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Weightlessness 3


When you call his name
I see how a smile forms around your lips
I know he holds you in high regard
Talks about you everyday like you are the one he’s with
He’s with you everyday really
I hear him talking on the phone with you
Almost every night he takes his time to check in with you and know how your day was
What is this if not love?
Yet he’s with another
In his heart
You are not his
I’ve tried to understand it
This attraction you share
Its there
Anyone can sense it
A blind man would tell
That there’s something warm and beautiful between you two
What is this if not love?
He cares about you
He wants the best for you
He indulges you
Would probably pull the moon down for you
Touches base with you whenever he’s in town
Longs for the ease of your presence
Sinks into his chair with contentment when you are on the phone with him
Aren’t you home to him?
What is this if not love?
I know you long to be with him
I see how you come close to me so that you can maybe find the reason
Why won’t he be with you in every way a man should want to be with a woman?
What is he thinking?
I know you question it
The dance
The pull
What is this if not love?
There’s a sadness in your voice when you ask about her
You mean well
Yet you wish
That perhaps one day he’ll call and speak of their parting
Should you dare hope that he wants you ?
What if he doesn’t?

What if when you left him on the stairs ten odd years ago
He picked up his broken heart and vowed never to let you near?
I’ll rather you take the presence of his friendship than build castles in the air about being his lover
I know you dream of him often
Wake up wondering if the dreams are signs
Pondering the wisdom in sharing those dreams with him
I know you crave the fullness of his presence
The weight of his absence in those moments when he turns away sears you through and through
What a heaviness you bear
Loving him so
Love unbroken by time
Still present
Ever whole
Yet
I’ll rather you take the
Pockets of joy
That his presence can afford
Than the heaviness of his absence

Kemibon

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BOOK REVIEW-OF WOMEN AND FROGS BY BISI ADJAPON

You know what they say about not judging a book by its cover? Well, it doesn’t apply to every situation. A book will get judged by its cover whether we like it or not. Perhaps this is why publishers try to make the cover of a book as catchy as possible to engage the interest of a prospective reader. Sometimes it is the color of the book cover, other times it is the name of the book, before one proceeds to read the book blurb, the name of the book and the cover would be the first deciders on whether to buy the book or not.

As you may have observed I have not been reading hence there have been no book reviews. The only reviews I have been working on are law related.  So you can understand that my curiosity was raised when I came across the red cover of Bisi Adjapon’s “Of Women and Frogs”. The book cover of the copy I found in a pharmacy while picking up drugs for my mother had the illustration of a beautiful girl’s face on it. The title made me wonder what correlation existed between frogs and women and why the author chose to put both words together in one sentence.

When I walked out of the pharmacy store I had become the proud owner of a new book which turned out to be such a refreshing read after my long hiatus from reading.

The book tells the story of a girl, feel free to consider it a coming of age book with a lot of spunk. There is a vivaciousness to the lead character, a girl who remembers being taken away from Nigeria, away from her mother, a girl who grows up in the home of a patriarchal father, surrounded by half-sisters who are way older, a step mother who means well but shows it in the weirdest of ways and a brother who is completely oblivious to her sufferings.

The first thing I noticed about this book and what follows me to the end of the story is the feminism wrapped into the pages without apology. You will find a struggle against the norm, the demand for more, for the erasure of patriarchal ideologies particularly the one that sees marriage as the ultimate fulfillment for a woman.

The first few pages of the book shocked me, the fact that a young girl was exposed to the act of copulation so easily made the curiosity even greater so much so that I had to find out where the author was leading the reader to.

The story is thickly laced with themes of politics in Ghana and Nigeria, sex, love, depression, grief etc. The author is so skillful that she packs in so much substance into the 415 pages of the quick paced novel.

For the lead character Esi, it is easy to like her, the energy she exudes, the defiance, the teenage curiosity, the boldness. So bold that she chases her first kiss at 14. Esi is the teenager whose curiosity about sex was awoken early, the one who is raped by a friend in such an ordinary twist of events that she doesn’t understand what has happened to her, the one who gets her period and is confused by the rite of passage, the one who embraces lesbianism without knowing the meaning of the word, the one who happens on masturbation then hopes on forgiveness.

