BASSEY! 

P-raise de Lort! P-raise de Lort!! Let us pray.The Molue bus kept making loud rickety sounds and incessant blaring of the horn by the driver didn’t stop Bassey’s voice from ringing in every pair of ear in the yellow bus. Everyone’s eyes in the Molue was now fixed on Bassey, the bus preacher. His grey shirt and tattered bible made him look more of a jester than of a preacher. Almost all the passengers bowed to pray, the bus conductor kept shouting “Yaba! Palmgroove! Onipanu!” he was holding on lazily to a brownish metal across the door and it seemed he might fall off anytime. 

Thank you Gee-sus for all of ya shidren in de bus, may your name be p-raised, the Bible says your shidren shall gather together…. Thank you Jesus because we are gathered in this bus. In Jesus name we have pray! The bowed heads were raised up as they said a Lazy Amen over the conductor’s Yaba! Palmgroove! Onipanu! Shout. A baby started crying not too far from Bassey and he waited for the young mother to start breastfeeding before he started preaching. His clothes looked like a deserter’s and his speech came with a humorous underlay. 

Bassey opened his tattered bible which was actually held-a-piece by stickers of different churches and those of prophetic words like “I shall not die but live”. The man sitting directly in front of Bassey as he preached had a lot of spittle off Bassey’s mouth on his whole existence, but he did not want to interrupt the gospel or offend the man of God, he took his plight in good faith. 

Bassey skirted his whole sermon around cheerful giving, making instances of the biblical story of Abraham and the Angels, he also talked about the young boy that gave Jesus is five loaves of bread, Bassey even found a way to relate this story with a school boy that just bought a sausage roll from a hawker through the window. Everybody laughed at his holy joke, even the driver with his deep Ibadan tribal marks had a curve on his mouth. One would never know they had a fight over pay just this morning before he let Bassey use his bus for the missionary job of the day. 

The thing about Bassey is that, he is one of the very few professionals in the Transportation Gospel business. He does his business with a lot of diligence, he doesn’t short-change his carriers. He even acts as assistant conductor some of the time, announcing each bus stop between his sermon. 
Bassey’s daily routine is a very stereotypical one. He wakes up as early as 4:30AM before there is much vehicular movement in the Maryland Tunnel bridge. He cleans up with sachet water just beside where he sleeps or on other days he goes to the nearby church to use their bathroom. Since the exist of the gateman at the Church of the Saints, he resorted to sachet water. The new Yoruba gateman doesn’t allow him unless he is ready to drop something. If only he knew Bassey himself has a mobile church he runs. 

Bassey moves around with his Ghana-must-go bag that contains all of his belongings. He had a few number of shirts he either got from his scavenger flat mate or the ones he picked off other people’s cloth line when he isn’t preaching the word of God, he calls these shirts “Ble-zzing of de Lort”. 

Bassey usually found a carriage for the day before it was 6AM. Regular commuters on Ikorodu road knew Bassey, their favorite bus preacher, who was a comic relief to many, he eases them off the Lagos stress with his deep Efik laced English and his funny over-sized or under-sized shirts. Some passengers even gave him as much as 500 Naira after he was done preaching, not because he was a fire preacher but because of the free to air comedy they get from Bassey. The conductor and driver usually had an eye on Bassey, taking mental notes of all the Naira bills that laced his hands. 

Once, when Bassey just started his ministry, he made so much that the driver and conductor allowed him to sleep on the floor of the Molue only for him to wake up to an empty treasury. Maybe he wanted to fight, but it was going to give him a bad reputation amidst the drivers and will be bad for business, or maybe it was because he woke to the driver and his friends smoking Igbo he resorted to the path of peace, we don’t know. Moreso Men of God do not hassle with flesh and blood. He moved on anyway.

All was going well for Bassey this particular Monday, it was one of the days you get good response from passengers. Everyone looks forward to a productive week, what better way to be blessed than through the messenger of our Lord Jesus? Even the conductor hailed Bassey after the second trip “Pasito nla, twale! Owo meji fun enikan” all in the bid to get extra 50 Naira from him later on. 
It was on the fourth ride that the day became the one the Yoruba people will call “Bad day, Devil drank water” 

The bus was already at Palmgroove bus stop, some passengers alighted while some new ones boarded the bus down to Yaba. Bassey upped his game, and crafted a new joke for the pleasure of the latest members of the congregation. It thrilled them and everyone was either smiling or making a funny face. 

