RED HAYSTACK

Covet the “goblet of the gods”,
Withhold the ash urn,
Dissolve the enigma of rats and frogs,
Seize what you shall not earn.

Rip apart what you cannot build,
Forget “God makes it grow”,
Loosen the earth with ‘Reapers’ Guild’,
Plough through- hate in a row.

Of all the evils necessary,
To kill another- excess; airy,
Berserk with ire, they ruin and go,
They splash with fury; Murcielago.

Slug and counter; head of the arrow,
-Graceful, benign, recline on fodder:
“Gazelle! Raise up thine Sombrero!”
-Behemoth, malign! King of the Order!

Cultured and luscious; great haystack,
Once in boots, now strapped in a sack;
The Gnu shall devour, so-called Wildebeest,
Truth be austere, man is the beast.

"...man has dominated man to his harm..." -Ecclesiastes 8:9

“…man has dominated man to his harm…”
-Ecclesiastes 8:9

Artwork by Kenart

BOOMERANG

…I observe with innocence, as he curves his palm into a slight scoop. With subtle dexterity, he extends his thumb and index finger, stooping to pick it. The infant continues, his face screaming with euphoria as he picks the flat object, yet again. each time, he would run and hurl it; not in a particular direction. It amuses me, how it means different things to both of us. I recoil from my crouched state and look again at the child; smug and plump, oblivious of my existence, unwary of my searching eyes. His eyes glow with admiration for his toy; clueless- mine pale from the realization that, “knowledge is power”, or not. I walk towards my car, and attempt to yank it open. The shrill alarm rebukes my absent-mindedness. With disgust, my thumb slides over a silver-colored button and quells the attention-seeker. Nodding apologetically to the old gardener behind me, I slide inside, slamming the door of my 2003 model Jaguar XKR Coupe. The sound of leather covers scrubbed by the buttocks of my cotton pant trousers has always granted solace. Between the hours of 12 and 1 pm each Friday, I would visit this Park, a recluse for my battered head and mind. I would crouch on the grass and watch the children run and play on the grass. They were so beautiful; and clueless. They would inspire me, make me reflect on each week’s work.

I now relieve the pressure on my gas pedal. I had been driving at 80 km/h. Now conscious of my laden thoughts, my feet play a literal diminuendo, stroking each pedal accordingly. I let my eyes flutter over the transparent screen of my time piece, as I approach a pair of brightly colored gates : ‘John Hale Solicitors’, each character painted in white across them. A stout man in a security officer’s uniform appears before me.
“Welcome, sir.”
“Thank you, Jefferey. did the Chief ask for me?”
He nods, “yes, sir”.
The gates part hesitantly, rolling in opposite directions, borne by poorly greased metal tires. The heavy gates squeal; an ode, as if to Heartbreak. I anxiously observe my time piece: ” 1: 24 p.m.” The Chief despises lateness. I walk briskly up the lobby, past the finely seasoned wooden floors, past the pretty receptionist-she greets heartily, but I only mutter a reply. I punch the number ‘8’ and ease myself through the steel doors of the elevator. The steel often reminds me of the chief. Mr John Hale had always been cold and strict, unbending; steel. But he made good money. Basically, my job is to ensure that he continues to make good money, so I recruit the best blood: graduates from ‘lag’, the University of Lagos; the University of Ibadan…I was rightly bemused by his request for me. I arrive at the Mahogany door labelled “John Hale”, and knock.
“Come in.”
The voice is cold and hard; the usual. i find the pale colored man savoring a cigar. beneath his eyebrows are beady eyeballs, piercing me.
“Good Morning, Sir.”
“Good Morning.”
He hands me a file. “Review this.”

