The Burden Of Being Young And Bald | By Chidi Arua

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Me, trying to figure out why I’m bald.

Life is tough. But nothing can be tougher than being young and bald. People will talk down at you, make you the butt of their jokes and sometimes, no scratch that, most times, they will attack your self esteem. If you’re chicken-minded, you’ll go home and kiss life goodbye.

Nothing can be more depressing than having a feature you can do nothing about. You’re stuck with it – like a chicken trying to free its feet from old, unused weaves. And then, people, who are mostly dickheads, will make fun of that feature, and it’s more drepressing when they seem to derive joy from it. They don’t care if it hurts you or not.

My name is Chidi Arua, I will turn 22 on the 29th of this month, and guess what? I’m bald!

Three days ago, during an examination, an invigilator(his name should be DickHead) took a swipe at my hairline. He launched his comic career with my baldness. I felt like putting a bullet through his head.

Mr. DickHead(that is how I choose to call him) had asked us to step outside the examination hall for a re-accreditation for a second course. Normally, since we had used the same venue for the first course, there should have been no need for another identity check.

But then, Mr. DickHead knew better. Perhaps, he wanted to sound funny, and he did.

One after the other, he ushered us into the hall according to our registration numbers. Everyone located his/her seat. That went well until my friend, DickHead himself, decided to take his wisdom to the next level and call for a face check.

He brought a catalogue containing a passport photograph of everyone that was supposed to take the examination.

“Present, Sir,” each student answered as Mr. DickHead called, trying to confirm if everyone’s face matched the photograph in his catalogue.

I sat there, waiting to hear him yell my number. A very needless exercise, I thought. I was wearing a face cap without the slightest idea that it would make me smell the rotten egg of shame.

Well, he got to my registration number and finally inducted me into the Hall of Shame. My good friend, DickHead, chanted my number.

“Present, sir”

“But you’re not wearing a cap here,” he said, pointing to the catalogue.

I did the needful by removing my cap for him to do his job, for a needless second time. He looked at me and threw a jibe that had me gasping for breathe.

“It is because of your bald head?” DickHead asked.

The whole hall, that contained about sixty students, was rented with laughter. I sat there like an abandoned child, left to die in a waste bin. The weight of the world crashed on me.

I wore back my cap, trying my best not to give away my outrage. I birthed a bold face to provide a shelter for my soaked ego; soaked with the obnoxious rain of shame.

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Myself and one prick that calls himself my friend, Khandee

And then, stitches of follow up jibes from my classmates:

“Chidi, go and plant hair o”

“I don tell am make him go do hair transplant o”

“O boy, the man no get joy o, see as him finish Chidi”

I did shut my ears to them. I ignored them all, wrote my exams in silence and left.

I can’t blame nature for deciding to swallow my hairline prematurely. As a Christian, I believe that it’s the way God created me. I can’t change it.

My hairline is recessing rapidly and as it becomes thinner, I die inwardly. For a fact, I hate it.

You want to grow your hair and do whatever you like with it but you’re constantly pegged back by an untimely balding.

I have had people mock me in the past and I would be furious with God for days. Now, even after Mr. DickHead held sway on the day, I refuse to think about it or be mad with God.

I’m writing because this may help someone out there dealing with a physical defect, or any other feature that makes such a person the subject of provoking jokes. Be yourself and start loving the way you look or how you were created.

Are you uncontrollably fat? Your friends mock you? Ignore it. Don’t feel ashamed because you’re beautiful and handsome, just the way you’re.

PS: All my course mates are pricks!

Hugs.

Follow me on Twitter: @ChidiArua and Facebook: Chidi Arua

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And The Don Had No Child | A Tribute To Don Marshallean

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Yesterday, your sun hung above us

It shone with envious brightness

Illuminating our path

As you led the pride to greatness

 

We took delight

In your envious sagacity

‘There goes the Don’

We often chanted

 

In the morning of yesterday

You stood tall

In your larger-than-life coat

Of many but special colours

 

When the day ran past

The sun made haste to set

Ushering in the evening

Don, you were still standing

 

The night came

With its obnoxious darkness

Taking the place

Of once, a bright day

 

You, Don, went into your hut

The dark wasn’t your business

But you were its business

Against your wish

 

