You Point fingers at me.

In the streets
You point fingers at me.
I melt into the crowd.

At the office
You point fingers at me.
With the Daily Independent in my hands,
I bury my eyes in the headlines.

At the bar
You point fingers at me.
With the drink on my table I bottle-up my face,
Pretending to be too drunk to let strangers get at me.

At the BRT bus stop
On a Monday morning in the City of Lagos
You point fingers at me on the queue.
I caught the wings of a flying bus
Just to avoid your gaze.

Now in the Church of God
From the corner of my eyes
Half-shot in a conversation with God
I see your forefinger pointing at me again
Like the Devil’s witness on judgment day.

But I will not move
No, not anymore! Not an inch would I cringe.

After Holy Communion,
The mass is ended. Let’s go in peace.
Your piercing eyes tearing me to pieces.
Now walking towards you
My eyes on your steps
Your forefinger shrinking slowly.

Still walking towards you
Your eyes widening like a smiley of shock on Whatsapp.
Getting closer and closer to you along the Church gate
I see you standing still now.
Between paralysis and death,
Can’t tell what had befallen you.

Oxygen ceased.
Plastic eyeballs popping out of your spectacles
Your Adam’s apple swelling into a ball of panic
Like a table clock about to cry out at 6am.

“For a long time now
You’ve been dying to get my attention.”
I said to him, my fingers counting the beads of my rosary
Not sure what I was asking God for
After this one had just been answered,
“I could bet there must be something written on my forehead
That you’ve been craving to tell me all along.”

Tongue-tied, still as scarecrow
Perhaps an image for idol worship.
God forbid.

“I’ve lived with AIDS every day of my life
Since the 90s
But you are the one dying of it.
Are you positive?”

Selected from a working edition of ‘Stranger in the Mirror of My Life’, a collection of poems for people affected by HIV/AIDS.

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

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.

New Book on HIV/AIDS Poetry Now Ready for Release!

“Stranger in the Mirror of My Life and Other Pieces“, a volume of poetry centred on HIV/AIDS has been successfully completed. The project which I started in 2005 on the HIV/AIDS pandemic will be ready for release in the second quarter of this year in ebook format.

Published by
Metamorphoses Publishing, “Shadow in the Mirror of My Life and Other Pieces“ is going to be first available for sale in Nigeria from my blog, http://www.senatorihenyen.wordpress.com in the early part of the second quarter of the year. Worldwide ebook distribution on all the major ebook stores like Amazon Kindle, Apple iBookstoresf, Nook and Kobo will be in place in the second quarter of the year.

For all my fans, followers and friends who have been expressing interest in getting the ebook, please simply subscribe to my blog now. You‘ll be the first to know immediately it is released.

And if you are a book blogger or literary journalist, and would like to have a free review copy of “Shadow in the Mirror of My Life and Other Pieces“, you‘re welcome to contact me! Just visit my contact page and let me know how you would like to receive your free review copy.

Coming after two years of releasing “Colourless Rainbow“ from the stables of Coast2Coast, Lagos, I must say I‘m very excited about this new work. As a new writer in a challenging genre, the reception I‘ve enjoyed from the readers of “Colourless Rainbow“ has been very encouraging! But given the international dimension of my experiences over the years in my research in HIV/AIDS and the versification of these experiences, I must say that I greatly look forward to putting this new book in your hands.

“Shadow in the Mirror of My Life and Other Pieces“ predominantly represents the faces behind the figures, the voices behind the silence, the shadow in the mirror of our lives in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

My new book is not a cure for AIDS, but hopefully, its pages are mirrors through which we can see the stranger inside and re-enchant ourselves in someway.

Dedicated to PLWHA out there!