Be Still

Be Still

“Tunde tell God about your problem and listen to His still small voice. He will guide u aright.” so the SMS says.

I know you pray but will it pay?
I have strained hard.
But I haven’t heard.
Did I ever?
Or was I just clever?
Commune with thine heart upon thy bed

Yesterday I was lost in a dark place
A journey with no aim found me at the cantonment
“Halt!” said the soldier at the gates
I had trespassed. And I was ready for my recompense.

“Stay. Talk with us.
To war tomorrow we go.
Who knows if we will be back or not.
Maybe yours will be the last friendly face we’ll see.
Tell us your name and we will tell you ours.
Per chance we meet again, then not as strangers but as friends.”

So I tarried with them
And took their minds of their troubles by telling them mine
“We will gladly trade places with you friend
But we are committed and we must go
Do not think less of us if we say fear is our bedmate
We will still do our duty to man and country

And so we were till the Sun came up
And the stars went to bed
I made my way wearily home
But home is not a structure planted in the ground made from bricks and mortar
But there I went all the same

And the years went by
And I grew in age and in girth
Life got better then worse then better

On a day as strange as today
I found myself once again where I should not be
“Halt!” said the soldier at the gates
I had trespassed. And I was not ready for my recompense.

With a torch in my face and the deep black at my back
I could not see past my nose
But I heard a familiar voice
And a name sprang to mind
I whispered it lest I was wrong
But it carried all the same on that still night air

“Speak up man. Was it a name that escaped your lips?
Or would you rather lose your teeth.”
“I used to know a soldier. Perhaps it is you. A friend he was on the night he went to war.”
“It is I indeed friend. Many years have passed but nothing changes.”

I remember we met on a night just like this
Before we went to war
You look worse for wear
But who am I to talk?
Have I gained in rank or in wealth?
Or is it the gray that I hide under die or the fat that forms my second belt?
Yet I am here and many are not.
For of those you met that strange night only I remain.

I have not mourned for them.
Maybe I waited for you: for one who knew where we went and how we felt.
Will you tarry and listen to me?
I will tell you about fear and foes
About guns and ghouls
About death. Ye. Mostly about death.

So I tarried again in that place so strange.
And he told me how death came and starred in the faces of men
And took their breaths away
Some went in the rain that refused to stop
And some went in great pain
But to no one was it gain
And mourning those who were no longer with us
We passed the night with a thousand shades

And so we were till the Sun came up
And the stars went to bed
I made my way wearily home
But home is not a structure planted in the ground made from bricks and mortar
But there I went all the same

18-11-2012? (updated 6:35am 02/Mar/2013)

Strange days

Strange days

Saturday was OK. Cut my hair. I was at my sister’s place until quite late at night. The headache built up gradually from around early evening. It was all I could do to arrive home safely in the car. Rushed in and took a couple of Paracetamol tablets. I went to lie down until the “pounding” almost ceased. Watched several episodes of “The Good Wife” (a law series) . After re-winding one episode several times because I kept drifting off, I finally gave up, paused it and slept off.
Woke up on Sunday feeling a little under the weather and with some irritation in my throat. Went to the hospital later in the afternoon. The lady doctor examined my throat and wrote up a prescription for Paracetamol, Lozenges and Vitamin C. She told me their lab was closed otherwise she might have ordered additional tests (e.g., for malaria). She said if I didn’t feel better I should come in the following day.
Took the prescription to the pharmacy. A little room with a window where one stands to hand over the prescription note. The young lady came to the window with the drugs and went through how to use them.
“So, what’s the name.”
“Where are you from?”
“You are a pharmacist?”
“Which school?”
Some pause while I decided whether or not to …
“So what do I have to do to get your number or your pin?”
She smiled
“If you don’t give me, I will keep coming back.”
She smiled even more.
I got to the car, and decided to go back.
This time she was sitting with both her elbows on the table which was when I saw the ring. I smiled and said “Oh. There is a ring on your finger. I didn’t see it.” (Probably an engagement ring of some sort).
She smiled and wiggled the fingers on her left hand.
I said goodbye.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Monday morning I felt a little worse. By Wednesday the sore throat was in full swing. Didn’t feel too good either. Went back to the hospital on Wednesday after work. A young male doctor examined my throat, and asked a few questions. He said there was some infection. He also asked if I “reacted” to any drugs, Ibuprofen in particular. As far as I know, none. Went home with Ibuprofen, cough expectorant and some other antibiotics. He told me to take the cough medicine after I got to work and after I get home at night so as not to be drowsy while driving on the road.
I started taking the drugs but I guess I got a little worse before the drugs started “working” because I was having some chest pain whenever I coughed.
So on the Thursday, I didn’t go to work. I wondered why I was so sleepy. Then I remembered the cough expectorant was supposed to have that effect. I slept off and on.
Which was when I had the dreams …

