It’s a Marlian Error

Currently serving in a Public Secondary school in the Oyo State Capital, and I am quite certain a number can understand how some of these students always have some sort of vice at their finger tips, and some live to be the ones reporting.

Friday, the 10th of this month, I went to school to sort out an issue. Nothing much happened.

The class captain from one of the arms of SS 1 came to me armed with a list of those that were making noise. I asked him to call those whose names had fallen into his book. And alas, they were all girls. I called the retreating class captain and asked why. Not waiting for his answer, I decided to go to their class myself.

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Getting to their class, I saw that it was in fact the whole class that was guilty of the crime. A little exhausted and seeing their hungry eyes waiting to feed on whatever it was ‘Aunty’ had come to do, I asked the whole lot to stand and raise their hands.

There was an expected chorus of ‘aaahhh’.

I chuckled and waited for the silence. This I got for a blissful few seconds. It was in fact I that destroyed it; I asked them to spell ‘Naira Marley’.

I have never seen anything like it. The harmony was daunting.

What I wanted was to grab their attention lest they concentrate too hard on the not so challenging ‘punishment’. I had decided to give a spelling drill and let anyone who spelt correctly sit. I will not talk about how it was about the fifth to tenth person that was able to spell the words correctly.

Half my time in the class, I noticed five boys loafing. One was leaning carelessly on the arm of his chair. Another was actually sitting without permission. Their eyes held the remote nonchalance that bade me to leave the class.

I called them forward then some students in their good graces decided to inform me that these boys were ‘Marlians’.

Just so you know, I have nothing against Marlians, but I am definitely not a Marlian.

These boys needed to understand that these their ‘President’ has already made it in some sort of way. And maybe it is something worth of accolades to pass through prison, but I do not wish it on anybody. Not these kids, who had no surety of their future. Some only come to school, because their friends do as well. They are kids that are unable to buy textbooks and are only privileged to have the low-grade government given textbooks. No offense to the government.

It saddens me to know that these kids have lost interest in the subject of school. When all these going to school ritual is done with, all the struggles, you might begin to see and live life and then build up your own empire instead of following blindly something that was defined dumbly by someone else.

You cannot be so broke and be anti-social or be truants and think, “God bless, I am a Marlian”. I’m not saying have money and be stupid. But then, if you have ‘mad’ ‘sexy’ money like my friend would call it, maybe, just maybe you won’t get into trouble for being stupid.

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These boys made me remember the Thursday preceding this, I attended the Young Jonn festival at Bodija in Ibadan. After the show, my friends and I were standing by the entrance of the venue when I heard a young man crying. I mean actually crying. His phone had just been snatched by a gang.

I will not talk about how this guy’s cry for help was shunned by the soldiers that were around. These ‘soldiers’ told the him to go and do his shouting where his friends were. This guy was prostrating!

He wasn’t the only victim, some lost their bags, cameras, their laptops.

The one that did me in were the people shouting, “Those are the real Marlians”.

What?!

Why?!

Why should you commit crimes and be like “No Mannaz” with pride. How does being a Marlian justify your wrong.

This is not to say don’t be a Marlian.

I have friends that are Marlians.

They are not thieves. They are not bullies. They are not exactly disrespectful.

Being a Marlian does not justify your wrongs.

Being a criminal does not make you a Marlian.

Or I don’t know, Educate me.

2019

The end of another decade draws nigh. And I lay in my bed facing the ceiling while I type.

My heart feels so stale, so pale sometimes.
It’s the way things get to me and I can’t comprehend life’s somber current.

The air is tight and it feels like fear.
Time doesn’t stop to see, to feel me.
No waiting to calm, to soothe me.
It’s like an endless race. Not pointless, no.

I don’t know if you know how it is when all seems wasted and it feels like every eyes is on you and have failed at everything, failed yourself and everyone.

It’s been a hard knock year for me. I’ve been my sadest self. Been called ‘sad’ maybe as a joke, but it only made me sadder. It was the end of my four years journey in ‘higher institution’ and not in a place I would call a citadel of learning. It was derailing and depressing. Watched myself between mirrors, watching me sink and perish beneath the perdition I called ‘life’. I wrote plenty of love that I suffered. Tried to hide my pain within lines that told lies. For love I did not know and so chose suffering. I joked about how sad I was and it only made my melancholic lore even less merry. I was wasted on my beloved I could not have, yet could not conquer.

Through 2019, I lay wasted many times on my bed, eyes teared up and my scissors at the ready, because I had made such a sad tale of myself and did not find any other comfort. I screamed in silence at the subject of affection that was unseen.

Pain became then my ready companion.
His eyes blazed and his teeth glittered.
He caressed me and lulled me to sleep, for the darkness did not do much.