Outside the Chief’s office, I read the name on the file: “Jefferey Shobade.”
What did the old man do? I take a left, adjacent the chief’s door. I’m frantic, reaching for the handle to the door of my office. I allow myself the luxury of my couch, teasing my weary body. as I run my fingers across the name on the file, I toy with an evil thought. Maybe I should have been a comedian. I have seen so many different human expressions, that I now despise emoticons. This is the joke. I’m quite bewildered by how one statement summons so many expressions: “…I’m sorry sir, but this firm will no longer require your services…i hate to tell you this, ma’am, but this firm will no longer require your services…”
Many times, I think I am Death itself- only with a conscience. At exactly 4: 05 p.m. I invite Jeffery to my office. I hand him an envelope and observe his countenance. The fifty four year old man does not twitch. I reflect from the fluorescent light in my office. His hair is receding, withdrawing to nothingness; paled by age. His forehead is wrinkled; a gourd carved with parallel lines across it- the first is finely grooved, but the second is one traced by years of worry. It could literally hold a broom-stick. His eyebrows are Gothic Archs; unflinching, as if that were their default position- they had seen so many evils that, they would not raise in surprise anymore. His eyelids half-squint, shielding eyes that have lost their luster. His lower lip resembles a pregnant millipede; swollen halfway. His chin is a sagging replica of defiant glory.
“…I’m sorry, but this firm will no longer require your services…”
There. All said.
“…however, you will find in that envelope a sum of…”
The chair creaks, as he slowly ascends, staring at the wall behind me. He shifts his gaze to me, examining; gawking. He then turns and leaves the room. He forgot something. He forgot to take his aura with him.

My name is Yusuf Bashir. I am head of HR. I do not fear Death. I have probably brought it to many before Jefferey. What I fear is my Conscience. Burning and pricking; die-hard. A Cockroach. I pick it again. I run, I hurl it. It returns. Yet again. It always returns. Boomerang.

MY MOON

Shine down in fluorescence,
Calm all my pertubance,
Lest this world break my every sense,
Heal me at a glance.

The watery deeps, you paint blue,
My thoughts; the dominant hue,
Bless me with this cresent,
My pain let me vent.

It’s time I defamed great Armstrong,
Time I mocked this Noel,
For journeying many miles strong
-With Mama, I need no fuel!

For you I greatly bless Providence,
You shine and I am grateful,
Give light, make bright with your essence,
Hold my cries; they’re hateful.

You grace the skies with silent fame,
Your lips be silent, your eyes would tame,
Dispel dark cravings with your light,
Your cane; my every fight.

Though you be stone, blow high and cold,
I’ve felt your warmth; I’ve seen your dark,
This love, dear Mama, it won’t smell old,
I know One Moon; ’tis listrous black.

image

“Some have stood as mothers- some are.”

Artwork by Kenart

BLACK

Wisdom is dark
– the soothsayer’s tongue,
Muse is the Cock’s cry,
Strength is from tongs.

Magnificent; son of a Mammoth;
Royalty is born as a Maggot,
Admitted as Cadillac,
Mediocre is Cadaver.

To see the world in multicolour;
Accept the feat in variety;
This too, is delirium,
A drunk’s tale; a fallacy.

Domestic- a beast of burden,
Remote are the feats of the Donkey,
Construed as the woman’s place,
Illustrated as without grace.

Wood and Stone- the Primitive,
gods are of ‘the elements’,
“creators of antiquity”,
“To foul the holy- negligence!”

For strength, they call the Buffalo,
Oblivious of the Aurochs,
To hold on to dark ego,
And call forth wisdom from rocks.

To tame the ruinous Bull and Ox,
And flee before the Windmill:
“Let Light and Knowledge laugh and scoff,
And Wisdom- let it bid will!”

“The gods shall give a jubilee,
Let arms give of their strength!
The fields are green and lush with glee;
Make less the hunger, lest we fret!”

“We like the Yams atop our tables,
They quench our sorrows with Love and Fables;
Fortify our Faith in Love and Mirth,
Why ask for ‘Daily Bread’?”

“Unleash a new and ‘golden age’,
In Cries and Chains, let them pay Wage,
Take away their Jollity,
Let Pain become their Polity!”

We have heard of ‘Liberty’,
Sweet tale, told by ‘Luther-cy’,
When finally, Freedom we see,
It- in our Dreams- certainly will be!

When shall we ever earn this license?
Debasement- this now takes our incense!
When shall we lose this Depravity,
Come now, help with Alacrity!

“‘The Fates’ now our souls tease,
You must shorten our Solstice!”
You with eyes, help without fail,
Do not wait, “Black” is a tale.

