Tell me, Lover

AM I easy to love when I drop,

stoop-

into the whispers?

AM I easy to love when i close the blackness and roll

between the shapes of was and is?

AM I easy to love when i choose the easier reflections against the

loud chants of “as The Man”?

AM I easy to love when its more about the open, the opening

and the blindness within?

Tell me, lover.

ImmiGrant Diaries: The 67 Bus

The 67 bus would be leaving in exactly 5 minutes, no, rather in 4 minutes and 50 seconds. Although my shift had ended over a half hour ago, I was expected to continue work until the second shift (a.ka. Bimpe) arrived. Bimpe was a joy to be with but never really caught on about the importance of punctuality. “Ore miiiiii, ma binu naaaa, you know that yeye boss of mine at my second job never allows me to leave on time. Only God will help us in this America o! Excuses and apologies were synonymous in Bimpe’s world. Of, course, she didn’t go by the name Olabimpe at work, but rather, Josephine Reynolds, her expensive and also illegal, “Government name” as they had been dubbed amongst the African immigrants. I suddenly found myself musing over what my own government name would be: Catherine or perhaps Katherine-with-a-K Smith? no, that seemed to scream “yes, I am working illegally” way too loudly. How about Alison Roberts? hmmm…maybe a little more believable. I often liked to play the game of conjuring the most hilarious combination of names that I might get once I had put enough money together to purchase a government card. The game was amusing until I remembered, I didn’t actually have a say in any of it. 3 minutes until the 67 Bus and still no sign of Bimpe. 

“Where on earth is Ms. Josephine Reynolds?!” “I…errr..sir..” “No excuse Ms. Ayodimeji! Always late! No more job for Josephine after tonight. No show, no job!” My manager, Mr. Ali, was perpetually angry. In my six years, mopping up and washing dishes at The Asia Food Palace, I had never seen the man smile. That’s not to say he was never in high spirits or dare say, happy, Mr. Ali was just angrily happy. However, I had decided a few years back that I liked Mr. Ali. He was in every literal sense of the word-a slave driver but the man was honest. He always paid wages and bills on time and in full, never once missing on monthly payments. The Asia Food Palace wasn’t much, a corner restaurant that served cheap inauthentic “Asian delicacies” which translated to oil-saturated spring rolls and diabetes-inducing sweet and sour chicken. But Mr. Ali had kept the business afloat for the last twenty-five years, and single-handedly for that matter. At one time, there were rumors that by night, The Asia Food Palace became an illegal drugs transaction point but I had waved off such comments as pure jealousy and the need to dismiss what could only be attributed to hard work and determination to succeed as a brown male in a white America.

30 seconds to go and still no Bimpe. Just as Mr. Ali stormed out of the kitchen still ranting, I caught a glimpse of the 67 bus, pulling into the bus stop by The Asian Food Palace. Shit, not again. Within seconds, the bus was on its way again. “Ore o!! I am here- if you know how bad traffic was ehn” a breathless and perspiring Bimpe rushed into the restaurant kitchen. “Bimpe, you’ve made me miss my bus, again. And Mr. Ali is seriously vexed” “Forget, Mr. Ali, isn’t he always vexed? abegi.” I shouldn’t have waited for an apology but I always did. “I’m off, Bimpe” “Thanks, ore! Let me get into this uniform before Mr. Ali kills me for my children”

Stepping out of The Asia Food Palace, I felt the cool but chilly breeze sweep my face. Winter was approaching. I pulled my Good Will-obtained H&M denim jacket closer to my body. The jacket was in great condition apart from the fact that it was missing a few buttons and had a visible hole by the right sleeve. “Holes are in fashion, jare!” was Bimpe’s response when I had complained about the visible wear and tear of the jacket. Without enough cash to call a taxi and having missed the last 67 bus, the only other option was to walk the 12 miles. I felt my phone ring and could only decipher that it was a call from home: Mama calling about Kola’s school fees again. There was no money and no prospects of me having any to send so the conversation would be fruitless. My fingers danced between the two options: “Decline” or “Answer”. I stuffed the phone back into my purse and headed down Lockford & 2nd Street. I would get back to them but just not now or tomorrow.

P.C: http://bit.ly/2uGKqOk

 

When Our Bodies get trumped

It’s not the first or most likely the last time the leader of the free world would attack and reduce feminity and being a woman to a shallow argument about physical looks. Dare to wonder why he thinks he gets a pass on that one. But as always, our bodies, our strong, beautiful and intricate bodies have been trumped.

Trump’s recent barrage on MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski and her alleged botched cosmetic surgeryTrump should alarm us for the simple reason that a president is not expected to publically make such comments.  However, more so, his degrading Twitter tantrum speaks volumes about the trials and obstacles that women constantly face in order to succeed in the corporate world as well as life in general.

Women- whether, white, black, brown- are constantly having their appearance scrutinized and rejected. The status-quo of a male-dominated society means that women always fall short, even if they attain perfection in all aspects of their lives. Yes, talk is cheap but Trump has demonstrated as he has done many times before, that women can and will continue to be reduced to physicality and sexual prowess.

