Valentine’s Day: Two Love Poems

valentines

These two love poems are specially dedicated on this Valentine’s Day to Honeyrietta, my completeness.

“Dance of the Spirits”

Your kiss delights my heart
Meeting of our lips of love…
Energy,
Atoms in the altitude atmosphere
High, so high
Like thermosphere

Magnet in your touches
Solar wind rushing with your shivering breath,

Climbing gasps
In your magnetic storms

My aurora zone expanding to lower latitudes
Like that diffuse aurora on a glow
Invisible to the naked eye
Even in the darkest of nights

Our love is not empty of meaning
Discrete
Our love colours the night
Lightening the pathways of even the blind
Our love,
Like paintbrushes of the sun and the rain,
Rainbow kisses on the canvas of the sky
Heaven’s collection

I will love you, you will love me
Like the Aurora Borealis
Greenish glow, faint red,
Magnetic line
Fluorescent green
Our love
“Dance of the spirits”


Because I Love You (Hanging Gardens of Babylon)

How can they find the hanging gardens of our love
If with the wider wisdom of the world
They do not know where heaven is?

For the nostalgia and longing for your homeland
The green hills and valleys that knew you,
Meadows of your mountains away from my presence,
I will make in my heart, a home for your wanderings.

High walks, stone pillars
Pensile paradise planted in the palace of my dwellings,
Four plethoras on each side of my heart
Artifice of your Media greens
Hillside slopes, ascending terraces,
Galleries that held every weight of this garden
Rising little by little,
Undulating ascension along the parts To the pinnacle
Cubits high, meeting the circuit walls,
Bearer of the highest point of my love in this garden of love
Hanging in my heart for you,
Home away from home
Meandering like Media meadows on gathering mountains.

Of high walls against envious encroaches,
Far and near
Of this wide passage-way,
Pushing walls apart
Entrance for your willing love,
For your climbing doubts, exit

Layer of reeds
Bitumen above these beams
Our love, our fondness
Brick-bonded Layer of lead
Shield against the moistures.
Within, piled to the depth of my heart,
The earth is womb to the greens,
And out here
With trees atop the galleries in the garden
Green graces of every kind
Beauty is in the eye of the beheld – Forsake the beholder.

Hush, my love
Love is for two

Let the eyes of the earth behold our perfection too.
Between us
The openings in our hearts
Will remain rivers –
Sometimes from the abundance of secret kisses,
The rivers of love when you’re speechless
Floodgates of joy when love is unending
And sometimes, the broken flows of secret tears
Where this hanging garden of our love
Drinks from its springs
Fountains of freshness
Waterfalls

‘Dance of the Spirits’ and’Because I Love You (Hanging Gardens of Babylon)’ are selected from Senator Ihenyen’s new collection of poems, ‘Stranger in the Mirror of My Life: Poems for Everyone Affected by HIV/AIDS’, an ebook released in December 1, 20to mark World AIDS Day.

You can buy thee ebook at http://ysghubs.com/w/book/show/61-Stranger for 474 naira (5% slash from 500 naira), or also internationally available at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Strangerinthemirrorofmylife for $3.75.

Saturday Sun: A Review of Senator Ihenyen’s ‘Stranger in the Mirror of My Life’ by Osamede Osunde

Poems for Everyone Affected by HIV/AIDS

Poems for Everyone Affected by HIV/AIDS

Title: Stranger in the Mirror of My Life: Poems for Everyone Affected by HIV/AIDS
Author: Senator Ihenyen
Genre: Poetry
Publisher: Lulu
ISBN: 978-1-304-64806-8
Number of Pages: 93
Publication date: November, 2013

“Stranger in the Mirror of My Life” is a collection of poems about the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which tend to differ from the general norm essentially in terms of concept. In arranging the themes, the motive is to estrange the anthology away from the customary settings of periods and styles, to that of experiences and phases in the reality of the matter. Although the former is natural and valid, the latter guides the reader to a sense of awareness for those affected by HIV/AIDS and a feeling of compassion for those infected with the virus. The book offers a unique perspective to the campaign for HIV/AIDS awareness, control, and or eradication.

Poetry like every other form of art is a formidable and veritable tool for social mobilisation, emancipation and awareness. Over the years, from the era of great poets like Alexander Pope, Clare, Shakespeare, to more contemporary poets like Wole Soyinka, Denis Brutus, Chinua Achebe and a host of others, poetry has being used as an instrument of moral justice and societal upliftment. In this epic lineage of gifted literary scholars the world over, comes the erudite young Nigerian writer/poet, lawyer per excellence. Senator Ihenyen, as named at birth holds the view that with regards to the HIV/AIDS scourge, the cure that the world seek is hidden in the heart of mankind and that cure is love. “Stranger in the Mirror of My Life” is a clarion call to the human race for compassion and empathy in dealing with the epidemic facing humanity.

