If life was a Woman

Posted: May 31, 2013 in poems, poetry
Tags: , , , , ,
culled from photobucket

Life is a woman

If life was a woman;
She would feed you all you need to grow into what you want to be
She would have oceans and rivers of tears to melt even the hardest heart
She would have forests of Brazilian, Peruvian and Jamaican hair on mother earth
She would starve some parts of earth to be deserts, fill others and make them Asia

Life being the woman she is;
Will only reflect the love you show her
Will never get man to understand her and how to be happy
Will crack and haemorrhage within every cycle of the howling wolf causing disaster
Will leave you when she is fed up and her mind is made up irrespective of what you do

Life as a woman;
Will be furious to snuff out all traces of existence like Jody Aria when mocked
Will be the powerful Cleopatra, ruler of hearts and Kingdoms
Will have the seductive prowess of Helen of Troy and drag nations of men into war
Will have the heart of Mother Teresa to love and care for all human kind

If life was the woman we want her to be;
She will be as beautiful as the morning sun
She will be a Queen adorned with all the diamonds in Sierra Leone
She would be fruitful and fill the surface of the earth with her offspring
She would seduce and conquer death and we would live happily ever after in the garden

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I thought I had slept all night but one hour it was. The chime of the clock added one second making it the second hour into a new day. And I am here sitting upright. As if tapped into life. I had to take a second look at where my head laid a few minutes ago to ensure I wasn’t a ghost because it felt like a choking resuscitation. It was almost like a tap on my oblongata. I wonder if that’s the part of the brain where sleep resides. I look around and see my shadow. At least, I am not a ghost.

An itch and a half stifled yawn make me more conscious. So it is not the after life either. Relief. Yet I wonder, why did I wake up. It is just a misfit like this line here. It refused to digest. Why did I wake up? I felt like there was a book glued to the right side of my brain. The words are in there but won’t just sink. My head now I can touch but the book is gone. It feels like I have gone off the boat into the endless shoreless ocean. I guess I must have tipped. And gone into the beyond. Life? Sobriety? Sanity? Reality? Sleep? Dream? Illusion? Death? What? This strange floating feeling of euphoria. Growing from my guts to the tip of every single nerve in me. Keeping me above and in space. The only certainty is something has to give way. Gravity or weightlessness! Body or soul. Life or death. One has to let go. But wait, there is no weight and there is no gravity. What will give in? I can’t be here for long. It is too unfamiliar. No one seems to be here. No friends. No ghosts either. No treasures to steal. Nothing appeals. No thrills. It is numbness of mind and body. It almost feels like absence of spirit.
If only I could find the book. It might give further insight. Where is this place? I ask again. Its probably the realm where creativity begins. It is probably the home of ingenuity or insanity. This feeling of hollow emptiness. No thirst or craving. I can’t be here long. I have to leave. I have to sleep. I need to wake up. Is this an alien mind invasion? I have to set myself free from this state of complete delirious delusion. From a distant far, I heard the voiceless voice of the clock. The chime pushed another second into history. As if on cue the nasty wake-up buzzer tore through the silent chaos.

To be continued…

In our everyday lives, we do or say things and then realise, ‘oops I shouldn’t have done or said that’. An awkward moment can be defined as that embarrassing sixty seconds of our lives that always feels like eternity. For some awkward reason, it always has to do with people. In my work life, I have had a few of these embarrassing moments that never leave one’s memory. I have learnt from some of these which I am going to share some of them with you here.

A few years ago I started a training company and I was introduced to the HR director of one of the top mortgage banks in Nigeria. Fortunately I was invited for a meeting with her which I travelled down to Abuja to meet her. I was properly dressed knowing that I had to at least look good. I got my friend to act as my driver and he took me to the company headquarters.
In no time, I finished going through security checks and was taken to the board room. After a few minutes the HR director walked in with a note pad in hand and her assistant tailing behind. After all the pleasantries she explained that she has been approached by another training provider and she mentioned his name. He has been in the business long before I started. She then asked me to justify why she should go with me. After all my debates, she seemed satisfied at least. She then went on to start talking about something on education. Considering the fact that I was an ‘expert’ in the education sector and I was feeling elated that I had impressed them, I felt I had to correct her. So I managed to rewind the conversation to that point, just to prove my expertise and prove her wrong. As soon as i said, ‘no, you are wrong’ I noticed that they exchanged glances. And I knew, I had blown it. So the expert immediately became a fool. I immediately learnt my first big lesson not just in business but in life as a whole. Never tell someone directly he or she is wrong. Especially not in front of the person’s subordinates. No matter how right you are or how knowledgeable you are.