 

p.c: http://bit.ly/2ts2E8w

 

Womens in me

To the womens in me and who have walked through me:

I thought about you all yesterday, as many hailed you and raised you up high. I felt a pride, yes. A pride of one who enjoys the yield of a sowing she did not attend. But between the lines of pride and joy, I also felt sadness, sadness that you must still request an invite to the table of humanity, sadness that your purity is still ranked according to pelvic tightness and painful groanings, sadness still that the pedestal is still too low and high and does not acrtually exist but you are made to believe and desire that it does, sadness again, that we cannot simply exist as womyns but as women always lacking-
and striving, sadness, that the present,
in all its future earnings,
can never simply be enough
for us,
for me,
and for the womens in me.

Fruit of love for Mine

The one that got away but returned to the troubled hearts waters,
stubborn one,
complex and
Mine.
My beautiful one- unborn,
rebirthed and evolving.
When shall this fruit ripen?
Let’s dance around the realities of
our becoming.
Were we only dreaming
when we lost
our paths
and forged
ahead to
the unknown?
Arms locked,
bodies in conversation,
praying mercy.
Mercy, mercy, mercy mercy mercy
I pour on your crown-
Solemnly in fervent wait
for the fruition of these waitings
and smooth endings.
My beautiful one- unborn,
rebirthed and evolving.
When shall this fruit ripen?

Letters to Ayoola

Ayoola,

I was filled with so much joy when I saw your handwriting (that cursive script I could never master) on the envelope that was left on the doorstep of my apartment. As I read each word –I felt the peace, the joy and the love fill my soul. You’re happy and my heart could not rejoice with you more. Baba sounds like a wonderful man: everything that you waited and prayed so dutifully for. In short, your letter has brought sunshine and smiles to my spirit. Ose, Ore Mi Atata

I’ve been praying more and working harder. I know you’ll smile at this and say “Less work and more prayer!” I am trying to strike the balance but there is the common saying “God helps those who help themselves”? So I suppose I am testing the hypothesis.  

It seems, however, the more I have tried to organize and categorize all the various facets, the more out of control everything has gotten. I was thinking the other day what a beautiful feeling free-fall must be–letting go completely. But more truthfully Ayoola, the more in-control I have set out to be, the more out of touch I have become accustomed to feeling.  So, I’ve been building barricades that will ward off any unexpected pitfalls in April.

So, I’ve been building barricades. You first saw them and tore them down but I have rebuilt them to be much more solid and encompassing than before. It was an unconscious decision. Unpacking insecurities is so cliche and I have never been very good at articulating  my emotions. So these barricades have worked to ward off those who want to see beyond the smile and laughter. The barricades have made me an island but I realize this may only last for a fleeting moment. When love leaves and resentment comes to nestle in the corners. 

I am just somewhere between floating and dodging peace. Yet it is all I long for these days: Serenity knocking as opposed to the jostling bodies and loud sirens. So I’ve been thinking maybe the barricades must come down? but how?

Ore mi, I know you’ll probably read this saying or thinking, “you don start again oo” and you are probably right…But I long to see your cursive again so please fill me in on all the details of passionate Baba and the unrelenting pot-bellied Oga-CEO.

Stay well,

 

 

 

The women underwater

I speak for
The women underwater.
Those who have not drowned
But have adopted the art of sinking
Beneath.
Beneath themselves
And
Below the world.
They stand like unmoved pillars.
Waiting with no expectation.
Who are these women?
They that navigate the dark ocean depths,
with the familiarity of a well known story.

I speak for
The women who have studied the art of invisibility
and apologize their identities,
over their spread legs and wetness.
Who have learnt guilt to be synonymous with happiness.
They lurk between themselves
and around concrete walls.
Holding their breath
and wishing drops of joy
to fall above them.
On their way to nowhere,
They move silently.
These are the women underwater.

Ode to the asshole

We all gathered. Gathering meant an event. It meant some possible specks of different on our grey lives.

And so we gathered.

And I was summoned.

I feared they might not understand. This reason for rage, this apparent loathing for the creation and existence of another- much like me? I thought not.

 

This is my ode to the asshole!

The one who makes promises he cannot keep.

The one who expects to receive always and is never satisfied with what is good.

The one who already has perfect but will trade it in for used- often.

The one who almost always has allergies for the truth, faith, trust and honesty.

Whose ego is blinding and ignorant. And often unnecessary.

 

This is my ode to the asshole!

Who has taken and taken but is yet to pay his credit.

Who has preyed on the “sweet and innocent” for far too long.

Who has learned to speak in forms of pick-up lines and cheesy romance novels.

Who expects chocolates and roses to be the only expectation.

Who has grown to believe that “easy” is the norm and the new religion.

 

This is my ode to the asshole!

Who lurks behind the shadows of misplaced “daddy issues” and a never-present Mother.

Whose hands are always waiting to slither between warm thighs.

Whose belief in chastity and self preservation have been lost in the passion of a poorly punctuated r n’ b song.

Who is always ready for the laying down, the getting in and the coming but somehow unavailable for the diaper changes and utility bills.

Who will fool you too often and break your heart too soon.

 

This is to the asshole!