Posted in love, poetry

IF YOU MUST GO

And if it is a must
Dust your pants when you pull yourself up

Frown a little; frown because it took so long

Then squeeze a smile.

Squeeze it till your face’s content is beam

Look afar with less regrets.

Think of you after you’ve healed

Heal – 

But can you?


And if you must go

Have a hope that despite failed attempts

You fought the good fight.

Smile – 

But can you?

She is not in love.

No! She is; she loves someone not you

You are genuine with feelings so true

Forgive I am skeptical about your healing.

So just breathe – 

Or probably shouldn’t.

Will her lovely fragrance not find your senses?

Stiffen your nose off this afoul condition

Take this advice and your aftermath is death.


Only if you must

Walk up to her and don’t talk uneasy.

Speak with passion and crazy

Then she would have known, felt and 

Believed that eyeballs do turn flames.

Show your fears only in words

Show recalcitrance to quit all the same.

And when she screams NO!

Hold her close, and gently stroke her hair

Walk away without one apology.

Then heal – 

Thank your Creator for ending your paranoia

Stop Celine’s blues.

Those are clues to suppress the ancient cues

But can you?

You love her beyond the blues

So get busy; be busy that you can’t think

Take the advice and harm your health.


And when you must go

Beware of earlier scenes of obtrusion

Take a bow

Call it a game; promise her no further tension

But tell her – 

She has an unknown right to know

You won’t stop loving her.

Do this and be close to that feeling

The feel of a cold heart and immediate body freeze.

But you will live on.

This way you show you have gone

But deep down your heart weeps and craves on.

You let go without self-deceit

You go now because you fought and lost.

So hope!

Today you are broken

Tomorrow you may be whole.

It’s fine to fight before using the door.

Break while you fight till cupid calls you lurid

Yes you were stupid!

Stupid in love and never timid to confess.

So hope!

Hope the inner noise knows tranquillity.

I can’t swear you will heal

But now you can go, if you must.


OKOCHA OBED

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Posted in Uncategorized

THE CHASE

Stop wasting my time, drunk Trinculo. You clearly have no idea what staying alive entails. You know, I have watched you from a distance and your level of debauchery require a thirty thousand word count for a proper synopsis – oh such a failure; expected debacle no doubts. The barrels you emptied into your protruded stomach suggests you are basking in the realm of surfeiting yet living small with a crumbled marriage and deserted twins all choked in your state of mind that the kegs have tried but will ever fail to take away. Do not think me confused as to the identity that will surely have to choose between the pellet gun in my left hand and the short gun in my right hand. Your name is Andrew Opete. A very promising young man when you were much younger. I watched you from the years when you were skinny with dull eyes. Your every return from hunting, were met with smiles despite the deep lesions on your skin as long as you slayed a rabbit. You grew into a tough man with sinewy physiognomy; I watched you bathe behind the mud house when you were still sixteen years only to watch you bathe girls older than you in size and age – your dexterity at throwing about your huge penis must have brought them close to you at such a rather young age. You were the Okonkwo of your community from twenty two; you won all local contests as well as the heart of your Obi (king). His daughter (the princess) loved your biceps and you admired her waist line. She became part of the profusion of Cinderella’s that had a slot in your bed – you probably must have called your intercourse with her, a royal rendezvous. You remember how your popularity waned after the princess caught you declaring puppy love for Idongesit in your tent, and mourned the loss of her virginity to an insatiable bull? – of course she called you that in her father’s palace. You were supposed to have your head dismembered from the holder, and your stomach wall, dilacerated till red was the only thick liquid available to wash your isolated head as was tradition. But I saved you not then by not pulling my trigger. I regret it.

