Pain

In the throes of pain,
Nothing else matters more
Than the irresistible allure
Of good ol' sweet relief.
"Make it go away; make it
Stop and never start again"
You scream in agony.

Your words turn to gibberish
As the universe fades away
Surely would pay any price
To loose the gripping hold
Of pain, as neural connections
Send signals to your brain:
"The dam is almost burst".
 
But soon as pain is gone
Its memory starts to fade
And its gravity dissipates
What was a "live-or-die"
Becomes a "we-survived"
As people boast of victory
Over the struggles they had
 
Though never forgotten
Yet never as forceful
The only power it holds
Is the fear of its return
Which we easily relegate.
Pain loses its potency
Once it is gone away.

Toyin Taiwo, Sep 2020

Endurance

Face down, body still, unsure what is next. Until the kneading slowly begins. And the pains flash in and out. It is bitter-sweet. You know you need it; you are sure you want it. But in the heat of the moment, you are undecided how you feel about it.

Beaten down, to the barest ground. Stood still, like you never thought could be. You could almost deny any of this happened. To give your ego some break from the bashing. But this – it is too real to ignore, too present to deny. You cannot but wonder: how on earth am I here?

But this is your moment, this is your race. This is your hour, time to stake your claim. Head in the game, mind on the road. You are going on the journey, taking it in stride. Your reward is waiting, far down ahead of you. The light beckons you home, beaming with smiles.

Memories, Hopes and Dreams

I should have written this long ago
When the red dust of Abakaliki
Blown by the hot humid air
Settled on my tender, innocent face
And coloured my eyelashes brown
When the hot, unforgiving sun
Beat down on me without mercy
And adjusted my complexion
From a brightly coloured version
To a darker shade of fair
And oft times the heavy rains
Weighed down in quick retaliation
And soaked me up to the calves
In yellow muddied waters
As though I were a battleground
On which the elements contend
Yes, I should have written this back then

When the days never seemed to end
And the nights quickly passed you by
You could never tell what happened
If things were fast or they were slow
There were only blurred memories
Of rural life and township style
Traders’ shops, Meat markets
Building sites, Local restaurants
Public schools, Government offices
The ministries of this and of that
Wealth and affluence that was
Sparsely spread among deep poverty
Then there were flurried imaginations
Of a better life somewhere out there
Dreams of posh cars, the good life
Healthier people, better education and
A hopeful life for every young person

Somehow the seasons had to change
And bring difference to this place
Or take us away to a different place
We had passion and commitment
And many dreams and visions, of which
Some survived and others died
There were troublemakers, smiling faces
And a hope that things were at an end
All those things did come to an end
But now we bear like a stamp
In our hearts and our minds
The memories of those times
And the effects of our experiences
Unyielding to the endless tug of time
Remain a mark on our souls and
Testify to a place and a time
That once was and will always be

Little Boy

Welcome to my blog, and it’s poetry time! I hope you enjoy this piece below. The title says it all, and I’ll give nothing else away. Please like and share with others, and I’m always happy to hear your thoughts in the comments section. Cheers!

Little boy, Little boy

Little boy runs away from me
Sprinting with tiny baby feet
He wants to play hide and seek
Or just maybe run and catch
Apart from running all day long
All he does is eat and sleep Continue reading “Little Boy”

Rock ‘n’ Roll Deity (A Satire)

Deity, oh Deity!

Deity drank whiskey

Deity loved to drink whiskey

We also heard, that he was a whizkid

Once upon a time, Deity got a tattoo

And everywhere, there was hullabaloo

He also loved women, had them so many

They filled his shrine, ‘specially if it was rainy

Deity joked on us, very cruel jokes they were

One could never be sure, to love him or to fear

Deity drank to stupor, was inspired by the bottle

When his anger did pour, it never could be throttled

Around these few themes, did his life always revolve

When we sought it out, we found that’s how they evolve

Toyin Taiwo (c) 2016

Author’s Note: Around the world, there are thousands of deities, whose worship involve drinking of alcohol and patronage of prostitutes, and who exhibit sporadic bouts of anger in the midst of endless jesting and revelry. While some of these deities are dead, many are still living.

Now, read the poem again.

Origins

Hello there!

If you don’t know much else about me, you should know I am a Christian, an engineering graduate, and I love to write poetry.

So I have been thinking of ways to tell some stories, and I decided to tell a bit of story in verse. This one is titled “Origins”, a piece I have recently worked on – an attempt to explore a few of the places that have influenced my life the most, and in what way.

It is essentially, an experiment in poetry and story-telling. I hope you enjoy it. Please feel free to share your thoughts afterwards. Cheers!

 

My life is a story of places;

The places I come from, the places I’ve been to,

And the places I am headed to.

 

You see, I come from many places

From the tiny crag in the rock

Where strong men are made in the silence

From the lazy town by the way

Where the curious are formed every day

From the busy streets of the city

Where dreams are built up and broken down

And tears are mixed with sweat

As rain beats down on toilers and hustlers.

