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To Unlearn: What I No Longer Believe to be True

unlearn <un·learn>

ˌənˈlərn/verb
discard (something learned, especially a bad habit or false or outdated information) from one’s memory.
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  1. College is the only or surest way to succeed in the modern world. We know no examples. Bill Gates. Oprah.
  2. Smart people always make good decisions. If you are smart, you cannot be wrong. Ever. Duh.
  3. No one will ever truly look out for you, with the exemption of your family. Family members – the ones you do not choose – are the only people you can trust. Surely, everyone is ultimately out to get you in the long run. If people leave, even when their appointed season in your life is over, that is the zenith of betrayal. Off with their heads! Every institution – even the most blessed, pure, and loving – has its limitations. That can’t possibly be ok.
  4. You cannot set boundaries with family. “I love you, mother… Thanks for calling the third time today… Yes, yeah… I’m on the look out for my future husband. Of course!…. Yes, a medical doctor, yes, medical… I have the criteria list seared into my mind… I’ll review the scroll right before I head out to work… Oh yeah… yeah, it’s morning here – kinda early….”
  5. Life is not meant to be enjoyed. What is happiness? Struggle is life. Struggle defines life. Despite the fact that you only get one chance at living, why would you actually enjoy any part of it? This is not a game. #struggleislife
  6. Men are on the fuckboy spectrum. Therefore, can they really ever be a partner and ally? Not one man is worth the time of day. They’re all such good men, and yet leave behind throngs of broken women in their wake. I mean, why expect respect and harmony in a relationship when all he really needs from you is a warm, cooked meal and a warmer body? I mean, really, #NotAllMen, amirite?
  7. True love eludes women who are decisive, inquisitive, and have at least one degree. The more degrees you attain, ladies, and the more you desire out of life and people, the worse off you are in the love department. Facks on facks. And you’re over 30?! We all know you tuck your degrees and diplomas and career under your pillow, bitter, lonely woman. I mean, can you even cook?
  8. The goal in life is perfection. Live up to everyone’s expectations at all times. This is the true measure of perfection. If no one complains about you, and you’re worn ragged as a result, who can fault you for being exactly what is expected? At this point, you’re perfect!
  9. People’s opinions of who you are and what you do matters immensely. Again, it’s amount molding yourself to the pleasure of others. You’re a humanitarian, after all. The only life you’re gifted cannot possibly be lived according to the terms of the personality gifted the body. Benevolence is cute, but my opinion of who you are and what you ought to be matters more than the love you ought to generously dole yourself.

Dawn Breaks and So Does Its Pride

to lay naked in front of yourself is an exercise in your mortality. in learning the difference between loneliness and being alone. let the voices within your thoughts swirl around you and you are echoing in them. nothing is as humbling as ugly vulnerability. stripping yourself of the pride of your personhood. your pride calling out from behind you — a baby’s scream for attention. you release yourself to walk upon the ashes of your ego. let those who watch you come to their own conclusions. their eyes tearing at your flesh and tongues wagging in understanding. do they understand? expectations crack through your window, as daybreak comes to meet you curled into the womb of your thoughts. the cooing of sunlight begs you to rise into it. but you are crippled. again. you swim, paddle, in strained attempts to be free. the task of being plagued! the burden of this affliction. if it were a robe, would you not shed it? if it were rope, would you not find its beginning? find its end? you have toyed with the idea of hibernation, haven’t you? toyed with the idea of laying there until something finds you — until the dew that had blanketed you dries on your flesh with first sun. if that becomes your liberation, so be it.

so be it.

red skies

red skies | haiku

red skies bled o’er her
she watched the sun tuck away
moments in her life
expansed silenced void
are gentle, tranquil spirits
tossing around her
this is where she finds her calm

i write about you | a poem

i write about you
intermittently
somewhere
in between consciousness
i remember fuzzy feelings
wondering whether it’s time enough
for you to love me
to make sure my stiff heart now dusted down
pumps in beats that are echoed somewhere within the cage that
holds your heart
i love too strong
in breaths like sighs
in whispers passing wind
in cracks of fireworks
and city-wide carnivals
i love in sweaty moments of indiscretion
in the unity of perfectly laced shoes
in tiny hands that need to grip thumbs
love me in odd places solitary spaces
spaces that invite
rather than leave unrequited affections
for ruled gray lines of spiraled loose-leaf
ramadan

Call to Prayers: The End of Ramadan

I wrote this piece in May 2011, as I watched Muslim faithfuls convene to pray in Abuja.  It was inspiring to observe, be caught in the middle of, and document.  The post has also been featured in Pamay Bassey’s My 52 Weeks of Worship Project. Every time I revisit this piece, I am aggressively attempting to edit it. I begin to, but I don’t. I wrote this in a very particular voice; it might be just what it is to keep it this way. Nevertheless – 
Eid Mubarak!

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other side of the mirror | a poem

look at me looking at you
mocking my smirk, reflecting my teeth
exposing a body of vanity
exposing a body of insecurity
let bathroom lights catch only my good side
the three of the four that manage to stay lit
this is the skin chosen for me
large illuminating eyes
newly discovered birthmark 
nose i learned to live with as a moody teen
cheekbones that stand proudly: gifted from my mother
abdomen that mocks the look of toning
childhood scars, an inherited browning over time
ingredients laid bare in front of –
me looking at you looking at me

Tears. #Orlando

Tears will not come to me
I fight them. For shame. I fight them.
When the faces of the innocent roll like tape
And the wake of their memory are desperate phone calls
Amidst shells of screams, and mothers who scream back miles away.
Hot coals in the hands. Hot flames on the breath.
Life is snatched; a bloody breath in darkness
Reverie joy becoming the nightmare no one can dream
No one can dream
My tears are meaningless in their testament
Because I am angry. More than anything. I am angry.
The cocktail of human failure fails us all
It is the unsuspecting who pay the toll
What a fucking waste. What a fucking curse.
What hell on earth we all partake in.
How we continue to deny each other, while we share this same planet.
Tears stifled by the purest rage
And the roll of tape faces leave saltine rivers.
In the all the pieces the mortal body left across the floor
May souls find the rest in the peace they deserve
And when I cry, they are not my own.
They are for you, my dear, because I cannot cry.
The heart cannot take it.
Rest easy, I pray.