Two Minutes at a Festival

He bent down, peering in, then stepped back quickly, overcome by the heat and the damp that clung to the air and to all the items in the tiny tent. The tiresome drizzle did not seem to have plans on cessation.

“Are you coming or what? God, your tent is a mess.”

“Hey! I didn’t ask you to bend in.” She yanked the flap of the two person tent up, zipping as she held on.

“Whoa whoa whoa!” He stuck his hand in the little space that still remained, “are you actually boxing yourself back in properly? Forget about the heat, we need to get going.”

She sighed, exasperated, “I. need. Two. Minutes.” She said it through gritted teeth.

“Would that be a girl two or a real two?” She snapped the zipper the remainder of the way, nearly slicing the skin on the heel of his hand. “Watch it!”

She made no reply. He knew he had hit a nerve. Ugh, one couldn’t joke about women around her anymore; she used to be so much more fun. She still was if he just kept his thoughts to himself. He tucked both hands into his parka and curved his back against the tiny droplets peppering his clothing. He wasn’t wet, not really, but he hadn’t been dry in days. It was beginning to take its toll.

A minute later, a zipper was making the rounds towards the muddy ground. She popped out. She had put on some sparkly lip gloss and a few shiny stickers on the side of her face. It was in complete contrast to the scowl she was wearing, “well? Shall we then?”

He smiled his roguish smile, “I know you don’t plan on us walking the entire way while you sulk.” She said nothing. He huffed, “I’m sorry, okay? Of course a girl minute is not an acceptable metric by any standards, but especially not in the patriarchal subsystem under which your highness and I exist.” He lowered his head in a mock bow; she swatted it. Then she skipped forward, sending flecks of mud to either side of her, “come on! I don’t want to be late for Kaytranada.”

Non classé Prose et Poesie

The Necessity of Hope

“I think a man needs only one thing in life: He just needs someone to love. If you can’t give him that, then give him something to hope for. If you can’t give him that, just give him something to do.” (Flight of the Phoenix)

Hope is the last bastion for those not already living in grace. Yet grace requires faith.

Hope and faith are intertwined – That last pillar that keeps a person standing; somewhat irrelevant until all else is lost. Necessary, because the point where all is truly lost is death. Hope and faith then preserving life; Faith leaving those left behind to pursue what comes after it. Hope does not tread past the grave.

But yet faith also dwells amongst the living, a blind, compelling thing. Pushing one past all frontiers of logic, suspended in a metaphysical stronghold, full of assurances. Faith is the ultimate paradox. Only the blind can truly see. Hope is its sister wife – a blood relation one too many times over. Hope, too, strains for that stronghold, seeks that assurance. But while faith is at once the journey and the destination, hope remains the weary traveller, set back by the burdens not yet encountered. Hope is not blind because it is aware of its shortcomings, it relies on these to exist. For if there were nothing that was beyond one’s reach and every achievement was palpable, hope would fade into the collective oblivion, a space reserved for minutiae and the long forgotten, Latin still teetering on that precipice.

Hope decries oblivion, it rests in the physical, it earns in the tangible and it is dogged in its pursuit to collect. What it wants, it can see, and if the thing does not yet exist, it can be created. Hope is an atomic structure waiting to be multiplied. It requires imagination within the borders of the frank but youthful. Faith does not bend to oblivion because it exists beyond it. It reigns supreme on every plain. It encapsulates all of our desires and our guilt, it directs them to the amorphous sorter of all things beyond our control. Humanity is one big ever spinning wheel; understanding in the brief glimpses of the whirring cogs that we have no say in the speed and constancy of our continuous movement. We have free will and we have the actions we choose but there is no halting destiny. Faith is perhaps the reason some can handle this when logic has gone as far as it can go, and is still found wanting. Hope is an acceptance with a desire for a different outcome. Faith is an acceptance and submission to the different outcome. One remains a fighter, one panders to whim.

Yet whim is by far the most compelling characteristic of humankind. Inconsistent that whim and faith should be considered side by side since faith put in humankind is seldom deserved, usually lost – blind as it insists it must remain. Faith must transcend the corporeal to become a spiritual seed; rely on the whims of things beyond our understanding, if indeed those things have whims. Hope, on the other hand, relies on the catching of whim’s fancy; sailing the breeze of impulse, simply aiming to catch the right one.

