Take Two Drawers

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Take two drawers,
And the top shelf too,
Some things are worth fighting over,
But my space belongs to you.

Put your shoes where you please,
Neatly beside mine or out of place,
The prints that matter are on my heart,
And (the ones your lips leave) on my face.

This air I breathe I share with you,
An uncommon honour I don’t deserve.
If you weren’t here, there’d be half of me,
Missing the part I’d die to preserve.

Take the drawers, you can have them all,
Even the closets, racks and window ledges.
Welcome home, this is where you belong,
Surround me, be curves to my rough edges.

See Finish: How Familiarity Kills Lovely Things

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If you forget that I’m a miracle, how will I excite? And if you become ordinary in my eyes, how will you delight?

By nature, a relationship demands (some kind of) exposure to be. It requires a baring of souls and lives for the ones involved to learn about each other, grow into each other and become comfortable.

But with exposure comes familiarity, and familiarity breeds contempt.

Or complacency, that unfortunate dust that settles on things left to settle; like a house kept shut and without the benefit of sunlight for so long that the treasures within begin to tarnish.

We become fixtures in each other’s lives and then we begin to forget:

1. The thrill of exploring a whole new world living and breathing in another person.

2. How we went from uncertainty to certainty about this person, and the joy that came with that knowing.

3. The simple pleasures of holding hands, wordless conversations, eating together and seeing each other after a long day apart.

4. The love of God expressed in Him, by His grace, giving us a co-burden bearer and a partner to face down life with.

5. Presence, that all-important thing that transcends being physically present.

Our phones begin to find their way out of our pockets when there are lulls in conversations, nimble fingers flying across screens as we swipe and tap our significant other into irrelevance.

“Sorry, what were you saying?”

Then they start living on the table, close enough to start a war.

They glow and beep and vibrate in plain sight, as if reminding us with a cold smugness that no human is truly indispensable, while precious things recede into the background.

The things created to bring us closer start us on paths that lead us apart.

Life away from this life we’re supposed to be building and enjoying together slowly becomes more urgent and notifications from strangers make the heart beat faster than the loving gaze of the people who know us well.

We arrive at see finish and the road is all downhill from there.

Affection will rust and lovely things will decay unless we stop:

1. Acting like we can swap people with things, or even people with other people, whenever we please.

2. Undervaluing moments just because we’ve had ‘too many’ of them.

3. Settling into the ‘old married couple’ life after two weeks of dating. We don’t know each other that well yet.

4. Needing our phones more than we need each other.

5. Treating one another like stopgaps while we eagerly await the big thing.

6. Leaving our patch of grass to die while we stare longingly at the seemingly greener patch on the other side of the fence. Grab that watering can.

7. Forgetting to bear in mind how precious God’s human gifts are, and refusing to thank the Giver by treating them with high regard.

It’s not too late to pay attention.

Take Back Your Life

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Look for me where rules are broken and conventions subverted,
Where life is lived by the moment and breaths are not counted,
Where nobody gives a shit about the number of times you’ve failed,
Because you’re yourself, and that’s the best you can ever be.

After years of keeping my head down and struggling to fit in, I finally rid myself of that pointless worrying about the way I am perceived by non-entities who are only too eager to imprison me with glares of disapproval and torture my soul with thoughtless remarks as odious as an errant egg fart in an overcrowded room. It’s not that I don’t want to be loved, but I have learned that I won’t die because one more person doesn’t like me (my hair, my crooked teeth, or the way my jeans are always slimmer than ‘normal’). I don’t care, so I don’t fuss over being accepted and I’ve never been better.

I celebrate my freedom with both middle fingers flashing repeatedly at the world (mentally, because it’s more fun when you do it in slow motion with a backing soundtrack playing in your head). Those two are memorials to all the fucks I will never be able to give because I willingly let go of the capacity to care about things of no consequence, including the unsolicited opinions of individuals who are of less value to me than the shelter of a blade of grass in a thunderstorm.

Believe me, I know what it’s like to feel compelled to justify the actions you take for your own self, to apologise even when you’ve done nothing wrong, to accept more crap from people than a communal pit latrine. That’s not humility, it’s suffering, and there are jail cells far more comfortable than this position.

If you let them, people (and the fear of them) will keep you small and barely human, just another broken spirit in their display case of broken spirits. But only if you let them. You always have a choice, and the power to:

1. Reject the damned cage. You’re not an animal.

2. Speak up when you feel wronged. Speak, I said, not send an email.

3. Wear sweatpants to a wedding. Or skip it completely if you can’t be bothered.

4. Call people out on their bullshit. Cowards are unattractive.

5. Let the colours clash. Style is personal.

6. Not start a sentence with “I’m sorry, but…” Get right to the point.

7. Say no to whatever. There are few things more liberating.

8. End an abusive relationship (with a partner, an employer or a family member).

9. Respect yourself so much that people will respect you.

10. Decide how your story will be told.

There’s not much that anyone can do about you fighting for what’s yours: the right to be happy, respected and fulfilled.

It’s your life. Start living it, don’t just get by.

You Will Get Tired

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You will get tired.

Of waking up by yourself on frigid mornings,
Toes curled into formlessness by the chill of the air conditioner gone rogue,
Your pillow, the only audience of your previous snoring,
Doing nothing to change the unfashionable loneliness long in vogue.

You will be done.

With miserable lunches spent staring more than tasting,
The menu gone from memory before your body forgets it.
With dinners that perfectly define the wasting,
Of your time and your natural capacity to do more with it.

Alone is the new ‘together’,
Beeping machines introducing strangers who never become friends.
A hundred different ways to say “hello,”
But there’s no app for true contact.