Up until the early 1980s, little or nothing was known globally about HIV/AIDS. Silent, yet ravaging infection- was the dominant feature in the earliest advent of the virus, owing to the fact that human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was alien to the global community and its transmission was not followed by visibly noticeable signs and symptoms. However, prior to the 1970s, in rare cases, reports of AIDS alongside sero-archaeological studies have documented instances of the infection in humans. Available records tend to suggest that the HIV/AIDS pandemic had began in the mid to late 1970s. The early 1980s saw the rapid spread of HIV to about five continents which included: North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Australia. The spread continued due to lack of awareness and preventive measures, approximately 100,000-300,000 persons were infected at the time.
In the past three decades since the first cases of HIV/AIDS were reported, the figures have increased astronomically and global impact of the scourge has being alarming most especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

Global statistics showed that in 2011, worldwide figure of people living with HIV was estimated at 34 million, two-third of this figure was domiciled in the sub-Saharan African region. Significant discoveries have being made in medical research in the area of HIV/AIDS treatment and control. A cure has not being found yet. The introduction of antiretroviral therapy has greatly helped in reducing the number of AIDS-related deaths, especially in the last five years. However, the occurrence of new infections is still an enormous challenge the world over. Sub-Saharan Africa has seventy two percent of the world’s total population of people living with HIV, although the region has a little more than twelve percent of the world’s population. The epidemic has caused a colossal amount of suffering in the African continent. The most palpable effect of this global scourge has been illness and death, but the impingement of the pandemic has stretched across all spheres of life including economy, social capital and population structure and so on.

The extent of spread of human immunodeficiency virus has surpassed all expectations in the last two decades. Presently, an estimated 36 million people are currently infected with HIV, around the region of 20 million people have so far died from AIDS related illnesses, worst hit is indeed sub-Saharan Africa. Responding to HIV/AIDS at a level proportionate to the stupendous impact of the scourge is an urgent global imperative, sustained global mobilization is a sine qua non to combat one of the most severe crises facing human development. “Stranger in the Mirror of My Life” is a commitment to this global effort.

Stigmatisation, discrimination, alienation and antipathy are some of the societal ills that have made life extremely difficult for people living with HIV. The animosity in the chore of mankind against people living with HIV is stronger and even more infectious than the virus itself. Quoting from Senator Ihenyen’s poem titled “In a Free Fall”:

Why have you suddenly become
The virus
Ravaging the blood of my love for you
In my breaking heart

The expression above tends to suggest that the rejection faced by HIV positive people may be even more challenging than the infection itself. Misconception, ignorance and pre-conceived notions has been the bane of this pandemic, in typical human characteristics, what defiles understanding is ascribed religious and spiritual pigmentation. Quoting from the poem titled “I am HIV-AIDS” by the African poet Simon M. Matlou:

Saint Luke predicted me long time ago,
While the Book of Revelation warned you about me
I am raging like a wild fire,
I am growling like a lion,
I have spotted you and I will pounce on you!
I am HIV/AIDS!

Views like this and even more extremist views have complicated even further the HIV/AIDS challenge, labeling the infection a plague from a supernatural power will unjustly indict and victimize those who are infected. HIV/AIDS is clearly a global health challenge and any religious coloration, segregation, sectionalization and regionalization will lead the world to a Pandora’s Box. Without attempting to sound mythical, the panacea or catholicon to this nemesis is universal love. The hate virus has eaten deep into the fabric of mankind, perhaps, someday, the world shall witness a paradoxical twist when this HIV challenge that we all face becomes a catalyst for engendering global peace and universal love.

Like earlier mentioned, stigmatisation resulting from ignorance and prejudice has being one of the most challenging issues faced by people living with HIV, the fear of stigmatisation is one of the major reasons why a lot of people refuse to perform HIV test, a number of people living with HIV, for reasons of victimization and stigmatisation fail to come out in the open to seek help. “Stranger in the Mirror of My Life” is a conscious effort to inspire confidence and courage in people living with HIV to come out boldly in the sun set to face the challenges confronting their existence.