Look at you now. You have grown to appreciate misery like a spoilt child having a swell time in the dark. You now smoke big pipes and have smokes escape from every necessary aperture in your body. You officially became a recluse whose companion became cheap grog of eight or nine bottles at the usual pothouse. You surely must miss your wife – I hear she parades the market square twice in a month wearing sack clothes, and swallowing her breasts with her palms cussing the day she met you. O Andrew, your children are seven years of age. You know. They have been declared wanting in three villages and have taken to hiding in rat holes or affordable motels in a strange land. But here you are chasing a fetid hobby as perversion. You had a chance to be a good father, you know, but you chased puerility at a rather ripe age. Not like I do not know why you carried different women and called your wife your beloved sister – on days when she attacked your disturbing behaviours, you never ceased punching her and compelling her big buttock to satisfy your defiled cannon with two eggs, spitting on her face calling her a witch. I watched you go mad but you watched you control your affairs – a simpleton you had become. There really is no need to weep my friend. The death will be with meteor and you won’t have the opportunity of examining the torn tissues and lesions that will manage to constitute a nuisance in your corpus. Let me end your miseries so you won’t one day writhe on the hard earth after discovering the grog will never make your operose heart any lighter but light headed.

Here on my left is a pellet gun with blank cartridges and sealed gas vent created not to necessarily aid the excretion of a shad cutter from a barrel. But with deft hands have I perforated the gas vents to accommodate aluminium pins housed beside the blank cartridges so that the pins come out from the flat side and not the ogive side of my barrel. With red wax applied around the vent, there will be pressure upon the intercourse between the primer, the breech, and the barrel. To your left chest will it be – the muzzle just firm on your body. The pins will penetrate your pericardium from side to side and the heart. Do not be tempted to ask if the dumb police officers will find the saver, the pins are not bullets and so there will not be trace to any popular revolver as a pellet gun is just a manufactured dummy gun (laughs). I have never experimented this kind of imposed salvation on a man before so I brought a short gun, it is rifled, and it maims victims – call it mutilation if you so wish, Andrew. Do not be tempted to ask the same question because the saver will once again be saved as the barrel of a short gun leaves no striation or marks on its bullets. It is just an abnormal gun, good for kicking hard against pricks of your kind. It will be your salvation tonight once you make a pick – stop the wailing, you know your soul wants death. Do not mind the flesh, it craves for hope for a no-hoper; I have killed a hundred of your kind to know this. But as is my culture, let me say you a prayer.

The chase of a man to concern things that do not yield fruits is death inducing – so is the fate of this unclean man, Andrew. The chase of a man of such kind, dear Ariel, is a no chase – this is as you taught, great Ariel. The chase can only take three forms which are the chased, the chaser, and the man not chasing; great one, you taught that the chased is the individual that has a dream and lived or is living it, while the chaser is one who has a dream and hopes to sit with the chased someday by zeal and work. You taught that the ones not chasing are those who wake up every day with no expectations; they are the souls that lost their way and created a shindig in their dark route. Some chasers grow with their mature dreams only to dash it away because of a misconception that life is a bed of roses for those who labour; so they find their path in the foyer of the regular no-chasers unfortunately – the dreams die, and they mourn their nothingness with every stipend they get. They burn their chests with hot drinks, urinate on their trousers when drunk, and cuss the day they were born. They all want to die, the grog hardly kills them. You taught that the trio eventually leads to one solid equation. The equation where even the chased keeps chasing more purpose because a man has an insatiable desire always; the equation where the chaser is being chased by discouraging elements; the equation where the no-chasers are chased by the cold hands of a soul-desired death. O I pray that the bullet or aluminium pin will go right into every no-chaser who has chosen to live a purposeless life. Let my bullet or aluminium pin serve as salvation and a grant of the wishes his body language suggested all through his miserable fifty and one year on earth. Because it is normal to have those that will chase and become rich; those that will chase small dreams and be happy with their crumbs; and those that will not chase because verily only a few persons are big dreamers, I pray that upon the fire of whichever weapon of harm this no-chaser chooses, it shall be for him eternal peace in the interim pending the final abode you, dear Ariel, will appoint jointly with Apollos and Abadnoha. Accept the soul of a simpleton who did not multiply the talent given him by you. Thank you for trusting me with errands of this nature.

You may say amen in your mind, Andrew. You pick the pellet gun? I cannot hear you and I do not intend letting out my short gun off your mouth. Fine, I will pick for you (engages trigger of short gun). Goodbye buddy, this time I do not regret ending your wasted life.

