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.

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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!

Like the Very First Day at the Railway Crossroad

Whenever I look into your eyes

I discover how long you’ve been staring silently at me

From your sickbed

As I sat beside you seeming

lost in empty space

with your right hand clasped into mine

I could tell what worries weighed you down

What hopelessness held your heart

In this haze of uncertainties,

wondering if the hand you now hold so tightly

would ever let go.

How can I ever forget you in this moment of your life

When I cannot stop remembering what you mean to me?

As incurable as the virus holding your other hand

My love for you holds on to the other

And beyond this, hold on to your heart

To give life the meaning we have both known over the years

Together in the bliss of life’s beauty

Hidden in hate, but visible in love.

If this is not more than a disease,

Let our love be the vaccine fighting it off together

Giving us the chance to rediscover the treasures

And cherish every moment from now in the coming re-enchantment

Such re-enchantment like falling in love with you, Elizabeth

All over again like the very first time

When two strangers met at the crossroad along the railway

but hand-in-hand

we got to the other side as lovers

and have never looked back, just like trains never go backwards.

“I love you, Lizzy”, I whispered to her.

We’re in this train together,

Because watching you leave

while I wave goodbye with tear-filled smiles from the train station

is only one choice.

But who needs one choice to live

When many times the colours of your love

Paint rainbow of choices on the canvass of our lives
Giving life more meaning
in moments too memorable to forget,
“I love you too, sweetheart.”

And her smiles burst into a soft-sounding chuckle
Like the very first day at the railway crossroad.

HIV/AIDS Poems: The Poetry of Senator Ihenyen, Nigerian Poet and Writer

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!

……………………………………………………..

…with over half of the collection of poems on HIV/AIDS completed, ‘Stranger in the Mirror and Other Poems’ promises to be an engaging piece…


‘Stranger in the Mirror and Other Poems’
, a work in progress by Senator Ihenyen, the author of ‘Colourless Rainbow’ has been described by him as his “most creatively challenging and engaging work yet!” In the next few months as we approach December 1, the World AIDS Day, you will continue to be updated on the progress being made on the work.

According to the Nigerian author, one great challenging and engaging task is attempting to strike an appealing balance between the art in the poetry and the heart of the message!”

While work is in progress, some of the poems in the proposed ‘Stranger in the Mirror and Other Poems’ would be posted on this blog! Meanwhile, published below are few of the completed pieces. Some of them have been published by the author on the Internet. They represent the voices behind the silence, the faces behind the figures, the feelings behind the facts. The hope and despair, love and hate, acceptance and discrimination. These poems are voices against HIV/AIDS, fighting with their lives not to become or remain a stranger in the mirror of their own very lives.

Senator Ihenyen, the author is always happy to hear from you! Your comments and feedback would be gladly received!Keep them coming.

THE POEMS

Stranger in the Mirror
of My Life

Before me is a mirror
a mirror beside my bed
away from the sun
burning brightly outside the window-blinds
in my darksome room.

For a moment
before the mirror
I stand to see the face of the victim
whose result returned a death sentence
after a test,
and another test, and yet another
but they kept coming back
one and the same
like the torrent of tears that keep returning to your eyes
when the heart remains wet with worries

Wavering worries of ones life walking away from the door,
as the wall clock thicks unrestrained, untouched, unconcerned,
like the footsteps of the world moving on,
unaffected, unmoved, unstirred.

In the mirror
I found a face
a certain face too afraid to look at me.
The face of a stranger –
a strange face sketched in the shadows of my unlit room
against the fiery fingers of the sun flicking the window-blinds on a fateful morning
to irradiate my day.

I know this face hiding in the mirror isn’t me –
It couldn’t be me!
I look straight into her eyes,
and it was then she looked back at me –
Petrified, she crept back into the closet of her life.