And of these two that remain so intertwined, humankind must always carry both. But the better to be held is hope. For we must first concern ourselves with the here and now, and the betterment of that lot. Only then, can we dive deeper and aspire to those beyond.

Journaling Non classé Prose et Poesie

Seeking Comfort

“It’s been an interesting day.”

 

She laughs. His eyes sparkle. He’s smiling but his mouth hasn’t fully hit it’s lopsided curve. She doesn’t know anything about his curve, he’s a stranger. But she can recognize the glisten in his eyes. That’s familiar.

 

“Interesting is one way to put it. You definitely tried to take a baseball bat to my head this morning.”

“I did. I did.” She throws her head back laughing, eyes momentarily fluttering closed with the force of it. “I did — didn’t I? And now we’re here eating Chinese at 3am.”

“To coincidences!”

“To obeying the natural vibrations”

They clink their water glasses. She stares at him, he’s looking right back. She’s nearly daring him to make a comment about her salutation. It’s like she said it to get something out of him. More than a reaction — some understanding of who he was.

 

How did he react to the spiritual? What faith based systems did he follow? Did he believe in faith? Was he grounded in logic and agnostic? Why did this matter? Why had she already pictured him here — figuratively? A presence in her cosmos several months from now. Why did she expect more than this night — this morning? Was she deluded? Doing that thing people do when they have a good moment with a stranger and think of it as the beginnings of forever. They’d had a moment. It had led to another moment. And now they were having a moment over cheap Chinese food and, tomorrow? She didn’t even know his name yet. Not for sure.

He echoed her — “To obeying the natural vibrations”.

He took a sip of his water. Put his glass down and didn’t take the bait. That was telling her a lot. She decided this was going to be a moment. No extended leases on fate.

“Okay then, Mr. Your-head-is-still-intact, can I get a last name? Or a coherent first name?”

“Oh, I thought we had agreed to carpe this diem”.

“Placidly. I still would like to be able to refer to you pointedly, from across a room, if need be”.

 

This felt like witty banter. It wasn’t un-witty… but it was a 2/10 on the scale of smart things she could be pulling out her repertoire. Yet, it still felt like it was supposed to be flirtatious. Flirtatious, witty banter?

“Okay then — as a ‘break in case of across the room emergency’, you can call me Tobi.”

“I won’t insult you by asking if it’s an ‘-ey’ at the end like McGuire, or just a ‘-y’.”

“L-O-L”. He enunciated the letters out loud, spelling out the acronym to bolster the cynicism in his humor. He mellowed it out with a smile.

“Omo naija here please. My parents didn’t play any of that. This Tobi has an ‘Oluwa’ in front of it.”

She smiled. Wide. It was nearly a laugh. He was funny. Not super, belly achingly funny. At least, not just yet. But, she was amused and she was interested in continuing the conversation.

 

“Okay then, Mr Tobi with an ‘I’ and an Oluwa somewhere by his side”, her eyes twinkled, “you already know my first name, the kind of car I drive, the kind of weapons I keep — at least in the car, the kinds of cuss words I pick, the kinds of asses I kick… tell me something about you that doesn’t have to do with why you were on the back of an okada, edging the driver on between several tightly packed cars till he knocked off a side mirror.”

“Ohhhh! But that’s the best part!” His face contorted into a dramatic look of anguish, overdone so someone who might not recognize the subtleties of his emotional cues would not be confused by his word choice. She understood.

“Well, if you insist, I’ll start somewhere else. I also have a car — my weapons of choice are the dumbbells I use in the gym, or my office, or on the go, that I choose to keep in my car for ever present fitness. They give a hell of a headache in the right setting. Or would that be the wrong setting?”

“That would depend — how heavy are these dumbbells?”. She was teasing him. He understood.

“20 pounds each ma’am. They do the work.”

“Oohhhh I bet they do.”