(Gun shots)……..hunter walks away.
THE END!!
©OKOCHA OBED

Posted in controversial, non fiction

PAINT ME A PYRAMID

So there was such a time when I did not know the meaning of ingrate to be ungrateful. I remember I dumped the word in my head after overhearing a long quarrel from our quarrelsome neighbours downstairs. It seemed like a pretty strong word that could give my cherished slurs, “abo” or “sprate”, some juice when doing the regular face off in high school – sprate? What the hell was that? When smart is dumb. But where is your chill? It was my fifteenth year on planet Earth. Still some dumb shit? Well you know there is a whole big difference between then and now. Who forgets the muscular Neblin? Thank God we never got into some real punch me-first blood fight after I called him the dumped in word learned by conscious belabour – rote if you like. Yes. I called Neblin an ingrate with so much confidence to drive home before he gave a look of awe – no, it was not awe per se; he gave a look of disappointment. He asked if I knew the meaning of what I just said in the middle of the exchange of everyday vapid rhapsodies like “flabbergasted idiot”, “nincompoop”, the scallywag (not without the stretching of the choked first vowel) . With his cheek bone going high and low without the usual patch of flush on his light skin, I knew I was done for. He bad mouthed my level of reasoning – it hurt because it just happened to be true; he asked me how my mention of ingrate could make any sense when he owed me no favours. I retired my loud volume like sprinkled water on a bad stove. The sun became hotter, and how it ended has escaped my grey matter. I just know we got close after his victory. Closer, when he could not dance better than me. The bond was in its fullest when I rapped to his choruses in Mateco Hall – yes, there was that good time. Other good memories of other good buddies still play soft blues in my recessive memory. I mean, that is the new supposition.

I miss Mmachuwu. I mean, who did not do the best friend forever thing back then? Where you promise to always keep in touch come what may. Those who did not do the BFF thing must have been lone wolves or just wiser mammals – I mean, grey hairs on a very young man in the phase of adolescence. Well to those that managed to hug a girl/brother into your BFF fantasia world back then, my story had a bit of twist too many. What happened along the line? She runs a four year programme in a university different from yours and for some unknown reason, falls victim of swapping sim cards like some trained missionary, hunter, assassin, and the heroes on the comic books. I now like her photos on Instagram – you know; the double tap thing. She does same but without the comments. Just say you miss her right? But you always know when she is keen on giving blows below the belt with the pestiferous “I did not change. I only grew up.” But to beat one’s self up will be infantile. We are not enemies after all except she holds ancient grudges my philosophical mind cannot fish – I will be god damned to attempt a finding; will be myopic to believe we are charged with the responsibility of holding firm precious friends from many years ago. No. There is the expectation that we be good to people and keep in touch at a phase. But life has a way of throwing you to a whole new biome to experience your second phase – will it not be puerile if I be carrying a face because we do not talk frequently anymore? You should ever wish your friends well but understand that if he does not call you any longer, and he is all up on Facebook with new buddies in his new school, he just did him. We cannot keep all right? Pa, am I right? 

