The Annals Of An Invisible People

Guy Scott is their Obama,
Adichie is their Emily Bronte,
Dangote is their Bill Gates

Garri is their bread,
Palm wine is their beer,
Gin is their vodka,

Lagos, is their New York,
Abidjan, their Paris,

The war in Mali? France’s Afganistan
The uprising in Burkina Faso? their Arab Spring,
Ebola, the ISIS of their infectious diseases,

Thomas Sankara is their Che Guevara,
Mo Abudu is their Oprah,
Mandela is their Ghandi,

These are in part,
The annals of the world’s invisible people.

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We Shave Our Memories

We shave our memories off,
lock by lock,
they fall to the cold floor,
we rise,
stronger than before,
Snip goes our trip to Dakar,
Snip, our quarrel over babies
Snip, the surgery for a wrist swelling,
Snip, the ways we failed to keep our promises,
We shave our memories off,
Lock by lock,
We leave our essence in
And continue,
Our love walk.

Red and Black Helmets

They have ripped our tongues from us,
we are silent–
guns pushed down our throats, mirrors,pipes and bracelets
pushed into our father’s hands
grants,fame and dollars in ours,
our past is erased, they now airbrush our present,
we can not speak of yesterday’s horror,

we can not count the bodies, name the rapes, photograph the starving children,paint the naked women, mourn the nations past.

We can not speak of our now, they do not want to hear songs of hunger, read books of cockroaches in our pillows, and goat shit in our plates,
water from pits, beds in the bush.

No one wants to hear about our wars,

“You are rising!” they tell us

Prostrate, we nod, purple and red lizards stoned.

Tongues gone, they want our fingertips,
Buy our words, and the wrists that conjure them.

Wrists gone, they want our minds, so we must wear our helmets,
red hats, black bandanas,
we must cover our heads, shield our souls from attack,
that when heads roll, there will be signposts,

red and black skulls, speaking for us, like we never dared to try.

A Rainbow Of Tears

My mother had me for their security guard when she was nineteen. Grandpa would have chopped my dad into small pieces and dumped him in the lagoon but the neighbours called the police in time.

Grandma, she was stunned, speechless, so she just sat on the stairs and wailed till her tears turned to salt flakes.

Mom was already six months gone when they found out so an abortion was out of the options. Grandpa threw us out, so mom had to take me to the village to stay with Grandma’s mom.

Dad spent a couple of nights in police custody before Uncle Ahmed came to bail him. Mom thought he would come after us once he was free, but we didn’t see him again, for a very long time.

We found put later that he had many children from women he never married. The lady that told Grandma knew three. When Grandma heard this, she began to cry all over again.

Mother had me on a cold December night. It was the peak of Harmattan and I am told the thin roof of the health post shivered beneath the furious wind like a paper kite.

Since Grandpa had thrown us out, and Dad had run away, Mom had to find a way to support us. She would have loved to do that by modelling or hosting TV shows, but without a degree or any real contacts, that was fantasy.

She woke up by 4 am every morning to bake cakes in a large sand-filled pot. By 7am she swept and mopped floors in a nearby guest house. From 10 she did typing jobs for people that needed them. In between all this, she helped Daniel find tenants for the buildings his agency had been asked to manage. Anything to keep us from starving, anything to keep us from going back to beg Grandpa.

Sometimes Grandma would come to see us. She would bring plenty of food and clothes but she wouldn’t sit or smile or taste anything mom offered her. It felt like a video clip sometimes, one moment she was dragging bags of stuff in the house. The next, she was making small talk with mom and laughing a small stifled laugh, then she was gone. All that was left was my memory of her, with her eyes darting to either side of me while she spoke, like I was a flame, or a fire, something you couldn’t look at straight on.

Daniel started coming home to see Mom. I liked him because he always brought strawberry biscuits with him and he let me play with his phone.

One day he knelt down and offered mom something whispering some words to her. Mom shut her eyes tight and screamed at him. “Leave me alone!”

Daniel knelt there for sometime and my heart stopped in the silence. Then he walked out and banged our door shut.

Mom has been crying a lot of late. She keeps counting the days on the calender and shaking her head. The other night she bought something from the chemist and put pee on it. I know because I peeped.

One night I overheard her talking to someone on the phone. She said she was late and she didn’t know what to do and she wasn’t going to marry ‘him’. A river of ice surged through me then and felt myself break out in goose bumps.

The next morning Daniel came back and offered her something again. He didn’t kneel this time and mom didn’t scream. She collected it and put it on.
The ring sparkled in our little flat.

