ANOTHER WAY TO DIE.

You hate yourself. You hate your name – Jamiu. You hate everything about you. Nobody loves you but nobody hates you.

You are seated on a bench in a park. Like your life, the evening is bland. You stare into the park as students in twos or threes walk pass, probably from classes. You see some of your coursemates too. They remind you of a class you deliberately missed.

Your heart stops and restarts painfully as you remember your first semester result. Everything about it proves your father’s words:

“You are good for nothing.”

He once hated you. He used to call you his biggest mistake… that if he wasn’t thinking with his manhood, you wouldn’t have happened. His eyes told you how much he loathed you – the way he stared at you as you missed a word or two while reciting the hadith. Yusuf never missed a word.

He is proud of Yusuf – your younger step-brother. Well, he is everything you are not; born in wedlock and brilliant.

You miss your step-mother. She would smile at you, tell you you have your father’s eyes and make you crack a smile. You remember how much her smile had waned on her deathbed. Cancer had eaten up the only source of love you knew. She died and so did your father’s hatred for you. You became almost non-existent to him.

The sound of a fallen almond fruit jolts you back to the present. You check the time on your wrist-watch.

5:37pm. It is nearly time.

You remember your meeting with Mallam Usman. Your father who hasn’t called you in ages called you today.

“Bring Allah’s judgement on this world of infidels, at least you’ll be good for something.”

His words ring in your head. You look towards the shuttle park at the crowd of students. You stare at the detonator in your hand. You want to be good for something.

You walk out of the park, down the road into a building in construction.

“Allahu Akbar!”

You push the button on the detonator.

At least, you were good at disappointing your father.

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dysphoria

‚Äčthe streets have lost their voices

and can only whisper minor notes

to serenade dreams fallen on their chest

flames blossom in their mouths

reducing skins and names to ashes,

punctuating every sentence

in the condolatory speech of the wind 
the streets have become purgatories,

where last prayers are crucified upside down

to be purged of fears and tears

before they ascend through the clouds

to form a halo around the fullness of the moon 
the streets are cold in places they shouldn’t

turbans the size of the sky cannot keep them warm

neither can any rod part the sea of tears

on their submerged faces

absolution

father bless me

for i have sinned

it’s been the end of many sad songs

since my last confession,

and i accuse myself of the following sins: 
my body is a casket

carrying a child’s corpse.

he begs me in the language of the past

to play in the rain,

to experience the miracle of rainbows
when it rains on me,

the drops whisper to my skin about their sadness,

about the curse of reincarnation

they tell me how they’ve flowed into many secrets

that made them the colour of sin,

how they run over guilty bodies,

bruising their innocence

before sinking into depression

till the sun boils them into ghosts 

they say the rainbow is just a flashy funeral
sometimes i travel back into memories,

in search of the child i used to be,

the child who read poems from rainbows

in search of relics of my beginnings

but only find a sad stone
they say i’ve become a man

that men empty their eyes into their throats

and fold their lips

to hide the smoke

rising from their burning chests

but it is lightning between the teeth being a man

all i ask for is an absolution
alright,

say five ‘our father’ for your penance

child,

go and be a child no more

The Big Bang Theory.

“And so with one last big thrust, both hit climax. He rose off to his big throne. As she shivered – waves of ecstasy running through her body – on their bed of clouds, creation began to spring out of her gateway.”

I pause and scan my still class. I’ve told my version of creation to them so many times, I wonder why it still catches their rapt attention.

Nadia’s facial expression  tells me how much she’s disgusted by my story. She’s the only student who hasn’t let go of the erroneous belief of the existence of a big guy in the sky.

“With one big bang…” they laugh. I smile. “…all of creation came to be.”

“Sir, from your story can we assume God did a missionary?” Thomas asks.

The class erupts with laughter.

“Well…”

Bang!

The last thing I ever hear is that one big bang.

anova

on what degree of freedom,

what level of significance

do we measure our deviation

from the eye of the midnight sun?


it was here,

somewhere above this skew

that our fathers burnt their souls

on the hypothesis that

after they rise as smoke

to wed clouds,

they would return as rains

to wet their blossomed dreams


alas, we’ve become a field of wilted wishes,

hoping for the finger of God

to pick our nostril,

praying for a balm for our rotten voice

that whispers wails of wounded tales

‚ÄčTHE TIMEPAD: 13:24

You tap on the newspaper icon on the wall mirror as you brush your teeth in front of it. You skim through the headlines that display and click on ‘BISHOP DANIELS PROPOSES TO REV. CEPHAS’. You read through, shake your head and tap on the share icon – to your Facebook and twitter accounts.

“Mr. Steve, you’ve an alert on your Timepad.” the automated male voice from the wall mirror announces. At 6am daily, the Timepad – which you bought as it was launched by Samsung three days ago – predicts your day. It’s list of important events had all happened at the exact time it predicted.

You pick the timepad from the top of the bed shelf. You swipe down the screen and tap the notification bar.

**06:11:2062

8:20 – Dr. Frank pays $600,000 into your account.

13:24 – Your mother dies.**

Terror surges through you. Your heart stops for two seconds and restarts painfully.

“Call mom.”

Her telephone number pops up on the screen.

“Hey! It’s Mrs. James, please leave a message.”

“Mom, please call me as soon as you get this. If you haven’t left Paris, please don’t. I love you mom.”

***

8:10

You sit behind your office table, staring at it’s screen but lost in thoughts. You remember your father on his deathbed – his dying eyes begging you to take good care of your mom. Your phone beeps, jolting you back from the subconscious. A bank alert which should have made you smile sends cold shivers down your spine. You wish the Timepad could be wrong about its second prediction.

13:09

“Slow down, you’re driving too fast, Mr. Steve.” Jerry warns you a second time. You swipe down the volume icon on the dashboard. Jerry had read to you some minutes ago that there was an explosion at the Lagos International airport, where your mother is supposed to arrive. You are in mad hurry to beat 13:24. You think you might save her.

Your phone rings.

“Mom, I’m on my…”

BANG! You crash into a car moving on the cross-lane of the T-junction you are driving on, ramming it to the building opposite. You manage to free yourself from the airbag and get out of your smoking car. You look into the other car to find the driver and a female passenger both bleeding profusely from their heads.

You hear someone screaming. Then realize the awful sound is coming from you.

The female passenger is your mom.

PROXEMICS

image

I feel your fears in your hug
their black breath, crawling on my neck
fears held captive in your ribcage

I hear your heart scream unsaid words
as it pushes against your chest

my skin reading the tales of your past
scribbled on the leaf of your skin
a threnody echoing through your bones,
sweet-sad waves reverberating,
travelling on your stream

my heart knows this warmth –
cold warmth in the cuddle of emptiness
we have the friendship of aloneness
and our fears have the same tribal marks

let us stay in our arms
to gossip about our tears and fears
I’ll teach you how I’ve learnt to reap a smile from sorrow
and make the best out of emptiness

lock your arms around my neck
I want to wear you like a necklace with a giant locket
I’ll make my arms a string of beads around your waist

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