Like the way rain falls sometimes without foretelling, or when you are taking in fresh air and someone else’s fart destroys the zephyr. A man who looks like he is in his mid-thirties stood up from the back and walked to the front of the Molue, almost to the point where Bassey usually stood. He stood first as if he was going to signal the conductor for his change. He looked at Bassey very deeply, Bassey was too engrossed in the word of God, he didn’t notice the person staring at him. 

It was the police officers at the checkpoint just before Jibowu that saved Bassey from the hands of this man and Bassey’s supposed congregation. They had pummeled his face. Slaps and blows from young and old, even the conductor joined in at a point, the driver didn’t stop the Molue to help out, instead he kept driving like nothing was happening till the Police officers stopped them. The “No padi for jungle” inscription on the Molue made more sense now.

Wetin happen? Why una dey beat am? The light skin police Officer said, his name boldly written on his badge as Cletus Ekpeyong, his supposed black uniform a bit more of brown due to long years of serving the officer. He adjusted his gun to scare the passengers away from Bassey as he came down from the bus with a swollen face, blood dripping from his nose and lips. The wonderful Ikorodu road preacher beaten to shreds, the “I shall not die but live” sticker that held his bible together was off and pages of the holy book spread on the floor of the grubby interior of the Molue.
Officer, tell am make he give us our money back the young woman that had the crying child shouted as she adjusted her head wrap ready for a fight. The other police officers rallied around Officer Ekpeyong and they calmed the situation by bringing Bassey forward, hitting him with their guns without being apprised of his offense. 

Officer Ekpeyong asked again “Wetin he do una? “ passengers shifted back, no one wanted to enter this trap of the Nigeria police. The man who started the whole katakata stepped forward, his top button now off, and sweating profusely. “Oga mi, shun sir! Na so I enter bus from Palmgroove say make I land for Yaba, ma him I see this Oporoko dey preach dey lie to people when be say the cloth wey him wear, na steal he steal am”. He said stuttering a little bit at some point. Officer Ekpeyong looked at Bassey closely after the accusations, the face looked familiar, he was sure he knew him from somewhere. “Wetin be your name? He asked” Bassey he replied amidst tears. The officer tried to add one and two, he was sure he knew him from somewhere. 
But how you take know say na your cloth? Officer Ekpeyong asked the man. My oga, na my work cloth. He moved forward and showed the blue and yellow badge ontop of the breast pocket. Bassey looked at it too like he was seeing it for the first time. Na only six of us get am for my work, I wash am put for outside na him I no see am again for the next morning he said the woman’s baby began crying again, the passengers clapped their hands in amazement, women hissing, men murmuring. They were furious their preacher comedian was a fraud afterall, he betrayed them all. Officer Ekpeyong asked Bassey his side of the story, but tears rolled down his lean cheeks instead. You go follow us go station oga, we need make you write statement” the officer told The man that owned the shirt. It was at this point most of the passengers started looking for another means of getting away from the scene fast. The other police officers held the driver and conductor. Their meal ticket for the day. 

Officer Ekpeyong was very calm and it was rare to find such calm behavior in a Police officer. He led both Bassey and the accuser of the brethren into the back of the Police van parked underneath the bridge. He sat close to both of them and it was written all over his face that he was still searching for where he knew Bassey from. Two of the officers jumped into the van with them, and the other two boarded the Molue and they were all on their way to the Police station.
Bassey! Wey my money? !!! Officer Ekpeyong finally lost his calm. 