‘Go away from me’

We imagine your scream

But all you did;

Farting against thunder

 

You let the dark swallow you

‘Oh, my children’

Your scream cuts through the thick blank

Never seeing the light at the end

 

Today, we awake

Without your sun hanging above us

Extinguished by the dark

To shine no more

 

Sagged heads

Watery eyes

Broken hearts

Killed vibes

 

If only the Don had a child

To keep his hut warm

To mourn

And continue the legacy

 

But the Don had no child

So, we mourn

Because;

We are all Don’s children

 

The Don had no child

He left behind, children

Of his intelligence

And selfless tutorials

 

There is a bit of Don;

In our hearts and heads

Because the Don had no child

And we are his children

 

 

 

 

 

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The Media Writer| A Review By Chidi Arua

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BOOK REVIEW

Title: The Media Writer

Author: Godspower Udoh

Place of Publication: Uyo

Publisher: Peace Letters Limited

Year of Publication: 2015

Number of Pages: x + 102 = 112

Price: Not stated

Reviewer: Chidi Arua

INTRODUCTION

The Media Writer is written primarily for mass communication and journalism students, to help such students improve in the art of writing for the media. According to the author, the book “particularly welcomes students of journalism and mass communication to some of the major issues in mass media.” (pg vii). However, the book can also be useful, according to the author, to other “undergraduates who do not only look forward to scoring high grades in introductory media writing courses, but are also aiming at getting acquainted with the basic textual tectonics of the popular media writing tripod namely: journalism, advertising and public relations”. His aim in writing the book, he says, is to help budding writers avoid colossal mistakes in the art of writing for the media, to offer explanations to the guidelines on how such task should be handled, and where there is no standard guideline, to suggest a guideline by which it could be done properly. In a nutshell, the book is set out to assist upcoming media writers in following the standard rules of media writing. Expectedly, the contents of the book are tailored to achieve the set goals.

 

 

CONTENT

The content of the book covers a wide range of writing tips; the explanation and distinction between ordinary writing and media writing, information about the traditional frontiers of media writing (print media, broadcast, internet media), tips on writing for the newspaper, magazine, radio and TV, advertisement writing, public relations writing, web writing and generally takes on the writing language of the media. These are all organized in different but related chapters to help the reader navigate with ease.

 

ORGANISATION OF CONTENT

 

The book has seven chapters. Chapter 1 deals with skills of communication and artistic writing, 2 talks about the print media, 3 unravels the complexity of broadcast media writing, 4 gives a blue print on the art of advertisement writing, 5 takes the reader on the journey of public relations writing, 6 dismantles the cob webs surrounding web writing, and 7 talks about effective ways of writing in the media language.

 

Chapter 1 basically talks about the art of communication and the basic skills accompanying it such as speaking, listening, writing and reading. The author brings writing into focus and creates a clear distinction between ordinary writing and media writing. He stresses the need as to why every writer should write as a professional communicator. The chapter brings the artistic media writer into focus; how he/she should write in order to capture the attention of his readers. The author states that while no particular artistic skill is needed to write, it’s almost impossible to write for the media without the element of creativity. Finally, the chapter lists the traditional frontiers of media writing; print (newspaper and magazine), broadcast (radio and television) and internet media.

 

Chapter 2, titled Writing for The Print Media, is largely prescriptive. It takes the reader through the traditional frontier of the popular print media –newspaper and magazine, their contents, writing techniques, structures and styles. These features, as explained by the author are newspaper’s predominant form, news types and structures, writing the inverted pyramid news, news types and determinants, a magazine’s predominant form, traditional feature typology and option for media writers, the investigative method and writing techniques, the interpretative writer, qualities of print media, leads for journalistic writing, writing powerful leads and journalistic writing.

 

Chapter 3 deals with the title, Writing for the Broadcast Media. It highlights some challenges in writing for the broadcast media, focusing mostly on the textual issues to be considered when writing broadcast stories. The issues are treated in categorically as writing broadcast stories that contain numbers and writing broadcast abbreviation and acronyms. As an addition to the main purpose of the chapter, writing as a communication artist is also addressed.