I was in my sister and brother-in-law’s kitchen. Though the house was definitely not their current house. My sister cut up some vegetables and plantain on a cutting board and handed it over to the husband who was frying the plantain. We could see all the way into the sitting room.
She said “Peter and Paul Okoye are in the sitting room.” I could see them.
I said I was going over to tell Peter I followed him for a while on Twitter but stopped since he refused to answer my question (I actually followed him on Twitter for a while and he really didn’t answer my question – real life filtering into my dreams).

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I was on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. I took my eyes off the road briefly to do “something” on my phone (either send or read a text) and promptly ran off the road into the woods. The place was quite steep but I managed to get out of the car before it went down the gradient and came to a stop way down among some trees.
There was some sort of toll-gate building. It was huge with multiple levels. It was dark, and the superstructure was mostly huge lumber beams. I went to stay on the upper floor. The place had that post-apocalyptic feel to it (loneliness, degradation, age, etc.). I could see out into the woods but couldn’t quite see the car.
Then it started to rain.
There was a huge explosion and fire burning in the trees. For some reason, I realized it was my car.
I decided to go look at the car after the rain.
I made my way down to the lower levels (clambering between the wooden beams) after the rain. I had the feeling that I was trespassing.
Some fellow was down there and he said that someone’s car had caught fire. I didn’t have to go all the way because I could still see the fire burning through the trees, though not as high as it had been originally.
There was a second person as well (not sure if I saw him or “felt” him).
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The drugs are definitely working. The discomfort in my throat is more or less gone, but I still feel a little under the weather.
It’s Friday and I have a meeting. My sore throat is almost completely gone. My voice is a still a little hoarse. On my way back to the office after the meeting I spied a couple of people roasting/cooking fresh corn (maize) by the road side. I pulled over in front of a building. The security guard came up to the car and insisted the parking space was for their staff. I told him I was going to be gone for 2 minutes: just to buy corn a few meters away. He said that’s how some people would say the same thing and then disappear into the nearby market. I repeated that I would soon be back.
I was gone for about 5 minutes.
As I got into the car, he came up and asked if I had any corn for him too.
I asked if he wanted corn or money. He said either would do.
I gave him N70. He thanked me and helped watch the road while I reversed out of the parking lot. Actually no cars were coming my way.

I got to the office, had lunch and wrote this.

Maybe I will go to see a film later in the evening with a colleague. He had called earlier to see if we could arrange something. I guess he needs a break from the the wife and kids 🙂

The Year He died

The Year He died

It rained the year he died
Big drops
From God’s eyes
Up in the skies

I slept the year he died
Strange dreams
No seams
Running together like cloth reams village streams

I drove the year he died
Lagos, Ibadan, Ilesha
Four wheels
Petrol Bills

I laughed the year he died
No memories why
Strange looks
Many moods and song hooks

I cried the year he died
I wonder why
I died the year he died
They wondered why

I lived the year he died
Words, whispers
Remembrance, hope, solitude, multitude
Heaven – gratitude