The beginning of 2019 was the peak of a block I could not understand, unable to fight it and pained about it. Art was my only remedy, like an hard drug taken away from me, I sort ways to busy myself. I stayed out late as I could, and only when night’s symphonies begin to sound sweetly and softly did my feet find way back home. Of course, I made such an isolation of myself that I could not talk about it. And whenever I did make mention, oh well.

2019 saw me shed more tears than I thought I was capable of. I abandoned hope. I was fearful, hateful, bitter.

But 2019 bred me new company. A fresh breed of friends that made me ‘wow’.

Even now, I am unable to express duly how Iseyin in Oyo struck me. The people, the place. And then placed me in Ibadan, a city I had only seen through the eyes of a child. The inspiration, the love, the trust, the care. I have begun now to believe again in change, to be hopeful, to find ways to be happy. My sister’s somewhat hilarious statement, “you are making yourself happy, abi” rings in this very moment. And I have come to realize the world’s problems are only made worse when you make it your ultimate narrative.

I am grateful for 2019 and I hope 2020 is better. FOR ALL OF US.

Unfated

I gave you a chance to
To rewrite our chapter

Make a safe tale for the young’uns

Bury all that hate and hide the painful truth of our sad romance
It was blissful while it almost lasted
And our demons restrained us from being upfront
Taking up fronts

I wanted you to
To make a healthy tale of this love done dead

This lust that did us in
And let our sensibilities escape us.

Could have let it go on and feed this stupidity with the roundness of my behind,
And the softness of my bossom.
The wetness between my laps,
The perkiness in between my areola

But see, that would have been a Eve thing to do.
Oh if Adam did not suffer such fate.

Calm

I’m sorry

Wait

I’m sorry

Let it go

I’m sorry

Move on

I’m sorry

Find now that which is really yours.

She that will never leave you and make your heart calm and filled with ease.

Find her

She’s definitely not me.

New Year Reso… What Now? No?

It’s the end of year celebrations, yeah?

For many years before now, we would at this point be making resolutions. We all want something in a new year, because it is a significant end and beginning. Obviously. We are freaked about it. We are excited.

“Next year, I’m not gonna be a crybaby”

“I’m not allowing any bad-blood”

“No carbs this coming year”

It’s a trend we’ve fallen into. But see, we’re humans failing everytime at this ‘be your own thing’. And not deliberately. Everyone wants to seem more mature, more in the picture than everyone else. And it’s no longer ‘be yourself’, it’s now a competition of who is more YOURSELF.

I think some people now see this whole #newyearresolution thing as too much talk and little action. A silly trend where everyone talks about what they have decided to do in and about the coming year. They have decided not to make any at all and just watch. And they tell others to stop wasting time making them.

DECISION is a big thing. You can’t afford to be all ‘I’m gonna slay this shit’ or ‘I’ve got this!’ when you actually don’t know what you’re doing. It is like a work of art. You can decide how you want it to come out and actually achieve it. But when you make a mistake, you either turn that mistake into something else. Yes, by force. You might be aloof about it and let it just ‘play out’. Or maybe start again, maybe even abandon it as it is. Or another option, throw it away.

THE NEW YEAR is a bigger wall clock. It runs from 1 to 12 and then back again. Whether you like it or not that’s a picture frame of repetitions. Nobody likes repetition. At least not me… Lord knows, I can strangle someone for making me repeat something. It gives me a headache when I have to repeat anything… An action, an utterance…

It’s a beautiful thing, need I say, an admirable thing to set a pace for yourself in the coming year. But please, do you mind keeping all that to yourself and actually work it through. Stop spitting out your silly fantasical Dreamland fallasies all about the cloud. It is not a lie that half the things we say become forgotten. This is why talking to someone about our problems makes them half solved. It is quite pointless that you told the whole world you were going to do something and didn’t even lift a finger.

This year, I’m going to be a figure 8, yen yen yen. Then you go and eat all the carbs and be visiting the gym for the mere purpose of taking mirror selfies and showing us how cute you look sweaty.

It is better to work out these goals in the solitude of your determination.

Leave the rest of the world to work out their shit too. Nobody is really concerned about who and who you’re cutting off or if you’re cutting anyone off at all.

It’s a year started all over again from number 1. Let’s do a review of the past year and check out the mistakes we have made and then correct them.

I know we are advised to let bygones be bygones. And let the past sleep. But the definition of history even counters that. The past will teach and lead you to where the future lies. It will influence the future. And whilst it is good to leave some things in the past, there will be times when we need to go back and assess deeper, then do a comparison.

It doesn’t make you look mature spreading your ‘mature’, ‘woke’ looking resolutions for us to see. The difference between the past year and the next is not your resolutions, it’s your solutions.

Well, the year is not ended. Begin your reviews.

Salome

“…and you, what is your name?”

“Salome”, I said.

“Sally Sally”, he sang. There was a slight pause and then a sigh with a ring of a smile in it. I was beginning to feel uneasy by the minute.