 

In chapter 4, Writing for Advertisers, the author introduces the reader to the concept and principle of advertisement copy writing. Principles such as audience survey, determining value proposition, finding a unique selling proposition, having a definite objective, using compelling subject, harping on great headlines, avoiding unappealing words, using active and strong voice, including a customer quote and keeping the copy clean and concise are all addressed. This chapter also explains the language of advertisement.

 

Chapter 5, titled Writing for Public Relations, talks about the essentials of public relations writing. It states the two basic angles of public relations writing; internal and external public relations writing, and the issues in each of them. For internal, issues like writing for the employee newsletter, writing for corporate magazine, writing for company brochures and booklets, and periodic report writing are explained. While in external public relations writing, issues explained include writing news release and feature story writing.

 

Chapter 6 talks about Writing for the Web. Some principles of web writing are highlighted. The issue of web writers and the behaviour of their readers are examined. Again, the author gives his own take on online writing and search engine optimization (SEO).

 

Chapter 7, the last chapter of the book, talks about Writing in Media Language. This chapter addresses the grammatical and technical issues that may be relevant to media writing.

EVALUATION

The book provides good information and advice in the area of general writing, print and broadcast media writing, advertisement copy writing, web and public relations writing and the language in media writing.

Technically, the work is fine; good fonts, printed with good margins. His English is simple and therefore provides good readability. There are no spelling errors to my knowledge. Personally, I admire his punctuations. It has a good front-cover design to suit its title.

However, in chapter one, when the author made an attempt to address general writing, he did so without talking about other areas of writing such as fictional writing and essays that are not intended to convey news but pleasure. This may deny a budding writer who is intending to write fictions for magazines the opportunity of knowing the basics. The lengths of the chapters are not appropriately proportionate. Chapter 1 has 14 pages, chapter 2 has 34 pages, chapter 4 has 6 pages and chapter 7 has 15 pages. This obvious lack of conformity results from the fact that some chapters are more involving than others. It could have been avoided by a reduction approach to involving chapters.

CONCLUSION

In spite of the few weaknesses observed from the book, the book is an important contribution to the teaching of media writing. Its emphasis on creativity, aesthetics and simplicity in media writing recommends it to all budding and aspiring media writers.

RECOMMENDATION

I strongly recommend the text to the reading public and undergraduates in Nigeria and Africa. The book promises to be a helpful companion.

DisclaimerThis article is intended to assist the first year students of the University of Uyo with their book review exercise, and it contains my personal review of the book. It should not be reproduced on any online form, or reproduced in hard copy for monetary purpose. This information is free but not free to be plagiarized by any blogger. 

Follow me on twitter: @ChidiArua and Facebook: Chidi Arua

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Change. -By A.G. Giwa

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May he who is advised, heed.
Although it pains Tortoise, according to him,
“if one heeds the advice I give.”
For it’s only in regret that its full weight is felt.

Haba! Kilode! Mechonu! A mermaid led a crowd to
sea,
‘Yeah, no water!’ Not even a drop to drink.
They stooped to dig, he held their hands:
‘Dirty water will harm your souls’
Why lead them to a dry stream?
Ignorance?

We counted our chicks, ere the hatching.
We trusted incubator; we hailed our candling.
But the day is dawned we’ve rotten eggs and dying
chicks.
What finance and energy waste!

We lit a candle then oppose its melting.
Is there any noble foetus in the womb of gun?
We drop the Maker but trust the made.
Let’s think aright and back to God –
The Only One That owns change.
———————————–
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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A.G. Giwa is an educationist and educator, with
major in English language. Born June 6, 1976.
Lives in Kaduna with his family of four. Author of
children’s verse play: Mukaila the Disobedient
Child, yet to be published novels, To Hell With
Dad, and The Mistakes of Our Hero.
_____________________________________
EDITOR’S SHOT

Today, being June 12, we remember the fallen heroes of the Nigerian struggle. Those who lost their lives in one form of activism or the other.

We remember Chief MKO Abiola, who died on this day while refusing to surrender the people’s mandate.

We also remember a young Engineering student of University of Uyo, Kingsley Udoette, who was killed on June 12, 2013 while standing up for students’ rights.
Since then, no officer has been prosecuted for the murder. We’re still demanding for justice.

