City In The Dark

Lagos – dark

I wake up to the cries of my people,
Mental chains on our arms and feet;
The powers that be never fail to feed us lies and deceit.
Sickly children sucking on their dead mothers breasts;
Watch where you stand we’re in a state of unrest.

Bullets scattered across the city,
Blood flowing down the street;
We cry out to be heard, but we still suffer strife.
They still take our lives;
They still rape our wives
Even with bloody hands they still have the courage to deny.

Judgment has been set;
Know this you evil men.
The monsters you created will come and take your life.
Knock! knock!, this is death;
I hope you are prepared,
I have come to take it all away and there’ll be nothing left.

by Marvelous Ikpea

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This Lover of Mine


Dear Tunji,

I’m so sorry for you to go through this. There’s no easy way to say this so I’ll spit it out or rather write it out. I imagine you have one of those confused smiles on right now.  God, I really wish it hadn’t come this.

I’m in love with a woman.

Well I think she’s a woman, she can be such a ‘man’ at times but there’s so much elegance in her that is woman.

It really shouldn’t be so hard to believe. She’s in everything I do, she fills every breath I take and to be honest, I have loved her for much longer than I have loved you. She has had my whole life to worm her presence into my every step, making it a dance. She has caused so much commotion that her name is constantly a song on my lips. Her every move affects me, even when I try to ignore her, she plants her lips on me and changes my life. By God and man, I love her so much.

I tried to tell you of my love for her in secondary school, you laughed and ignored her like she was an imaginary friend. When we met again in the university, you kissed her name off my lips but she was the one I dreamt of when I fell asleep.

You’ve always hated her, said she was stinging with the bread called opportunity. You often cried out that the stench of corruption followed her around. You mocked her smile because her mouth was full of pot holes instead of perfect tarred roads. You laughed at her that her lights were more often off than on.

You looked away from her scars that were called poverty. You enjoyed when other men and women came to her with sweet cake filled with poisonous policies. You complained that crude oil that resided in her dimples was receding.

You went to visit another men and women when fiery militant ants climbed all over her face claiming that they owned her dimples while leaving injuries on her. You liked to look her breasts though. Remember when we fondled them together? Beautiful memories. Beautiful breasts. They are called the Idanre Hills.

Her hair is what I love the most about her. It’s treaded with over a thousand materials called ethnic groups. You hated how sometimes they got entangled and made her look ugly and hated even more when one thread tries to slip away and be alone. You always said they pissed you off, especially the thread that had this particular strong perfume that is quite distinctive.

I love the sounds she makes when I ride her. My favorite sounds are the screams of ‘Sabo, Yaba!’ ‘Dress for your brother’ ‘Conductor change’ ‘Okada no fall me down o’ I love her aromas, whether it’s her fart that comes from the unprocessed waste in her belly or the sweet smell of rain that rides on the breath from her mouth.

Even as much as I love her, I cannot possibly deny her madness. I am not blind to her afflictions. She is in the throes of a sickness and I cannot possibly leave her. I have tried to, you know I have. I often pack my bags and say I’m giving up but I just can’t. It’s not easy to love her, Tunji. Each time I don’t leave, I almost do.

I know you are tired of her. I can tell. Please don’t ask me if I love you. You know I do but you also know that a million times more, I love her, she’s my imperfect lover. She’s my Ife, my Nigeria. She’s the oxygen I breathe and I will keep breathing her in no matter the poison that fills my lungs.

You are finally done. You asked me to come with you, to leave this crazy lover that another named Nigeria. You tell me that we will go somewhere better but nowhere is better than here! Okay, I agree that’s quite debatable but here’s the thing Tunji, my darling, she calls to me. My body yearns to rub against her skin. In my dreams, I dream of her customs and beliefs. When I go into another woman, her arches and curves entice me to come back and lie in her arms.

I can hear your thoughts right now, you wonder why I want to stay with the woman with bleeding arms, smelling armpits, potholes for teeth, poverty as a tattoo and sunken dimples. The woman who makes strange noises, who let the treads of her hair strangle her, whose lights are almost always off instead of on, the one whose face has been scratched by the pens of politicians.

I can’t leave her to keep suffering, I must stay. I must stay to stanch her bleeding arms, to wash her body and spray a fresh smell all over her. I must stay to fill her potholes with tar, to wipe off the tattoo of poverty and refill her depleted oil wells called dimples. I will stay to rejoice in her sounds of delight and straighten out the treads of her hair. I choose to stay to make the electricity produced in her brain constant and give her face a complete makeover and to clothe her nakedness in the most beautiful robes.

I have been making vows to her since I was a child and so have you. I told her I would love her till the day I die, that I travel every inch of her beautiful body, that I will obey her call that I will serve her with love, strength and faith.


I intend to keep those vows; my question now is: are you?


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