 

He looked up at her from the patterns he’d been tracing on the white table cloth, head cocked a little to the side. He was appraising, fully, for the first time. She could tell he was beginning to understand this little dance they were doing — how slow men were to jump in.

“Yeaaaa,” he dragged it out, “do you work out?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know? Question’s still on you, Tobi with an ‘I’.” This was definitely a flirtatious exchange, right? Time to kick it up a notch — “So you drive and you gym — on the go, apparently. What’s your favorite color? Better yet, what’s your star sign?”

“I know I’m a Cancer and that’s supposed to make me secretly sensitive/weepy? I have several girl-friends and cousins that are into that mess, but I’ve never really been interested.” Unsurprising. Still. Cancer — what was she going to do with this information? Moment, not fate. Moment.

“Not interested, huh? Well, I’m a Libra sun, Cap rising, Cap moon, but that Scorpio’s a real bitch as a Venus.”

She looked at him and laughed. She’d only said that to watch his eyes glaze over. That, too, she was familiar with — no nuance needed.

 

The waiter came back with the appetizers they’d ordered. She took a bite of an egg roll and let her mind wander just a little bit — to the car she was going to get back into with a quarter tank and the drive she was going to be taking back to the one bedroom flat she shared with four other girls on the other side of town. By now, she was just biding time so she didn’t get home before 6am, which is when Patience would wake up and start getting ready for her early job. That would free up a spot on the mattress so she could get a few hours of sleep before heading back out herself…

“You still with me?”

She looked up at him and centered this moment — the egg rolls, which really weren’t bad for a 24-hr establishment; and this really handsome stranger who had broken her side mirror this morning, eating out 47 percent of her savings if she decided to fix the damn thing, and setting her back exponentially in her fight against mind-numbing poverty. Yea, she was with him. For the next two hours, she was golden.

“Yep, Tobi with an ‘I’, I’m carpe-ing the hell out of this diem”.

 

He tossed his head back and laughed, easily. This, too, was familiar.

Non classé Prose et Poesie

Building’s Edge

I have jumped off the building to fly

Yet I am falling

Wrench me free as I drown

Pummeled beneath the waves of these downdrafts

Stalling

The inevitability of a paved grave;

Dawning

Who is out here in this busy expanse of nothing

to save the unintentional dive-drown victim?

It is only once we no longer have the net beneath that we recognize

the weight, our manacled feet; the poison festering in our minds.

When you jumped did you consider the downside?

Surely if you did not sail you could not survive

And what if I released this weight — mislabeled pragmatism,

brittle expectations of achievement — freed myself from comparison?

Would the vessel remain, substantiated enough to float?

Or would the remains be paper thin, spiraling in a whirlpool towards an underground moat.

Fairer waves to the same grave

Fear waxing in its dark cave. Stuffed full with dreams saved — paused

Avoiding oblivion

How do we make it back on to the ledge?

Is that to be a boundary or the world’s end?

There should be life beyond the dead

Drop

Perhaps we find it once the weight is no longer fed.

“How is one saved?” This chorus pounding in my head.

A chant taken up by the brave –

Who can ever be saved

from one’s self?

“Save me” (x3)

Fetch yourself from the well.

“Save me” (x2)

— Self to Self.

Inspiration Prose et Poesie

The But

Quel est le point?

Censée devenir… quoi?

On est sur la route, le but duquel est

d’Être

sans doute, plus humain.

Mais on

Est

déjà ce qu’on essaie d’atteindre. 

Circle, moot. We’ve been set on a path

to discover what was core to the plant, the root.

But you are the tree and the fruit.

Quel est le but, alors?

Already both winner and warrior.

Inspiration Prose et Poesie

Comprehension

Walking the world with me while I walked it alone

In stride

Staying in the periphery when my tunnel vision kept me blind

Respecting all the boundaries but toeing, still,

The line 

Keeping silent in the vacuum, acts-in-service – practiced mime 

Stars are stars

always

steady,

twinkling, in the sky 

Sweet serendipity, sweet universe, allowing ours

collide.

Prose et Poesie

Atlas

Sometimes self hate looks like trivializing your own trauma; comparing your handle on pain to others’ handles, with your superficial understanding of their metaphysical navigation.

