Sometimes I run the streets, sometimes they run me -Morgan Parker 

I don’t know what I think I’m doing

Pretending I’m well adjusted 

Schooling with the white people 

Club on a Friday 

Laughing in the library

Flirting with young boys and old boys 

Yeah you can come see me 

Dinner’s some fancy Thai food 

I’ll show you I’m made of that material 

While deflecting get-to-know me questions about home, about my blessed kin

With a careless shrug and an empty sigh

Why would it ever matter 

You say I’m repressing, I say I’m adjusted

I’m accustomed, a compartmentalising queen

I’m over it 

I don’t talk shit to death

Wouldn’t you rather appreciate this lingerie 

Under my dutiful apron and reborn appearance?

So no, I don’t answer calls from the motherland, if I can help it

Would I ever go back there, if I could help it?

Nevermind baby, nevermind 

See, I’ll have you know

If I’m never fully here, then I’m never really there

Always knowing I’m too lucky, too too ungrateful 

Over here stuck in my head 

Trying to come off as comfortable, in my own skin, well-adjusted.


Untitled #12

I don’t remember where I wrote this.

“Oh, you want too much!” she cried to Gatsby. “I love you now- isn’t that enough?”

Someone is going to call you their soulmate 

Hold you like the answer

And rejoice that you are finally here 

To make the world make sense 

And you will want to be

For a moment, a month, a year

For them, the answer

To be the saviour, the muse, the angel holding them from the precipice of darkness 

You thought this is what you were made for

You thought this is what you wanted 

For him, this is what you could be 

If you can be perfect to him, you can be perfect to the world 

And yet.

As with everything the universe deems as inevitable 

Something will remind you that you are not the fixer 

You cannot be the answer 

There’s no way you could be

Because we can only be parts to each other 

Parts for each other 

He can only be a part of why you are here 

You can only be a part of his life 

 If you want to consume me whole 

Then what has all of this been for?

I cannot be the beginning and end of you

I do not want you to end me. 

Hope Springs Eternal

I don’t remember why I wrote this.

Write a poem about this. Write a poem about everything – Daniel Handler 

Honestly, if not for you

I don’t have much to say anymore

But yet you

With your soliloquys and your musings and your dreams

Showing me with your paintbrush and your pen

What life really could be

If only we could have enough hope

If only you could hold on to that hope

That you have gathered from a million success stories 

That you have gathered 

And kept dear

Like seashells from a beach I collected when I was twelve 

Oh, I have been on that beach 

And seen those precious shells

Iridescent and almost unbelievable 

Beautiful in the face of all doubt and distrust 

I wanted to keep them safe too

But the waves come too quickly when I’m around 

Somehow you can hold them calmly 

But I am always clinging and desperate 

The tide rises and rises until they are swept away just as I reach them 

And I do not know where your hope is now 

Those keepsakes only leave traces 

Visible enough

That I cannot forget them. 

Higher Powers

Of all the many wishes that I cast into the universe

Day after day

An obvious one 

‘I wish I knew what to wish for’

A thing I could point to 

With hope, pride, passion

And say, there, that’s what I want. To do. To be.

But it’s like trying to catch smoke

Elusive, unobtainable 

And sooner or later, it disappears 
Do you know what they tell me? 

That it’s all part of God’s plan

But don’t forget

It’s your life to live

So you’re in control

So better take control

Even if nothing’s really in your control

Because of God remember?

Or your horoscope? Or the planets aligning?
I hear it and you hear it

Kismet, luck and fate

All that inspirational drivel

That’s just begging for you to believe that there’s a point

Please, believe there’s a point 

To all this

Because if not

Then what?
Can you even answer that?
What is your label?

Are you a complacent believer, or a doubtful believer?

Are you a skeptic? A realist? 

Do you like dream catchers?

Or are you a flat-out atheist? And of all things, or just religion?

And to round this all out

Does it even fucking matter?
Luckily I’m no authority 

On any of this

I don’t make the rules, I don’t have to think too hard

All I have to do is pick a side

And hope it fits

And let’s hope it fits

Even if it comes on like a misshapen glove

Fuck, at least it comes on
And for you
I hope you don’t have to pick

I hope that fire in your belly, that drive

That it comes naturally

So you never have to struggle and wander in the dark

And I hope that it feels like it was made just for you

Hand-crafted and gift-wrapped just for you

And if that is the case

I do so envy you

All the Ways

I want you

In a primal, insatiable way

Full of tongue and heat and grips still not tight enough

I want it to be filthy

I want you

In an immaculate, chaste way

All buttoned up, not an ankle showing

But your heated glances run me ragged

My intentions towards you are entirely honourable

I want you 

In a complicated, painful way

Full of passion and conflict and frenzy

I want to ruin you

I want you

In a simple, comfortable way

Where we talk about everything

Or absolutely nothing

And still understand each other completely 

I want you 

In a loud, ostentatious way

Shout to the heavens 

Of your affections for me

So I can never forget  

I want you

In a silent, sure way

Secure in the knowledge

That I’ve found my partner

I want you 

In a selfish, covetous way

Love me, worship me, adore me

I want you

In a generous, lavish way

I do love you

I’ll worship you

I adore you

I Won’t Settle

“I am so hungry for a big smashing creative burgeoning burdened love: I am here; I wait.” – Sylvia Plath

This is truth for me. This is undiluted, raw truth.