My second experience was about 5 years ago while I sat at a dinner with the Ambassador to Nigeria of one of the EU countries. As with such gatherings, everyone is expected to make an input into the conversation. So I listened and was waited for an opportunity to contribute. The conversation managed to steer towards education and I picked it up and talked about the rot in the education system in Nigeria and the table went silent. The silence seemed to go on forever. In trying to salvage what ever was left of myself, I tried to praise Her Majesty’s government’s projects that we were carrying out to develop the education sector but the harm had already been done. I wanted to disappear. The fantastic dinner turned sour all the way into my stomach. I immediately hated myself for accepting to attend the event. My ever self critical mind was quick to remind me at this point that this man is a Diplomat. He definitely wont be found close to such discussions. You know what they say about diplomacy being the ability to tell you to go to hell and you will willingly go? I learnt how to sound diplomatic that night. I learnt to always talk positive. No matter how bad a situation, person or thing, there will always be a silver lining. Try to look for it. If you don’t find, shut up. A wise man once said never complain, criticize or condemn. Besides, it is better for people to think you a fool than to open your mouth and clear all doubts.

The third scenario was at another dinner with a particular Monarch from the Western part of Nigeria. One of the guests at the table went on and on and on and on about how much the North lags behind in terms of education. He supported his argument with a story on how only 20 people passed the final school examination in a particular Northern state versus the over 200 people that passed the same exams in his village. He talked about how the Northerners were getting into universities and securing jobs without meeting the entry requirements. Despite the fact that I was from the North, I knew any confrontation would only escalate the situation. I could only sit and swallow. I had to suppress the strong urge of reminding him that the richest black man alive is not just from the North but also a Hausa man. Eventually the host calmed him down. He said things are changing in Nigeria and it is just a matter of time everything will ‘self correct’. Do you know what they say about throwing stones in the market place? One of the things I have learnt working with people from different races and cultures organisations is never to be stereotypical. From his words, I was able to tell that he has never been to the North. In as much as I tried to reason with his ignorance, I also concluded that he definitely won’t grow beyond his current position, if at all. At least I get to hit back on him here.

In all the above scenarios, there might not be an opportunity for a second first impression. I have not missed the lessons though. I definitely won’t make the same mistakes. I have also learnt that people are forgiving and can give you another chance. As you network your way to the top, I will say immerse yourself as much as possible in such awkward situations, make the mistakes and learn from them. See you there!

The World ends today.

Posted: December 21, 2012 in ...life and living., issues.

The twelfth day of the twelfth month in the twelfth year
after 2000 AD is the last in a series of synchronised dates which
started on January 1st, 2001. This is the
last synchronised date in most of our lifetimes except if you are
‘mega lucky’ to live until the first of January, 2101. Today being
2012, 2012 might also have some significance if you choose to do
something memorable. Tomorrow, 21st of
December, 2012 might mark the end of the world or the beginning of
another as predicted by the ancient Mayan people of Mexico. The
controversial Mayan doomsday prophecy has made them quite popular
and elicited a lot of panic buying of candles and salts in various
parts of the world by people who subscribe to the belief. There
have been many other predictions associated with the end of this
form of life and probably the transition to another based on
different calendar date calculations and religious beliefs. Science
has continued to question the possibility of life after this life
and the possibility of a paradise as taught by various religions.
Death is the single common denominator we all share irrespective of
colour, creed, race, wealth, education, position or location.
Despite this, we are mostly never prepared for the inevitable exit.
Life always has a way of making us feel so alive that death enjoys
springing up its ugly bitter surprise. The award winning Dido’s has
a song titled ‘life for rent’ is one of my favourite songs. She
enforces the fact that we never really own anything while on earth
including life itself. The rebellious, ever-creative and innovative
human mind is and has been seeking for ways to not only create life
itself but to also own this rented life. That way, we can stay here
infinitely or for one eternity at least. A lot of interesting
researches have been carried out on longevity. Speaking for
myself and the few open people I know around me, we are yet to see
the fruits of these scientific advancements, if any. It is probably
the exclusivity of a very few ‘super humans’ or ‘demigods’ as they
will most likely want to be addressed. The Bible records the oldest
man that ever lived to 946 years was Methuselah. Events, human
activities, time, technology, fate or even an almighty deity might
have now reduced this to be about 122 years for the French lady,
Jeanne Clement who died on August 4, 1997. Death used to be very
much associated with old age. It used to be a taboo for young
people to die especially if by unnatural means. The Yoruba culture
in Nigeria still considers it unacceptable for parents to bury
their children so much that the parents are not supposed to even
know the grave site. Amidst all these, an old wise man once said we
start living when we know some day we will be no more. The Bible in
Psalm 90 verse 12 considers numbering our days as a step towards
wisdom. The wise and great innovator, the late Steve jobs made a
celebrated speech at Stanford University to the graduating class of
2005. For me the most intriguing part of the speech which I have
etched in my heart focuses on life and living. He said “remembering
that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever
encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost
everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of
embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face
of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that
you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of
thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There
is no reason not to follow your heart. …Stay hungry. Stay
foolish.” Considering that life is still rented (at least in our
lifetime) and we are here but for a while, I guess we have to plan
towards an exit even as we live fully and excitedly. Until some or
one of these prophesies eventually comes to life and we are all no
more, we will continue living. So with each new dawn come thanks
and the question what if today was my last. With each to do list
ask, identify the things we need to cover and how even if you make
an exit. It means we have to evaluate each activity to ensure that
it is worth the precious little moments. One day, one activity at a
time. We have to ensure that relationships and interactions might
be the last with each encounter. We have to ensure that there is a
continuity plan if we exit at any point. Continuity is actually one
step towards immortality. At least that way, we actually own the
life we have and every passing moment. That way we are at least
able to dent the earth even if we can’t displace it during our
sojourn. And to all our lost loved ones, you will continue to live
in our hearts.

