God.

God.
Who is God?
Who are you?
What are you?
You who create faith through change.
Formless. Shapeshifting change.
You who demand worship with holocausts of trust as intimate as the son of Abraham..the daughter of Jephtah.
What do you demand of me, you who scream and yet remain quiet.
Why do you scream yet you whisper?
What does thou need.
The change?
the growth?
The shedding?
The nakedness of sacrifice… the spewed blood of left over emotions?
To see and not believe, to believe and not yet see.
You demand my core, my changeless core.
My resolve.
My grit, my will.
That which neither spirit nor man can take.
You demand again and again.
And here I, obstinate.
Refuse to listen.

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Naked Masquerades.

‘My people!, harken to the cry of the covered one, ‘ekpuchi ekpuchi otu’ requires a dance offering. Deep in the bed of the brazen harmattan dust and intense fish trade on the marketing day ‘Irie’. At the setting of the sun, as it dips into the sillouhete of the valleys I will emerge. A masquerade does not perform to an outside audience until he performs well in his home base. Your entertainment and mindless galore are worthless compared to what you are about to see, for he that lives near the river does not use spittle to wash his hands.

‘Look!’, ekpuchi ekpuchi otu speaks again, ‘my people scramble in droves, leaving their stalls, their livelihood to watch a jester amuse their senses. I am truly joyous. They will see. They will marvel. I will jump and scream, the crows and vultures join the performance,their crooked necks and blue glazen eyes will caw in delight Hands flailing, backs arching, the splattering of mud at the little children.

People of mmïrï ulö, I see you are happy. Your laughter choked with clots of saliva, and eyes filled with with tears. I will laugh too, and we will dance together. I will charge at you and you gleefully move back, as if on cue. The level of animatedness seemingly familiar..

We are one and the same, when I spit in the sand, you spit back. You relish the anonymity I exude, no truth, No irrelevant nakedness. You do not want to know the person beneath, all you need is the pretence, the fad. Identities get lost in layers of tuft of feathers and cotton, stratified by moist earth of self deception. You see it all, in the mother that pretends to return to the stalls to provide for her young while shuffling to the movements I teach you. In the farmer that refuses to tend to his crops because he enjoys the songs from his childhood.

Hypocrites we are, covering our bodies against the harsh truth, the cold dusty air of remorse .

What is truth but that whichwe choose it to be. It was once a straight line devoid of sentiment,but frailty and human emotion have bent it. Each one to fit each man and what he represents. May the gods punish us for what we have done, dooming the innocents to death, depriving orphans of their rights, stripping widows of property. Blinded by our convictions, choked by pride, pleasures unforetold.

Retribution will come,and we must guard ourselves. We will suffer for all this idiocy later, but today, you must enjoy my dance. For when the evil befalls us, we will enjoy it too. He that loves the calabash must also love what is inside.

The Night Vigil.

Dear Ranyinudo,

I write this with a joyous heart. I have truly missed you. I already talked with your mother and she says you all are hale and hearty. I hope this is true. I also hear that they’ll be taking you to keep vigil with them at St. Anne’s church. You were baptised there, you know. And as your God-mother, i swore to always give advice so that you always make the right choices. Here are the things you might experience there, I hope this message gives you enlightenment and wisdom.

My love, December will soon end, people want to bless the new year by going to church to worship the almighty. The church halls will bellow like thunder as the music will be at its loudest. Its echoes crashing against each other like wild oxen locking horns. The sounds from clattering of cymbals will be deafening as that from the drums and the pipes. Each musician eager to show his skill and finesse at praising the almighty.

The atmosphere, child, will be charged, devoid of oxygen. The current of air slow and groggy. But, none of that will fascinate you. What I promise will, is the dance that happens at the end. The people enjoy the dance the most and will show it there and then. In fatigue they will gasp without restraint, without control. Breaths forming misty clouds, thick as bread. You can almost slice through. You will be engulfed with emotion, excitement and zeal.

Your heart will burn with passion that night. Energy you never felt before this time will come to you. All this will seem good at that point. All, my dear, except one thing.

Some people will be there with the wrong reasons.

You see, they will scream and dance too. Their voices will be loud, harrowed with unsure hope and shrieks laced with forgetfulness. Forgetfulness of lessons from the past. A string of constant denial of things they should have done, choices that were in their power, to become better people, better human beings. Mistakes they should have confronted, responsibility that should have been taken. They will ignore all these memories, writhing their bodies in contorted movements as if to shake these memories off.