Hello pa, I just realised that I am all ripe for phase two – one more year or thereabout, it will be business unusual. I used to be perturbed that you are not worried about my future. I wondered what you were seeing. No pa, not like I am scared of the prospect, maybe confused is the word. Do you see my career in your dreams? I do not know. Probably you see me doing a tap dance in some white country; or rocking the microphone like Falz despite obtaining the law degree; wait, maybe it is me flying our country’s jersey in Olympics, or being a renowned journalist in New Jersey. Maybe me just being a successful lawyer – well, since you are calm about it, I should not worry. I was discussing with Barrister Chioma in her office. A very beautiful mother of two kids with a seven years wig experience. She said I was smart, pa. Imagine. I could not suck that down my memory especially remembering the grave sins of my thoughts in the wee hours of that same day. Why will she think I am promising when I am made up of conspiracy theories that scare the shit out of me – you know pa, I had sketched a pyramid which had the Feds at the top of the food chain eating up the masses wilfully; the lies about recession; the lies they feed the media to make it look like efforts are being made to quell the attacks in Borno; the definition of politics. But pa is this not when smart is dumb? The truth that stared at my face there in her office was that your son had grown and should be wearing safety garments for the future storms and winds I imagined attacks men in this phase with assemblage of hammer, office pin, bark, and anything it could lift on its untamed movement. It was the future talk. It was the future talk even when I left her office for church when Pastor Oke talked about the coming of ages – let me be clearer. He talked about the feast of the trumpet. To attempt a neater job, he hammered on the coming of Christ and said it was a future that was near and inevitable.  So still there was a mention of future – just that he was addressing the future of the spirit man after this vanity on earth. I returned home and Omebe came around. Our gist managed to land her asking me the question of my purpose in life – what is your passion? The strongest question it appeared. The genesis of my life was unfolded by my lips with hopes I was not leaving her in the realm of bores. It was a good conversation that crept far into the night until I told her about a pyramid.
I told her that a man is traced to a family, the arrow moves up to the future, and the funeral is the bus stop. I split the middle phase into two to include “friends” and “foes”. She was lost and so was I. what was I even thinking? But then I remembered you, pa. I am still amazed how you put the family as one despite your wife giving you emotional breakdown sometimes; or when the procurer of your thorough security services at diverse beats owe fat bills you should normally use to run your personal affairs, fend for two of your grown up kids who are in the last lap of tertiary institutions, pay staff, and complete those projects we discussed about. Pa, I have not said thanks for the upbringing – that will be done in a special way. So there it was; the pyramid had “family” at the first layer because it is for a man to be born into one. Even those that were bastards or orphans grow somehow to create one for themselves. The family is the first constant thing generally. Every man is taught salient values, catered for, and is prepared for the next phase called the future. Thank God she contributed with smiles on her face. It gave the atmosphere a torch of symbiosis with tense air becoming a retreating sniffy. She told me stories of how funny it was for a man to come into her life and take the larger part of the love she was storing for her parents despite the endless love and affection parents put in breeding their offspring. She called the man the “stranger from nowhere”; it made us pause and giggle. I hope she puts the title to paper as I suggested. Indeed she got me. The family had a large role in the premier phase with the attached duty that aside providing food or shelter, there be guide on how the child should approach the next phase, the future.

The future starts with the ability to decide what you want to become with fair understanding that what you propose needs optimism upon maturing into the phase of uncertainties. Who expects me to define “future”? I hold that every man defines his future to his wishes at the beginning of the sojourn, and every man re-defines his future at the close of his future by his works or proceeds. Future is the substance that needs passion, push, and prayers to thrive – It is not in your dictionary Omebe, I know. It is either I am wrong or they are. I split this phase into two, I recall. The friends are the like minds you will meet in this phase. They are unlike the interim friends you cherish in secondary school days — they probably do not remember your name. They are capable of making you successful if you keep thinking like them; they last long and could be the next constant thing in your life to be torn off by the last phase. The foes are the constant things in this phase too. They are enemies of themselves who enjoy moving in groups looking for how to break a man who is unsure of his purpose on earth. For the love of common sense, the saying of “show me your friend and I will tell you who you are” is pretty repugnant if there is the belief that a man who picked foes as his companies have them as friends. It is correct to me, Pa, that we have the freewill to become our own foes. A group of foes are not friends but are people who enjoy one another’s mediocrity at a regular pub or someplace chilly their change can afford. Even the dictionary described friend as an ally, not an enemy. Save me the garbage that peer pressure changed him into something evil – okay scratch that a little, we can make the bastards and those who suffered bad parenting as exceptions. Can a young man who was taught good and bad by parents and common sense proceed to do grave mischief, and cry bad company? I mean. The future presents situations that could make one get tempted to break and become his own foe mourning with other foes looking for the easy way out. Friends and foes are the certainties of this phase’s uncertainties.  Oh! Confusing? Well we can look at it this other way. The future presents foes and friends to man on this long sojourn in life. Foes and friends complement each other in that the knowledge that there are persons who stay online to weigh your level of success makes you work tough to shame them – it toughens you. In the event that the foes are not persons but killer challenges, the grace to stay strong will be sung in one’s success story. The friends are both those that are pre-success story of you, or post success – only you can so choose how to rank their level of relevance in your life. This way, you need the foes to make many friends. Within the friends may be foes, and not to scare you, they could kill you. Confusing?