Its’ matter of fact brilliance brightened my mood. The sense of doom I had felt lifted and I could almost feel happy again. I wanted to freeze the moment, to be at that spot watching mom and Dan hug and seeing the light bounce off the ring in a rainbow of colours forever.

So I closed my eyes and soaked it in, for then and for afterwards.

Ms Stanley, Do You Have The Time?

Ms Stanley, do you have the time?

I was hoping you and I

could take a walk through the Anatomy Lab,

we would go past the test tubes of blood

Red,from people all over the world,

we would not stop where the viruses grow on every kind of pink tissue from every nation and land,

We wouldn’t stop at the microscopes to see the brown cells swollen with melanin on your skin,

but instead we would walk to skeleton room, the bowl of bones, and wouldn’t you be shocked to find,

No black bones there.

9 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Jesus

Jars of Clay is the christian section of the NaijaWriter where issues concerning Christianity are discussed. Today, we examine parts of Jesus’ life that are not as widely known as his healing, prayer and sacrifice.

Enjoy.

Jesus, Son of God, Son of Man, born of a virgin, trained as a carpenter, fed thousands, forgive his murderers, died and rose again.

But that is not all.

Jesus also dined with rich men, turned water into wine, cursed the fig tree and more.

Here are 9 things you probably didn’t know about him.

1. He owned gold and had a treasurer. (Matt 2:11, John 12:6)

2. He dined with rich rulers. (Luke 19:5)

3. He received offerings. (Luke 8:3)

4. He approved of tithing. (Matt 23:23)

5. He forgave adulterers and prostitutes. (John 8: 11)

6. He used force when necessary. (Mark 11:14, John 2:15).

7. He liked new things. ( Lk 1:27, Lk 19:30)

He was born from a Virgin womb, rode on a new donkey, dined in a new room, lay in a new tomb, rose to a new throne.

8. He never turned anyone away.

He welcomed children, sick people, people with mental illness, people with questionable past. All. He never turned anyone away.

9. He is alive today.
Inasmuch as his life on earth is inspiring and inspiring

The Fellowship of The Last Bus

For Nd

We had become a community– The Fellowship Of The Last Bus. Every night we sat in silence as the ancient 911 crawled through the capital to the outskirts where our homes were.

Seats were fixed. The slender middle aged nurse sat beside the driver. the nurse’s wife was from the driver’s village so they called themselves ‘In-law’ but watching them laugh and gist in low conspiratorial tones, heads thrown back to savour spontaneous laughter, they could pass for twins.

In the middle were the business women, over dressed in fitting skirts and jackets. They were often on the phone, bellowing at an unseen customer to pay up or be dealt with. Sometimes they called their parents to find out how they were, sometimes they just placed their heads on the seats in front of them and fell asleep.

I sat at the back, last seat on the left, from there I watched the goings-on in the bus or let my eyes wander, through the windows I watched men peddle fruit and cigarettes, women push wheel barrows full of sand, and little children shepherd cows across hills.

Sometimes I wore my ear phones and let music carry me away, but my eyes kept flipping open and I was at the back of the bus again.

Until she came.

She stood at the door for a second and everyone sort of paused. I saw the hesitation in her eyes and I wanted to smile at her or to beckon but I looked out of the window instead and counted tricycles.

“Is anyone beside you?”

I shook my head because no sounds were coming from my mouth. She smelled so good, like she just walked out of a scented shower and her pink toe nails looked coy against her cobalt blue sandals. I could hear my heart beating and I wasn’t sure why. Sweat trickled down my armpit and I felt a little cold inside.

She got off at the next stop and I realised I didn’t know her name so I got off some fifty meters later and took a tricycle to her stop.

We spent forty minutes driving in and out of side streets, but she was gone.

She didn’t show up the next day, or the one after that. We had a few other newbies– a nun, a middle aged man with a large brown enveloped tucked under his arm who had come from Awka to petition against deductions in his pension, a honeymooning couple who snuggled so close together I feared they would fuse. After a week, I stopped looking.

Then she showed up again, and walked to the back. I didn’t wait for her to ask. I moved over and said, “Hi girl, where have you been?”

“Around,” she said, with a cryptic smile on her lips.

“Good to see you here again.”

“Good to know. You’ll see plenty of me from now on. I got a job at MTN. Today was my first day at work.”

And that’s how I met Endie, Ndifreke Isangedighi. I didn’t know this then but we would stay friends for life, through jobs and transfers, through weddings and a divorce. We would quit the last bus community, buy cars and have drivers. But everytime a large corporate bus would drive past me after work hours, I would find myself in the bus again re-learning the simple art of making friends.