“Stranger in the Mirror of My Life” cuts across its readers as a delicate voice, with sober and poignant views often cryptical in nature. In x-raying this verse from the poem titled “Once upon a Simple Question” by Senator Ihenyen:

If there was no blood running in my veins
How would you be taking my life away from me now?

The expression above bears more depth beyond the immediate perception, perhaps something for the scientist and researchers to ponder upon, whereas, on the face-value, the expression suggests the lamentation of a dying victim.
An obviously conspicuous attribute of the poet like most African writers is his occidental indulgence as well as his Mallarme influence strongly represented in the poet’s persistent use of symbolism, a concept that is tentatively labelled in the African literary parlance as ‘animism”. However, as Prof. Soyinka would say, “A distinct quality in all great poets does exercise a ghostly influence in other writers”, reading the works of Senator Ihenyen does calls to mind the works of great African love poets like Denis Brutus who wrote such raw and passionate lines of love as well as of indictment, conveying the concepts of fundamental justice, indicting the society of outer defiance, preaching hope and resolve all in one breath.

History, the contemporary reality and the vision of an HIV free generation is the overriding interest of this collection, in introducing “Stranger in the Mirror of my Life” to readers across the globe, I would like to say that it is indeed a compendium and a companion for all people living with HIV and the rest of the world.
Osamede Osunde
Chief Editor-
Pen Aesthetics lit. Agency

First published on the Saturday Sun, January 11, 2013.

‘Stranger in the Mirror of My Life: Poems for Everyone Affected by HIV/AIDS’ is now selling in Nigeria at http://
http://www.ysghubs.com/w/book/show/61-Stranger for 474 naira (5% slash from 500 naira) this December. It is also internationally available at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Strangerinthemirrorofmylife for $3.75 only!

The War of Words: On Gay Rights, and the Rest of Us

gay-nigerians

After the responses a post on my Facebook wall on gay rights in Nigeria had generated recently, I decided to publish it on my blog. This is not uninformed by the ongoing debate on this issue, with reactions and counter-reactions. Reprinted below is what represents my personal opinion about the gay issue. For my fans and followers who had love to see this in verse, I guess you will have to wait a little longer!

…………………………………………..

All these war of words between the pro-gay and the anti-gay! The pro-gay advocates that gay right is human rights, and in a democratic society, it must be protected and recognised. On their part, they have a point to the extent that to criminalise gay practise and marriage is to deny gays the right to private and family life. Be it a sexual or marital relationship between men; or one between women. They have also said that gay practice is a private matter which the state should not be concerned with, thus criminalising it is wrong. And the US is a ready example as to how modern Nigeria should be like.

On the other hand, we have those who are against it. On their part, they rest their argument mainly on morality. Gay practice is against nature and even God’s commandments, they say. Embracing it is a rebellion against God. It is a sin. It is unholy and unclean. It is indecent and immoral. God turned against Sodom and Gomorrah for this same reason, they say. And many more equally believe it is un-African. Against our culture. Although homosexualism may have been practised by some African cultures, those against it believe that it would be a sweeping generalisation to conclude that this is common with all cultures in Africa.

While the pro-gay think the other side is just being uncivil and hypocritic, the anti-gay say the pro-gay is a victim of western influence who is to be sympathised with.

My problem is this, there is so much display of intolerance on both sides of the divide. It’s just too intolerant of us all degenerating into something less ourselves. Let’s demonstrate some appreciable level of tolerance and understanding.

In every democratic society, there is no state religion. Although, the people in the state, mostly, have one religion or the other. But the state is not to adopt any. The consequence of this is that no matter how good or moral or holy a religious tenet is, the state cannot adopt it as being generally applicable to all.

In the workings of the state, morality is relative. It is not universally accepted. What is morally wrong in a particular place may not be morally wrong in another. The law enforces morality, but not all aspects of morality. There is no law, for instance, against disrespecting one’s parents, yet it is immoral in many cultures. As the state grows, it however begins to accommodate certain things which hitherto were seen as unacceptable, but not without certain restrictions to at least balance private rights with public morality. There is nothing wrong with some states in the US legalising gay marriage, if the democratic culture and times favour it. The state, ideally, should have no God, otherwise it risks adopting a religion. The state is seen as a creation of law, not of God, and the law a creation of consensus, not itself. That’s the stage these countries have reached. To have more freedom, they must necessarily kill the idea of God-religion. Human freedom dictates at all times. But the question is: as Nigerians, have we gotten to that stage where we can kill our God-religion, our various cultural moralities, our Christian, Islamic and traditional beliefs, and embrace the full evolution of human rights in both our private and public life?