Posted in Nigerian Issues, Poems | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Great Voice. -By A.G. Giwa

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Nigerian mob

they are not sounds, the ordinary,
they are not muffled,
they are clear,
my last words.
that though great the challenges
even greater the success.
yesterday we were together
doing this struggle for liberation,
today I am sitting on the fence backing the scene
and I see our sweat flawed,
flawed by the generation for whom
we gave out our lives.
I see our land helpless in the embrace of
dishonour.

no, this is not the Nigeria of our dream.
no, this is not the future that we saw.
no, this is not the road that we toed.
somewhere, greed has taught our children well
and they choose hell over heavens.
please tell me Waves, is it true?

is it real the Nigerian man can suicide-bomb?
yes, they say they swear, Lord,
they are the ambassadors of god,
hawking the gospel in a brutal tray.
that for those who bought, there should be no
peace
and serve those who do not, pieces.

tell me, has Nigeria been recolonized
so that our children have no swords
to break the arm of disgraceful disrespect
to the sanctity of life?
to say ‘no’, this is not what the trio and the rest
bargained?

evil knows well that man will protest
so it hides its face behind money
and lectures our sons and daughters
the way against them.
and they take to sentiments –
me,
my family,
my tribe, my region and my religion
and, curdling moneys, forget brotherhood.
then evil cackles from afar
he has set them apart.

and our own land was stolen by our own ourselves.
shame unto us whose food was not enough
yet, spit on the little by a way of protest.
shame unto us who pollute our waters
because our waters are being polluted.
shame onto all heirs that squander their
inheritance.

Zik, division threatens our unity
and the boys refuse to heed
that the cloud that parts never makes rain
norths and Souths Korea and Sudan
picture the future of secessionists.

yeah, still in our country?
hope none from south entertains
this fiction of hope
for we have had enough of deaths,
enough of evil in our clime and so,
i, Zik with Ikemba, do meet to say
if lasting freedom be our desire,
unlike Macbeth,
we shall wait for time while we stir
with our voices like June twelvers.
this, it would push us to the throne.

no more the use of arms,
no more the misuse of youth,
no more the abuse of privileges.
last when I saw sardauna,
didn’t I tell him that the herders
hang on the lips of man,
that freedom has a limit,
that ewe bites when presses to the wall?
and, like you, he was bitter.
for how could the heirs of freedom,
choose to live in bondage?
asked he me.

and then continued
let the ardos all over
roll over their voices
that freedom which threatens freedom
brings about confrontation
and, only the war-ignorant
would grin at the approach of one.
what says the Awo’s tribe
or like the wise hypocrites
sit on the fence,
shedding tears and chuckling
to pave their ways to prominence?
no, but their share is mild,
their youth that hate discipline
terrorise their rest
and although, still mild,
souls involuntarily give their lives
for rituals for others to be safe.
and men, like women, children and olds
do miss for ransom’s sake.
but this is wind, it blows even heavier
within your men
and it blows among Sardauna’s too.

then, o, welcome Sardauna,
where’s Awo and Isong and the rest.
hear what i’ve heard.
shall we give a message to Waves
for the leaders of today?
yes, yes, yes, yes, let’s do.

the hungry man is an angry man, Awo.
the empty mind is devil’s home, Sardauna.
the abandoned one is a potential threat, Zik.
the cheated one is a revengeful one . Isong.
all. to the masses, the persistently insatiable losses
the little he has at last.
———————

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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A.G. Giwa is an educationist and educator, with major in English language. Born June 6, 1976. Lives in Kaduna with his family of four. Author of children’s verse play: Mukaila the Disobedient Child, yet to be published novels, To Hell with Dad, and The Mistakes of Our Hero.

Posted in Nigerian Issues, Poems | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Letter To My President

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                                                                                                                                Uyo,

                                                                                                                                Akwa Ibom State,

                                                                                                                                Nigeria.

To The President,

Grand Commander of The Armed Forces,

Federal Republic of Nigeria.

 

Dear Mr. President,

I don’t want to ramble about the fact that you don’t know me. I know that you don’t know me. So, let me introduce myself. My name is Christopher Chidi Okoro Arua. I’m a Nigerian(who has suddenly begun to question his nationality). I live in Nigeria –don’t fret yourself about the prospect of me writing this from the safe havens of foreign lands.