19:30pm 22/05/2013



Stepping out into the midnight
I feel it will be alright
fire in your eyes
fire in your words
fire on the phone
fire in your voice
fire in your text
fire in your mail

in the distance the siren wails
A wall of sound
I fight the urge
i am evil
i am not evil
i am not nice
i am nice
i am terrible
i am not terrible

no use looking back
but the memories lurk in the shadows
dark shapes whispering dark words
Oh how I wish it would rain
rain down on me
maybe I should give in
in to the walking dead
“Here, my arm. Take a mouthful”
let us be one

burn me up with the fever
when I rise again like the phoenix
I shall have conquered my past
No idea of the future
hell hath no fury …
A thing; living in the present
never to dream again
free for all eternity
but what is freedom?
what is the price?
what is the prize?

What nonsense!
Get over yourself already!


NOTE: this is just a placeholder. I think I wrote it without actually thinking in about 10 minutes. It has no merits; no saving grace – so don’t look for one.
“Someone” (VIP) asked today if I still write: if I still put anything up on this blog. I am actually writing 3 short stories (or maybe 4 or 5 or 6, definitely under 10 :-), but I have been slacking off. Only one is currently being written – slowly.
So if you read the above, thank you. You should then promptly forget it. I have: maybe.

Nothing Changes

Nothing Changes

Time passes. Nothing changes. Nothing remains the same.

I parked in front of the the health center  I walked to Awo hall. Past the Porters lodge at the entrance. I passed in front of the old meals hall. Where students probably sat two to a table to have their meals: that died way before my time. I went down the walkways towards block two. Students passed by: I could be one of them.
Cloths spread out on the fields to dry. Students reading. Students doing their washing. Students playing football in the field between the 2-story hostel blocks two and three.
I remember once when people tried as much as possible not to walk through that field, it was OK as long as you didn’t stray from the tiny winding path that runs through the field. Because in the overgrown bits lay mangled remains of decades of destruction, everything broken and rusted: beds, chairs, bottles, plastics, etc.
One wrong step and you are off to the Medical Center.
Then one idle Saturday the students decided to fix up the field for football. I had thought it was an impossible fit, but the spirit of the game came over them. They couldn’t have worked harder if they were paid. All that day they laboured to move the junk and tip it over the fence behind the hall.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The old empty tiled fountain place is still there.
I was here that night when they (Black Axe) came for “Afrika” (the student union Sec. Gen.). The immediate artificial blackout once students realised what was going on. The shots. Come morning 5 students lay dead.
I crossed the open space and went under hostel block 7. “Tope” lived there I remembered.
I entered the meals hall. A few heads turned in my direction. Maybe it is the echo of my heels on the terrazzo floor. Maybe not.
I walked randomly to a table and sat diagonally across from some guy reading his “hand out” and making notes in an exercise book.

I put my phone on silent. No mobiles when I was a student. Is there a rule against phones ringing in the reading room? How is it enforced?
I put my phone on silent.
I write this.
The “Man-o-War” group jogs past outside on the road towards Mozambique. Blowing whistles and singing songs. Some will be brilliant enough to juggle extracurricular activities with their studies and still make good grades; most will barely make a passing grade. Some will fail.

Time passes. Nothing changes. Nothing remains the same.

I drove to the Sports Complex.
An Olympic sized swimming pool is in place. The supporting structures are under construction.
I used to go watch the body builders do their thing. The place seems locked.
I am on the concrete walkway that separates the main field from the several fenced courts for various other games.

There are groups of students. Various little groups. Evangelising. Fellowshiping.
A lady walked to and fro in one of the fenced courts. She is praying probably in tongues.

I listened in on one of the groups. The speaker says “Keep praying. God wants to see your perseverance.” He used Daniel as an illustration.

“The Realist” is otherwise engaged. I should be going.

