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.

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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.

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

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

River of Voices (for Chinua Achebe)

This poem, River of Voices, was written sometime in 2005. Published in my collection of poetry, Colourless Rainbow, I wish to dedicate it to the Father of modern African literature, Late Chinua Achebe, who to my delight, was also a poet himself.

I have specially dedicated this poem to him because having died unfulfilled as a Nigerian citizen, the eventual disillusion expressed in River of Voices seem to portray the picture of that feeling of unfulfillment on his part.

I hope you will find it engaging!

RIVER OF VOICES

I saw
the rays of the sun
beaming,
as I watched
by the riverside.

I saw
the drops of rain
splashing,
as I watched
by the riverside,

and I saw
the rays of the sun
kissing the raindrops,
as I watched
by the riverside.

I saw
colours of the rainbow
in the sky
rising,
as I watched
by the riverside.

But I saw no reflection
of these colours on the rippling river –
as I wondered
by the riverside

Throwing a probing stone,
I see ripples –
ripples of voices rising on the river –
Clamouring,
troubled tides rushing to my feet,
as I waited
by the riverside –

disillusioned.

(“River of Voices“ selected from Colourless Rainbow, Coast2Coast, Lagos, p. 104)

Ode to Senator Ihenyen by Emeke Nwaoboli

This is a poem titled “Ode to Senator Ihenyen“. Written by Emeke Nwaoboli, a young and budding Nigerian writer and friend, he was moved to appreciate my “kind gestures“ towards his writing craft with a poem. He also happens to be an active member of Golden Minds Nigeria, the youth development organisation in which I currently serve as Project Manager.

Since today is World Poetry Day, I believe there is no better time to publish this piece!

Thanks, Emeke Nwaoboli. I‘m most flattered. Very grateful for this kind effort!

Emeke Nwaoboli‘s blog: http://www.emekenwaoboli.wordpress.com

Ode to Senator Ihenyen

My hands are itching,
Itching to write about great men.
Great men like Senator Ihenyen,
The new Nigerian poet and writer,
Author of Colourless Rainbow;
The emerging voice in new Nigerian poetry.
Fighting against AIDS with his poems,
Standing like a Defender against the swooping swords of oppression.
An advocate in his wig and gown,
The voiceless has found his voice.
Even his smile can mend broken hearts,
The ink of his pen splash songs of freedom.
I am proud to announce his name,
I rejoice
For he has inspired me.
My ink will continue to paint his glory,
On every soul that is downtrodden.
Remain the great Senator!
With the paintbrush of your imaginations,
Make the colourless rainbow colourful.

(c)Emeke Nwaoboli 2013

What If it’s the Way We Love?

What If it’s the Way We Love? is specially dedicated to all the people living with HIV/ AIDS (PLWHA) out there this yuletide season. Selected from a work in progress, “Stranger the Mirror of M y Life and Other Pieces”, I dared to ask all of us: what If it’s the Way We Love? in our quest to save humanity from itself. Or what do you think?

 

what if this scourge

this pandemic, this plague

wiping out our race

from the face of earth

without a face

 

was just a thing?

 

A thing seeping through the open sores

of the way we love, sores of the way we make love,

treat love, desire love, the way we show and share love

the way we name love?

Just a thing seeping through the open sores

of the way we push and test love,

the way we tempt love, open sores of the way we kill love

the way we forget love?

 

What if it is just that thing

seeping through the open sores

of the way we sell love,

compromise love, the way we treat love and shame love,

the way we touch love, sacrifice love

or sometimes,

a thing seeping through the open sores

of the way we prove love

when between two

there are doubts.

Just the way we hold on to love

when it’s no more there,

the way we fight for love, stay for love

when love is lost.

The way we wait for love

when love is gone,

the way we live for love

when love is dead?

 

What if this scourge

this pandemic, this plague

wiping out our race

from the face of earth

without a face

was just a thing?

 

What if it’s the way we love?

what if this scourge

this pandemic, this plague

wiping out our race

from the face of earth

without a face

was just a thing?

 

A thing seeping through the open sores

of the way we love, sores of the way we make love,

treat love, desire love, the way we show and share love

the way we name love?

Just a thing seeping through the open sores

of the way we push and test love,

the way we tempt love, open sores of the way we kill love

the way we forget love?

What if it is just that thing

seeping through the open sores

of the way we sell love,

compromise love, the way we treat love and shame love,

the way we touch love, sacrifice love

or sometimes,

a thing seeping through the open sores

of the way we prove love

when between two

there are doubts.

Just the way we hold on to love

when it’s no more there,

the way we fight for love, stay for love

when love is lost.

The way we wait for love

when love is gone,

the way we live for love

when love is dead?

 

What if this scourge

this pandemic, this plague

wiping out our race

from the face of earth

without a face

was just a thing?

 

What if it’s the way we love?

what if this scourge

this pandemic, this plague

wiping out our race

from the face of earth

without a face

was just a thing?

 

A thing seeping through the open sores

of the way we love, sores of the way we make love,

treat love, desire love, the way we show and share love

the way we name love?

Just a thing seeping through the open sores

of the way we push and test love,

the way we tempt love, open sores of the way we kill love

the way we forget love?

What if it is just that thing

seeping through the open sores

of the way we sell love,

compromise love, the way we treat love and shame love,

the way we touch love, sacrifice love

or sometimes,

a thing seeping through the open sores

of the way we prove love

when between two

there are doubts.

Just the way we hold on to love

when it’s no more there,

the way we fight for love, stay for love

when love is lost.