Ojú l’ásán O sé se Wèrè

Àkànní’s palmwine is the King’s delight
The bringer of humor and life into the King’s chamber
 Àkànní never disenchants the king
He never tastes of his own brew, but he loves the art of tapping for the King’s helm
Àkànní Olope, the master of the palm tree
The master of the Wine, the master of the King.
Àdùké is the King’s court entertainer
Her waist beads the king’s ecstasy
Her anklets like the rattling of a Snake in the sand dunes of the North
The thoughts of Her oblong face keeps the King warm through the night.
The harmony between her feet and the loamy earth keeps royalty on the edge of his throne
Her bosom a delight to his loins
She never looks him in the eye
She let her feet into lips that mutter beauty as she moves them to the percussion of the night
Àkànní’s palmwine is bliss this dusk
Àdùké’s beads red as palm oil
Her face shone in the moonlight like fresh milk from the cattle
A little more palmwine in the King’s gourd
A little closer Àdùké gets to the King’s chamber
A little closer Àdùké got to the king’s bed
A little farther the spying moon moves in the skies
Not only Àkànní’s palmwine intrigues the king tonight
A gourd of wine and his Aládùké  to dine
Àdùké temi nikan
Warming the bed of the king
Fury and revenge fills the heart of Akanni
He has watched the covetous eyes of the Kings on his woman.
Seasons are born and Seasons die,
The pain he carried around him like a gourd
The king owns all, not his Aládùké
What Madness is it to confront a king?
What cowardice is it look at your property mauled by another?
He remembers the proverb of his father Àjàní
Ojú l’ásán O sé se wèrè (Madness cannot be displayed with normalty)
A gourd of his wine down the throat and two and three
The spying moon, shy of the happenings hides itself in the clouds
The stars travel afar into the Northern skies
Àkànní brandishes his cutlass as if a hoe
And his mind on the King’s head, a yam due for harvesting

Àkúdàáyà

 She roams the earth one last time
With foot bare and a face of sorrow
Her skin glows,
Like a newly polished calabash.
She is locked out of the afterlife
Her place in life sold to death
She makes her last journey with others like her on the street of red soil
Her beloved’s face to behold again
With a little veil she shields her face from mortality
She makes way for the River bank
A last splash of cool evening wind thumped her face
She smiled for the cool wind reminded her of her lover’s warm embrace 
There at the River bank they shared a fruit in her third life
Their vows they speak to heart
Their love they interwoven in their fingers
Dusk creeped in
It was time to make the final Odyssey 
Like a mirage, he watched her walk back onto the street of red soil
He waved her goodbye, lost of the notion it was his last
A wryly smile in the corner of her lips and tears in her eyes
She waved a distant goodbye
Her last grasp of mortality
Her last feel of love
In the after life,
She would tell them of her stint by the River bank
With lavish smiles,
She would remind them how beautiful love is
She would let them know how good the red soil made her feet feel.
In our world, it is still gnashing of teeth
And biting of tongue
In our world, she is lowered beneath the red soil to be seen no more
In our world it is a tale of a Young man with whom love has made Mad
In our world, It is a race for whom is farther from the River bank.
In our world, we remain as a blind squirrel running the street of red soil.
Maybe the day after forever, our eyes will be broad to the many frittered nuts.

Skies Of Grey

  

 Skies of Grey

Devoid of silver linings

Lightnings and Hail 

No twinkle little star
Prejudiced  patches of cloud
Hovering and pacing through the skies 
I get nervous at its sight
The skies as though holding so much in
So high up are the Skies of grey, yet trampled upon from down below
Tears it let down freely
Lightning and thunder
A loud sob to remember 
Sniffs and loud outburst
As the wind from the northern hemisphere 
Oh Skies of Grey!
Wipe your tears
Oh Skies of Grey!
I see a rainbow just beneath your eyelids
Oh Skies of Grey!
I see a golden sunshine just at the tip of your lips.
Oh Skies of Grey!
Listen to my song of goodbyes 
Oh Skies of Grey! 
Never to be seen again.
Welcome, Skies of Blue

