Sleep (Hour 24)

Sleep, dear, sleep when this marathon is over,

and flag off yet another one

as you plumb the depths of slumber.

May you find succor

in the womb of the subconscious.

Release your tiredness

into the stream of refreshing.

You shall yet awake

to the refreshing dews of life

when you come up

from the stream of sleep.



The Old Man and The Sea (Hour 23)

Gently, old man, gently

As you row towards dark uncertainty and the expectation

of many years past.


Gently, as the horizon blurs, conspires with the dark sea

to trammel your progress

Look not at the furrowed skyline, or the darkening skies

for the prize is your journey’s worth.


Now the Great White shows forth in a streak of silver,

disappearing in a froth even before you can make ready your line.

It will come, old man, it will come.


And again it comes, taunting, baring two endless rows of sparkling white teeth and-

Your line’s taut-

and you must secure your prize on the stern, head back to the shore.

Gently, old man, gently,


Now the shore is in sight and your joy froths over

Alas, your prize is gone and in its stead

the leftover skeleton of the Great White, whose flesh has fed

many predators along the way.

Gently, old man, take life as it comes.




Tenderness (Hour 22)

It’s baffling to watch-

the soft side of a ferocious beast

an uncompromising predator

or an evil dictator.


To watch a lioness lick her young to dry,

let it prance and bite her ear,

pick it up gently with her mouth

and gently carry it away to safety


Or to watch the mother croc

pick up her hatchlings in her whale of a mouth,

not crushing any by the same jaws

that have pulverized many a hapless victim.


Or to watch a confessed killer

tell his son bedtime stories, tuck him into bed,

switch off the lights, pause for a moment

to plant a loving kiss on his forehead.

It is a baffling show of tenderness to behold


A Shield For Me (Hour 21)


your prayers

are the umbrella that shields me

from life’s troubling droplets

and trickles of tempest

and devastating deluge

that threaten to turn

into a feisty storm.

A Second Breakfast (Hour 20)

My doctor is a bore

Frets like a mother hen

The fuss?

My weight


Who will deny me those late night raids in the kitchen

while the house slept?

those tippy-toe moments as I hear a door swing-



Oh, dad, I just came for water. Feeling thirsty

Lights out.


The snoring of a boar

My door opens again and on tippy toes I go,

back to my love waiting for me

in the kitchen

in the fridge

in the orange bowl that mom put the caramel-coated sponge cake

Crunch crunch. Mission accomplished.


Hours later.


Has my sin been discovered?

The whole family is gathered around for breakfast

and there’s none for me.


Where’s my breakfast, mom?

And like a well-rehearsed song, they echo back at me:

“You can’t have a second breakfast!”


Lagos, Nigeria (Hour 19)

an urban contradiction

of the sane and insane

coexisting in an asylum

called city by name


of a concatenation of smells

expensive perfumes fighting sosorobia¹

body odor hiding beneath

the aroma from mamaput¹²


factories belching pollution

competing with paraga³-drinking drunkards-

staggering is the odor that emanates

from the gutters and no one bothers

Who send you?


this is my Lagos-

Africa’s heartbeat and heartthrob

swagger of a kind born

and bred on the streets.

sidewalks steeped in sex and sleaze

Waka pass⁴ if you don’t know the way.


skyscrapers straining against one another

beside mud dwellings looking for a fight

nothing’s new, this is Lagos


yellow ‘danfo’ buses so ubiquitous

and their conductors with yellowing teeth

armed with arsenals of cuss words

and little education


here’s where affluence sleeps with penury,

wake up the next day and table’s turned

there’s no line dividing us-

we’re Lagos and Lagos is us

This is Lagos.


¹cheap locally made body spray

²streetside eatery usually selling cheap foods and low on hygiene

³locally made gin

⁴another phrase for ‘just move on or out of the way’





Joy (Hour. 18)


Inexplicable lighting

of a strange fire in the pit of my being


roaring, a bush fire

chasing away rodents of sadness


I have known happiness in my life

I have known ecstasy

But none matches this profound experience-

This joy from above



Leviathan (Hour 17)

They call you leviathan,

drinker of the ocean,

ruler of the deep,

eater of countless fish,

belching out your satisfaction

in tsunamis and earthquakes,


yet your majesty remains



for he who must rule

should rule in entirety


the oceans still swirl proudly

the waters remain in countless volumes

and you have not yet drank it all up


the sea life still flourishes

the fauna and its beauty.

the mermaids still hold court

in the palaces of the sea,

and you, leviathan, who do you rule over?


it tells, therefore, of a greater Being,

Creator of it all, the Almighty

in the tiniest of whose hands

the entire universe remains,

before whom the leviathan

is but a tiny ant.




Because We Never Looked (Hour 16)

How often we want to be other people

wear their shoes,

not feel the pinch

dream their dreams

and not their nightmares

taste their victory

and not feel their defeat.


It’s only human

but if only we could look

within and not without

deep inside and not outside

trusting God and not mammon

we would marvel and ask,

“why didn’t we notice this earlier?”

All About You (Hour 15)

I do not know

by what name to call it-

lust or love,

for the line that separates both



Lara, you lured me

with your innocence

which is not innocent.

Your eyes so luminescent

beamed right through my soul


I have nibbled

on those lips of yours

a thousand times,

seeking with my tongue

the pathway to greater glory.


I hold on to your curvaceous waist

the way a drowning man may hold

to dear life-

a flotsam buffeted

by the waves of your sea.




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