The praying lady has disappeared. Replaced by many more groups in different enclosed areas. One man lies down on the hard tarmac face down with his head in his hands. One holds on to the chain linked fence. Three guys pray in a tight group. Some girls walk up carrying musical instruments.
Several fellowships will hold this evening (as usual) I think. More people are showing up with Bibles and walking past.

One group is using one of the covered arenas. They have a VIP table (for the event anchors I think) with a couple of people. Girls are always more spiritual than boys. Most of the group are girls: possibly 45 of the 60 or so people.
It’s time to go.
Seventy-seven kilometers of the wide open road are ahead of me.

If she is happy, then it is OK. That’s all that matters. My sins might not be forgiven nor forgotten, but they shouldn’t matter as much.

Time passes. Nothing changes. Nothing remains the same.

Nothing changes.

DSCF8249 DSCF8250 DSCF8252 DSCF8251

That morning

That morning

Had a weird dream this morning. “”They were shooting Spider-Man in the house where I was. And they had this really tall steel structure with some attachment to the house. And the Spider-man was swinging around this. He of course had several safety ropes attached which I guess will be digitally removed. The director was explaining the intricacies of the 3D work and so on. We were maybe 6 or 8 floors up. My mum was there as well. A floor or so below me. The director was on the ground I believe. The house had no guard railing in the front at all, so you could literally leap down.

In the blink of an eye about half the steel structure was gone (they had finished filming). My mum should have used that to get indoors (not completely sure why not on the floor where she was ). Anyway, she first walked the ledge with the vertical drop to her left. Then she jumped down one floor. Then dropped to her hand over the ledge (holding on to the ledge with her legs dangling free) , swung back and forth and landed on the next floor (which was sort of receded). All the while praying that I would not have to carry her (she was literally praying this out loud) while doing all this dangerous calisthenics! And there I was thinking maybe she should wait while we try and figure out how to get the steel structure back so she could get into the house. She made it safely though!

07:30am 11/March/2013.


I put the following on FaceBook yesterday (08/05/2013) then removed it immediately. I think even the premise that one can announce he/she is about to make restitution (implying making up for some negative act in the past – as if …) is probably an indication of a proud/haughty heart (not what I was aiming for). I am putting it here because I like how it read (and it is my blog after all 🙂

“Time for restitution. This is not a one-time offer though it may be time-limited in its current iteration. If I have taken anything (money, joy, property, etc) from you, or the reverse (given you pain, sadness, etc), I am truly sorry. If it is or can be converted to material things, I will add something on top (after all, there is always interest to be paid even on legitimate borrowing) but I can’t go full-scale “Zacchaeus” (I don’t have that kind of resources … yet). If not, let me know the type/kind of restitution required.
But seriously …”



Ife the city.

Ife the Yoruba word for love.


Today (Sunday) I stopped at the old tollgate just at the entrance to Ife (on my way back to Ibadan).

“How much?” I asked the lady with the tray of bananas. One of several women trying to sell me fruits of various kinds including oranges, pears, etc.

“N200” she said.

“But these bananas are small.” I said.

“That’s how we found them.” she said as a form of apology for the size of the bananas.

I haggled half-heartedly because it was expected.

She insisted on two hundred Naira. Her face took on a pleading look. I relented.

She put the bananas in a plastic bag and handed it to me. I paid.

The middle aged man in the “Yellow Fever” uniform standing along the road with the fruit sellers asked if I would be kind enough to give him a lift to Ikire. I was sure he wasn’t completely sure he would get a positive response. I asked him to hop in which he gratefully did.

He was somewhat dirty and didn’t smell too good. But who would after being in the African midday Sun all day?

I noticed his eyes were bloodshot even though he had on a pair of dark glasses. I thought I smelled some of the local gin on him.

He told me he was transferred from Ikire to Ife (or was it the opposite?) early this year and he had not yet secured accommodation locally so he has been shuttling between the two towns (probably a distance of about 40KM).