This is truth that I hide under practicality and reality and distraction and frankly, a lack of viable candidates anyway.

Because whenever I think of all my hopes and dreams, especially the really steep ones, there’s always that voice ‘but you gotta be realistic though’ , telling me not to think too outside my scope. That’s the ‘real world’ talking. And I’ll concede, that voice is very necessary. It stops me from flying off rooftops and such. But I have to admit, reality breaks my heart.

But what about this ‘big, smashing, creative etc..’ love? Is it so far out of my reach? Maybe the type I’m thinking of. Because all these movies and novels and music sell me bullshit that real life can never live up to. Nevertheless, I’d like to think that, even with all that bull clouding my judgement a lot of the time, I can still reasonably want some of that. Love. Or unreasonably want all of it, because anything is possible. I mean, these love stories, what draws me isn’t so much the grand gestures or the ever-occurring love at first sight, as the connection. The fact that you can connect so deeply with another person that you just want to know every part of them. That I can also share every single part of myself and know that it’s appreciated. I don’t want to be in a relationship just to be in one. I want to be in a relationship because I cannot stand to not know you. One where I know you feel the same way. Not passive love, active, very active love. Heat and depth.

Like I said before, there are no viable candidates as at now.

I wait.

But hey, I’m sure I’m not really selling myself as much of a candidate either. Because on a normal day you won’t see any of ‘this’ part of me. I don’t go around spouting literary quotes or musing out loud. I don’t have my nose in a book walking around, ready to bump into my soulmate, and honestly, most of the time I’m holed up in my room anyway. I can be veryyyyyy basic. I can store all this away. I know where I learnt how to hide all this.

And as a result of a low sense of self-respect coupled with desperation and the unfortunate fact that I don’t have a lot to work with anyway, I fall for the typical guy. I generally fall for the guy that everyone falls for. There’s nothing particularly original about you if I like you. Because all I really need is for you to be cute and a little flirty and funny and pay attention to me. I don’t even need you to be single. You don’t have to work hard. Because I’ll take you and change and distort you in my head into who I want you to be and who you could be if only I could work on you. I take all the things I’m really looking for in a guy and inject them into the little things that you do.

I used to wonder how people could just settle for any old person, when your potential soulmate could be out there. Your great love story waiting. But I could see myself settling. It’s very easy. I get it.

But I won’t. That’ll be my new mantra, ‘I won’t settle, I won’t settle, I won’t settle.’

Scarce Amounts of Love

I spend a lot of time ragging on myself. It’s not self-loathing, but I am aware of a lot of my flaws and, I try to call myself on them. Perhaps I do this a bit more than is necessary, perhaps I don’t do it enough of the time. I don’t know. I have no life manual so I have no idea which is better. Either way, it helps me remind myself that I’m not perfect, far from it. It helps me get a little deflation when my ego’s starting to take up space. On a side-note, I find it funny that with self-esteem as wobbly as mine, I’m still capable of an ego, what with all the hits it’s taken. It’s annoying because sometimes I think I’m a fucking awesome person. And then I come crashing back down.

Anyway, with all these constant reminders of imperfection, I find there’s a gap that needs to be filled, generally with a certain amount of self-love but, if you’re a bit prone to melancholic states like me, something darker. Maybe sadness, hatred, hopelessness? Try loneliness? Flat out depression? I don’t drown in these feelings the way I used to, because I’ve let go of a lot of my insecurities, as well a lot of the people and environments that generally went along with these feelings. Also, I think I’ve just grown. So I don’t feel these things as intensely as I used to.

But I can’t really say I love myself yet. I know I’ve said that sometimes I think I’m friggin awesome, but I don’t really believe that, and even when I do, it’s usually because of something superficial that I’m praising myself for. Like, oh, I look so pretty today, or oh, I lent her money and I don’t want it back, how great of me. And besides, I always come crashing down from that.

And when I’m not drastically either loving or irritating myself, I’m neutral. And not neutral in the ‘just the right amount of self-love’ kinda way. But neutral in the sense that I just don’t think anything of myself. Because I see all these cheesy inspiring quotes everywhere saying ‘love yourself first’ and ‘you’re the best’ and I’m always asking why why why but that part’s never included in the poster. I mean, really. Why should I love myself? Because I’m God’s child? Yeah well everyone’s God’s child and not everyone’s great. So come up with something else.