My Brand New Ferrari

This is probably the most daring write I am ever going to attempt because it has to do with relationships. I am definitely not an expert in this field from the results of my past relationships. Relationships here specifically refer to a man and a woman in love. Secondly I haven’t nurtured any to fruition. This of course means marriage. This might be as a result of so many reasons or if you prefer excuses, which includes age. A senior friend once informed me of a young man who claimed to be a marriage counsellor and yet has never once been married. Except by some special anointing no one will take his counselling serious, not even with a pinch of salt. On the other hand I might be qualified to talk about this issue as a result of the more than my fair share of experiences that I have had with relationships and I have sucked in all of them.

My friend recently met a soul mate and they have been deeply all over each other. They are so much a perfect match that 2 weeks into their meet they kind are kind of inseparable and completely dependent on each other. I know these two people and they have confessed to be very much at home with each other. My friend told me that he is head over heels in love with this girl, wants to keep her and plans to take her to his family. He said he doesn’t want to lose her and is willing to do anything to keep her. And all the fairy tale  sweet nothings. So I decided to come up with this lesson for him.

A man’s car is something likened to his wife especially if he is unmarried. Men generally invest so much time in reading about this usually first prized or rather priceless possession before lavishing funds into acquiring one. On purchasing the car we try to take care of the car as much as possible and it is usually our first priority as men. This can be likened to women though not as easy and manageable. It is usually advisable to identify the kind of person you want. This is sometimes not the case as love and other factors could cover some things as well as open uncover other things. As soon as you get to meet this person, you are challenged with the task of keeping and maintaining the relationship which can be likened to the same way we care for our cars.

This stage which could be pre, into or post marriage, as far as I am concerned, remains the most challenging part. On a car it might be as easy as taking insurance in the case of extremities such as the ostentatious accident which involved 12 luxury cars worth about $4m in Japan. It is only typical that such cars will be insured and the owners will only be happy for the insurance company to pay for the damages. The question now comes to how do we insure our relationships? I should probably start a relationship insurance company where you get paid for losing your partner. The spoils can be used on a holiday or an investment that will help victims recover faster. My dear friend might be my first customer in any case and the next person might be you reading this article.

On a more serious note though, I advised my friend to imagine he has just purchased a Ferrari which of course he cannot afford. Not even in the next lifetime. Considering the fact that it’s a relationship he cherishes so much, he should invest his time into reading books and materials on how to manage relationships. He nagged about these books being applicable to Western culture only. While this is true, we can learn to look beyond cultural differences as even the local books and materials will only put things from their own perspectives and we have to contextualize it to our personal situations. I believe in as much as love is universal, no two relationships are the same. He should also spend as much time as he can with his other half studying and trying to understand her and how best to make things work. That way he knows when and where to service the relationship and the frequency just like the Ferrari. He knows what roads to thread and how to handle the car to ensure optimal performance. He can use the good times to plan for the bad times. In order not to take things too far, I understand you special racing driving lessons from experts to enjoy the thrills of driving a Ferrari. Therefore if you really cherish the relationship, invest your time and money and earn the licence.