It needs no answer. If we were ready, there wouldn’t have been a louder noise against it in the country. And there is nothing morally wrong or right about the GEJ administration signing into law a bill against gay marriage and gay rights. It is a matter of the relativity of morality. And in Nigeria, not the US, the democratic culture is yet to mature to the same level as that which operates in the west. Also, the time is not ripe, just as the time was not ripe in the US some years ago.

Morality is relative, just as opinions are divergent. The Nigerian jurisdiction is simply not ready to embrace it. Yet. It doesn’t mean Nigerians are uncivil, undemocratic, hypocritic or ‘uneducated’. It is just a matter of time and place.

Now Out: My New Book, Stranger in the Mirror of My Life, is now out!

Poems for Everyone Affected by HIV/AIDS

Poems for Everyone Affected by HIV/AIDS

Yes, finally, ahead of World Aids Day on December 1 this year, my new collection of poems – Stranger in the Mirror of My Life – predominantly centred on HIV/AIDS is now out!

Below is a brief description of the book in my online bookstore:

Stranger in the Mirror of My Life contains poems for everyone affected by HIV/AIDS around the world. In this collection, you will hear your own voice, feel your own tears. But beyond these, HIV positive or negative, you will discover that mirror, helping you rediscover life, hope and dreams in ways profound.

Senator Ihenyen holds the view that with regards to the HIV/AIDS scourge, the cure that the world seeks is hidden in the heart of mankind and that cure is love. Stranger in the Mirror of My Life is a clarion call to the human race for compassion and empathy in dealing with the epidemic facing humanity.
History, the contemporary reality and the vision of an HIV-free generation is the overriding interest of this collection. Stranger in the Mirror of My Life can be described as a moving compendium and a companion for all people living with HIV and the rest of the world.”

To buy the ePub format of the collection of poems, simply click here! It’s $3.75
only!

The ebook is now also available to readers locally at YSG ebookstore in Nigeria for the list price of 500 naira only (but now selling 474 naira 5% slash!)

This book is specially dedicated to all the people living with HIV/AIDS in Africa and around the world.

Ready for Release: Stranger in the Mirror of My Life: Poems for Everyone Affected by HIV/AIDS by Senator Ihenyen

UPDATE NOVEMBER 24, 2013:

Stranger in the Mirror of My Life: Poems for Everyone Affected by HIV/AIDS is now out! To buy the book, simply click the linked title above, or go to the online bookstore directly!

Red Ribbon

“Stranger in the Mirror of My Life” is an attempt to capture essentially the socio-psychological colourations, factors and effects of living with HIV/AIDS, and how they affect the way we live – whether positive or negative. I’m literally putting the mirror before the faces of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) to help them see the man in the mirror and say:

“I’m HIV positive. I’m no stranger to myself. I’m no stranger to the world. This is my body. This is my life. And I’m in charge!”

The words above is the opening lines in the preface of my forthcoming collection of poems on HIV/AIDS, “Stranger in the Mirror”. It is now finally ready for release this month – ahead of this year’s World AIDS Day.

Stranger in the Mirror of My Life: Poems for Everyone Affected by HIV/AIDS is going to be available on Amazon.com as an ebook.

If you had love to be the first to know as soon as the new collection of poems is released this month, you can simply indicate by filling the form below, with a message. I will be happy to send you a link on how to get the book as soon as it is released.

Let me use this medium to thank everyone – family, friends, fans and followers – for all the inspiring words and encouragement all over the years since I started this Poetry on HIV/AIDS project! It is specially dedicated to everyone living with HIV/AIDS.

You’ve been waiting for this a long time…here it is now…at your fingertips in just a few days from now! Please help me share this post with your contacts. This ebook is for everyone.

Senator Ihenyen
Author, Stranger in the Mirror of My Life: Poems for Everyone Affected by HIV/AIDS

From the Archives: My HIV/AIDS Collection of Poems Two Years Back

As I finally prepare to release my collection of poems on HIV/AIDS ‘Stranger in the Mirror of My Life’ this month of November, 2013 ahead of World AIDS Day this year, I have decided to republish the page below as a post. The page was first published two years ago.

This is part of the posts I have specially lined up sequel to the release of the collection in ebook format on Amazon.

It helps me appreciate the some of the changes that have been introduced into the whole project, helping me appreciate how far I have managed to go since this project started in 2005.

Your comments are always welcome!