There is a reason why we are Nigerians. Allow me to paint a picture for you. Like you may have noticed, there is a ‘Christopher’ before my widely known name. It is not there because I imagine the concept of four names to be sexy. No, it’s not meant to satisfy my shenanigans. That is not the reason. ‘Christopher’ is meant to tell people about who I am –a Christian. I took that name on the day I was baptized. It symbolizes my commitment to the religion I choose to practice.

Like you already know, Nigerians are extremely religious people. That means: everything starts and ends with God. He controls everything for us; economy, infrastructure building, food, jobs, schools, and everything we need as a people. Our God also controls the security of citizens.

Dear Mr. President, I am certain that you are a religious man too. But I want to believe that it hasn’t taken away your sense of relaxation. So, Mr. President, I want to ask you a question: do you watch movies at your leisure time? If you do, have you ever watched Hotel Rwanda? If you haven’t, allow me to tell you a brief story. Oh, Mr. President, I forgot to mention that I’m a storyteller. Yes, I tell stories. Some people find it entertaining. Some think I’m miserable at it. Others simply don’t have the luxury to read –or listen to my stories. As for you, Mr. President, I don’t know what you think about storytelling and how well storytellers go about their craft. So, I will just tell you about the above mentioned movie and let you decide if I tell stories well, or not.

Hotel Rwanda is about Paul Rusesabagina, a Hutu hotel manager. His wife, Tatiana –a very beautiful woman –is a Tutsi. Well, their marriage was a huge source of discord with Paul’s tribesmen, notably, Georges Rutaganda. There is something about Rutaganda that strikes me. He wakes me from my slumber of refusing to notice how tribe can divide a people. Even though Rutaganda was a friendly supplier at Paul’s hotel, he was still displeased by the fact that his tribesman had married a Tutsi. There was tension between the two tribes. Accusations and counteraccusations. Before one could say damn, Paul began to notice killings that were being fueled by ethnic affiliations. Bits by bits, it spiraled into a full war –a genocidal war. Well, to cut it short, it became what is now known as the Rwanda Genocide.

You may not have been impressed with the manner with which I told the story. I rushed it. Well, that is not my story. I can’t tell it better than its original owners. But Mr. President, I have another question for you. Please, let my dear President not be displeased with me. Have you ever seen a man die? I can hear you laughing at this question, seeing that you have been in the army. I have seen a man die –killed by a mob. We both know that I shouldn’t be seeing such things, right?

I was 17, and it was also my final year in Secondary School –nothing beats Secondary School. That was four years ago. I saw them. They were many, very many, my dear President.  Wherever they took the man from, a very young man I guessed, they never stopped beating him as they moved along the dusty street, triumphantly. They didn’t stop until they had snuffed life out of him. As if to say to onlookers this is our spoil from the hunt! I saw people giggling as they watched the inglorious, painful death of a human. By the time he was dragged (yes, he was being dragged on the ground) nearer to where I was standing, he was no longer a recognizable human. My legs were shaking in trepidation. I began to withdraw from the scene but something compelled me to look back.

I saw a man run into the crowd with a machete. People gave way and he gained access to the already dead man(I guessed) and delivered a big blow. The half dead man wriggled in pain and the crowd cheered. When he raised his machete to deliver a second blow, I looked away. I had never been so afraid in my entire life.

Then, they decided to cap their victory by playing their last cards. I saw them, yes, Mr. President, I saw them pour a liquid on him, after half a dozen tyres had emerged from nowhere to become his death companions. What followed that liquid, Mr. President, was fire and lots of smoke. Yes, dear President, he was set ablaze!

Since that great day of horror, for me, nothing has come near to matching that sight. It took me weeks before I stopped seeing the scene in my dreams. But one thing keeps baffling me till date. Where was the Police? That act of savagery took more than an hour and the Police didn’t fucking show up!

Yes, the Police didn’t show. The same way they didn’t show up when the Aluu4 were killed. When Southern Corp members were slaughtered in the North. When Herdsmen plundered Agatu, and also laid waste to an Enugu community. They never ever show up when killings are going on. The killers have never been made to face the law. And because we are Nigerians, we leave everything to God.