As you begin to look upon them with disdain, the piper will blow the ‘ohi’. Each burst of air producing different calculated tunes. The elders will then begin to shriek in unison as the music takes on a seemingly new meaning to them. And they will nod in agreement as if being instructed by the wielder of the flute himself. You might enjoy it,too.

So Ranyinudo, my child. Listen to me. When your breasts jiggle to the tune of music and your hips swivel to its melodious sounds, hands wide stretched falling with reckless abandon. You must remember this, you must be true to yourself, and avoid self deception. The almighty will not come down and do it for you. You have been given intellect and will for reasons such as this and you must use them well. The next year will bring everything, birth, sickness, health, death. Blessings disguised as curse, curse that turn to blessings. In all this, my child. You must be ready to learn and take responsibility for your life. Only then, ‘nwam’, my child, the almighty will be truly pleased.

The perks of being dead.

‘You’re a dead guy,’ John quipped. I was curled up on the torn mattress placed at the edge of his room scrolling through my phone. He was talking to me. John (not his real name) wasn’t referring to my humus state, enmeshed in a labyrinth of worms. Nah. we obviously wouldn’t be having that conversation. All things being normal, of course.

I respected John, he was smart, really smart. Almost an honors student. He was tall,a bit quirky and loved series. Back in our 100 level, I told John that he shared surnames with my grandmother’s favourite dog. He laughed,shrugged it off….and we became friends. We were both direct and it played out in our friendship. Ours was the honest type. We ate, drank, made fun of people and we loved the thrill of being honest to each other. Telling the truth was law, not because we were good lads or any of that sort. No, quite the opposite actually. I think self deception was a common enemy. We both hated it. If something was ugly, we said it. If someone felt he/she was more special than what he/she actually was, then we’d let the person know. The sheer honesty was terror filled…cold and unrefined. It afforded us a certain connection enjoyed by a few. It understood each other.we had a certain connection with each other. So apparently, I wasn’t offended that John called me socially inept. That was what being dead was, chronic social awkwardness, plain and simple. It was just his way of caring…as twisted as it sounded. I laughed albeit sheepishly. But deep inside,something felt wrong. For the first time in a long while, I felt self conscious. The words actually got to me. It didn’t show of course. Tough love always wins. But the damage, was done…and I felt it.

I’ve never fit in, I mean I’ve tried to, so much so that I feel this overwhelming sadness when I don’t scream at soccer games. Or stay on social media for more than an hour, talking about random stuff. I’m pretty much average student,so it wasn’t the books or the genius that got me distracted. It was way more complicated. I felt I needed depth. I felt at some point that everything I experienced was shallow. I needed meaning. I was confused with my role in society in class, in my family, at my church. These were places that I spent most of my time. I never really had friends, just people I smiled with. And I did it like a pro. The isolation, the silence I once thrived upon became destructive. And it showed.

Eventually, I started caving in. I craved vulnerability, naked conversations…talks with friends where we would ramble on about how damaged we were, how we’d appreciate the scars, and the pain we experienced. I tried girls who thought they liked me. I was good to them.I gave attention. And they loved it. I’d text with my old blackberry, it was a good phone, it served me well. When talking with them I’d harness the art of humour.I was really good with jokes, and would relish the moments they’d laugh at my attempts at storytelling.

The lust, the attraction was intoxicating. It was a high, and then I’d crash, again. I was bored, it was an empty type of boredom. My life felt hollow and I’d do everything to fill it. Everyone I know has a society reset button within reach. Every one seems to do things they were supposed to. Not me I think. I’m not sure, sometimes at night I’d walk round my living room, conjuring different pictures in my head that could be put in blog posts, drawings, music, drama, pain., always thinking of the next disturbing thing to do, the next thought to satisfy. But they keep coming in, the thoughts, a barrage of them. Pounding at the door of my mind. it’s a disease, it’s misery. And each time I’m called to talk, to express myself, I’d relish every minute. Even the insane must vent. I don’t know what normalcy is, I don’t know what it feels like to not have to create, to tear yourself open, to not appreciate the darkness. ‘Don’t be too weird’, Ngozi ( not her real name) would always say. She meant well, she was my friend. I didn’t know what she meant, I’d smile and pretend to understand.

