed legs and lingerie backs, the cleavage that heaved as s/he tried to lean back.

I’ll tell you, stop looking at the Sky, the Ozone is going nowhere, instead tilt your head to the side, and begin to stare

There’s a hole in the world which leeks over billboards and chart toppers, over your daughters thighs and behind your son’s good night manners.

I didn’t dig it up, and I don’t know how to fill it in – did you know there’s a hole in the world, and the worst part is…

we all fell in.


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#283 ~ Communication

“Communication,” my Father enunciated with his fading Naija accent. “Communication means Come U and I into Action.”

The voice was an active organ, agent, being, that had a presence, a purpose and an impact. Words were like daggers falling from salted lips, either tinged with bitterness or some other, subtle purpose. As we learnt to meld and mould ourselves into various social situations, the art of communication was developed, becoming an integral part of our efforts to present an adequate image to the burgeoning populace of ‘others’.

Yet within our own families and intimate relations, communication seems to fade into a distant cacophony of unfinished persuasions and intimations, head gestures, hand waves, and winking favours. The words fail to simply fall or if they do, like cat litter on the recently  polished burnt oak floor, they are swept under due to inefficient, insufficient aural comprehension, to swill in the vacuum of poor memory retention.

I claimed to speak to be heard. Yet my eyes gloss over. My voice becomes mute. And the gulf between is no longer as ephemeral as the tender trills of a tongued flute. Why don’t we speak, why don’t I laugh, why don’t you ask?

After all, the reason my heart skipped a beat when I scrolled down the page, my heart in my feet, till I saw your name, was because  I had dreamed, of liming with you there. Dressed to the nines, with  perfume I swear would intoxicate you, till only my eyes told you where, you were, my voice coaxing you (in the maze of my childish mind, filled with the fantastical fantasy of romantic lines) coaxing you up the stairs to a

Boudoir, sheathed in velvet, though I hate the texture, but Mr. Mills and Mr. Boon always told me that it got you in the right temperature. They spun the web that said to me, once I had you ensnared there would no longer be a need, for me to use that muscle in my neck, the one that can sing, or sometimes wretch. They said my mouth was only the facilitator to intimate a gesture that would result in pleasure. Not really Aristotle’s exercise of the mind, speech no longer needed to create action that was fine, but mute lips moving would certainly engender a reaction, some might call, reaching the sublime.

Yet you didn’t come, and we didn’t speak, and silent eyes wandered off down the street, away from your face, hooded from the rain, as booted heels marched solitary against the grain.  I tell you, in the mazes of my mind, where doubts and hopes speak in overlapping notes, we’ve already been to my favourite cafe, had breakfast on the backs, and even had a quick pray. You’ve wrapped arms round my waist, i’ve stroked your face, and we’ve laughed along the way. The perfect match, silently placed into the ‘dating space,’ – yet still I laugh, because it does truly sound daft, like the young school girl I often regress into, unsure and awkward, but certainly not mental.

Come you and I into action, he said. But away from the podium, the lights and the space, away from old stone walls and passing waves, we’ve barely met or spoken, shared a joke or story. I am a figment of your imagination, you are an unfinished character in my silent, mental, story.

#282 ~ Life Lesson No. 35

Learn to say no.

#281 ~ Mixing Water with the Wine

When one becomes famous, journalists rarely like to ask them the well trodden questions. You should know your artiste’s biography down to the nursery school they went to, the city in which their parents met, the ward they were born in, and the name of the Doctor who brought them screaming and covered in blood into this harshly lit world.

Niche, inquisitive, ‘avant-garde’ questions are preferred. This desire to be innovative has spawned a new set of well trodden ‘quirky’ openers, such as the frequently asked: what was the first album you bought? My issue with a question such as exhibit A, is that it assumes when you were growing up you had money to buy an album. It assumes you personally, owned a CD player, or had the right to place a shiny disk into the Home System. I did not have these rights. I acquired a shared CD player on my 13th birthday, and all the acquired CD’s were birthday gifts and therefore predominantly consisted of P!nk (my sisters choice), or me borrowing (for extended periods of time, with no definite end) my mum’s albums.

These questions undermined my notion of what it meant to be a young teenage adult. I would hear young celebrities talking about the first concert they went to when they were 16, or the first music festivals they attended before they’d completed their GCSE’s. I saw friends flocking to watch Fall Out boy before their year9 SATS were over, whilst I sat home and watched Children in Need – the closest we came to a live concert.