It’s been 5 years

I remember the stories we wrote. All that fiction about the typical YA fantasy bull that we were so proud of. And rightly so. Our shit was amazing.

I remember all those poems. Hardly any happy ones. That suited us best.

I remember all the novels. All that Ted Dekker and Danielle Steele before we were old enough to know better.

I remember my ‘extracts’, and your short stories.

I remember that one time you dumped me.

I remember my disbelief at the fact that I could be dumped by a friend.

I remember we got back together and stayed that way. I don’t remember the how.

I remember the matching necklaces with the blue pendants.

I remember the bracelet with the different little images of Christ.

I remember the birthday card you made with everyone’s wishes inside. It’s the best gift I’ve ever gotten. I still have it.

I remember us playing dance Wii, and me beating you cause I’m awesome like that.

I remember the nights by the dock, watching the ship lights glitter in the water.

I remember all the walks, and the talks, and all those plans.

I remember how I never really believed those plans were going to work. And when they didn’t, I sighed because reality got in the way too often. 

I remember when ‘best friends’ became an empty phrase.

I remember wondering why I physically just couldn’t share my literary side with you. I still can’t. You don’t know I have this blog.

I remember not being able to respond to affection. And worrying that that would always be the crux of my problems.

I remember the list of your favorite people and my name being nowhere on it. I remember that more vividly than I’d like to. I remember how much it hurt.

I remember all the times you were distant for no reason.

I remember when you told me everything.

I remember having no idea what I could do to help. Cause I needed to help, but there wasn’t actually anything I could do.

You know I’m terrible at giving advice.

I remember all the times I fell short.

I remember old obsessions over Drake and Miguel and Lil Wayne.

I remember my cereal and your eclairs and her haribos.

I remember you calling me your sister and me feeling like your sister.

Nigeria wants skinny you!

‘Chai! See your cheeks!’
‘Ahn-ahn, you have added o!’
‘This girl, you too dey chop!’

Africans, or let me say Nigerians because I don’t want to generalize too much, have become just as judgmental about body size as, well, foreigners.
It’s a result of the whole urban revolution, I guess, all of us being swept up in the need to not be a third-world country. So we mimic, mimic, mimic.

Apparently, and this was probably before I was born, Nigerians used to value a little meat on the bones. Not to the point of obesity, which is clearly unhealthy, but a little plumpness was valued. It used to show that you were enjoying your life, in good health, being prosperous. Skinniness was a sign of some misfortune, maybe fasting because of mourning, or anxiety. ‘You’ve lost weight’ was accompanied by a frown and a look of worry. But now, the same way ‘foreigners’ say ‘oh, thank you’, because it’s a compliment after all, we find ourselves smiling when people say ‘you’re so much slimmer’. ‘You’ve added weight’ will now make you feel embarrassed and want to provide an excuse for why this awful thing called fat has happened to you. You’re chubby means you’re lazy, it means you don’t have self-control, it means you should get a hold of yourself.

My dad is always saying I should watch what I eat so I don’t ‘lose my shape’, or no one will want to marry me. And if I ever even date someone who demands that I can’t put on any weight, I will have disappointed myself most of all. Now in Nigeria, for women, you’re only allowed to have fat in your ass, because that’s what shows you’re African. Ye ‘strong black women’, go to the gym and do a million squats a day please, even though it isn’t for your benefit, its for the guys. So you may be called a ‘bad bitch’, or I guess a nigerian guy will want to marry? No woman actually wakes up in the morning in need of a big ass if not to impress men with.
But mind you, that ass better not give you the illusion of bigness or else you’re right back where you started.
You could say however, that as we are becoming more educated, we are becoming more aware of the need to stay tight and fit. Even though I’ve never seen someone with a roll of fat here and there die of a heart problem. And let’s face it, this isn’t about health, it’s about needing not to be scorned or mocked for that extra pound or two. About needing to also wear those crop tops and booty shorts and dresses with the pelvis-high slits. So we’re all throwing out the chocolate and ice cream, and more importantly the pounded yam, garri, egusi, and our many, many rices, and embracing the green smoothies and baked chicken with greens and no salt. Walking around with water bottles all the time as if we are just now realizing that wow, it’s hot around here.

But don’t think if you’re proper skinny, you’ve gotten away. Because in that case, you don’t have a ‘woman’ body. If you have a flat chest or ass, your body is almost laughable because you’re too ‘lepa’, you don’t have an African enough body. So the ideal is an hourglass figure, what women slave in the gym doing waist exercises for. As if your body shape isn’t already pre-determined and everyone should just learn to deal with it.