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.

Sleeping Awake

Sleeping Awake

Sleeping Awake

Sometimes I scorch you
Like a naked Niger Sun
Your skin of love burning
With the madness of mid-day heat

I know sometimes I drench you
Like Benin rain at midnight
Your red-clayed heart is flooded

But before you switch-off that light And steal another kiss in bed tonight
Have you ever taken a moment to wonder
If sometimes it’s the tears you bring to my eyes
That evaporate to flood our love?

A broad back
Cutting off the silvery beams of moonlight across the blinds
Is all I see
All night
Till the alarm cries out at five
Louder than these sobbing eyes

(c) Senator Ihenyen, Stranger in the Mirror of My Life & Other Pieces

Broken Loose (Christ the Redeemer)

It’s 1:50am. GMT +1. I’ve just finished watching Italy get ahead of England. SuperSport, with a tourist’s lens, takes me to Rio de Jeneiro. Of course, the landmark statue in Rio de Jeneiro, Christ de Redeemer, did not escape its lens. A tourist’s delight any day. It was then I remembered “Broken Loose (Christ the Redeemer)”, a poem of mine.

“Broken Loose (Christ the Redeemer)” was inspired by the “Christ the Redeemer” statue at the peak of the Corcovado mountain, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is published in my collection, Stranger in the Mirror off My Life & Other Pieces. I thought sharing it hours after World Evangelism Day, and at a time the eye of the world is on Brazil was not a bad idea.

Broken Loose (Christ the Redeemer)

What you see
When you open your eyes
Is what you want to see

Like Christ the Redeemer
At the peak of the Corcovado mountain
Concrete and soapstone,
With open arms
The Redeemer,
Symbol of peace

Do you see Jesus?
Do you see a cross?
A crucifix?

Peak of piety? Icon for Rio de Janeiro?
Perhaps, a tourist delight?
Idol worship?
Raving romance between architecture and art –
Awesome and ageless?

What you see
When you open your eyes
Is what you want to see

For me, redeemed
Broken loose from your pupils of prejudice
Like the outstretched arms of the Redeemer at the peak
Sky-high
Feel like flying…

(c)Senator Ihenyen 2013

If Everyday Was June

I’ve always been fascinated by the appearance of rainbow in the sky. I don’t know exactly why. And of all the months in the year, I’ve discovered that I see more rainbows in June. It’s the time of the year when, often times, it would be shinning and raining at the same time. The natural phenomenon also wakes a lot of memories and thoughts inside me. Naturally. From the beauty of life, to the colours of love, and the transient nature of everything that we may now have. I wish June could last all year long. If only everyday was June…

If Everyday was June

If everyday was June
I would have sworn
That our lips will never path in this kiss
Of raving romance.

If everyday was June
I would have sworn
There will be no heartbreak
in our love affair

…the kiss of the sun and the rain
Paints the rainbow in June
and afterwards, leaves
an empty cloud for the earth.

(c)SenatorIhenyen2011

‘If Everyday was June’ is selected from Senator Ihenyen’s Colourless Rainbow, Coast2Coast, 2011, 72.

May 29

MAY 29

(I)

….whirlwinds spinning slowly upward
heavy clouds gathering and darkening
lightning and violent thunder in the troubled sky…
Yet, not a single drop of rain on the brittle dryness of the earth
the raging harmattan fire in our hearts!

The surging sorrow that whispers wildly in the wind
The pains that gather with heaviness in our eyes
Like the gloomy overcast,
And these hearts of thunderstorms!

These tears rolling down
Instead of the rain that never fell…

(II)

…the rain that never fell!
The rain that never rolled on our falling faces!
The rain that never kissed the river,
that ripples of liberty may rise in our souls in a land so still!
It never fell to wash away the blood of brutality that poured
from the pillars of power. The chains of our hearts
that never let our wings fly.

Enslaved in these chains of corruption,
mutilated behind bars of brutality,
I hear the slain hearts of heroes thumping,
thundering in protest against the rumbling drums of our
decapitated democracy.
If it is democracy that gives tongues to mutilated mouths
Then let this tongue cry for Dele Giwa!
Let this tongue cry for Moshood Abiola!
Let this tongue cry for Yar’adua! Let this tongue cry for Saro-Wiwa!
Let this tongue cry for Kubirat and Bola Ige!
Let me cry out to the earth for the blood that,
like a rainbow, now paints colours in our bloody skies –

Like Wole Soyinka,
Let me be the prisoner
Scribbling poems with tears of sacrifice in these walls of despair.
Let me be Nelson Mandela jailed in the shadows
where deceitful suns blind the eyes of dreamers but not the vision.
Let me gather rain from the anguish of the lightning
and the terror of the thunder, the marauding madness of the wind
and the horror of the darkened clouds,
with a voice of my own…

(III)

as balloons are blown to the sky to make yet another merry on May 29
I hear drums rumbling without dances. Rainbow blood of those whose hearts
were silenced in the shadows of the night
now painting colours in our democratic skies.

Those who quenched the sun when its rays flickered with hope
have become the new messiahs
of our numbered days.

»May 29 is selected from Senator Ihenyen’s Colourless Rainbow, Coast2Coast, 2011, 89. It was first read by the author as the Guest Writer for the month of May at the Abuja Writers’ Forum (AWF) in 2011.«

May 27

Children’s Day
our innocence is still missing
Costus Spectabilis
lost of our yellow flowers to Sambisa Forest

#BringBackOurGirls#
We cry out in hashtags
Our gathering anger flooding the streets
Some say we sold our tears
Others cry sabotage.

Along two white lines
Divided we die
Across the black shield
River Niger, River Benue
rivers of tears
Fertile soil turn fertile ashes

In this myopia
the eagle is on errands
And stray like street dogs with no dignity
there go our two horses –
Coat of Arms for a coat of the Chief of Arms

Wonder why whenever the eagle returns
After yet another attack so vile and vengeful
It is mistaken for a vulture?

(C)SenatorIhenyen2014

Screensavers

In my arms,
finger-dances on your Qwerty keys
In your eyes, your love for me
Blinking like cursor

Dredges of thoughts
Memories of us sweeten your nectars
Flowers of fondness powdered with pollens.
Fluttery feelings. Tickling tenderness. Waking wings.
The Pollination of longings. Whispers in the wind.

In distance’s drags,
Loneliness. Emptiness.
Intruded, screensavers of meandering memories.

When I’m away,
How can I keep the imaginations
of me on your Windows 7,
sending sensations to your soul like screensavers?

(c)SenatorIhenyen2014

Valentine’s Day: Two Love Poems

valentines

Two love poems for Valentine’s Day. Have a great read.

“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.

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

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