How can something that seems to kill you make you feel so alive. The flexibility, the ability to become anything.To engage with any social class and still feel at home is empowering. I don’t want to be believe in myself because I don’t completely know myself. I want change, good change, bad change whatever the hell they mean. I want the thrill of the damage that comes with being unusual. I choose to not have a self, to be nobody. To be agreed with today and hated tommorow. I might end up regretting this decision on my death bed-I don’t know. but I’ve grown to believe that Society is bad at setting metrics. So I wont let it set mine.

For now,i think.

To fart.. or not to fart.

‘Should the government create a room for farting?’, the interviewer asked, microphone in my face. ‘ I don’t think it’s that important, I think they have bigger things to do’, I answered, stern faced. I had A levels and jamb at the time. Everything was to be taken seriously, so I played the part.

I saw myself weeks later on YouTube,of course. Unsurprisingly, i appeared the least. Other replies that were funnier or had more expression scored more screen time. it was a comedy skit and mine was too bland. I felt bad.

I’ve never really understood the need for public farting, I mean we all do it. It’s human. Mostly, it’s not necessarily the need to fart that bugs me. It’s the confusion it causes, the smell, I mean. I nearly had a respiratory attack sometime. It was during a sermon at church, delivered in Igbo and I was trying to follow. I was a poor listener then, still poor now, but I digress. Then I noticed this girl beside me.She had fair skin,a small frame and looked a bit agitated.The sermon was over and we stood up, i started choking.

This is was how it felt like.

The confidence, it took, the balls she had to try convince herself that nobody would believe that the mess was hers was mind boggling. The smell was putrid, it was almost spiritual. It was dark magic.

I thought about it a bit and tried to relate the experience to the rest I’ve garnered while dealing with society. I have now come to the conclusion that that’s how the rest of society operates. The unhealthiest things we take, as attractive as they are, produce the most dangerous fumes. Call it, the law of the fart.

The law of the fart states that at any given point in time, under atmospheric conditions, the nature of the smell of the fart we release ultimately comes from what we consume.

(Kene et al 2017)

Healthy never looked pretty, so it’s consumed more cautiously. And caution is ultimately stressful.

Delayed gratification never sells. It’s against the laws of 21st century consumerism. Ideas, policies, concepts portrayed on the media,all aimed at the fact that you will and can never be enough. The unhealthy insatiety that plagues us so we struggle and fight for the whole grub. Guzzling it all down.

So by nature, when we feel the need to release what’s trapped inside, it’s choking, and the odour becomes blinding. We ultimately create what we are- shallow, judgemental, victimised, that is, assuming the law is followed.

I’d say, be proactive about what we consume -facts, ideas, food, propaganda while being conscious of what’s good and what’s not. So that,on that fateful day, when it’s our turn, which it must be someday, someone doesn’t feel judged, dejected, ignored, cheated or worst, choked to death from the smell of our all glorious fart.

Time and problems.

I’ll die one day.

I wake up to the cold fact, every single morning. I’m not sure if that’s the reason I pray every time I rise, or I just because I come from a religious background. I pray everyday, not for more life, no. I pray for choice. Choices I can control, because control slows time. I cry to the clouds each they, tears welled up, blurred vision all because I need time to wait.

Time to rest, so that I can become more than one person at one moment and the morph into another at the next. A living slideshow of blurs. All that just to find out what’s right, what’s true, and what’s bad but looks good.

The only problem with alternatives is the confusion, what to be, what to become. Confusion, the bane of human existence, clouds the supposed clarity being drawn out on our blueprints. Our to do lists.

So we struggle, groping blindly at the emptiness in front of us. We light torches, but the illuminance gives the darkness more depth. Time is going and we need distractions. So I will pretend, to smile at birthdays and fumble through my pocket to buy more cakes and alcohol. Maybe the point is in the celebration,maybe it’s the moment, I don’t know.

I’ve tried fear though, it’s cautious, it’s sober, I loved it…at first. But the problem of panic, is it’s short life anxiety. I can’t live that way. I think I’ll try the moment option. I’ll record each event. I’ll start with this blog. Maybe a pattern will come up, i’m not sure, let’s see.

The Rhythmic Disease (Fiction)

 

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  The rains crash relentlessly against the wooden panel, the 12 year old frame that holds the glass windows in place. I’m at the edge of my bed staring wildly into the darkness. The i pod shuffle clasped in my wet shaky hands. I have many problems, some created, others surreal. But they’re all similar in one thing. They bother me.