I walk slowly and gently towards her,
and the stranger suddenly steps closer and closer towards me.
And when my feet froze on the floor
Upon the freezing fear that gripped me,
the stranger in the mirror suddenly startles – faint-hearted, intimidated

this stranger is not me
No, not me!
She is just a shadow –
the shadow of someone too locked-up in her closet to open up to me.
She is a stranger too steeped in shame to stand up to herself
and say:

“I’m Hannah,
I’m HIV positive-
but see how beautiful life could be
when I open the window-blinds in my heart
and let the rays of the sun
overshadow the stranger in the mirror of my life.”

(c)SenatorIhenyen2012

We are the Victims

We are the victims

not of an invincible virus

hunting the blood of man

We are the victims

not of a dangerous disease

unleashing death on us

We are the victims

not of HIV/AIDS

wiping mankind from the face of earth

like ripples of death spreading across lives.

We are the victims

Victims of the virulent virus

Victims of the violent virus unleashed from the diseased heart

of this infected world we live in.

Victims of a world

too prejudiced to see

that we are the victims

and they, our virus

A Fallen Victim

I still remember

Still remember very fondly

How at the river flowing with the current of our childhood

The sun greets us with splendid smiles on her waking lips.

But it is all strange now,

Like the earth at dawn with early earthworms at our feet.

It is really so strange now,

Like the rivers inside me flowing backwards

Reading your epitaph on this wet memorial.

And I still fondly remember your deep dimples

That like ripples upon the shimmering smiles of waters

Wake on your lively lips. Just a year ago

I was beside the shadow of what you use to be

When you showed me pictures I’d never seen before.

In those dying eyes of yours

I’d seen piercing pictures of what tomorrow must bring back to us

After today leaves us. Those ribbon of flowers by your graveside

Red with the infected blood that ravaged you

Is your bed your place of rest

For the little child that once smiled the sun with me

At the river of life around hues of hope

Now fed upon by earthworms

(c)senatorihenyen2009

Is It Because…

…you did not kiss my hand

like you use to

when with so much love in my eyes

I held it up to your lips

beaming with the crystals in my heart –

Is it because I now have HIV?

When you poured the red wine into the glasses

you did not hold yours to my waiting lips

like you use to

so that as transparent as the two glasses

we could see the colours in our hearts –

Is it because I now have HIV

or you never really loved me?

(c)senatorihenyen2009

Don’t miss the fresher poems! Some more will be regularly posted in the blog. Just subscribe to Senator Ihenyen’s blog or follow this blog!

Experience New and Exciting Writing and Changes this September!

September, 2012

To those who have been wondering why I’ve not been posting regularly, I’m happy to let you all know that all that is about to change! Of course, I haven’t stopped writing! My legal engagement at the Nigerian Law School since last October provided me little or no time or space to post and update my blog as much as I would’ve loved to! A big thanks to all my friends, fans, followers
who have stood by me all this time! Senator Ihenyen’s writing blog is back and better!

This month, I’ll be putting my first book, “Colourless Rainbow” to the spotlight some more. I’ll be giving out five free copies of my book to five lucky friends, fans or followers who best describe what “Colourless Rainbow” symbolises to them. In doing this, at least references should be made to two or more poems in the collection! It is called: What “Colourless Rainbow” means to me? Everyone is invited to participate. On 1st October, 2012, (Nigeria’s Independence Day) the five winners will be announced!

For those of you who love fresh poetry, I’ll be posting some new poems regularly. Mostly, these poems will be selected from a work in progress, now tentatively titled, “Stranger in the Mirror and Other Poems” (formerly “Ripples Across Ripples”). I started this project six years ago. With the interests it is catching worldwide, my blog has been ranking No. 4 on Google for years now for the keyword, “Poetry on HIV/AIDS”. Be a part of this initiative of fighting HIV/AIDS by talking about it and sharing your experiences. I strongly believe poetry provides a powerfully engaging and sustainable medium to get the message across. I’m bringing this red ribbon initiative under my pet project, I Have Found the Cure for HIV/AIDS

In June, 2012, I was interviewed by Umaisha, the Literary Editor of the New Nigerian Newspapers. It’s all about my literary life, my first book, Colourless Rainbow; and my second book in progress. Also some advise to younger poets and writers on writing and publishing; and lots more. Watch out for the interview this September in my posts!