The book comes across as a book for womanhood, pushing through the experiences of a changing body, the excitement of a first love and the devastating end of same, the after effects of making a wrong choice, aborting babies and hating it yet thinking it has to be done to prevent the shame of being found to have had pre-marital sex since getting contraceptives is also considered shameful; as the nurses with their judgmental tongues will rather shame the woman than give her what she needs to prevent her getting pregnant as a sexually active woman.

It examines closely how the choices of a woman can be limited and how it takes being strong willed and determined to break the chains and come out on the other side; whole, liberated and ready to storm the heavens.

Bisi Adjapon uses very vivid descriptions that make the story more gripping, more compelling, the similes are strong, relatable and funny.

At the end of the book, the reader would have met Esi’s father, a disciplinarian who cheats on his wife but is a strong believer in marriage for a woman, calling it her glory, Esi’s Sister Mansa who has the audacity to sleep with a man in her father’s boys quarters despite his strictness, Sister Abena who gets pregnant and brings the news home to her father’s caustic tongue and his belief that a woman must be married to be pregnant, Auntie, the stepmother who believes putting ginger in a little girl’s private part is an ideal punishment, Kayode, Esi’s first love who remains in love with her till the book ends, Rudolph, the lover Esi marries but detests and Kwabena, Esi’s easy to forget brother (his wisdom is only brought to bear at the end of the book) etc. The reader would also understand the title of the book and the inspiration behind it.

It was a very engaging book and I look forward to reading more books by this author.

Score: 8/10

Kemibon

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Through Chimamanda Adichie I saw a side of the rising sun

I shivered, cried, stared into blank space, laughed out loud, closed my eyes in embarrassment, thought hard about life, wrote interesting pieces just because of Chimamanda Adichie’s Half Of A Yellow Sun. I had read another book by her, The Thing Around Your Neck which my lovely sister, Kemi reviewed here but I did not expect what I got in this book.

It’s definitely a shelf book and I would read it again during a vacation or holiday just to see the details and explore the characters. It inspired me so much, I wrote about her on my blog several times.

I want to write as deeply emotional as Chimamanda does when I’m older and wiser. With this book, she made me see a side of the rising sun, the war and the pain that has affected every Nigerian tribe. I saw the killing of the Sardauna, the jokes about his death by the people and the death of Olanna’s extended family during the killings in the North. It was worse than the movie.

“Olanna looked into the bowl. She saw the little girl’s head with the ashy grey skin and the plaited hair and rolled-back eyes and open mouth. She stared at it for a while before she looked away.”

I could talk about the history themed in the book and it may feel like “bla bla bla” to you but the book has made an impact and told me; a young lady who did not witness the Biafran war, that it should not happen again.

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The book was published in 2006 by Farafina in Nigeria. It is based on the pre and post- independence era in the country and focuses primarily on the activities of Nigerians and “Biafrans” between 1960 and 1980.

Did you know that the secessionist Biafran state is recognised to have existed between May 1967 and January 1970? I didn’t. I thought the Biafrans were a group of people fighting for their land, I had no idea it was recognized or that so many things were involved in the process of secession and living in such a state.

In fact, I wonder how those who survived did. Chimamanda’s Half Of A Yellow Sun may just be fiction but what were the realities and how did Nigerians and Biafrans cope? We shouldn’t even start talking about the survival tactics such as hustling for salt or egg yolk as protein for the children or underground bunkers, the surprising deaths and betrayals…

It talked about the military rules and rebels and pain that would forever remain in the hearts of those who faced the war and survived it.

My favorite character was Ugwu, my dear Ugwu who loved women and treated them according to how he felt about them, my dear Ugwu, who was confused when he saw water come out from a tap, my dear Ugwu through whose eyes the story begins and ends.

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Ugwu in the movie

Chimamanda knows how to portray love realistically. The woman is good biko (please in Ibo). Olanna and Odenigbo were not just lovers, they were friends and that was what kept them together even when the love was hungry for food.

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Odenigbo and Olanna in the movie

This book is a classic in that it discusses the war from the perspective of the Igbo people in the most realistic way. I feel she achieved what she set out to do with this book because it changed the way some saw the war. Anyway, I realised that in all times, we should endeavor to show humanity to our neigbours.