Orchard of Little Sins #3

Orchard of Little Sins EP1
Orchard of Little Sins EP2
The yellow slit gown hung by the dressing mirror next to the only window in Nonye’s room was adorable, it was something that Chinonso got for Nonye on his last trip to Canada. Chinonso is a story for another day, have it on good note that he is like a brother to her. Nonye stood a few feet away from the gown looking at it with admiration and also as a plague. Her look reminds one of a scene from “the gods must be crazy” when Xixo found the coke bottle. She looked at the gown with so much admiration like it was worn by Charlize Theron on the Oscar’s red carpet. The thought of how good it will look on her gave her a tingle underneath her tongue. She had never put anything so revealing on and she didn’t even know how she was going to cross the river Jordan of mama or the wall of Jericho of her clergy dad sitting in the Living room listening to the evening broadcast on Channels TV. She took a deep breathe and decided to settle for something else. She checked the upper deck of her wardrobe and picked out a red top with little black polka dots, her heart dashed back to the gown, she knew she had to impress Dennis the Fashion savvy man who has been dropping a lot of hints lately. She knew his plan from when he first made that little cocky but well appreciated approach in his uncle’s phone shop in Yaba. She dismissed herself from her Wonderland after few days of reverie in the euphoria of what went down with Dennis on their first meeting, he wasn’t her type, he was way above her league and she knew well, but she loved his constant phone calls and his charming voice gets her head over heels by each decibel it hits her ear drum, she felt comfortable talking all midnight to him, he was like the gist partner she never had, he brought her out of her shell. Late night giggles and small talks once angered her dad and he ordered her to come downstairs for night vigil. Since she could stay on the phone all night talking to her friends, she can as well use that time to talk to God about getting a job he had said with irritation.

This was a dream come true for her, she had never been on a date before talk less of being in a relationship but here she is, a charming man. She imagined how Lola and Blossom her roomies during her Uni days would have taken it “Nonye don catch big fish” she imagined how Blossom would have had a cynical smile on as she muzzled those words out of her mouth and how Lola would have started making plans in her ever jolly self of how Dennis would take them all out to a fun spot in Sabo. She was not more in the Uni, but she had to keep this big fish of hers. She had to make sure he loves her. She made up a plan, she had a well of experience from all her eyes have seen back in Moremi hostel, she hasn’t spent more than two years away from the Uni, so she could recall a lot easily, Nonye isn’t even the type that forgets. She remembers the plate numbers of guys that come visiting her friends so how on earth would she forget Lola’s tales of sneaking out of her father’s house on some Friday nights when school was on vacation pretending and dressing up for vigil but ensuring her treasure chest of party clothes were kept safe in her father’s poultry just by the gate. She thought of a synonymous place to Lola’s dad poultry in her own father’s house, the only place close was the generator house that also served partly as the home incinerator. It was amidst her thoughts that Mama walked in without knocking, Nonye was engrossed in her plans that she didn’t hear Mama’s footsteps as she came up the stairs. She was doomed she thought. nwa m nwanyị this is a beautiful dress, who owns it?” Nonye’s  whole body was going to tell a lie except that her mouth disagreed and uttered “It is mine Mama” her heartbeat now so loud she thinks Mama could  hear it too. “Are you going out?” Mama asked as she continued to examine the dress. Before Nonye could decide between the easy lie or the fiery truth, Mama said softly “How old is the boy?” “where does he work?” “Is he Igbo?” “Have you had your bath?” Nonye’s mouth wide agape as her mother threw these surreal questions. Nonye thought she was in a trance or maybe she was even on set of a movie. Her own mother? Asking her these ridiculous questions? The same woman that flogged and humiliated her publicly when she heard she was at a boy’s house after school hours in her secondary school days. Her mother? The control freak that never lets her wear anything that reveals even her knees? Her own mother? All these thoughts raced through her mind like Usain Bolt on a hundred metre track. “Mama, I have a date, it is not far from the house here, I don’t know the answer to these questions, all I know is that the boy’s name is Dennis and he is doing  is housemanship in medical school, he will pick me up by 7:30. Even though Dennis already told her a lot about himself, she lied to her mother to get her off her back. Mama had a witty smile as her daughter divulged the little informations she had on him. Nwa you are a woman and you are not a kid anymore, I hope you are not going out there just to eat and talk about paintings? Please my daughter, time is not on the side of we women and here you are already twenty six years old” Mama left with her voice resonating in Nonye’s head. She had a habit of walking away while making her point, this way she thinks it will resound in the mind of the listener. Maybe she doesn’t necessarily need to hide the dress in the generator house anyway Nonye thought, since the River Jordan already parted itself and her wall of Jericho is well away in his night fetish of hiding away having devotion in his study.