Generally, to make the blog neater, easier for navigation and more relevant to you, I’ve deleted some pages. I’ve updated others, while also converting some old but great pages to posts.
In case you’ve been missing out on posts and activities on my blog, just click here to catch up fast!

Please, if there is any suggestion, observation or constructive criticism you’d like to make, I’ll be happy to hear from you!

Thanks!

Senator Ihenyen,
Author.

HIV/AIDS Poems from ‘Ripples Across Lives’

UPDATED: November 19, 2013:

I had started a special poetry against HIV/AIDS project in 2005. The dream was to start and complete a collection of HIV/AIDS poems that is predominantly centred on the virus and disease.

Being a work in progress, the proposed collection had been tentatively titled “Ripples Across Lives: Poetry against HIV/AIDS.

Eight years later, after generations of many drafts and redrafts mainly informed by the significant change in perspective on HIV/AIDS as death-knells to the human race to HIV/AIDS as medical conditions that can be controlled and conquered, I am happy to let you all know that my collection of poems on HIV/AIDS, Stranger in the Mirror of My Life: Poems for Everyone Affected by HIV/AIDS! is now ready for release this month of November 2013, ahead of World Aids Day!

To be one of the first to know as soon as the ebook is available, simply click this linkclick this link or subscribe to this blog!

…Some of the Poems

Stranger in the Mirror of My Life

Before me is a mirror
A mirror beside my bed
Away from the sun burning brightly
Outside the window’s blinds in my darksome room

For a moment
Before the mirror
I stand to see the face of the victim
Whose result returned a death sentence
After a test
And another test and yet another
But they kept coming back
One and the same
Like the torrent of tears that keep returning to your eyes
When the heart remains wet with worries

Wavering worries of one’s life walking away from the door,
As the wall clock ticks unrestrained,
Untouched, unconcerned,
Like the footsteps of the world around you moving on,
Unaffected, unmoved, unstirred.

In the mirror
I found a face
A certain face too afraid to look at me.
The face of a stranger –
A strange face sketched in the shadows of my unlit room
Against the fiery fingers of the sun
Flicking the window’s blinds on a fateful morning
To irradiate my day

I know this face hiding in the mirror isn’t me –
It couldn’t be me!
I look straight into her eyes,
It was then she looked back at me –
Petrified, she crept back into the closet of her life.

I walk slowly and gently towards her,
Suddenly the stranger steps closer and closer towards me.
And when my feet froze on the floor
Upon the freezing fear that gripped me,
The stranger in the mirror startles –
Faint-hearted, intimidated

This stranger is not me
No, not me!
She is just a shadow –
The shadow of someone too locked-up in her closet to open up to me.
She is a stranger too steeped in shame to stand up to herself
And say:

“I’m Hannah,
I’m HIV positive –
How beautiful life could be
When I open the window’s blinds in my heart
And let the rays of the sun
Overshadow the stranger in the mirror of my life.”

Fourteen

That dark night
I’d screamed when his hands pinned me to the wall,
Pushed me to the ground,
Shuddering and struggling under his climbing shadow,
Screaming aloud as my shrill voice pierced the night
But my cries only unleashed his terror on me.

Under muffled breath
His thrust tore into me
Leaving behind
A broken hymen!

Just yesterday
After several seasons of sickness unending
He died of AIDS –
Full-blown!
How could I’ve known
He only cared for a virgin cure,
Not my heart?

Still fourteen
Two-year-old baby left with grandma down the alley
The streetlights of Harare beam with little hope
Just like every other night

(c)senatorihenyen2013Culled from the forthcoming collection, Stranger in the Mirror of My Life: Poems for Everyone Affected by HIV/AIDS!, these poems are subject to copyright protection. Author’s permission is to be sought where the use of any of the poems printed here or anywhere on this blog is intended. You’re always welcome to contact the author here.