Maybe you will find.

Someone to interrupt your aloneness,
A saving grace as fleeting as a shooting star.
But it will never be enough, that one moment,
And the sooner it passes, the sooner it feels far.

Boys Want Nice Things Too

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“Maybe I should rob somebody, so we could be like Whitney and Bobby.” – John Legend, Used To Love You

“I’m not materialistic,” you said. But we’re light-years away from those early days.

This is not the girl I chased for months: I see dollar signs in your wandering gaze.

I’m jaded.

It’s never been hard for me to pay: cab fare, tickets on movie dates (you set up), anything, most things, no be today.

But when was the last time you parted with a thousand naira on my account, without first complaining about the state of your account? Fuck, that’s a ridiculously large amount, I know, so are five one hundred naira notes still too much for you to count?

Birthdays. On mine, I let you get away with a card and a cake that wasn’t even my favourite flavour, and you still made it seem like you were doing me a favour. For yours, I broke the bank, (I swear, I did. They called me about it.) and my pocket is still in recovery mode.

‘Oh, baby, there’s this new place we should try!”

That’s the prelude to a snatch-and-grab, elegantly disguised as a lunch date, and there’ll be hell to pay if I show up late, so I (unwilling to tempt fate) show up on time and well-dressed to the pissing away of my own money, because that’s what it means to be your ‘honey’?

Funny. Funny business, if I ever saw it. And I can call bullshit from the farthest corner of the galaxy, so why won’t I call it?

You’ve been merciless with your taking lately, and I doubt, greatly, that we’re on the same page on the matter of what it means to live within one’s means.

I mean, money is not beans, neither is that Louis Vuitton original and all the other beautiful things you’re so quick to send me links to, so innocently by-the-way that anyone else would think you didn’t mean to.

But fuck your needs for a minute (or twenty-two), boys want nice things too. This boy wants nice things too, so I’m off to find someone who, before she asks me for the universe, will remember that I do.

The Shell

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24/06/2014

Returns on emotional investment are ever diminishing, but what stays the same these days anyway? If exam schedules change on a whim and buses are hardly regular, who are we to complain when girlfriends find better ‘things’ to hold? We clamp down firmly on our tongues and wait till the urge to scream slowly passes, like a rivulet of cold sweat sourced from fear trickles down a naked back. Like real men. But in our minds, in our minds we’re throwing tantrums and smashing all that’s remotely breakable. In our minds, we’re childish avenging angels taking back a dozen pounds of flesh for the one we say was taken from us… the one we say. Everything is in a manner of speaking these days. Even that thing called feminism. Sorry, I wasn’t trying to pick a fight with the other side of maleness.

So should I be feeling ‘not good enough’ because I’m not getting as much love as I used to from her? Should I be pissed that ‘us’ time is looking less and less like what it used to be, like a sofa in the process of conversion into a full-time mattress gradually acquires a new, undesirable look? Funny that that word ‘undesirable’ came up. It probably represents the sum of all the things I fear: that someday I will look at my life with her and walk off the end of a short pier emotionally (only emotionally, I love myself far too much to contemplate suicide)… because being in love has become undesirable.

Maybe I’m just ungrateful. I mean, she’s still here, suffering through my attempts at making conversation with the aptly timed hmm and the brilliantly injected ah. Not words exactly, just faint signs of life, controvertible proofs of existence. The relationship is a dying planet, but what’s left will not cease to pass itself off as verdure. Talk about going out with a bang.

Poetry: Karo’s ‘Your Kisses Burn’

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Your kisses burn,

Your lips so soft they melt mine.

If I could wake up, I won’t.

You intoxicate me,

I can’t get enough.

If I had a day more,

It would be spent with you.

 

You light me up then burn me down,

No blood left in me,

I’m lifeless,

Pale and white,

Yet I crave more of you.

 

I see you leave,

I know you won’t return,

But if I had a second chance,

I’d die again for you.

I’ll let you kill me yet again,

Bury me in you.

 

You are deleterious to me,

I don’t care.

Let me burn,

Let me go away,

With you, for you.

 

Karo would love to hear from you! Connect with her on Twitter.

 

Poetry: How Perfect Feels

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You are a dream I can’t remember,
Hanging on the fringes of my memory.
You are the month after December,
Thirty days of grace before January.

You are a star in constant motion,
Here this minute and gone the next.
You are an idea or a notion,
And I can’t read you like a text.

You are a wish for something more,
An expectation for tomorrow.
You’re like Band-Aid on a sore,
You cover up the sorrow.

You are the last matchstick it the box,
Without you there’ll be no flames.
You are a clean pair of white socks,
You keep me from being ashamed.

You are a minute before sunset,
Gone in sixty seconds.
You are a beautiful prospect,
A bright future that beckons.

In The Alternative: 10 Reasons Why You Need A Cougar In Your Life

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In the latest installment of her 10 Reasons video series, funny-as-hell YouTube personality Emily Hart counts down the reasons why you, fellow (virile) young man, should allow yourself be snagged by an older woman. Actually makes a lot of sense, if you don’t mind the fact that her breasts will sag faster than your beer belly grows. *shrugs* Video’s right below.

 

Visuals: Jared Evan & Action Bronson Converse With Lovers In ‘Pro Create’

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In the music video of ‘Pro Create’, singer-songwriter Jared Evan and rapper Action Bronson have separate conversations with the women in their lives. ‘Pro Create’ is a single off Evan’s critically acclaimed collaborative album with producer Statik Selektah, ‘Boom Bap & Blues’.