 

I come from Sagamu,

Old trading post linking Lagos to the hinterland

Where limestone deposits abound underground

And bags of cement complement baskets of kolanut

On their way out of the old and ancient town.

 

I come from Eleja, before the swamp beyond Ajegunle

Where little boys rolled tyres in walled compounds,

Fought sharp-mouthed little girls for bragging rights

And played ball with young men for a place at the table

Of men. We read big and little books alike,

Recited poems and memorized multiplication tables

In hope of finding our place in this world.

 

I come from Ayegbami,

Where there was space enough for the brave

And those who had foresight built houses

Among the trees, as population ever expanded and

The boundaries of our civilization was daily stretched.

 

I come from Ikenne,

Where eager boys and girls found their way to school

In the hope of learning a thing or two

And perhaps a chance to become someone great in life.

Pushed by friends and family, inspired by several stories

We trudged daily to assemble at the school set on a hill

Till one day we all fanned out to pursue our dreams.

 

I come from Sokoto, where friendly rivalry was nurtured

From Abuja, where teenagers morphed into young men

From Lagos, where destiny began to unfold before my eyes

And friends became family as foundations were laid

For a new set of families just about to emerge

From Abakaliki, where dust and dryness birthed greatness

And men were formed by Divine hands from miry clay.

 

I come from Port-Harcourt and a thousand more places,

From every place where my life gained definition

And memorials were laid as a reminder for the future.

Memories swathed in unfading music

Line the path everywhere I come from.

Even now, I hear the sounds of every city, every place,

Every road, every room or street corner

Humming and buzzing as my life echoes emphatically

The sound of every place from where I come.

Toyin Taiwo © 2016

Nothingness

If we take a journey and come

To where you said you are,

You will not be there

In fact, you will not be anywhere

We will be unable to tell

Where you are, or who you are,

Or if at all you do exist

We will doubt all the words

We heard you speak

And imagine that words must be

Bound to a face, or a person

We will doubt the truth of your claims,

Your existence and achievements

And along with it, our own sanity

Toyin Taiwo © 2015

Do You Believe?

Tonight, I own the stage.

Isn’t it beautiful?

Isn’t it beautiful how

You can be voiceless one moment

And own a stage the next?

Isn’t it wonderful how

You can rise from a nobody

To sitting among princes the next?

You heard the message of faith

Did you believe?

Did you really believe?

Did you really believe you would

Rise from the ashes and be clothed

In purple?

In purple – the purple of kings

Of royalty and splendour and honour

And respect and privilege and wealth

Of servants and banquets and feasts

And surplus and buffets and fashion

Did you really believe?

Or were you

Consumed with guilt and lust and desire

And shame and fear and doubt?

Because, all your life

You wanted this moment

You wanted to hope and believe and

Dream and see and hold onto this,

This present truth, now looming large before you

Unbelievable, but now true and real

You wanted this with all your heart

But now, it only stares in seeming mockery at you

Or does it?

Hey, wait!

Don’t go down that path

Of envy and jealousy and hatred and bitterness

And malice and unending pain,

And deceit and manipulation and subterfuge

For in reality, this would-be hope of yours

Beckons at you in desperate longing

It beckons at you to come, to come away

To the table, the table of kings

If you only believe, if you really believe

You can take your place among the stars

And perhaps tonight or some other night

You can own the stage.

Toyin Taiwo © 2016

Loved

In my lifetime, I have been loved.

I have been loved by men and women of all shapes and sizes,
Ages and stages, features and statures,
Some of who gave their substance while others gave their time.
They paid attention to my nonsense while listening for virtue.
They saw wisdom in foolishness, and perceived gold in miry clay.
They traded their worth for little and assigned value to little me.

Continue reading “Loved”

You are Mine

You are my poem, a thousand words spinning meaning without reason, reason without meaning

You are my prayer, a desire stronger than the longing of Jabez, deeper than the groans of Shiloh

You are my passion, a fire burning in the inner recesses of the heart, consuming anything in its path

 

You are my Father, source from which I sprang, laying the foundation for all that I will become

You are my mirror, revealer of the truth, refuting every lie and deception about my identity

You are my hero, conqueror of the universe, traversing the lengths and breadths of your territory

 

You are my dream, reminding me of moments gone by, calling me to another life and existence

You are my hope, sustaining my desire to live and love, defying the reaches of logic and reason

You are my love, fulfilling the deepest needs of my heart, satisfying my highest expectations in life

 

You are my past, shadows of darkness stalking the brightness of day, never to catch up with the light

You are my future, linings of silver bordering glorious days of hope, forever a vision in the night

You are my present, thunders of trouble and whispers of peace, ever dwelling within my sight

 

You are my friend, sharing my pain and sorrow, joy and pleasure, standing as a partner for life

You are my foe, hunting my soul and seeking my loss, rejoicing to find me in the midst of strife

You are my neighbour, lending a hand in time of need, supporting a brother when trouble was rife

 

Whatever you are, whoever you may be, always remember – you are mine

Toyin Taiwo © 2012