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
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.
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
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”
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.
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
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
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 – 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?
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
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.
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