It is appointed every man a time to die and the death comes once, after which is rapture. Yes, the Holy Book recognizes funeral. It is always hoped that after gathering great friends and blood like Destiny, Femi, Chris, Clinton, Prince, Patrick, Martins, Itoro, Lucy, Sarah, Caleb, and other hommies, you live long enough to interact with them and jointly glorify God at the success spree in all of their testimonies. I have made friends, pa. With these ones I am ready for the future with no fears. I wish myself a long life – we all do when we think of our voyage into respective futures right? But Pastor Oke is right. The future is uncertain and the funeral can come at a time against the general rule. Omebe, do not worry, it does not affect the pyramid I am sketching before your very eyes but it is a caution that the funeral can exist before the future – God forbid. Hey uncle, you should not have left to the other side. I have enough friends from the other side but really wished you tarried with me a little while. I have not called Pius; I really have a bad record at consoling the bereaved because my heart faints all the time leaving my swollen mouth with scanty words. I pray God comforts them. You had made good money and who says phase two excludes reaping from the seeds you trained? The little ones, I pray God comforts them. 

Anyone can indeed go. The pyramid I paint is one that has the family, the future, and the funeral. But the cure to future’s uncertainness is salvation. Yes, the future is vanity even. What should be feared is the destination after the funeral. Remind me, Omebe, to paint another pyramid of afterlife. In the meantime, paint me a pyramid. 

©OKOCHA OBED

 

Posted in Uncategorized

IMAGINARY CONVERSATIONS; ON NIGERIA AND HER DOLDRUMS.

DR NKULU:  What is it that makes our country so bad? I often wonder you see – these questions keep revisiting my subconscious with a consistency like that of the menstrual offing. I find myself sauntering into deep thoughts often, contemplating why we have become professional wailers in a country so blessed and in a land stuffed with limitless potentials. Much as I have reasoned, I find myself often bereft of any particular and certain explanation for our seeming proclivity for underwhelming mediocrity. I find this reverie of mine most tedious an enterprise, and yet so necessary a penance, so I think and think; its all I do!

GURU (Stroking his beard); I share your sufferings my good man. I too have severally  applied myself to thought; hoping to understand why we waste away with such finesse. Our largesse of political gaffes and our economic woes, often striking a fine halo of ignominy over my balding head whenever I think about our domicile. To tell you the truth, too many persons have proffered reasons why we fail as a country and too many suppositions have been submitted like mountainous propitiations at my feet. Yet, i am still at loss. I can not find one thread that ties the pack; the reasons person give often do not coincide with my preferred perspective. Most person blame some abstract like corruption, greed, poverty, over-abundance, ethnicity, nepotism and the rest as reason for our failings. But in all this, as much as I concede that these items are immediately affective of our situation as a country, I think them more as branches on the tree of our ever so wretched malaise than as the root cause of our problem. What say you Nkulu?

DR. NKULU; By all mean I agree with you great sage. These things person mention are the immediate causes of our suffering and underachievement as a country. But are they so much as their own roots? I think them not to be! If corruption is our major problem; how did it become so? If greed is our human frailty manifest as our bogeyman, why only us? The westerners are greedy too. To be human is to be flawed. How did our own flaws become so magnitudinal? If ethnicity is the reason behind our recurrent slumps, why so? Did we not learn in school that the Balkans of Western Europe was made up of Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bosnia, Herzegovinia and a host dof other nations? We are not the only ethnically divergent state for christ’s sake. Before the fall of the Ottman, she encomopassed as many as a century of diverse people. Yet, the Ottman that fell in 1918, was perhaps more developed than our country in 2017. It is one wondorous confusion chirping in my brain!

GURU: Now that you mention it, I am reminded of the argument of one of my aquinances, MR DUIE, who recently, made bold to asseverate that our country is young and cannot be expected to be developed or as developed as other countries. I found his argument as bereft of any wisdom, as his scalp was bereft of the succor of fiber. If the age of a country was anything to go by, then the United States would not be the ace of the world. If a country which became independent in 1776 can be the major world power, then even sentiments should not allow any proper thinking person, with a total embracement of their wits, aver that a country at 50 should have nothing to offer to her citizenry, talk less about the Razzmattaz of the international camaraderie.

DR. NKULU: (smiles) Ah! America, the land of civilization. One begins to wonder, if we would ever become as developed as that country. 