So, when I imagined myself a Rising Star of tomorrow, being interviewed because I now had enough fame to not have to be the interviewer, I was nervous. I didn’t have a niche answer to give. I didn’t buy records or mix tapes, I didn’t even own my own MP3/CD player till I won a Public Speaking Competition at 15 (and even then didn’t use the free iPod for a whole year). What could I do? The Spice Girls tape that hinted my mum and had children had not been bought with my pocket-money – why pocket-money was almost a foreign word in our house!

However, tonight, tonight, i truly became a young, ‘hip’, adult. I took myself, on my jack jones, to watch the legendary Joan Armatrading in concert – and I felt grown! Yes, sitting with 2 empty seats next to me, in an audience predominantly swaying with white middle-aged people (the ethnic demographic more about location than artist), I suddenly knew what is was like to be ‘a la mode.’

Joan captured my heart at the ripe old age of 9. Having listened to Down to Zero one too many times, I decided if I couldn’t beat my mum’s musical tastes, I’d join them, and I’ve never looked back.

Approaching her mid-50’s and still a better guitarist than most, her licks were on fire, she had the mummy shake down pat, and her voice had barely changed, I screamed like a girl. No, I am a girl. I screamed like a boy when he screams like a girl and get’s embarrassed. I did a weird hyper-oh-my-days-she’s-singng-LIVE!- shake for the good part of Down to Zero, which turned into a dreamy smile of complicit love when All the Way from America oozed over the speakers. I could and couldn’t believe my eyes. Joan Armatrading. The first woman, before I’d even heard of Lauryn Hill, Angela Davis, Tracy Chapman or Ms E. Badu who wore a ‘fro and played a nasty guitar, with much funk and Paul Simonesque lyrics, was standing under 100m’s away from me – singing songs that have been looped so often my sister even, unfortunately, knows the lyrics.

I can only say in conclusion to this ecstatic experience that I’m so glad that now, I can tell the world, my first concert was a Joan Armatrading concert at the ripe ol’ age of 19. I went with just Me Myself and I, and it was darn good!

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#280 ~ Rebirth

I had been eroded. Sliced up, minced and spat back out into the vacuum of the anonymous. I had stripped my skin away, as though I were peeling the thick hide of an orange. Yet, in exposing the vulnerable, fleshy underside, I hadn’t realised that the wounds we make, bled silent tears of invisible cries.

I had taken my voice and warped it, to sing a lullaby which contorted and ultimately thwarted the song I had been born with. I had taken my eyes and pierced them with holes so black, an abyss surrounded them, and a booming silence roared back at the raging ocean that spoke only  of a lack.

A lack that gnawed at my invisible sides.

She had become a beautiful shade, melding with the facade, authentic, yes, real, perhaps,

yet still without a complete name.

It didn’t deny who I had become, she was still a valid part of the reverberating drum that pulsed within the cardiac soul, buried deep within the ossified bowl that had slowly wept into a disintegrating hole. It didn’t deny who I had become, but it ignored, white washed and clawed at who I had been.

Who was that little girl so raw and wild, untamed and agile, that ran on concrete and asphalt, her mouth wide like a slit of silvery moon, sliced up just for you? Where had she gone? Was she still locked away deep inside, tearing at the rind that had closed around her sides; a straight jacket of reserved formalities and polite smiles, of half-formed names that end on a consonants growl.

I would like to reintroduce her, if you don’t mind.

I think this body has grown strong enough to take the bastardised, and correct you, without pride or malice, but a quiet acknowledgement that who I am, is to be prized.

To become vulnerable and honest and whole once again, and let the sweet juice fill your insides,

so when you come over, you really see everything, from my side.

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#279 ~ I Want Doesn’t Get

Like a greedy child still stretching for the bread crumbs on the table-cloth, whilst the mouth is smeared with honey and peanuts, the cheeks full like a chipmunk, we desire in the hearts of our minds for that which we shouldn’t get. We know on paper they aren’t good for us, all those E numbers, but still we crave, we desire. And desire is a powerful thing. It occupies the very space of our thoughts, it sits in the depths of our bellies, and in the heights of our throats where it spills out into the cavities of our mouths. Every vibration speaks of desire, every text holds the potential that it might be fulfilled.

Yet they tell me patience is a virtue. But this patient soul has been crying out for jealous affirmation. It desires to be known, to be handled warmly…whilst simultaneously its stubborn, proud heart stands resolute, aloof, waiting for the promise, that you promised me, to come to pass.

No longer half scattered notes, but a song with both rhyme and reason, and a steady, sturdy, deep filled harmony, laced beneath it like gentle fingers that will carry me…if I wait, patiently.

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