I put on the radio. A call-in Yoruba programme was on air. People called in or sent in SMS asking the radio presenters to “beg” their loved ones (husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, lovers, etc.) for wrongs they had done to them. They would give the person’s name, their names, and ask for forgiveness. The presenters will then plead on behalf of the caller.

Time passed.

We came to a point on the road. A small white car had run off the road into the brush just by the road side. I don’t think it was too bad as we could still see the driver’s head and he seemed OK. Their was also no urgency in the actions of the FRSC officers diverting traffic at the point. There was a huge trailer on the road trying to turn around. I suspect it might have caused the small car to run off the road.

I dropped off the traffic officer at the Ikire junction.

I was on the road again when I got a call from “The Realist” (a friend; a sister; a kindred spirit; :-).

Which reminded me of the previous day’s events. (Not that I had actually forgotten).

I had gone on a little adventure on the campus grounds with “The Realist”.

The highlight was a visit to the zoo.

Which still consisted of a lot of virgin forest. Hanging vines. Dark paths. The whole setup very Indiana Jones like. Broken here and there by the enclosures of various animals. I might have missed a couple but the animals in the zoo consisted of the following:

A couple of lions. They didn’t look well fed nor happy. They were locked up. The tip of their ears raw with the flies bothering them. Despite making lots of noise to get their attention, they were too disinterested (or ill?) to even give us a look. One was lying in its own piss and feaces. It was all a little depressing. I had read on the Internet the day before that there were only 34 lions left in the whole country. I guess these two were part of those 34. I wasn’t sure how long they could survive in that setting (maybe we will soon be down to 32).

There was a dwarf crocodile lying completely still in the Sun; a river turtle; a crested “something-something” bird; a couple of ostriches.

A hyena which we didn’t see on the first pass of its enclosure partly due to the “little” jungle in its enclosure. It was visible on our return journey. The enclosure wall was about waist high, so I guess hyenas can’t jump or climb. All the same it was disconcerting.

We took some pictures.

hyena1    hyena2

hyena3    hyena4

A little python. I understand from “The Realist” that there used to be a huge long black python there as well. (Maybe it had gone to snake heaven).

We came across an enclosure with “Maxwell’s Duiker” on the little signboard, but the animal(s) were absent. Maybe gone the way of the big snake as well.

There were some monkeys as well. Their enclosure wall was very high. Probably close to 20-feet in some places. I guess it is needed to keep the monkeys in. I should have taken some pictures.

While we were there, only one other group (probably from Ife town due to the mix and look of the 6 or so people) showed up. So much potential unrealised (a reflection of the country).

We still enjoyed the visit though. It was also some exercise as we were both sweating due to the exertion (the terrain was undulating).

We left the zoo and visited some other areas of the campus.

At some point we were in front of the “Dramatic Arts” cloister of buildings. I remember I used to go to there when I was still a student to go look at the statues put up by the Fine Arts students; sometimes I would go to the workshop at the back to watch them work.

The campus had changed a lot. Lots of construction going on. Lots of cars.

All good things come to an end. I dropped off “The Realist.”

I went to “Ajose Lecture theatre” by myself but the place was locked up due to renovations going on. I looked through a crack in the door and could see all the new seats wrapped up in cellophane.

I drove to the staff quarters to the home of a close friend. I was going to stay the night with his family.

I almost didn’t make it to church this morning (Sunday). I wasn’t keen but the wife was just a little (gently) persistent enough to make me change my mind.

I was glad I went for the service. I didn’t know my friend was going to preach. He was actually one of the church elders!

church1    church2

tope1    tope2

Back “home”, I dozed on and off after the well-made meal of yam and fried eggs 🙂

Five thirty and I got on the road for the trip back to Ibadan.

I got to Ibadan about an hour later.

It was mentioned in church that this is the month of grace. May the good Lord be gracious to all of us.