This is why I am baffled by the Army’s ‘quick response’ whenever there is a peaceful pro-Biafran protest. See, Mr. President, I am not a secessionist. I know you won’t believe me –it’s very hard to be objective in this country. Nevertheless, I will still go ahead and tell you why I took the pain of putting words across to you.

Monday, May 30, 2016, your forces –the Nigerian Army –shot at peaceful pro-Biafran marchers in Onitsha, killing many. Mr. President, that was the height of insensitivity and lack of respect for human rights. I know you love Nigeria. I do, too. But we can’t force people who don’t want to belong here to remain in the union against their wish. Under the United Nations’ laws, people have the right to agitate for a sovereign state. This explains why the Spanish government hasn’t gone on a killing spree of the Catalans. For the love of God, Catalonia even owns a national football team that has even played an international friendly match against Nigeria!

Trampling on the rights of pro-Biafrans is not even the biggest thing that frets me, my dear President. I’m a common man. This means that I’m exposed to street opinions on daily basis. There is a suspicion on the streets about an alleged ethnic cleansing agenda. Are you aware of this, dear President? People are saying that your tribesmen –Fulanis –are bent on killing people of other tribe. It is very hard for anyone to think otherwise; seeing that the herdsmen have not directed their killings to farmers in the north. Mr. President, are there no farmers in the north? It’s not like I want them to be killed. I’m only trying to raise a point. And then the loud silence that emanates from you each time such killings occur goes a long to clear any doubt about such conspiracy theories. None of these herdsmen was shot by the Army but their bullets were ripe for Biafran agitators.

What you should know, Mr. President, is that each time a soldier kills one of these peaceful protesters, their struggle becomes popular. They gain more local and international sympathy, and it’s bad for the unity we so desire. There are concerns of reprisals. Concerns of ethnic clashes. This is why I asked if you have ever watched Hotel Rwanda.

 

Another thing that worries me are my nightmares. I haven’t had such nightmares since I stopped seeing the man being killed many times in my dreams. Now when I sleep, I dream of blood –lots of blood. Mr. President, I’m afraid of what I see. Like I said earlier, I’m a Christian and that means: I don’t take dreams lightly. I feel that God is talking to me. That is why I am writing this. To tell you that there might be ethnic clashes. There might be blood, like the one I see in my dreams. I’m afraid that one day, the white man will do another movie –using black people as puns –similar to Hotel Rwanda to tell a Nigerian sad story. I’m afraid that we might wake one day and discover that our homes are gone, and worst, our loved ones maybe gone too. I am afraid that someone might shoot me because my name is Chidi and I have the nose of an Igbo boy. The other day, on hearing my name, someone called me a “bloody Biafran!”

Dear Mr. President, before you came to power, you promised to solve our security issues. But under your watch, ethnic tensions are beginning to rise. This is not the country I want. I want a country where a Southern Corp member would be posted to the North and such assignment would be taken without the fear of death. I want a country where people won’t look at me with suspicions because I bear a different tribe name. I want a country I can call my own. We need to stop killing each other, Mr. President.

The unity of our country has a lot to do with how you manage the things that seem little. As we continue to find the perfect way of co-existing together as a country, may God, who controls everything for us, continue to guide you as you lead us –hopefully– to our promise land.

May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Thank you.

Yours truly,

Christopher Chidi Okoro Arua.

 

 

 

 

 

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Fallen In Love

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                      image credit: africanwriter

I have fallen in love with you
But it ceases to perturb you
Perhaps, you comprehend not
My mild rot
That My heart seeks
Your feminine devotedness
I fall everyday
I search with dismay
Wondering why forever
You say nothing

At night, your angelic face
Decorates my fairy palace
Coaxed by illusion
Of desirous hallucination
My heart is laden
With tearful burden
I drown in a cesspool
Of my own tears
Bewildered why you never care
To care

Do you ever wonder,
A great pain, I suffer
But to watch you everyday
In another’s hut
You keep him warm
I go cold
I am cold
Orphaned by cupid

If I could summon my manhood
From his queer mousy sojourn
But to tell you
I love you
I need you

Alas, I can’t
Hoping you can
But notice my mousiness
To take it all away
And let me in
I long to be in
I have fallen in love
With you.

——————–
Twitter: @ChidiArua

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