GURU: We could be, only they would have far out bettered their current standard by the time; perhaps in a millennia, that we eventually heave all the way onto their current pedestal.  Intresting, it is how fast and how generously the United States developed…

DR. NKULU: It is actually attributable to her foundation as a state. You see, the United States was raised on the cornerstone of knowledge and the pursuit of development. Her founding fathers, created a standard of intellectualism and pragmatic knowledgebility, which came to become the very nationalistic food substaining the country. The U.S was built on the tenets of dedication, hardwork and nationalism. The Country’s foundations was forged with the blood of the many who died for her independence. He very first leader’s iunitated a culture of sacrifice, selflessness, development and true, unadulterated proactiveness.

GURU: So what you are saying is that the foundation of any state determines its subsequence? And that the U.S had perhaps the best of the lot in this regards?

DR. NKULU: Yes and no. Yes because the foundation of a country is imperative. No because, the abscense of a proper foundation does not constitute a latent death knell. 

GURU: If I were to relate to your reasoning, I think I may have found an answer to my nagging questions about our country’s woes.

DR. NKULU: Do share!

GURU: Our problem is rooted in our foundation, just like the U.S has her successes rooted in her foundation. Ours was a country built on greed, corruption, enthincity and the a grave list of malaises. We were inculcuated with the worse of vices from our very onset by very malevolent leaders. Our first instances as a counrty was characterized by double-speaks and schemings. But like you said, the foundation of a country is only imperative and not inexcusable. The genesis of our problems might be in our faulty foundation, but the exodus of our woes is in our reluctance to change. We have refused to discard the shackles which our fathers mounted on us by implication; and thus we waste. 

DR. NKULU: Of course! But then again, it is not as much about our reluctance to improve, as it is about our satisfaction with the status quo. Our leaders are conformtable in high places; they are the leech to our loss of blood and apparently, the lot of us are satisfied with the promises of heaven or paradise or of a better future somehow or someway, and will not move to alter this most callous orthodox of debauchery and wickedness. We live on promises celestial or earthly; we are comfortable in hopes. Alas, when hope becomes an odious opium.

GURU: True. We must rise above our comfort, and attack this madness that is quick replacing our definitions of sanity.

DR. NKULU: But who will take the first step? We are used to a culture of inertia. Perhaps, if someone was to move, we will be affted to brace up and join them.
GURU: I for one, am too old to take any such steps.

DR. NKULU: (Looking away, apparently loosing interest in the tete a tete) I am on the other hand, too young to affect such a grave and antique malady that has eaten into every crevice of our polity.

GURU:(scoffs) And that my friend, is why we remain afflicted by our ailment. The inertia of the visionaries and the diligence of verdants. Come Nkulu, I must tell you the story of the wise hare and the old lion. Perhaps when I am done, you will understand the nature of the conundrum facing our country.  

     

                                                                                                                                        Der_Vinci authored this mind blowing work of art.

Posted in poetry

DESTINY’S BELL

Dear sis, are you as calm as you appear?

Speak please, I am attentive.

How come you ever glow despite everyday’s blows?

You do not stop smiling; I have taken to observing.

I see you live pretty small with your man, but how do you keep the joy?

Your marriage prayers got answered; just see how he looks into your eyes!

Verily you proved everyone wrong.

Thank God! I hear you have discovered your purpose.

Poco-a-poco, you are increasing

So tough is this your Faith.


But sister —
Any possibility I face more adversities?

I am positive I am hurting

My mind weeps; it reflects as contusion on my skin.

There is nothing new under the sun. I know.

But my swarthy soul tells I have known duskiness all my life

Before me is a labyrinth!

Is it bad I am not scared of my future?

I envy you, you know.

At least self-pity is not your better half.

I will fight anyway

It is either I am dispatched, or the growing mist

And shadows be given their quietus.
©OKOCHA OBED

Posted in non fiction

SHOCK

Stale tale it has become to hear that mentally unsound persons walk the earth – I mean, who does not appreciate the common knowledge? The shabby looks of men wearing torn skirts, with their brown teeth ever on display. So many times we just see these persons sitting in a sticky mud with a train of empty rusty milk cans around their body – giving a feel of the label hung around the Miss Universe contestants just with manifest hilarity. How we must have laughed at the hard-packed earth imprinted on the hairy buttocks of these persons as they walk like purposeful fugitives on barefoot. In real terms, you are to liken a mad man to a dog infected with rabies or a zombie with a crocodile pretence who strikes the jugular of a sane individual when blood thirsty – their bites are feared, and this makes people weary of having a close contact with them. This is not about mad man discrimination or schema rather it is a drowning of my conscience after a spit throw distance with a man on dirty dreads and torn sleeves.

