A Conversation between Musa and John

I know you have love for me,
and you want us to be together

I also know you live a life of peace
and you want me to have that peace as well

But can you really love me the way you love yourself like you said?

Why not?
Didn’t Jesus die for us because he loved us?

Please John, if you want me to love you
the way you say you love me,
you will have to keep that Jesus of yours to yourself
because it is Mohammed I know, the holy prophet of Allah whom I love

If that pleases you, Musa.
But if you want us to enjoy peace together as well,
You will also have to keep your Mohammed to yourself
Because I am at peace with Jesus, the only son of God, Jehovah

But you must know, John That there is no true peace
without Islam

And you must know too, Musa
That there is no true love without Christainity

(laughs) that cannot be true, John.
Think about it:
Of what use is love without peace?
Of what use is love
if you cannot be at peace with me?

(smiles) and of what use is peace
without love, Musa?
Of what use is peace
If you cannot live in love with me?
You think about it too!

Well, with peace,
I can be patient enough
to give you a chance
to show me
How love lives without peace.
Only then can you sleep
With that Bible of yours by the pillow.

Oh, good! And with love,
I can trust you enough to give you a chance
To show me
how peace lives without love.
Only then can you sleep with that Koran of yours
by my side.

(c)Senator Ihenyen 2012


Another September 11

(Last year, on September 1, 2010, I wrote a poem titled “Between September 11 and September 1” following Obama’s fulfilment of the promise that U.S. soldiers would finally begin to leave Iraq. Today, it is another September 11. Osama Bin Laden has been killed by US forces. However, it appears there are now many Osama Bin Ladens in the world. I have extended the previous poem and retitled it, “Another September 11”).

September 11…

that tragic turn

that changed the world

the terror that struck the Pentagon

and the ripples of fear that spread across our heart

when man and beast stood side by side

and no one could tell who was man

and no one could tell who was beast.

September 1…

with the bloody bullets from our gathering guns

with the merciless missiles from our American armoury

man went to war with the beast.

When the last gunshots were heard after years of yearning

one left the land of the other

leaving behind blood and tears

shrouds of hate and love, flags of
hope and despair

and no one could tell who was man

and no one could tell who was beast.

And after a deadly decade of
haunting Osama

Obama makes a hero out of a virulent villain,

When in Pakistan bullets found the target
And far in the dead sea the body is buried.
But who would have known
That the villain
had become the hero
And the hero, the villain.

Man in the Mirror

Cigarette burning in the ashtray
empty bottles before a belching belly

down the street
he finds a bed beside a gutter
and when he finds his feet,

a punching bag in the sleepless face
of a woman waiting by the window

fear in the face, screams from the scene,
tears in the eyes, blood in the nose, body on the floor


his face falls on the mirror
away from the lifeless-looking face:
Tell me it’s not true
Tell me it’s not true
Or just let me die
let me die!

Make me live like this


I’ll kill the man in the mirror

(culled from a collection of poems in progress, Ripples Across Lives: Poetry against HIV/AIDS).