The Beauty Inside

It won’t go away,
All the things you did
To make it better,
Only pushed it further in.
Like trying to get that bead out
Of your nose
And finding it
In your lungs
The next day.

He won’t come back,
40 missed calls just make
You look the fool,
You would cringe
To see this
Through my eyes,
He never deserved
Your brand of love.

You’ll make it,
You didn’t claw
Your way through
The dark and
walk on glass
To die in the light,
You are winning this fight.

It is their loss,
If they can’t tell
The difference
Between a diamond
And a rock,
You are not the
A geology prof,
Not the life coach,
The umpire,
Or the love and acceptance

You are just
A wonderful person
Getting in
Touch with the
Chaos of being human
And you’ll brave
The confusion
The anger
The rejection
To find what is true,
That there is
Beauty and
Living right there
Inside you.

Fallen Hero

Sharon raced home in her Toyota Venza. It was 11pm, not the best of times to drive through Uyo town. There had been a lot of kidnappings. Wives, children, grandfathers, and after ransoms were paid, not all of them returned. She passed the coloured fountains, the water tumbled on itself as it changed from red to blue, purple and green. The government had done a lot of infrastructure development in the past three years. Security was their blind spot and the kidnappers thrived on it.

She took a turn that put her on the dual carriage road that led home. Street lights lined both sides of the side walk. They were powered by a giant generator,Its soft drone mingled with distant car horns–sounds of civilisation.

Twenty meters away, a girl stood by the wayside. Her shoulder length hair was dishevelled and her yellow dress clung to her like a condom. A sex worker, Sharon thought. She drove past without giving her a second thought. A glance at her rear mirror changed that. A young man walk up to the girl and hoisted her on his shoulders. Her fists beat into his back, but he marched on undisturbed.

Sharon gasped, and screeched to a halt. The girl was being kidnapped! As fast as she could, she reversed the car to the crime scene. Maybe she could see the exit vehicle, maybe she could copy the number and make a report to the police before it was too late. As a child James Bond was Sharon’s favourite film character. She walked and talked like him for years. She even wanted to join the Nigerian Navy but her aged mother wouldn’t hear of it. She had studied Engineering instead, but the thirst for adventure never left.

As she got to the scene, the girl was being pushed into the boot of a salon car by two men. Two others stood guard with guns. Before she could wind down for a better look, they opened fire. Bullets pierced the car and ricochetted in all directions. They jumped into their car and sped off.

Bleeding from a large chest wound, she reached for her phone to call Charles, her fiancee. Darkness engulfed her before she could pick it. Her last thoughts were–heroes aren’t meant to die.

Never Wanted

I should have known
There was no way
You would choose me,
That if there were
Two hundred and two slots,
I would be number 223.

I should have listened
To the music on replay
‘No love for you here’
Smell the disinterest
That sat in the air
Like rotting meat.

I shouldn’t have hoped
You would grow to care
No one makes another notice
There’s no way to groom
What was never there.

So stranded amongst the
Shards of shattered hope,
I scream silently into the void
With all I now know,
It just makes me want you
To want me more.

What Goes Around

As he slipped her the N1000 note he could feel his heart race. Susan noticed his little finger was severed. Was it an accident? She wondered. There was no way to know. She tossed the money into the till and stifled a yawn. It was 8pm and she wanted to go home . She passed him a bottle of teething powder, N800 change and chanted,

“Thank you for shopping at Happy Child Pharmacy. Please call again”.

He muttered his thanks and walked into the night. That was easy, he thought. N800 for a counterfeit N1000 and teething medicine for his son. Fantastic! He was humming as he made his way home.

The next day, she was sacked for negligence. Her manager never liked her.

A week later, jobless and bored, she ate a late lunch while watching television. A news flash came on. It was the usual items: government warns against corruption, First lady receives doctorate degree. The next item shocked her beyond words. A baby killing teething powder syndicate had been busted.

On screen the premises of Happy Child Pharmacy was being sealed off. She watched her manager and two other staff being marched into a police truck in handcuffs. She gawked as the police commissioner told pressmen that 45 babies had died from the dreaded teething powder. Around the premises, some affected parents were weeping and wailing. The camera did a close-up on a middle aged man. He was weeping as he told the press men how his only son had died from teething powder poisoning.