Watching the movie is not enough, reading the book is so much better.

What I found a bit uncomfortable was the fact that Richard who was meant to understand Igbo so fluently hardly said a word of Ibo in the novel for us, the readers to translate and Chimamanda kept going back and forth from one character to another, which is why I would advice that one read the book before watching the movie, I kept expecting the same chronology I got in the movie.

Half_of_a_Yellow_Sun film.jpg

Please find below an excerpt on the story behind the book;

Both my grandfathers were interesting men, both born in the early 1900s in British-controlled Igbo land, both determined to educate their children, both with a keen sense of humor, both proud. I know this from stories I have been told. Eight years before I was born, they died in Biafra as refugees after fleeing hometowns that had fallen to federal troops. I grew up in the shadow of Biafra. I grew up hearing ‘before the war’ and ‘after the war’ stories; it was as if the war had somehow divided the memories of my family. I have always wanted to write about Biafra—not only to honor my grandfathers, but also to honor the collective memory of an entire nation. Writing Half of a Yellow Sun has been my re-imagining of something I did not experience but whose legacy I carry. It is also, I hope, my tribute to love: the unreasonable, resilient thing that holds people together and makes us human.

Chimamanda Adichie

Cheers, Abiola

Note: This excerpt was gotten from chimamanda.com

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FREEDOM BY OCTOBER BY ADEOYE ADETOBA

I strongly support new ventures and I respect people who are able to chase down their dreams and achieve something different from their day jobs. Adeoye Adetoba is one of such people, a graduate of biological science technology, Adeoye has found the time to serve up this hot dish called Freedom By October. Not only is the title catchy, I tell you the story packs drama, intrigue and suspense.

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When he asked me to review his book, I was delighted and quickly obliged. I read it on my phone over a weekend and quickly concluded that this was a winner.

Freedom by October is a fast moving story of betrayal, corruption, lust, greed, jealousy and avarice. I sincerely can go on about several of the human vices explored in this book because they were so many but I will let you find out yourself. The author brilliantly starts the story with a seemingly honest person who we later find out is a grand schemer and a street hustler. This story cuts deep into the corrupt wiles of men in power and the atrocities they commit to stay in power. It exposes how the love of money can ruin a man. There are so many characters in the book but I was able to keep up, the threads or relationships linked one character to the other like a spider’s web.

The setting of the story is Nigeria the language is easy, mostly informal. What I enjoyed most about the story was the surprise at finding that one good person had moved over to the bad side. Before I finished the book I began gambling with characters like-“oh here’s a betrayer”! or no this one is going down next! I was also alarmed by the murder scenes, the brutality practically jumped off the lines.

If you ever read Sidney Sheldon then this book is right up your alley. Lots of conspiracies between characters for one common goal can be found in this book, of course one party has to get greedy and sell the other one out. The suspense is also intense and the story is altogether very gripping and engaging.

The author captures the desires, fear, love and despair of the characters very well with his use of words and imagery. If a character is enjoying a bowl of pepper soup you will probably crave for a bowl yourself! And if a character wants to kill someone you can feel the desperation as you follow the story.

I have a few suggestions for the writer, I noticed that the scenes jumped into scenes without warning in each chapter. The author could have placed asterixs once a part of the story was concluded before the next part commenced.

I must say it was a refreshing read and I hope to see more books from this brilliant new author.

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I am sure you are probably wondering what Freedom by October means. Well, I won’t spoil the fun by spilling that here! You need to get your own copy of the book which is available on Amazon and Okadabooks.It is very affordable.

This is the link…

http://www.okadabooks.com/book/about/freedom_by_october/11254

Thanks for reading! Please leave your comments below.

 

Self

My knowledge of self 

Has fallen like a pack of cards 

That we keep the worst part of ourselves to ourselves is not a well kept secret

And when we say we don’t really know a person

It’s true 

Even a person doesn’t know himself 

Not fully

Not completely 

And

It’s because self is always evolving 

We morph into various versions of our selves as life presents us with experiences 

We keep the ugly parts hidden

Careful to flaunt the beautiful parts

We elevate our best sides

So that we can be thought worthy of love

eni a fe la mo

A o mo eni to feni*

Loving is harder because we never know who our bedmate truly is

A mind boggling thought if it is dwelled upon 

The core of self is vulnerable 

We only let our guard down when we trust

Even then we keep a little part of the unknown deeply buried

We chase validation

We fear rejection

To acknowledge self is to look yourself straight in the soul

And realize that you are just an imperfect bumbling unfinished 

Product

A work in progression 

A human just

being

Kemibon

*literally translates to…we know who we married but we don’t know who married us. 