I never much liked the man the minute I got into his car. It was uncomfortable as he conversed quite freely with my two friends. I felt like the stranger there.

It was Sunday afternoon, almost a week after leaving Iseyin and we were going to see a three bedroom apartment. At this time, the whole issue of accommodation was already giving me quite an headache.

Mr Ayo recounted his story with a ‘Salome’ who had jilted him. It seemed to me as though he was particularly pained about how much money had gone into the relationship than how much she meant to him. His story ended with how she left him for a richer man. It was a tale well sharpened for piercing, a bitter one.

I don’t know how I was supposed to feel after this, but it was as though I had just been told, “It’s not very nice to meet you, Salome”.

***********

I am very much guilty of judging people by their names, mostly based on my ordeals with people that bare the same names. An habit I have learnt to do away with. It has however worked to keep at arm’s length bad energy. These only worked a few times.

It is not surprising that I was truly pained by Mr Ayo’s story. It stung and hammered down on my conscience and it occurred to me then how it must felt for others when I would stupidly rain down on them about how I felt they were trouble because of their names. It was the first time I had heard of such a story about ‘Salome’ and it meant so much to me. It however did much more in reminding me why I never let myself be too receptive of kindness from anyone, especially men.

The story also reminded me of a particular Salome. According to ancient history, Salome was the granddaughter of Herod the Great who asked for the head of John the Baptist in return for dancing for her grandfather at his birthday.

I have been called Igbo, most times Edo and on few occasions Hausa. On much fewer occasions, I have been asked if I was maybe from Sierra Leone, sometimes Kenya. This has at a point become a topic of discussion between my sister and I, where I voiced that my name does not even help matters and she laughed in agreement.

I have never at anytime been guessed ‘Yoruba’. It would be weird however for me to introduce myself using my full name, but maybe it would do for better clarity on my Origin.When I was in JSS 3, I went to my mother who at the time simply told me it meant ‘peaceable’.

Every name has a meaning that is ultimately upheld by the bearer. And it is as I believe that there are two sides to everything and we are given will to decide.

Very few people bear the name. Salome, (as in sa-low-mi) is derived from the Hebrew word Shalom which means ‘Peace’. Salome is an Aramaic name that means Peace and Tranquil.

Another mention of the name is in Mark 16:1.

I think that counts to say I am not who you have met before. I am ‘me’ whatever me is.

I am Olorunsogo Salome. I am so to speak a peaceful person and I am definitely Yoruba.

WASTED

So many words have been written of our love

And our story, I have found between pages thick and plenty

They have painted us on walls
And hung us in museums.

Of how you always chose her
Made her a priority
Whilst I made you propriety
You were proprietor
Of what we called a love that was disregarded
Many say discarded

And you could have stopped
And made the heavy choice

But I was your cream to her bitter coffee
And sure you became my ‘crème de la crème’
You needed me in ways you could never need her
You needed me where she could not love you
I was the torch to your darkness
A bite of the apple that made you lose face
Before God and all humanity
And I guess I made it hard for you to let me go
‘Cause I was stuck on you like flies to trash

You a love wasted
I a love conquered

Yet you loved the occasional sourness
You loved the sting of a truth you could never comit to
And you chose to live the lie we all supposed you ran from

– I am MOSS

Discomfort

It was half past noon and she had just set me down from her back. She was fussing about the mess I made on her back.

I made a long face while she dabbed with her clothes angrily, mouthing almost incomprehensive words.

My eyes followed her as she pranced about the room, hoping she would calm down. Her anger was little about me, I knew. I turned and crawled to the window. Clasping it’s frame, I lifted myself up.

It was definitely not about me.

It seemed as if everyone had somehow positioned themselves around Laguda’s lair.

They were waiting for something, anything to happen. It would take time for anyone to get used to the presence of the stranger.

“Mama, I want out”.

She stopped and eyed me. “No!”.

“But why”.

“You are not to argue with me”, she was pointing a menacing finger at me. “You can’t go out and that’s the end of that”.

Laguda had come out again with the girl and everyone stopped now to stare at them, or her more like.

She was beautiful, no lie. It wasn’t the kind of beauty I was used to. Hers was some sort flawed, none of the ethereal perfection that our people are blessed with. I wished then that I was outside. I wanted to touch her face and look into her eyes, feel what her skin was like.

I looked at Mama who was now sitting with her hands holding her head. There was something awfully wrong here. I looked at everyone outside and back at her. Their faces were different. She was angry, they were just awed and curious.

Mafusa, I had heard only did anything of this sort when there was trouble. And I knew the smell of trouble. I eyed her and a frown built slowly on my face.

“You know what”, she was smiling. I narrowed my eyes. She came to me and patted the top of my head, “you should go out to play. I’m a little tired”.