…………………………………………………………

A Nigerian writer takes on HIV/AIDS with his work, Stranger in the Mirror and Other Poems
Red Ribbon

HIV/AIDS is a global epidemic that needs all the attention it deserves. The prevalence of the scourge is alarming, especially in sub-Saharan Africa! In 2009, the 19 countries worldwide with the highest prevalence of reported infections, apart from India, are all African countries with more than 24.5 million, and over 66% (UNAIDS)of the Aids infected population.

South Africa ranks first on the prevalence list with over 5 million HIV+ population, followed by Nigeria with about 4 million people are infected with HIV/AIDS (JAIDS report). And we have all been affected in one way or the other!

Statistics from UNAIDS 2008 Report on the global AIDS epidemic show that Sub-saharan Africa has over 22 million people living with HIV, Middle East and North Africa have 380,000, South+South East Asia, 4.2 million, East Asia 740,000, Latin America, 1.7 million people. Others are Caribbean with 230,000 infections, Eastern Europe + Central Asia have 1.5 million, Western + Central Europe with 730,000, North America now with 1.2 million and Oceania, 74,000 infected people.

Across the continent and other parts of the world, HIV/AIDS has reached an alarming rate as ABC appears not to be working. HIV/AIDS is not what only happens to others as most people tend to think, but it can happen to anyone. This is why we must continue to spread the word, not the virus; give aids, not AIDS.

The Initiative

In commemoration of the World Aids Day, December 1, I wish to officially launch Ripples Across Lives: Poetry Against HIV/AIDS, an awareness and sensitisation project on HIV/AIDS.

Since December 1, 2005, the day I wrote ‘Ripples Across Ripples’, my very first poem on HIV/AIDS, I have been involved in an extensive research into the epidemic over the years. A year later, I’d written over 50 poems specially centred on the scourge, taking a penetrating look at the dangers, prevention and lastly, the discrimination against People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). I had published about 10 of these poems on the Internet, and got quite interesting feedback from various parts of the world.

This propelled me to do more work on what would have ordinarilly been just another volume of poetry from me, after my collection, ‘Colourless Rainbow’, was to debut in 2010. After what seemed like a completed work, I approached a Lagos-based publisher who asked me to put my money where my heart was, but I had more of the heart than the money! The rest is history!

The Message

With the overpowering conviction that I have a message to communicate to the targeted readers (especially youths and PLWHA), I have since got myself involved in initiatives that bring me closer to the epidemic. I had to go behind the figures to see the faces, behind the pictures to feel the pain, behind the silence to hear the cries of the millions of orphans, children, teens, youths and adults who are infected with HIV/AIDS and the rest of us who have been affected in many ways than we could have ever imagined!

I have subscribed to the e-forum of Journalists Against Aids (JAIDS), the UNICEF Voices of Youth initiative, access resources and information from UNAIDS, Body Positive, World Aids Day site and many others. This is because HIV/AIDS is a dynamic issue with complex colourations, and I needed to constantly stay updated.

The Book

So what is the project all about? With I Have Found the Cure for HIV/AIDS initiative, I intend to write and publish a book containing about 50 poems on HIV/AIDS. This is meant to raise awareness and sensitise people about HIV/AIDS in a more engaging and sustainable way. Over the years, I have found out that the best way to fight HIV/AIDS is to keep talking about it. And poetry does have a highly appealing way of making our experiences and challenges, our love and hate, hope and despair, even more moving, more provoking and more lasting. The book which is tentatively titled, Stranger in the Mirror and Other Poems is to be divided into movements that will contain poems on the dangers and risks, myths and facts, prevention, and the conditions and experiences of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Now expected to be completed for publishing on or before December 1, 2012, I would be needing to work closely with PLWHA groups and other stakeholders in this fight against HIV/AIDS.

Partners
HIV/AIDS NGOs, agencies, corporate bodies are needed to make the book available to the targeted audience.

Publisher
Quality book + global market. The publisher must have a global reach and have the capacity to make the proposed book available in print and e-book format.

Your Voice

Let your voice be heard by sending me a feedback on what you had like to see in the proposed book or relate to me any experience on HIV/AIDS that you strongly feel others can learn from.

It is all about capturing your voice in a book that is going to be ending up in the hands of millions of people out there who need to hear your voice to keep fighting, to keep hoping and to live a healthy life – a future free from HIV/AIDS. Send your feedback to my e-mail address:

senatorihenyen@yahoo.co.uk
or simply post your message(s) in the box(es) below. Thank you for your interest in the proposed book!

In Whose Name?