BOOK REVIEW- THE GIRL WITH THE LOUDING VOICE BY ABI DARE

Over the past week, I picked up a book whose title; “The Girl with the Louding voice” has always struck me as wrong. I was so certain that it must be a spelling mistake to write “louding” instead of “loud”. However, immediately I started reading I understood what language the book had been written in. Asides being written in first person narrative; the main character speaks in pidgin English which makes the story more believable. As one reads, it is clear that Adunni cannot speak English fluently because she is unable to finish her education. An education she truly desires and is kept from due to her mother’s death. This dream to be educated seems even more farfetched when her father gives her out in marriage at 14 just to clear his debts.

The Girl with a Louding Voice screams for attention because of the language it is written in and it does get my attention. I could gather from the book that the writer is drawing the reader closer to examine some dire issues in the society. Issues like child marriage, poverty, child trafficking, unfaithfulness in marriage, abortion, infertility, maternal mortality. She also throws some light on child abuse, superstitions and the hold it has on people in this part of the world, Nigeria. The desire of some men to have a male child over a female one and the pressure that puts on the woman is also addressed. But to my mind, the most important theme in the book is the Education of a child

I think the beauty and intelligence of the writer’s work in this book is the simplicity with which the story is crafted. It is not a story that hasn’t been told before but the characters are rich, well described and memorable. It is easy to picture a Big daddy, who is in disciplined and chases after the domestic staff, or a Morufu who has the mad determination to have a male child and marries young children to achieve this without reflecting on the evil behind it, using his wealth as a bargaining chip. There is always a kind Kofi in a story, someone who gives the character a break from all the travails, a vulnerable Rebecca whose naivety becomes her undoing or a mean and insecure Big Madam who vents her life’s frustrations on the people around her. Every character brings an extra twist, an additional piece of the puzzle, a heightened suspense and ultimately, a complete picture of the entire story the writer wishes to tell.

What this narration brings is a fresh serving of the girl child’s travails in a country where her voice is not always heard. So Adunni is the girl who wants her voice to be heard, a voice that’s loud! Her journey to achieving this is what the whole story is about and the writer does a very good job of showcasing Adunni as a vivacious, smart and determined 14-year-old who goes through the challenges thrown at her with a resilient spirit which pays off in the end.

Do I recommend the book ? I say Yes, a resounding yes in a very loud voice!

Kemibon

OURS

Ours could be a love
Long lasting and true
One untouched by age or time
We could be wrinkled and grey

Still the tone of your voice would be enough to light up my face
We could be the ones people look up to
The ones they point to and say look they are still together and still in love

Our love could be steady
Strong
And true
Our anchor
Our strength
Ours could
Would
Does

You and I are constantly looking at each other
Moving towards each other
Like metal to magnet
Gravitational
That’s our pull
Ours could be complete
Friendship and love
Depth
Meaning
Fun and play


We could be happier together
We could be shoulders for each other
Companions
Lovers
We could be loved in each others arms
Warmly
we could melt away the grief of the ebb of life and embrace the joy of the flow together
Ours could be simple
Because we understand each other
We won’t sweat the small stuff
We are too reasonable
We would respect each other
Trust would be the currency of our life


We could be ours
There could be us
We could be us
Me and you
We could storm the heavens
Do exploits
Have an empire


We could have a daughter or two
A son or three
We could adopt
Either way we would love children
And teach them
The lasting values we cherish and share
We could be together
We could be

Kemibon

letter to an open heart

Your heart will drain itself of all its longings

When you turn around and face the reality that all you thought you had placed in the deep recesses are lies

An illusion

You’ll learn not to blame the one you gave yourself to so yearningly 

You’ll also learn not to chastise yourself for being so trusting 

So willing to give

So pliable 

To dream of and be moved by

Promises that were laced with promises of promised lands of love

You will need reason to wrench your heart of desires that have curled up within

Logic will stare you down with disdain 

Hope will turn its back

 and fate?