"Freedom is a gift."

“Freedom is a gift.”

Artwork by Ken Nwadiogbu (Kenart)

Opera: Of An Addict

A bang. Not exactly one, but it startled me enough to make me turn. She finally left, but i didn’t hear. I did not notice the door open. I did not hear her leave. Something else now had my attention: purity. From the moment she said it, I have found solace only in purity. She had meant it; had never spoken with more conviction:”I’m seeing someone else”. That was all. No stammering, no guilt pangs, no tolerance for my
face- not even after my surgery! Now, that’s funny: to think that after sitting patiently through the stitching, she’d only tear those wounds open. I did have a surgery. On my face. After my bike accident, i didn’t get to see the wound, but she was at the ward. She once told that my face had looked like ‘agege bread’, ripped open by a rabid dog and spattered with tomato sauce, as if by a two year old- we both laughed. It was funny, then. I had looked at her eyes; clear; pure; the subtlety of a Gaboon Viper; waiting to make flesh numb- and she made me numb. I had even called her ‘the one’, but then, she took all i loved away. Replaced them, the way a bottler replaces empty cups. Ah! Bottlers! Bottles and their accompanying liquor- formiddable duo, that- they stopped me from thinking:” what has a neck, but no head?” Apparent! No head, no thoughts- you dig? I do not blame her. I blame myself- for leaving my first love. Even when I was down, I’d gleer at the bottle: “there; sparkle”.
A gecko scampers across the ceiling, making a mess of my purity: temporary, but, sufficient. I stare at the time-piece on the adjacent wall: “Q-U-A-R-T-Z”. I don’t know what those words mean, but they speak to me; whisper my name. I think it’s the booze working, finally; the only thing that never lies to me. I stare at what is before me: sleek and shimmering; transparent, yet blurring out the future. Six identical sculptures sit before me. They’re family- drained; thoughless. They’ve given me great power. They have made me transcendent; a god. I feel myself surge with power. I alone shall tell what will be. I now hear the time- piece clearly; it defiantly chants, not my name-another: “Tick Tock”. “Why does it not say my name?! I am the Oracle!” So I question it with my fists. It does not reply. So I question it some more, ramming till I make it at peace; Silent. Pure. “I will find such purity. She thought she took it away. She failed. I will be pure.” In my soliloquy, i stare at purity sitting in my right palm. “Barbiturate,” Philip called it. I should tell you about Philip, but i’m too…close now to peace. As i swallow, i realise gradually: I have found peace. I am Pure.

image

Picture by Kenart I G: @kbillion
Note: alcohol and drugs are a primary cause of chronic depression and death in many countries!

LYRICS OF A SINGING CHILD

…this one is awesome! Check the original at scarsandpinkearth.com

ScarsandPinkEarth

His eyes are bloodshot red. His large nostrils have flared up. There’s not enough oxygen to sustain them. His hands vibrate like the blender. They seek to destroy. His unstable breaths are haphazard and heavy. I see from his heaving chest, his heartbeat dances to no rhythm in particular. I shouldn’t have dropped the teacup. He hits me, right across my face. My sight is blurry but I’m thankful that this time it’s not mother. I’m thankful that this time I can carry this cross for her. He pulls me up with my left ear. His breaths are beginning to stabilize. “Clean this mess up.” I scurry away. I tuck the child into his cot and sing to him a silent lullaby. I miss mummy already but I don’t want her to come back home tonight. I want her to go to a quiet place for just one night. Somewhere…

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SHE – MAN

Head of gold,
Eyes as bright,
To quench my ego,
Bereave me of pride.

Flare up the envy of my blood;Sit as my heart’s sovereign,
Make me content with wisdom broth,
Hold candlelight to my pain.

Though liquor may gleam,
Foods fill me to brim,
All leave me melancholic,
Love drunk; alcoholic.

Enliven this heart, behold; a request!
Lest I melt in fervor, knight me with this quest!
Contain this great sorrow; devour my regret,
Lest I echo as hollow; collapse in neglect.

Engulf me in this alchemy,
Close up scarred thoughts engraved in me,
Should mortal man enslave this prowess,
Become my pride, I’ll make you goddess!