The way we wait for love

when love is gone,

the way we live for love

when love is dead?

 

What if this scourge

this pandemic, this plague

wiping out our race

from the face of earth

without a face

was just a thing?

 

What if it’s the way we love?

Tell Us, a poem (Nigeria’s Independence Day)

Peter Irabor, an old fan of my poetry who wrote the very first review on my book Colourless Rainbow, when it was still unpublished contacted me two days ago! He specially asked that in the spirit of Nigeria’s 52nd Independence Day Anniversary on October 1, I should repost “Tell Us”, one of the poems from my collection!

Well, here is an author’s grant of a wonderful fan’s wish. I hope you will all read and give me some feedback, will you? Thanks!

Tell Us

Countless cowries have been tossed
and tossed
on countless shrines; countless kola-nuts broken and chewed;
countless gourds of palm-wine
poured beneath palm fronds to search out your place in the hands
of destiny! Countless times,
We have seen the magic of the moon
in your eyes, twinkling with silvery
illumination of love.
Countless times, we have seen the milk
of your breasts flowing like palm-wine from the
gourds of life.
And we have, countless times, heard
the music of your heart
titillating with the thrills of tranquil
nights. Countless times, we have seen the
light of your soul
glow like the fires from the pit of this
calabash. But tell us why widows lie with
bereaved brooms
in the midnight? Tell us why only
blood
gush from your black breasts when
young lips run with hungry-innocent eyes to
your lap?
Tell us why we love to dance
to the disharmony of war drums? Tell us! Tell us why we no longer hear
drums of thunder
after flashes of lightning? And no rain
after dark clouds…Tell us! …my pen shall bleed
the last drop of its dark blood,
through this labyrinth with solitary
lamentations –
For I am lost in your images
as yet more cowries are tossed to unveil
the black face of my virgin bride
Whom I made love to in the moonlight
But found no blood on her white
garment at dawn

The Evolution of the Literary Text, “Complete Poetry for Students and Writers” by Senator Ihenyen, Nigerian Poet and Author

The young Nigerian poet and writer,
Senator Ihenyen
was the principal Founder of the now defunct Apollo Writers Online as far back as 2004. He with his colleague, Opeyemi Ogundele, ran a listserve that served as a creative forum where both young and upcoming Nigerian poets and other international writers sharpened their writing skills through constructive criticisms and feedback.

Together, they explored publishing opportunities on the Internet. Apollo also collaborated with the Lagos branch of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA Lagos) under Folu Agoi’s chairmanship to provide reading materials for members who were to read or perform their unpublished works in ANA meetings. Soft copy submissions made to Apollo Writers Online were processed and made available to everyone in hard copies.

In 2004, Apollo with the aim of bridging the wide gap between Literature as a creative writing exercise among writers and Literature as an academic study among students came up with a Literary and Educational Project. This project involved writing a JAMB syllabus poetry-based literary text for students at the University Matriculations Examinatins (UME) level. With Senator Ihenyen as author, and Opeyemi Ogundele as contributor and Assistant Project Coordinator, the book was completed in August 2005. The duo were interviewed by Juliet Bumah, Art Editor, Daily Times of Nigeria, and Henry Akubuiro of The Sun in the same year

.
Daily Times Sept 2005

However,

after an unsuccessful solicitation for sponsorship to fund the publishing, and failing to get a publishing contract that would see the book in the market within the two-year period the mainly syllabus-based book would last, the project remained in the pipeline.

Relentless and determined to produce a well researched textbook for the study of poetry, Senator Ihenyen embarked on writing an entirely new book with a wider scope. This time, the young and energetic poet and author of the collection of poems Colourless Rainbow , ensured that the book was not based on any short-lived or time-bound syllabus which would only run for a few number of years. In the words of the author who is also now a Lawyer, “With a continually deepening interest in creative writing and literary research, I remained strongly committed and dedicated to realising the objective of producing a well-researched study text. This time around, I’ve ensured that the manuscript will not end up like “Spirit of Poetry: the Apollo Series.” That manuscript became outdated after the UME English Literature syllabus changed after two years. “Complete Poetry for Students and Writers” could be described as a timeless textbook based on a wider and richer curriculum and scope, with both students of poetry at all levels and creative writers in mind.”

Presently, what is left to be done to get the manuscript finally completed is the glossary of terms and index.

Of course, the hunt for a good academic publisher starts now. According to the poet who got a Honourary Mention in the ANA NDDC/Gabriel Okara Prize for his debut Colourless Rainbow, “Painfully, the last time Academic Press, Lagos indicated interest in publishing the old “Spirit of Poetry” in September 2005, the two-year-UME-syllabus-based text had till 2007 to remain relevant to the target market. Meanwhile, it couldn’t wait till the time the publishing house had required to include it in their publishing budget. This time, with the wider scope of the work, that limitation of time has been greatly taken care of.”

The manuscript of the new book, “Complete Poetry for Students and Writers” is written by Senator Ihenyen. One of the new voices in Nigerian poetry, Senator Ihenyen’s experience as a practicing poet and volunteer tutor in English Literature courses has provided the author with the resourcefulness and ability to embark on writing this textbook. At the University of Benin, Benin City, the former two-time President of Golden Minds Nigeria, a youth empowerment initiative, was widely known for teaching courses such as Introduction to Poetry, Introduction to Drama and Oral Literature as a volunteer tutor for five years. His teaching materials are still being used today by students of Law and English Language at the University.