Fate was there all along

Mocking you

Throwing up its nose at you

When your heart has passed through this phase 

When the familiar purge is complete 

Only one thing will soothe you back to sanity

Faith

Kemibon

BICYCLE CHRONICLES 2

Confidence hangs loosely on your shoulders now

You can take off without hesitation

Every ride brings a little wonder

Is this you?

Cycling with pride

Wobbling less and less?

It is the pride of necessity

You have earned it

You are not perfect yet

You know this because

once

After riding up a steep end

You paused to catch your breath

And your thighs

They burned!

So here you do the bicycle weave

The bicycle weave is therapeutic

You remain seated on the bicycle

Lean forward on your handlebars

So that your hands and head rest there

With feet firmly planted on the ground

Move from side to side

Slowly

Let the air back into your lungs

Until you feel ready to cycle again

Sometimes your intermediate legs cannot cycle up a very rough terrain

Never you mind

Here

You do the bicycle shuffle

The bicycle shuffle is common sense

It is to avoid a crash

All you have to do is

Take your feet off the pedals

and place them on the ground

Grip your handle bars

Remain astride your bicycle

Shuffle with your feet

Move yourself and the bicycle

Until you are out of the rough patch

Just like in life we sometimes have to slow our pace

Shuffle past difficulties and pick up again when things get better

Riding a bicycle holds so many life lessons for the observant rider

KEMIBON

Maybe water is female

A goddess

Do you see how she approaches you

when you are at the beach

She may be dancing in the distance

Crashing softly into small waves

But when your feet lands at the shore

She will begin a conversation

A back and forth of pulling

She mesmerizes

Before you know it

You’ll be smack in the middle of deep waters

Cause as she lured you in

You were too busy admiring her dance

Be mindful of woman

Of water

She is dark and mysterious

Light and unwavering in her wanting of you

She is relentless

Be wary of water

Of woman

Fear her

Fear them

Alluring

Beautiful

Fluid

But dangerous

You must tread softly around such powerful beings

Kemibon

To those who are grieving

Roses are beautiful even when they die

The red in the rose remains, even in death its beauty shines through
When you lose someone dear to your heart, it may feel like you have lost them forever


But honey hear this, They may be gone but you never lose them, not really
Their memories remain, the beauty of their lives shine through in your memories of them
At first Their memories keep you company

Every waking moment you carry them around in your heart
I hope you come to realize the dead are not dead

they may be frozen in your memories, you remember them exactly as they were, they never age.


Keep that

Just as some keep dead roses on their window sill

To come back to admire its beauty

To marvel at how they still hold so much color even in death

You can always visit the departed in your memories and be comforted

That death is not the end.


Kemibon
7/6/21

Don’t leave me hanging loose like a yam tuber mid-harvest

Whenever I stir into consciousness

I am made aware of thoughts of you

I am soaked in poetry of you

Why do you come to me in my dreams only to leave me hanging?

Something whispers to me

that we are not meant to be

yet I hang on to a semblance of hope

because

There’s something about you

that makes me wanna tell you all my secrets

When you are with me

You are the wall with ears

You are the pitcher

You take everything

Even the words I have not uttered

You swallow them whole

Then when you call my name

I hear it dripping in affection

But I fear to acknowledge it

Because it may soon fade away

I want to be to you

The hand you reach out for at dawn

When you slowly come awake in the dark

I want you to be to me a shield

Cover me

Don’t let pain come near

Sometimes I am awash in a realization

That I am falling faster than a leaf

Plummeting straight into your heart

Will you open the door?

Steadily

It comes

This river of emotions

I don’t want to revel in them

They are momentous

What I really wanna know is,

Is there enough reason

To walk together

Or shall this be

Just another dream?

Cause I have since learnt that being in sync with another being

May not mean a walk into forever

Oh but how I crave it!

To explore what lies beneath

My curiosity is stoked

I wanna know you

Like the back of my hand

I have loved many in my time

Some walked away without a backward glance

Others gather around me like a cloud

Taking the place of friendship instead

What will the universe do about you

And me?

Whatever you do…

Don’t leave me hanging like a yam tuber mid-harvest

Kemibon

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