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Of Souls and Shadows

I’m sitting here

In the middle of this debris

Of blood and jagged muscles

Pulsing the beat of the drunk man’s trudge

The demons race

Debating pain and hurt

Whispering dreams and hopes

Madness tethers on this unspeaking frenzy

 

Your eyes tell that story

Of empty bottles and drowned soul

Mine speak primitive tongues

Of broken groans and rising throes

Don’t say tomorrow

That pregnant dream reminiscent of nightmares

No. Don’t shed light

It casts shadows too

 

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Body Diary: Episode 1

1:02 a.m

Power is restored. Dupe wants to pee but sits on rug, and lifts laptop instead. Says to self:

“Let’s work before power goes out”

2:16 a.m

Dupe gets thirsty. Drinks a 50cl sachet of water. Thinks: I really should go pee

2:33 a.m

Stomach begins to hurt. But Dupe is writing now. Coaxes self:

“Lemme complete this paragraph. We’ll pee in a tad”

*idly reaches for another 50cl sachet of water*

3:08 a.m

Stomach feels distended. Dupe drops laptop; tries to move a leg and yelps. Butt has cramped. Lifting legs through pins and needles with hurting stomach, while maintaining bladder control, becomes a struggle. Asks:

“God why?”

#‎SmallButtLife‬ ‪#‎PeeTales #BodyDiary

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Dear Widow…

Her voice was that quiet confidence that spoke volumes. It echoed the graceful direction of sound by grandma; directing you, telling a story, or lovingly scolding you. I smiled in my head, the kind that only appears as a slight lift of eyelashes in an otherwise unperturbed face. I was being interviewed for a job, she my potential employer. I wasn’t sure she would appreciate being told I was thinking of her in poetic terms. Women can be unpredictable like that. Years of trying to break through the glass ceiling have made some of them sensitive to the slightest nuance. And while I wasn’t sure I wanted the job, I knew I wanted to spend some time in her company. She exuded that unmistakable cool aura of strength and confidence. Call me what you please, but I think those are the most attractive things a person can possess. For some reason, she chose to like me. Perhaps for same reason or another, she chose to tell me a little about herself. I was the interviewee; but I daresay I learnt more about her than she did about me. We spoke, ignorant of time’s passage, unwilling to track it.

“I am a widow”

I felt my jaw drop. Unconsciously my right hand rose to perch my glasses closer to my eyes; it seemed I was seeing things wrong. Some minutes and discreet up-and-down gazes after, I noticed my tongue unwilling to move, felt my eyes grow bigger. My brain was interpreting what my eyes were seeing through the ‘widow’ filter, and getting “error404 Page Not Found” response.  She was exquisite: a dress that curved her body while leaving room for your imagination, a dark jacket with a bright red emblem just above the curve of her full bust, and blood red stilettos. For the love of God! Stilettos!!! I watched her gait when she walked to bridge the gap between us and could only think of a cat. Her last of three sons had just finished from college, and she looked just about 20 years older than me (and I look like I’m 16 years old). She was at the top of her career, and managing two homes; continents apart.

***

Today, on International Widows Day, I empathize with every woman who has ever had to bury her husband. Every woman who felt her world shift because the centre of her universe stopped breathing. Every woman who felt pain so deep she thought her heart would physically shatter. Every woman who hoped her heart would literally shatter so its pieces might fill the emptiness she felt inside. For every woman who lost her sense of identity and/or belonging in the world because her husband left it.

I also iterate the words of that amazing woman who gave me a glimpse into the world of widowhood:

It’s okay to be broken. But don’t stay broken too long. You don’t know why who might pick your pieces if you stay afloor too long.

When the world hits you down, when your world is a chaotic jumble of ill-meaning others, when pain is all your heart can feel and your spirit is a wilted flower, when you can’t breathe because memories of a happy lifetime ago suffocate you, when you’re talking but there’s no one to listen and all that’s left are sounds in your head, when you wake from dreams and the pillow is soaked with tears… remember those words. Accept your broken self and heart, then build it all back together. Piece by bleeding-tear piece.