Sometimes self love looks like you beginning to understand that you are strong beyond measure because the things you go through are heavy for you. So heavy, in fact, that you are weighed down. And that weight you feel is in your mind but also outside of it because it textures the fabric of your life. Yet, this weight is sometimes lifted. You are able to move around under it. Yes, it forms the clouds above you and that is it’s own grey issue. But the weight is sometimes lifted, and you are the one lifting it.

So the next time you doubt your own suffering, the next time you feel like you should not be weighed down by the triviality you have decided is your life, understand that you are brave beyond measure, strong beyond will, and that part of the measure of a good life is our willingness to continue shouldering  our barely manageable burdens long enough to receive our light.

Inspiration Prose et Poesie

The Force of July

Its this process of “collective” grief.

It’s the feeling like you are not recovering as fast as the rest of the collective. When you feel like your rage is overblown because you do not see it mirrored communally but do not realise that you, too, are moving through life silently, simmering, but only below the surface. Rage on mute. About to boil over but not yet, not quite. When is the bounce back, the recovery? And as you are doing this, as you are moving through with your muted rage, your comrades are moving through with theirs too, maybe not as silently, maybe not very loudly either. Unbeknownst to you. This perceived silence – the sweet, elusive recovery time- is ripe and heavy with the weight of pent up rage. No one is bouncing back. Communally. And sometimes, the only catharsis achieved in these moments is through witnessing the turbulence, the pressure cooker of emotions roiling in the depths of the “collective” eye, in the burdened beat path routed to the reality of connection with the kindred in community. Collective healing, from the vantage point au milieu; the crowd clamoring for justice  to remain in full view. Change, unspooling, whipped in old ideas of the “new”.

Change.

I don’t think the process of change is intended to be pleasant. We have never asked the butterfly how it feels to be in the chrysalis. We just rejoice in solidarity when it breaks free and begins to fly. And what was the process like in that shell? Did the wings rip it’s body apart as they formed? Did the caterpillar fear being reborn? What must flight have looked like for one so close to the ground? Are there screams of protest against the metamorphosis with voices too shrill to translate into sturdy vibrations? Are we not paying enough attention to hear them or is the silence it’s own picture of strain. When I feel pain, I curl, I shut my eyes tight and squeeze; tensing muscles till my hands are unyielding mallets and the mounds that clog  the barely formed arches on my flat feet, spasm. I experience pain in flows I want to ebb into oblivion. So perhaps there is a tortured silence in a changing pulse. Or maybe this is out of the loop and there is no pain at all. Just discomfort. Just a longing to hold on to the stable we have built before being dragged by our wings into verdant fields of unknown. 

Perhaps the caterpillar lived in pain and discomfort every aching moment till it was freed. Perhaps change was the road not taken that led to peace.

Peace.

No justice. No peace.

Rage is rage. Muted or shrill.

Inconsolable, is the collective grief.

Journaling Prose et Poesie

Society in Motion

Forgive them

Forgive us

Forgive the deep parts within you cannot trust

 

Time spent but never earned because this is a bus with no stops 

The fog in the rear is not slipping into the exhaust

It is purged

We are running, leaving it behind.

We cannot earn because we cannot bind

We are dust waiting to return 

We are rust waiting for the sun

To burnish us, turn us to bronze that flickers and wreathes like gold

The gold is nowhere but in our souls

The bronze is all that shows

 

And for what? For us to lose the precious little, trailing away like black smoke that unfolds,

pouring out the maw of a backside, not worth a gather

Not worth the sole you exhaust

Not worth the bronze you won’t buff

The rust that needs to wait for the sunrise to feel lust

Of self

 

None other than heavy mist beyond the veil

The dust and the fog and the time-shares of clutter

How you can breathe through the same pipes where all that sputter and gunk choke the inhale.

Choked

Unprovoked

Choke and roll over and sink down like the sun 

Unable to purge through the rays the bronze run.

Unable to shine and burnish itself to a gold spun by society; to relive that choked one

You know the one

Life. 

Let’s pick up the run.

Journaling Prose et Poesie