Dennis arrived around quarter to seven, the sun had gone to bed and the moon was dressing up for the evening night out. His Black Mazda 626 didn’t sparkle as much as his pink shirt and white pants, he wore a white panama hat to accompany it. He punched his Trium phone making to call Nonye when Adim Nonye’s little brother stepped out with Ahmed the gate man holding the gate for him to pass through. He greeted Dennis warmly like a twenty years old boy, he was only fourteen . Nonye had planned with her little brother to meet up with Dennis as soon as he got to their gate to keep him outside away from Mama’s intimidation. Adim didn’t seem to like Dennis’ flashiness but he had to hold the forte for his big sister. Dennis kept asking him questions he intended not to give a reply. 

The pedestrian gate squeaked open and Nonye stepped out with her hair brushed back in a wavy carribean feel and a shy outlook to give the adorable  Yellow gown a quiet beauty . Dennis had a very weird sense of humor, sometimes painful humor but it sure makes you laugh. He exclaimed at the sight of Nonye, he had seen her just that once back in Yaba, but this second impression will linger for a long time. “You look very beautiful Nonnie” the name he loves to call her “Did the Reverend buy this sexy Yellow beauty for you?” he laughed in a cocky manner, Nonye managed a smile from the joke and Adim got that as a cue for him to take his leave, a smart boy that he is. Dennis moved over to the passengers side of the car and opened the door for her, she sat and dropped her brown purse on the cream coloured dashboard. Not like anything special was in the purse, but she knows every other girl has that to accompany her out. She was going to compliment his outfit when Mama opened the pedestrian gate and walked up to the car with Adim peeping behind her with the “Bursted!!” look on his face. Dennis alighted and greeted Mama like she was his own mother, speaking quality Igbo even better than the Lagos infiltrated Igbo Nonye speaks . She flashed him her usual witty smile “And you must be the Dennis? I have heard a lot about you from my darling daughter. Do enjoy yourselves and don’t be too long. Next time when we see we would talk very well di m” she talked rapidly and didn’t wait for Dennis to tell her his own lie of how much Nonye had told him about her or wait for Nonye to protest to her mild altercation of the truth before she made back for the gate with Adim making a swift run for the door.

*Phone beeps*

It was really a great dinner and night altogether. I would like to have more of this with you, not as a normal friend but as your special man. Nonye I love you and want you in my life. I will call you in the morning, sleep tight.

Nonye had that tingle under her tongue again, this weird man sent this text message to her after making her laugh and doing every other thing right except asking her to be the love of his life. Something he could have really asked her in person, something he could have asked while Whitney Houston’s “I will always love you” was playing over his car stereo, yet he chose this method. Maybe she should allow him beg a little? But she remembered her mother’s words “Time is not on a woman’s side” She picked up her phone and texted him back, she can’t let this one man slip away 

I equally enjoyed myself dear, even though I cook way better than the chef at  that restaurant. *giggles* When you call me in the morning, I will give you an answer. Thank you and good night…

Bed Time Thoughts

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All happened in my mind

We met at work

The first week, we said Hi! Hi! and that was it

The second week, she didn’t turn up. She was sick. I waited till the end of the week to get her number from our boss claiming I wanted to check on her but right then I knew it was a means to an end.

The third week, I placed a call through to her and we started talking. That was the beginning of our friendship

Midway through the week, we were already sending messages on a social app. I was using google and the few knowledge my mum had passed down to me about treating her ailment to get her confidence and I did a good job of it

The fourth week, she couldn’t wait to get back to work cos then, we were friends and we were already chatting like we’ve known each other forever

And finally, the fifth week

The first thing she ever told me in a heart to heart talk was that she did not exist. She told me she had a boyfriend but that things were fragmented between them and that for the past few weeks, I’ve usurped him. It was a beautiful lie, the truth buried deep inside. The truth was beautiful but not as beautiful as the lie

The first thing I ever told her was a reply to her beautiful lie. I told her she needn’t worry as she didn’t exist. I told her she was just another office worker that I stopped thinking about once I signed out of the office. It was a beautiful cheeky line. The truth, also buried deep inside. She did not exist so, why do I keep seeing her every time I close my eyes (till date)?

