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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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mirrors essenes

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.
udee

things we carry, chapter 2: autopilot

this is when you attempt to feel the world around you, but cannot
this is when you attempt to douse your nervous system in extra stimulants, but nothing

and there you sit
so many things to be done, you’re thinking
so many orders to give and many more to receive
so many things to say and things to hear
so many items to cross off
so there you sit

unbothered and numb
numb and unbothered

not even the dark roast and quickening heart beat gets you up

you have managed to move your body just enough
just enough to get you right here

so
you don’t move at all

fuck it
we’ll try this again tomorrow

midtown

holding off from; giving permission to | a poem

 i am quitting that which i have yet to start
and apportioning time to nothing
i am abandoning things i have not committed to
and signing up to not participate
this is the game i play alone
suspending myself in air, barely hoping respite
awaiting the time i’m given the nod to continue
as if anyone is waiting for me
i am figuring out my unhappy
without thinking about it at all
i am whispering through a crowded room
while everyone is looking the other way
i am winding up the clock to watch it tick down
living within its minutes aimlessly
i am elsewhere and nowhere, someone and everyone
and everything’s nothing in between
i am doing this all over…

 

nola

things I’m bored to death with…

as inspired by Lorraine Hansberry

  1. the unending African vs African-American debate, and the assumption that the former are inherently a better people (and not merely because of continental pride)
  2. melancholy
  3. silly, lazy men
  4. the idea that black women do not or cannot support each other
  5. the fact that people actually live boring lives but pretend not to
  6. respectability politics, especially as perpetuated by the marginalised
  7. the “what about me?”, #alllivesmatter narrative: fuck feelings attempting to dictate self-love
  8. the currency of sex
  9. writing paralysis due to fear
  10. erasure
  11. typing in every individual work experience after uploading my resume on your website
  12. racism and sexism

The Yoruba Orishas

Way back in February for Black History Month, I completed a blog study on the Yoruba orishas, as depicted by Atlanta-based photographer James C. Lewis at Noire3000 Studios. In the event you missed it, please take some time to educate yourself.

The orisha (also spelled orisa, orichá; or orixá in Latin America) are spirits believed to reflect one of the manifestations of God in the Yoruba religion. The orishas have made their way from West Africa throughout the so-called New World via the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The Yoruba religion itself is housed specifically in present-day southwestern Nigeria, as well as the adjoining parts of Benin and Togo. This area is commonly known as Yorubaland. However, the diverse traditions that make up Yoruba religion can be found all over the African diaspora, influencing belief systems such as Santería (Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic), Umbanda (Brasil, Argentina, Uruguay), Loa/Vodou (Haiti and the U.S.), Oyotunji (the U.S.), Trinidad Orisha (Trinidad and Tobago) and Candomblé (Brasil, Argentina, Uruguay).

Appreciation for the orishas has finally caught on! Recently, I caught wind that there is a short film out there in the ether: an African superhero movie, as produced by written, directed as produced by Nigerian filmmaker Nosa Igbinedion. According to Igbinedion, he made the short film in order to prove that there is a market out there for sci-fi based on African characters and storylines. Yes! The whole 12 minute film is below. Now that it’s lunch break….

The orishas I featured for my online study are as follows. If you click on the orishas tag at the end of this post, it’ll take you straight to the appropriate place. Ciao!

aganju orishababaluaye orishaErinle Orisha
esu OrishaIbeji OrishaOba Orisha
obatala Orishaogun Orishaoko orisha
olokun Orishaolorun Orishaori Orisha
orunmila Orishaosanyin Orishaosoosi Orisha
osun Orishaosumare Orishaoya Orisha
sango Orishayemoja Orisha