Safe sex
Saves not the soul
Says the moralist.

We let a million condom bloom
No one knows if it ends up in the right hands
Trash cans, backs of drawers,
Balloons blown in Kindergarten.

In a time of crises
Between rightness and safety
The world lives in two extremes
.

Unleashed from the God of justice
Deaths from this dreadful disease
They say, are destined for us all

And in the deific worship
of the god of tube of rubber,
Man scampers for safety…

damn the soul

This poem, “In Whose Name?” is selected from my unpublished work, “Stranger in the Mirror of My Life & Other Pieces”, predominantly centered on HIV/AIDS

Wastes (in memory of Gani Fawehinmi)

Wallowing in the wastelands we make of dreams
Waiting and wailing in this wilderness of waste
Of white elephants and white papers
Waterbirds of tears, wellspring of weeping
Wondering what went wrong with us

When a wimp passes wind
Without a windbrake
We grow fat in their nuclear farts
We grow fat in the windowless cell of choiceless waiting
While they wend on with white lies
Whitewater rushing from their white-washes
Season after season,
Waiting, with wishy-washy wishes of the messiah.

I am not the wet rot
Eating up the wood of your damp dreams
I am not the widower with whining words
Against your wealth of wastages,
I am not the VIP aides eating you up
Like HIV/AIDS
Those wine makers and wine waiters
In this winery of wastes.

Against the junk in your justice, Jurisdiction of jargons, Canker of corrruption
Against the creeping crocodiles in the shallow waters
of our dead democracies
Flies feasting on the open sores of our sorry state,

I am your conscience
Eating you up like the cancer
That ravaged me

Why is “Colourless Rainbow” sub-titled “Poetry of My Childhood? – a Keen Reader

Have you ever wondered why my debut book, “Colourless Rainbow” is sub-titled “Poetry of My Childhood”? Well, one keen reader did and this is how he puts it in a message I received recently which I just discovered in my spam mail:

“The sub-title is a curious one. Although one of the seven movements in the collection, “Camouflage” did predominantly portray the oppression and suppression of freedom in the military era, precisely June 12, 1993′ when I believe you were still much of a child, I sense there could be something more. The collection also didn’t tell us about your childhood really. In my opinion, perhaps it is your childhood inclination to the rainbow in contrast to the blood; two symbols you used repetitively to create some kind of unity.”

“Perhaps, it’s that childish innocence in what you feel the world ought to be; or perhaps, it is the excessive love children have for imageries which colour your poetry. Or, alternatively or complementarily, to take my last shot at unravelling why you have used this sub-title, it is truly the poetry of your childhood since, according to the preface, you wrote a number of poems in the collection in your teenage and early youthful years.”

“Flowing from my last guess, should we then be expecting the poetry of your youth soon? Is that what we should expect from your forthcoming second collection of poems, “Stranger in the Mirror of My Life and Other Pieces”?”

“Don’t mind my curiosity. I have read some selected pieces from your forthcoming work on your blog, and I had a very good read. Mind if I share some of these pieces?”

What do you think?

Back from the Brink

Living in deadly denial for years unending
After years of getting a ravaging result
AIDS CD4g 60
Viral load –
300,000

Times of terrible thrush
Weightless on wet sheets
Sodden with night sweats and spiking fevers
Killing fatigue and dead appetite all day long.

Alone, unloved.
My back against the whole world
Locked-up in a closet
I had nothing to give to life
And life –

Vengeful and unforgiving –
had nothing to give back to me.

With me death had scores to settle
Every day and night
Staring into my eyes
Sicker and sicker I got
And in its cold stare,
soon my fear froze into a cave of coldness
Courage to face the coming hopelessness alone –
Die a brave death.

In one moment, of everything
So suddenly, I lost control
Crying out like a child,
I lost my grip of me
and the tears I let go
Flowing down my eyes –
Unrestrained.
I had lost control of my life
My entire life
And to the love of my life, I let it out
Everything I let go.

Headed to the end of the road,
That had to be the day I took control
Complete control of the wheel of my life.
The same road I now travel
Taking routes even many immune men would never dare.

And that had to be the day I took my life back
When I let it out to the love of my life
And discovered so much I had to give to life.
And life – the same life that had haunted me for a decade
Had so much to give back to me,
Bringing me back from the brink.

(c)Senator Ihenyen 2012

“Back from the Brink” is selected from “Stranger in the Mirror of My Life and Other Pieces”, a forthcoming collection of poems predominantly centred on HIV/AIDS by Senator Ihenyen.