Something about the man was familiar, but she couldn’t place it. NEPA struck before she had a chance to see his hands and the severed little finger on the right.


You realise too late that
It has you,
That you are the fish
Between two slices of steel,
That it ll get worse,
You remember
Years gone,
When you tried so hard to fit
That it left you deformed,
The steel clamps tighten,
You brace yourself,
But there’s no
Stopping the pain,
Anaesthesia hasn’t
Worked out a way
To go that deep,
You breathe.
Shallow breaths
That mist up the glass
And leave your throat dry,
Temporary relief,
Then the refrain comes
Why, why, why?

Smile For The Cameras

Smile for the cameras

Let me weep for the mike

Write about the roses

Let me write about the thorns

Show them your medals

Let me show my scars,

Look to the stars,

Let me weep at the gutters,

Quote second hand statistics

Let me feel the hunger pinch,

In the end let’s

Keep telling our stories.

Time To Love Again

She slipped in with the evening breeze. The house was just the way she remembered it, neat and quiet. In the bedroom he was curled up under the covers. His rugged features were still as handsome as ever. He stirred in his sleep flinging the covers aside. His left arm reached across the emptiness on her side of the bed. The gold ring was still on his hand–2cm of pure gold on a back drop of dark.

She wanted to tell him she was sorry. That she really shouldn’t have gone to abort the baby without his consent. She wanted to tell him her career didn’t matter as much as she thought it did. She wanted to tell him so many things, but most of all she wanted him to move on.

Over the dressing mirror, their wedding picture looked down on her. She, made up like an Asian doll, he, proud and tall. This year they would have been married five years. Instead he was planning her to mark her third year away. She didn’t want a remembrance. She wanted him to be happy and settled again.

She moved to his phone and scrolled through it. All she found was business, church and football. There were no pretty young things sending him sexts. No happy mature ladies checking on him. Her Oscar had become a friar. He stirred again and she knew he would wake any minute. Working as fast as she could she tried to leave him a message.

With one last glance at her beloved’s face she left as she came.

Oscar woke up with a start. He had dreamt that Mary-Anne was with him in a large serene park. She was saying something he couldn’t hear. the next thing he knew she had disappeared.
He sat up . Was that her perfume he perceived or was he having hallucinations ? He jumped off the bed and decided to do some reading when his phone beeped. He ignored it. Probably another sponsorship request. Flipping on the side lamp he froze. On the mirror written in Vaseline were the words

Let go Oscar, it’s time to love again.

A Little Green Light

She liked him. It was hard to say why, but there was something about him that captivated her. She had seen his pictures on the internet. He looked strong, dark and real. She needed real. Her entire life was built around pretence. As an actress she was expected to become a character with no questions asked. She was good at it but she was tired.

Earlier in her career she had dated other men in the industry. It was normal when they were the only people she got to spend time with. She had never been a material girl. Politicians with big bellies sickened her. She was a romantic at heart. Elijah was a lawyer. She had never dated a lawyer.

Now she wanted something fresh. She wanted to be with someone who would talk about other things, no premieres , pirates and the paparazzi. She wanted peace and privacy. The more she studied Elijah Jonathan’s avatar, the more she felt it just might happen. She decided to give him a little green light.


Elijah gaped at his phone. He blinked , squinted and rubbed his eyes but the message stared back unabashed. There it was , unapologetically, inexplicably, really–


Panic wriggled in his stomach and he plopped into a chair. Marguerita Johvenic was saying hi? To him? It must be a mistake. An error text.

A voice whispered in his head, “What if it isn’t?”

Sh*t . If it was meant for him she would be expecting a reply. He furrowed his brow, deep in thought. What was he to say now?

Hey–no, that was flippant, childish and cheesy.

Hello–formal, starched and stiff.

Hi– cold and disinterested.

How are you?–Old and patronising.

Hi love, was madness.

Silence was death.

He thought for two minutes then typed


That was how it began. And after one kid, two pets, four cars, six years and eight more movie premieres; she still starts his texts with


And he still replies with