Cynics will always get it bad. I know I need to be in love, I know I want to be in love, I know I just want to love someone for a change. It’s just bad because it all happens in my head with her or so I thought
Maybe she doesn’t exist or maybe she does.…
Maybe she is just a distant memory I’m hopelessly trying to bring back.
I don’t care, I loved her…. I love her

Last night as I close my eyes, I saw her pointing excitedly at the spider building. She pulled me to the entrance and begged me to see the structural beauty of the building even if the lack of maintenance had robbed the building of its aesthetics. I smiled and shook my head. She turned and held my hands, looking into my dark face. I looked into her eyes and my reflection as a tiny twinkle. I was still smiling. I was in love with the building, I was just pretending. She begged me to come inside but then she caught a glimpse of her shadow and she knew immediately that it was late

This isn’t a lie, this really happened….
I prefer the lie so I’m going to lie about our visit to forks and fingers, her favourite restaurant

Pointing excitedly at the ice cream shop, she pulled me to the shop’s window and begged me to come inside with her. I smiled and shook my head. She begged me to come inside and eat some ice cream with her. She said it was going to be worth it. I said she did not exist, hence the ice cream did not exist and that everything was just my wild imagination. She said my mind was her amusement park and right now she wanted ice cream. I laughed and told her to go inside

The ice cream shop was small and it was all in my mind. I made two chairs appear on the far corner of the shop. There was no one in the shop so I held her close to me and looked through the different ice creams

Vanilla
Chocolate
Strawberry
Amala

She laughed and pushed me away. She asked why I had to create Amala-flavoured ice cream. I told her that my mind love a little dark humour and chocolate wasn’t dark enough. She pulled me out of the shop

The sky turned grey and rain started pouring melancholically. She asked me what was wrong. I said I just remembered I was a sad fellow. She held me and told me to kiss her. I kissed her. We kissed. The warmth from her lips gave me a kind of glow. It was as though the sun came out through her mouth and my tongue was the cloud giving way for it to shine. The rain stopped and birds sang songs from up in the trees. The sun was shining bright and our feet felt a little scorched

We were standing in her room, she hugged me and told me she loved my mind. I smiled and lifted her from her feet. She screamed happily as I swung her around. Her voice was the lead on the song the birds sang. The wall clock was the bass, my heart was the percussion beating rapidly. My mind was the stage, the audience and the applause that followed. I’ve landed my one and only

We fell to the bed and laughed. She told me she wished we could do this forever. I said I could but then I’d have to die. That way my eyes would be closed forever and my mind forever active. She smiled a sad smile and sighed. It started raining and through the open window, I could feel a few droplets. I would have sworn, the raindrops tasted like tears and the rain sounded more like a wail of a Scottish bag pipe

I told her I missed her.
I told her I loved her.
She told me she did not exist.
She was a beautiful lie.
I love it

I still do….

Continue reading

When Is Tomorrow?

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Though beautiful and adorned
A mannequin clothed in royal apparel can never become king
Until the apparel is worn on a befitting body.

I ask myself When will “Tomorrow” ever come?
A retrospect into past years
“The Leaders of Tomorrow” the title each and every kid had as an embroidery in their hearts
The ones who will take the nation to another phase, all they said we were
At the desk which we were given this title
Sits the same “king maker”
Without shifting an inch
How do we ever want to achieve “Tomorrow”?

When will Tomorrow come?
When all our youthful energy has been wasted on frivolities?
When another generation of future leaders are here?
When the “King Makers” destroy all the inheritance of the heir?
Are we not in an abyss of eternal mental slavery?

The heir to the throne is clothed in the apparel of a palace guard
And yes, the heir rejoices because he hasn’t realized he is “Tomorrow”
He is given weapons of war by the “king makers”
And he gladly uses it for his own destruction
He roams the streets, glad to “know” the king makers
Our freedom is fragile.
Our Ignorance a solid Rock