Lost without You

Posted: September 4, 2012 in ...life and living.
Tags: , , ,

Your eyes tell a thousand tales
A promise unravelled
A book unwritten
A story unheard
Joy unknown

A song I can’t even hum to
It has a thousand tunes
it hits conflicting notes in my spine
my ribs string to the melody
yet My heart misses the rhythm

Staring into you
Lost in the sands of time
at the end of the puzzle
I discover a future unknown
A happy ever after foretold
My soul revels and dances to the beat

Over the last few days I have had a lot of time to think, reflect and write. I was initially worried because I thought I had lost all of my writing ability. If at all I had any. In my mind I do. At least genetically. Thanks to my Dad who has authored a couple of books. Some have been published while others may never see the light of day. He is blessed with the gift of writing or if you prefer, he has mastered the art. Forget childhood heroes I still think he sounds and speaks very much like the great Wole Soyinka. My Dad is one of those people who are more English than the English. They speak with such confidence and eloquence they make you love the language. They ‘proof read/listen’ at every instance even without making any effort. The kind of people that easily get irritated listening to ‘us’ speak. ‘Us’ here refers to the new generation. Sadly, I am already ageing out of this category called New Generation. This is discourse for another day. For now, I am glad I can still coordinate a few thoughts and structure them into words. I guess a little time off, a couple of heartbreaks, an over dose of drugs and a couple of other things combined to help me overcome the prolonged writer’s block. Just stay tuned and you will get all the details.

By Jean Herskovits

GOVERNMENTS and newspapers around the world attributed the horrific Christmas Day bombings of churches in Nigeria to “Boko Haram” — a shadowy group that is routinely described as an extremist Islamist organization based in the northeast corner of Nigeria. Indeed, since the May inauguration of President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the Niger Delta in the country’s south, Boko Haram has been blamed for virtually every outbreak of violence in Nigeria.

But the news media and American policy makers are chasing an elusive and ill-defined threat; there is no proof that a well-organized, ideologically coherent terrorist group called Boko Haram even exists today. Evidence suggests instead that, while the original core of the group remains active, criminal gangs have adopted the name Boko Haram to claim responsibility for attacks when it suits them.

The United States must not be drawn into a Nigerian “war on terror” — rhetorical or real — that would make us appear biased toward a Christian president. Getting involved in an escalating sectarian conflict that threatens the country’s unity could turn Nigerian Muslims against America without addressing any of the underlying problems that are fueling instability and sectarian strife in Nigeria.

Since August, when Gen. Carter F. Ham, the commander of the United States Africa Command, warned that Boko Haram had links to Al Qaeda affiliates, the perceived threat has grown. Shortly after General Ham’s warning, the United Nations’ headquarters in Abuja was bombed, and simplistic explanations blaming Boko Haram for Nigeria’s mounting security crisis became routine. Someone who claims to be a spokesman for Boko Haram — with a name no one recognizes and whom no one has been able to identify or meet with — has issued threats and statements claiming responsibility for attacks. Remarkably, the Nigerian government and the international news media have simply accepted what he says.

In late November, a subcommittee of the House Committee on Homeland Security issued a report with the provocative title: “Boko Haram: Emerging Threat to the U.S. Homeland.” The report makes no such case, but nevertheless proposes that the organization be added to America’s list of foreign terrorist organizations. The State Department’s Africa bureau disagrees, but pressure from Congress and several government agencies is mounting.

Boko Haram began in 2002 as a peaceful Islamic splinter group. Then politicians began exploiting it for electoral purposes. But it was not until 2009 that Boko Haram turned to violence, especially after its leader, a young Muslim cleric named Mohammed Yusuf, was killed while in police custody. Video footage of Mr. Yusuf’s interrogation soon went viral, but no one was tried and punished for the crime. Seeking revenge, Boko Haram targeted the police, the military and local politicians — all of them Muslims.

It was clear in 2009, as it is now, that the root cause of violence and anger in both the north and south of Nigeria is endemic poverty and hopelessness. Influential Nigerians from Maiduguri, where Boko Haram is centered, pleaded with Mr. Jonathan’s government in June and July not to respond to Boko Haram with force alone. Likewise, the American ambassador, Terence P. McCulley, has emphasized, both privately and publicly, that the government must address socio-economic deprivation, which is most severe in the north. No one seems to be listening.

