Black Lives (Nottingham Writers’ Studio): a collection of stories where ethnic minorities take the major roles. Written by a diverse range of 27 authors from around the globe their tales cross all genres while tackling issues of race, colourism and identity.
Happy to announce that I have officially published my first book titled HIS WORDS. HIS EMPIRE. HIS REIGN – now available on Amazon. Few words can truly describe the feeling – of being so raw and honest and vulnerable on paper – but that’s always been the beauty of poetry – it speaks for you and through you. Years of writing summarized in a few pages. Emotional roller-coasters and flowery sentences. Personification of the human soul and experience.
I saw fire latch onto his clothes as if it belonged to him. I saw smoke enter his lungs, denying him of life. I saw them throw petrol on his body. I saw his eyes intensify in pain as the fire grew. I saw his eyes tell a story no one listened to. I saw his body drop to the ground. I saw his hand reach out to the sky, as if heaven would open, and God would latch on to his soul, like fire did to his clothes. I saw his blood become one with the soil, as if it belonged there. I saw his body turn to ashes, except for the bones. I saw life and death in the singularity of a moment. I saw the police drive by, with sirens on their white Toyotas. I saw them salute the man who had started the beating. I heard the police say that was the rightful punishment.
For anyone that speaks against the government.
Piece inspired by: anyone who has fought for truth and freedom.
I know they segregated your mind to swag, hip-hop and culture. I know they taught you how to rap before you could read. I know your new album confirms your indoctrination. I know your high is not of God, but of the leaf. I know, deep down, that you believe. I know you lose sleep over the dreams you stopped chasing. I know the blood on your shirt means you pulled the trigger. Or is that from fighting the police? I know you sag your jeans as a metaphor. I know your self-esteem hangs much lower than that. I know your “drip” is an ocean of pretense. I know your “ice” is the element you traded your soul with. I know you know how to love a woman, but can’t afford to be seen as less of a man. I know they say black men make poor fathers. I know your father was hardly a man. How could he take care of two sons and his only daughter? I know you know, you can end the cycle. I know you know, that you can escape the prison bars of a limiting narrative. I know you know, because I am you.
I am sorry about your abuse. I am sorry that your uncles forced themselves into you. I am sorry you were too young to fight – too naive to recognize your captivity. I am sorry the bedroom walls turned to prison bars. I am sorry they took their turn on you. I am sorry your screams couldn’t shake the trauma — ricocheting back to your ears in surrender. Where was God then? Or Jesus? I am sorry you lost your faith before you even found it.
Your father chose not to believe you. Your father read the newspaper. As you knelt on the floor begging to be heard. Your father flipped the pages. As you spoke of his brothers. As you suffocated to the memories. Your loss of innocence. Your father jaded your soul. With his disbelief. Killing you softly. With his ignorance. Killing you softly. With his silence. Your father chose not to see the scars. Or the blood. Or the torn apart clothes. Or the arch in your back. Or the pain in your large, beautiful Yoruba eyes. Your father called you a “little whore” for lying. For speaking evil on his brothers. Your father. Your father taught you to apologize.
For being raped.
You found out, years later, that your father sold you. He said your body was never yours to begin with. He died without apologizing. He died, and you found the strength to attend his funeral. You refused to give the eulogy. You let the silence sit with his soul.
May his soul burn in eternal hell.
Your lover kisses your forehead. Your lover recites your name like a sensual poem. Akanni – your legs tremble. Akanni – your loins are filled with fire. Your lover kisses your lips. He knows your rhythm. Slow, yet intense. Your lover is a master at loving you. And you love that about him. He parts your legs. Gentle, yet firm. He caresses your thighs with his hands. Your chest arches. Consumed by desire. Consumed by fantasies about to be fulfilled. Yet. Yet you stop him. Before it goes too far. Before the pinnacle of lust. You tell him of your past. Of your uncles. Of your father. He knows. This not the first you have told him this. He knows. And he is tired. Of rejection. Of waiting. Of not being a father.
Your lover begins to rage. Fire rolls off his tongue. Like Satan’s wrath. You place your hand on his chest. You try to consul him. And gloriously fail. He… he calls you an “old whore”. A woman your age should be grateful to find someone – he says. He calls your body a graveyard. Of love. And hopes. And dreams. The bedroom walls turn to prison bars. Your lover escapes. And you remain captive – to a past you could not control.
To some, I am a man of charisma; the kind that stifles fear and electrifies the will.
To others, I am the biggest loser; the man with a balding sense of humour.
To the art of words, I am her brave Mister; the fool that tried to tame her and failed.
I do not claim that Poetry loves me in the same manner, but tis the love Shakespeare proclaimed.
A love affair with the sublime that only ends in one way: when the writer stops writing.
I was three when I first met my muse — my Juliette of poetry?
Sparks flew when she spoke in metaphors and I in broken vows and sentences.
I made a mockery of myself; what with the diaper and the lack of sophistication?
So I strengthened my acquisition with the world; I learnt the language of Men and Bots.
I went to pre-school.
I learnt to colour in between the lines to impress her. I was fervently in love with my muse, but I could not express her. I fell sick; my muse ignored me still.
From an early age to adolescent, I buried myself in television. I let the ambient box sing me to sleep. I let it erase my talents. I dragged through life and death — then back through life. I did things I would never trade my breath for — like learning to dance with both feet. The magic was missing. There was no thrill, no spunk.
If admitting that I cried means I’ll be stripped of my right to be a man, then set me free. I was revitalised of an energy I once knew; I was alive again. And I felt my muse blink.
Ever collapse to the sensation of being home after a long trip?
I felt the same; I felt the rush of belonging to something bigger than self — of belonging to Juliette.
I read more and she spoke a little louder. We dined over Jane Austen’s passages, laughed like children in Chuck Lorre’s ‘Vanity Cards’ and survived horrors in Stephen King’s ‘Nightmares and Dreamscapes’.
The more I marched over the terrains of literature, the closer I came to my muse.