The exams had drawn nigh, and it was a matter of familiarity with various texts in order to escape failure. I had packed books in my strapped bag and went somewhere distant to aid my dicta memorization by rote. I remember that day not because I had purchased sausage rolls, biscuits, and juice, like it were some camping, but because as I read that faithful evening, there was a man lying on a bad bench at my rear. He kept soliloquizing but with a total colouring of aggressiveness that one wonders what had troubled such a man with smudgy dada. I was distracted; and for a second, fear crept in – what if this mad man touched my shirt? What if he bites me? – I remained my cool that my ghost does not jump out of my skin. This soliloquist had left the bad bench now, and had started a lazy walk inside the class meant for the sound; I could see him clearly, I could read no clearly. He had his hair to be dull brown – it was the lowest version of Bob Marley’s – and he had his left hand constantly pulling his hair like he knew his head should be wearing something less hideous. His sleeve was supposed to be black but giving the unrepentant stain to characterize a troll’s garment; it could be confused for a local brown robe worn by the persecuted Dalit of the Hindu class. He had come very close to me picking the fourth nylon on the ground – the hope in his eyes gave his brownish eye some fierce, and it gave me some compunction when his eyes punctured at the emptiness of the food pack and other empty items trash-worthy.

He did not stop talking to himself that very day. I had laboured to make sense out of the gibberish he seemed to be telling an abstract friend, but did not succeed in the venture. He was a very disturbed man and lucidly hungry. I had stopped reading for minutes, and I had channelled my solo queries from why is this man in the school? How did he gain access into a class students’ use, this hot afternoon? To is he partially insane because of the crises he forbears? My heart was sore. I could not do anything about his twist of fate or unbecoming sorrowful end – I must have thought so. My eyes began to gather cloud and were pregnant for a salty rain; I packed my books into my bag and left for my room to tell a friend my experience – from fear or disgust, to a feeling of brokenness seeing his predicament.

I have watched myself grow the habit of travelling in order to suck in experiences every state’s milieu could advertise. I had enjoyed the long ride on a bus to Lagos, Abuja, Rivers state, and so on, and who forgets the number of times one gets to delightfully bless the earth with urine after each necessary stop on the Abuja sojourn – if it was an open space, there was need for the men to give the wee launcher a handful protection to deprive the prying eyes of passers-by in Kogi state. But there are experiences you wish you never saw first-hand. I remember very well how she looked when I climbed four long step-sections to her room; she had given me that steady gaze that left my eyes lost and unable to match the coldness of hers. She had all the support from that created by the doctors to aid movement, to her family who reminded her that it was not yet her time to leave the world. There was so much wealth oozing from the home her kicking husband had set up as one of several landed properties. I watched her talk with so much pain; I listened to her call herself a sinner praying she be forgiven; I listened to her say I put her in prayers. She had been medically declared a stroke victim – she could not do anything by herself, she was drying up by the second. I saw the garri slip out of her left shaky hand, she looked at her then stained wrapper and said we check back on her on some dealings if she was still alive. I left her home with so much pain and affection. I left her home with no words for her but nodded – her situation was one that really got me thinking.

In the end of it all, some peoples’ problems reduce the relevance you once attached to your situation. The rich and the hungry class definitely are not stratified when it comes to unrelenting health challenges. I wept because despite her riches, she was in a trying situation – even the old people do not want to leave earth with killing infirmities. But I remember she said pray for me – I could have done a miracle like Christ or His Disciples but I was of the view that I could not pull it off. All situations need a spoken word, and the gift of healing is not reserved for the pastors – forgive me Father, I could not take the chance. Self identification was needed to know my strengths, self realization was needed for the mad man’s relief and the old woman. But lost in the deep became a blossom friend to my frail carnal frame. Why are we God’s people when we cannot show an example or a trace? All that matters is that we take up the mantle and recognize that we are gods ably stuffed with the power of bringing to existence anything from speech and faith. But what is speech without studying to show oneself approved? The evil man has ever put us to shame, maybe it is about time we shock him.
OKOCHA OBED