Mother’s done with her round of shouting for the day so I’m ready to rest now. I’ve waited for this moment. My eyes move slowly to the iPod shuffle, stung at the high intensity of the backlit screen. It’s a bit painful,but sadly,i enjoy every bit of it.
  This device,this sickness,is my drug,my love. It defines me, it rejuvenates my soul….I smile quietly at the peaceful thoughts. People say that life is a series of choices, to others,little packets of time. Mine is simple, but far more disturbing.
   
      My life is divided into three playlists, each tagged, ‘birth’, ‘life’and ‘death’ respectively. Tune after tune deciphers the next vision to occur. I’m always in control. Whatever song played,my hearts beats in agreement.
‘Rebecca’, angry voice bellowed. It must be from the attic, dad. I don’t need to argue tonight, so I do the next best thing. I grin at the collection of songs,clicking on the first. The playlist starts, forcing my eyes shut. The first vision fades into view. This was where it all started.
 
  26th August 1994, a cloudy day bereft of happiness. The room is poorly lit. Probably due to lack of funding. I sit down quietly on the wooden stool, far right corner of the labour room waiting patiently for me to born. Surely the past must be known. An ailment must have it’s beginning. The truth comes quickly enough.
‘It’s a girl,’ the chief surgeon annouces. A tinge of pride in his voice. They’ve taken the first step. Now the second, the creature,upon conception must now pass the sorrow test. So, they tap me softly a few times on the lower back. No response.
   I sit quietly, observing,wondering how I passed. The answer comes soon enough. It’s my father’s phone, the ringtone that is. Someone called. The music flows,unperturbed through the quiet of the room. Eventually the creature starts shaking,it’s skin turning golden brown. It’s eyes widen and to everyone’s amazement, the tears come flooding in. They all sigh in relief. I standup and trudge towards the child. The music device in my right pocket beeps out loud, I look towards the screen. My fears are confirmed. The playlist is over.

Every disease has its side effects. Some,nausea, others fever and so on. Mine is the curse of living up the lifeform I was raised upon. Trembling in the darkroom,my thumb hovers over the next playlist. Careful,so as not to touch anything else. A new string of songs begins, I dig my nails deep into the mattress. The new vision begins, The Present.
I have one sole aspiration in life, to be an artist. To cause social change by in tuning the right lyrics, the right vibe. I felt I could cause world peace, heal diseases and infirmities, one my breath passed through the steel coverings of a microphone. All I needed was a beat, a sound that would appease the very demons that axed against the strings holding my inner being.
No one likes the idea. Much less my parents. My father warned me sternly one Tuesday night,’you will be a lawyer and that’s all there is to it.’ It was simple and direct. I felt the spirits in me howl In misery. I breakdown in tears,convulsing in the pain. The playlist ends, the vision ended.

  I realise, that even now,i’m still shaking, reeling from the effect. The music box still fixated in my palm. Seething with anguish, I make my happiest mistake.
My thumbprint embossed on the ‘shuffle’ button. That was it. I couldn’t control my life anymore. The iPod slips through my fingers and falls to the cold,hard floor. My temperature rises and I start gagging. My eyelids are once again forced shut.
The final vision happens, future.
12.30 pm, is the time on the big round clock. I open my eyes,feeling slightly dizzy from the effect, probably from the music.
The light pierces through and I realise that i’m at a hospital, again. But it’s different this time. I’m in labour. My supposed husband and the doctors are there,urging me on. I’m gasping for air,grabbing at the few pockets of oxygen left in the room. The second child slides out me quickly and preety soon, i’m told that i’m the mother of twins.
I’m a 20 year old spirit encased in an older woman’s body. I should be proud, I think. Both children are made to undergo the stimulus test, they offer no reaction. The stench of dark horror seeps through their minds. I look the other way,trying to avoid the truth. It doesn’t work. I sigh and curse quietly grabbing the phone within reach. Unfortunately, my husband has 7 songs on his device,none that I know of. I play the first one, the sound humming softly in the background.

Then the inevitable happens. Their eyes  open, skimming the room for the one that dared to disturb their peace. Gently they bob their heads,swaying in cheorographic unision at the tune.
The surgeon is shocked, my husband utterly bewildered. Me?,i’m convinced now. I have a disease, it’s eating every fibre of my being, emptying my heart of it’s joy to the dregs. It’s sick, disturbing,but beautiful none-the-less.

Musing through these thoughts, I nod in agreement, it’s a beautiful rhythmic disease.