He’s Got You

When the world is falling on your head,

your belly is empty and your account red,

when nothing makes sense,

when friend is foe,
and come means go,

when every hour brings another horror,

when white is right and black is a bullet,

when kids are chained and thieves are free,

when vanity is lauded and truth defrauded
Filth applauded,

When your strength is gone,
your body torn,

your hopes and dreams
in slow burn,

When what you want
doesn’t want you,
who you love won’t love you,

when you have no money
and places to go,

When life is all this and more,
Close your eyes,
take a deep breath
and know,

He is with you,

He has gone ahead of you,

He will keep and protect you,

and evermore

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

Say Their Names: For The 81 Slain in Benue

Numbers: that is what we get, impersonal statistics,
and displayed.

Helpless: is now we feel
unable to grasp the cruelty
fathom the horror or
comprehend the pain.

Nameless : is what they make you
unwilling and unable to say your names.

Were you Moses not Musa?
Ojochegbe, Mawedo, Adebomi
Terwase,  Dooshima, Idibia?

Were you babies, giggling in the sand
Fathers hoisting the beams of a home
Young maidens giddy with dreams?
Grey haired elders brave in the face of death?

We may never know

But we weep for you
ache for you
Remember you
Though they will not say your names.

Hangman’s Dream 3: The Morning After

My mouth tasted like a pit toilet.  I was in a small green room and tubes filled with fluid were strapped to both arms. Power failed and I found the darkness comforting.

Where was I? And how did I get here?

Power returned and in the distance, a chorus of kids screamed, “NEPA!”

It was funny how our government kept changing the name of the national power authority while the epileptic services remained the same. Or got worse.

The door cracked open and someone shone a phone torch on me.
“You are awake,” he said, easing himself into the room.

His name was Tayo, he was a nurse and I was in Top Vine Medical Centre. I had been brought in unconscious about six hours ago and my blood sugar had been critically low. Further tests were being run to find out if there was anything more sinister going on. His orders were to check on me and find out what I wanted to eat.

In spite of myself I smiled.
“Two boiled eggs, Coconut rice, baked beans, fish pepper soup, fried plantain, steamed vegetables and fruit salad.”

He was silent for a while, “anything else?”

“A bottle of Coke. Ice cold.”

The lights came on just in time for me to see him slap his jotter shut and strut out of the room.

I spent three days in the clinic and I gained as many pounds. I was treated to a continental breakfast, a traditional lunch and a gourmet dinner.

I wasn’t let out of my room though and I wasn’t given my phone.

On the fourth day, I decided to try some light exercise.

Bad idea.

My arms were sore and slightly swollen. I howled in pain before crumbling into a heap on the tiled floor.

“Easy. You don’t want to do permanent damage to yourself, do you?”

I cringed.  It was Suto the witch.
With as much dignity as I could feign I stood up and faced her.

“Ah. We are quiet now. Quiet is good. I like quiet. Especially if it is intelligent, loyal and obedient. Do you think you could do that? Be obedient? Of course you can. Anyone can be anything if the price is right.”

She sat on my bed brought out a flask from her bag reached for glasses on the fridge and poured me a drink.
I took it from her and stared into the cup. 
She poured herself a cup then burst out laughing.

“Red wine from Italy. Drink up. You are hired. And guess what? Not as a driver anymore. You are going to be … my personal assistant. ”
Her phone rang and she switched it off without checking who called.

“Oh, by the way, I brought your things.”

She reached into her bag  and produced the things: my phone, keys and an empty wallet.

I heaved an inner sigh of relief until she dug further into the bag and dragged out a coil of brown rope.

“What is this?”
“Spare rope for emergencies,” I said, without blinking.

“Hmm, for a minute I thought you were planning to hang someone.
Get ready.  You are leaving in five minutes for the staff quarters.”

She drained her cup, grabbed her bag and sashayed out while I grabbed the rope and broke into cold sweat.

Miracles of Matter

Matter may not be created or destroyed
but it can be changed
     buried in black holes,
it can metamorphose
and reform
Leaf can become caterpillar
Caterpillar, butterfly
Spider, tadpole
Tadpole, toad
Toad, fly.

Matter may not be created or destroyed
but it can do anything in between.

Hearts and Flowers: by Zainab A. Omaki


Seni cut out her heart, intending to give it to someone worthy, but accidentally flushed it down the toilet. She watched it swirl and swirl, thinking she could reach in, pluck it out, and dry it off with a towel. Instead it disappeared down the hole with a rather definitive whoosh and she was left staring into the white bowl at still toilet water.

She left the bathroom numb, went into the kitchen and sat on the counter. Her friend, Idara, whom she lived with stood at the stove frying eggs while singing along to the music playing on her phone.

“I lost my heart,” she told her Idara.

Her friend didn’t hear her. She kept dancing and singing along.

“I lost my heart,” she said louder. This time Idara heard. She stopped moving, put off her music and turned around.

“You did what?”

“Lost my heart.”



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The Hangman’s Dream 2

I smelt him before I saw him. His cologne naseated me; undertones of musk,mint, masculinity and power. I disliked this man I didn’t know.
Hon Sam appeared, surrounded by a retinue of staff. He gave me a warm smile, a firm handshake and a thump on the back, the ill feelings and the nausea began to wane.

“Young man what is your name?”
“Henshaw, sir.”
“How old are you?”
“Thirty, sir”
“No Sir.”