P.S:

I’ll be tweeting about widowhood @DupeKuku between 4 and 5 p.m today; Nigerian time. Dear Reader, kindly direct your network that way; let’s make today memorable for every widow on cyber space.

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Thirsty Thursday

Voice in my head: “I want coffee”

*I lift mug to nose. Deeply inhale seductive aroma of coffee which I’ve been sipping*

Me: “I’m already giving you coffee. You’ll know in a couple of minutes”

Voice in my head: “More coffee”

Me: “Yes”

*I sip more coffee, stretch left hand backwards to switch on the coffee maker for another mug. Staring at the impression of red lips edging coffee mug, I think:

“#Addiction must be wanting something; even while having it”*

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Love you. But…

I love you

Really love you. But

I’m done

I can’t do this. Anymore

You don’t hear them

The words

You don’t see them

The tears clogging my throat

I love you

Really love you. But

I’m done

I can’t do this. Anymore

I repeat the words

I need you to hear

The hurt is deep

A knife twisting in my heart

I love you

Really love you. But

I’m done

I can’t do this. Anymore

My eyes lock on yours

Pleading you see the tears

“I will hurt you”. Words. Yours

“You already have”. Words. Mine

I love you

Really love you. But

I’m done

I can’t do this. Anymore

These words

Screams in my head

Not granted passage

Past my unmoving lips

I. Love. You

Really. Love. You. But

I’m. Done

I. Can’t. Do. This. Anymore

You never hear them

The words

You never see them

The tears clogging my throat

 

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These Days

I’m the figure taking quick glances at a red Skone watch at regular intervals; whispering “the fuck?!”. They are angered exclamations offered to the universe; some sort of argument; I think.

If the universe would agree to negotiations and talks, I’d make my case like this:

There are tons of things I couldn’t do when  I was ill. They all have deadlines. Do you think you could maybe drag your tail a bit? You know; make time a little slower? I still can’t do so much; lest my doctor scrunches up his nose at me in disapproval and, heavens forbid, declare I can no longer have coffee. Or, worse, that I have to be back on some over-sized medication.

But the universe isn’t responding today. And I’m that scared figure, heads bowed into her laptop, mumbling inaudibilities, hands and fingers fluttering in a frenzy. Or the one with her hands raised to the ceiling; a helplessly frustrated expression on her face. The perfect vision of desperate beseeching.

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That Night

Shit talking up all night,
Saying things we haven’t for a while
We’re smiling but we’re close to tears…

The Script sang ‘For the First Time’ all through that night, because my music player had it on repeat. I stayed up; relished being awake instead of dead to the world, weakened by medication I didn’t want to be taking. I listened to the wind whistle outside the shut windows, it sounded as always: strong, unhappy… the whimper of strength. I had just switched off the air conditioning because I wanted to listen to the sounds of night.

Night…

There’s something seductive about dark. Whether it’s  gracing a body, beautifying a painting, claiming earth,  entrapping a soul, or frustrating dreams. It’s the things you understand when you stay up all night and listen to the world whisper to you of its depths. The conversations held by your broken body or spirit, a drink, and the voices in your head for the singular court that’s you. The kind of smiles that are really cries for help, or of victory, or of the knowledge that you don’t really know.

That night…

My neighbour’s curtains were drawn, and the music was too low, so I was audience of thrusts and moans the performers didn’t know I was privy to. As I watched, a beep alerted me to Facebook and a friend’s ode to his heart, torn out by the unfeeling hands of death. The moans peaked, so I looked up from my laptop, and at the frenzy of the racing duo reaching for climax, palms clasped. A groan, sacred appreciation, prequel to arching bodies shooting off the dining table to be nailed against the wall; lips moving in whispered hymns. Another beep: my calendar, reminding me of medication to be taken in the next couple of hours, work deadlines approaching… the grim of approaching dawn.

Just then, they hit the spot. I smiled, closed my eyes, and sang along with The Script, adding my voice to other sounds of that night.

Oh, these times are hard

Yeah, they’re making us crazy

Don’t give up on me Baby