Instead, approximately 25 percent of Nigeria’s budget for 2012 is allocaated for security, even though the military and police routinely respond to attacks with indiscriminate force and killing. Indeed, according to many Nigerians I’ve talked to from the northeast, the army is more feared than Boko Haram.

Meanwhile, Boko Haram has evolved into a franchise that includes criminal groups claiming its identity. Revealingly, Nigeria’s State Security Services issued a statement on Nov. 30, identifying members of four “criminal syndicates” that send threatening text messages in the name of Boko Haram. Southern Nigerians — not northern Muslims — ran three of these four syndicates, including the one that led the American Embassy and other foreign missions to issue warnings that emptied Abuja’s high-end hotels. And last week, the security services arrested a Christian southerner wearing northern Muslim garb as he set fire to a church in the Niger Delta. In Nigeria, religious terrorism is not always what it seems.

None of this excuses Boko Haram’s killing of innocents. But it does raise questions about a rush to judgment that obscures Nigeria’s complex reality.

Many Nigerians already believe that the United States unconditionally supports Mr. Jonathan’s government, despite its failings. They believe this because Washington praised the April elections that international observers found credible, but that many Nigerians, especially in the north, did not. Likewise, Washington’s financial support for Nigeria’s security forces, despite their documented human rights abuses, further inflames Muslim Nigerians in the north.

Mr. Jonathan’s recent actions have not helped matters. He told Nigerians last week, “The issue of bombing is one of the burdens we must live with.” On New Year’s Eve, he declared a state of emergency in parts of four northern states, leading to increased military activity there. And on New Year’s Day, he removed a subsidy on petroleum products, more than doubling the price of fuel. In a country where 90 percent of the population lives on $2 or less a day, anger is rising nationwide as the costs of transport and food increase dramatically.

Since Nigeria’s return to civilian rule in 1999, many politicians have used ethnic and regional differences and, most disastrously, religion for their own purposes. Northern Muslims — indeed, all Nigerians — are desperate for a government that responds to their most basic needs: personal security and hope for improvement in their lives. They are outraged over government policies and expenditures that undermine both.

The United States should not allow itself to be drawn into this quicksand by focusing on Boko Haram alone. Washington is already seen by many northern Muslims — including a large number of longtime admirers of America — as biased toward a Christian president from the south. The United States must work to avoid a self-fulfilling prophecy that makes us into their enemy. Placing Boko Haram on the foreign terrorist list would cement such views and make more Nigerians fear and distrust America.

Jean Herskovits, a professor of history at the State University of New York, Purchase, has written on Nigerian politics since 1970.

Source: http://saharareporters.com/article/boko-haram-not-problem-jean-herskovits

Reawaken

Posted: January 3, 2012 in ...life and living., poems
Tags:

Every time I close my eyes

I hear you call out my name

I taste your lips on mine

I feel your touch all over me

I inhale you in every breath

 

Every time we are apart

I call out your name a thousand times

I miss u with every inch of me

I smell u in every breath

 

As I draw you into my arms

I taste you as my lips form an arc around you

I reach for every inch of you all in one grasp

I feel your body melt into mine

We no longer have control as every move feels magical

We take in each other as if life itself depends on it

 

Our bodies fall into a fluid melodious motion

Our breath become rhythmic as time decides to freeze

We gasp for air and each other in the same breath

Our fusion creates bursts of energy taking us into oblivion

Our senses are dulled and numbed by the resulting eruption

We crescendo into a speechless and breathless state of satisfaction

We are held spellbound by eyes staring into each other

 

I feel my lips spread out into a smile reflecting the smile on yours

Even with my eyes now open

I hear your voice in my voice

I taste your lips on mine

I take you in with every breath

You reawaken me

 

(NAH, 2011)

Don’t grow up I tell you it’s a trick
The balloon of youth it pricks
Trust me when I say it is
For that is what it really is

Don’t grow up I tell you it’s a trap
And then it comes with all the crap
It rips you off the youthful innocence
And afterall this where lies the essence

Don’t grow up I tell you for what is life without the carefree thrills
There really isn’t any fun without the frills
Lots of hard painful lessons to be learned
Loads of ripe sweet blessings to be shared

but we all must grow up as the creator wishes
You don’t always have to take what life dishes
You can decide to be tough as irons
Or soft as nylons

In the end I say to you life is always worth living and what you make of it.

(Yetunde Kowontan, 2012)