He flicked his wrist and a tall dark lady appeared.
“Suto, go over his credentials and complete the rest of his paperwork.” Hon Sam said.

“Yes sir.” She said.

“Young man welcome to my empire. I am Honorable Samuel Matthew Elebeniada, but you can call me Chief. I hope you will enjoy working with us. Suto will complete your documentation. Any questions?”

I couldn’t think of anything to say.

“Good. See you tomorrow.”

Chief left and Suto turned to me.
“This way.”

I followed her to a large office in an adjoining duplex. As soon as we walked in, she flung off her heels and removed her jacket. The sleeveless blue mini gown she wore hugged her ample curves and flattered her long legs. I looked away. If this was meant to be a pre-employment test, I wasn’t failing.

“Take off your jacket.”

I froze. Alex told me I was going to be a driver. I was desperate for a job, any job, but this wasn’t what I had in mind.

Suto walked over to the window and surveyed the grounds. I couldn’t tell what she was looking for. Was she gauging how safe this was? Or just waiting for me to undress?

Underneath my desperation I bristled with anger and wounded pride. Who was this woman and why did she think she could command me?

My landlord’s face flickered past my mind and my mom’s aging form and the cockroach ridden shelves in my kitchen. My fingers found the top button of my jacket but I paused.

“What are you waiting for?” She asked. There was a steely edge in her voice. I knew she wouldn’t ask again. I took off the jacket and unconsciously began to grind my teeth.

“What is that sound?”
“Good. Turn around.”

Bile filled my mouth as I obeyed.  I had aborted a hanging but this wasn’t my idea of life.

“Give me 20.”

This time I couldn’t help myself. I laughed; long and loud.

Suto walked up to me till she was just inches away. I stopped and looked away. She grabbed my chin and forced me to face her.

“I think we started out on the wrong foot here. I am Chief’s administrator, his mistress and his personal advisor.  I run this entire place, all his companies and all his financial dealings. I decide if you get employed. I decide if you make it out of here in one piece. I decide if you will enjoy working here or find yourself in hell on earth. When I give you an order you obey. Now get down and don’t stop till I tell you to.”

I wanted to  turn around and stormed out of the office. I wanted to slap her powdered cheeks and  make tears run through her fake lashes. Instead I got down and did the pushups, while I travelled in my mind.

I was faraway on an sunny island. Breeze kissed my face,birds sang over head, two beautiful women were embracing me. One massaged my back while the other fed me dates. I was loving it all but then darkness washed over everything as I blacked out.

A Song For Sir GRRM 2

As promised, I have a few suggestions on how to solve this uncomfortable, unpleasant and rather amusing situation we (GRRM and fans) have found ourselves in.

They are

1. Start from the end.
Spend time crafting the most memorable ending you can for the Song of Fire and Ice (ASOFAI). Forget the many threads and focus on the main thread.

2. Give yourself a deadline
Work famously expands to cover whatever time you allot to it. Decide how much longer you have to spend on ASOFAI. Set a date and a timer.

3. Optimise the advantage of having a TV show.
Try out an ending on the TV show and weigh the feedback.
Excellent? Great! write it into the books.
Not good? Make adjustments in the book.
Bonus? Most people will then watch the show AND read the book.

4. Crowd source
Good ideas frequently come from having many ideas. Host a contest. Call for a meeting with some of your most devoted fans and advisers.
Get many ideas and choose the best one.

5. Let Go.
It is tempting to want a perfect book. Understandable too.

But there is no perfect book. Only books that have found readers that love them and those that haven’t .

A Song of Fire and Ice has already found her readers.
So relax, finish it and let go.

Who knows what other block busting books are just waiting to follow?

You only have so much time.
Perfectionism is the enemy of completion.

Besides you can always do another edition.

And another.

And may all our works be as famous as A Song of Fire and Ice.


Happy 2nd Half or Something Like That

a fabulous second half of 2016.

May your dreams come true

May your goals be achieved

May your experience overshadow your expectations

May your enemies scatter in seven directions

May your seed yield bumper harvests

May favour give you more than you deserve

May your loins be girded with strength

May your second half be better than your first.



The Lying Brooms

We heard the drums call us out to the playground
Bring your toys let us play with you they said,
They took our toys and chased us away with brooms
We wept with our arms on our heads all the way home.

Soon the drums will play again in the playground
Will we go and again make a pool of tears?

I wish we would go with our ploughshares
Makeshift machetes
And chase the liars away
For good.

A Song For Sir GRRM 1

I just read the most instructive,amusing and well written article about the Game of Thrones and the unfinished work of George Martin (GRRM).

It made me raise my eyebrows,snort with derision and squeal with witch-like laughter late at night.

As far fetched it sounds I could relate with so much of it: the anxiety that accompanies success, the futility of perfectionism,the lie of working on a book when all you have done is toss bit around in your head.

Permit me (how dare I? Unpublished, unknown, equally guilty?!) to suggest a few win-win approaches to finishing the Song of Fire and Ice.

I have my failings but my friends say I am really good at having good ideas. I think there are a number of ways to try things differently.

After all, if what GRRM has said is true, then he is as sad about this impasse as his fans are. And believe me fans are more than sad. Some are obsessed and sad, some are even sad and
getting book deals to talk more about their eternal wait for the Dance with Dragons.

What do I propose?
Five simple things. But first read the amazing article in the New Yorker and leave a comment.

Five proposed solutions coming your way. Soon.

Editor’s note:
please read The sequel here