Rainwater & Other Vitamins

It came at us like a disease.
The first rains.
A type of sky madness.
Some special gamble.
Like bright underpants,
In the middle of a church service.
Those icons of the front pew in short skirts.

It made me mad,
A mind once mighty,
Now a newborn scandal.
The first drops of rain suddenly darken a street in Obalende.
The ovation on the roof deafens,
It made us runners,
Exhumed us from tiny holes like salted worms.

There were the nightly lovers,
And some daily haters,
And those who were neither here nor there.
It kissed their brows and died.
And soon after, a salty trickle along the cheek emerged,
Or so I imagine.

Once, I too had loved the refuge of being in love,
With nothing whatsoever to prove.
Now rains came in the middle of a silent life.
In the middle of a sizzling night.
In the middle of a good drink.
I am mad — on principle.
Perhaps in a metaphoric sense,
if poetry and metaphors sweetened your tea.

The roof is lousy, it leaks
These half cups sparkle,
They splish and then splash.
The girl — my playdate,
Stands to leave for the night,
In the middle of an intelligent conversation at that.
She wraps her fake Aboki jewellery in little fingers.
She takes off her red hair, and puts it in a hand bag.

Goodnight sir.

I beg her to stay, pulling her tiny wrists.
One last kiss, I say.
No sir.
Please, my angel — please.
You are drunk, she prophesies.
You smell like onions.
You are old.
She has come upon this urgent wisdom
After eating my Suya and drinking my beer.
Come closer and say that to my face,
You rotten cockroach.
Jennifer!

I think of her name a while.
Fine girl, I finally say.
Please stay.
I beg you in the name of god.
She comes near, says somethings, and pushes me into a table.
Her scent, her tiny behind, they fade in the dark.

These things that still amaze me.
The power of departing bosoms.
The things that still amaze me:
Flying from an unseen giant dragonfly,
Coming for your head.
Falling off a cliff in my sleep.
Remembering an olden nursery rhyme.
Finding a dark dry corner to urinate.
Searching for your bed at 3am.
Finding a wet green bill in another man’s laundry.
Dying for the poison of underage nipples.

I was almost a champion tonight.
But now I must fade away in the rain, if need be.
There is time for everything.
But there is never time for the rain.

Around the corner,
The ladies of the night are nearby,
The bloodsucking mosquitoes of Obalende,
Many destinies between their thick legs,
They starts fires,
End marriages,
Run an economy,
Contribute to society on occasion,
Sure heroes.

It is primetime, so they now roam the streets,
Soaking in the wetness,
Frantic,
Enterprising,
Taking initiative.
They clutch their purses,
condoms wrapped in wet toilet paper too in the free hand.
They run to bright lights, to cars that won’t stop.
To small men in big cars,
And big men in small cars.
No dice.
A bonanza is coming, give it time.

White tables are everywhere.
Green bottles too.
I struggle to find my bearing, and I am killing it.
The bustle of the generator perishes.
A terrible omen,
How can we see in this darkness you stinking idiots? I say.
I massage the wounded night outside.
Scale a gutter.
Descend a mountain.
Splash in an ocean.
This sky, this life, one big crash site.
Nothing in these weeping skies excites,
Those things are for the movies.

There is the sizzle of dying red charcoal quenching in the rain,
The singing of boiling fish oil,
The snaps of closing windows.
A woman deals her child a deadly blow, he runs for dear life.
There is the call of strange beasts,
Old enemies and new comrades abound.
I want to cry in the rain,
Or laugh at the rain.
Like in the songs.
I forget how it is people do these things.
How do they walk?
One leg, one hand.
Repeat.

There is a quick fight somewhere.
A thief.
A cat.
A dog.
Bottles shatter.
It is a war zone with little surprises,
New enemies and old comrades abound.
There will be many regrets tomorrow.
And the cleaning lady in orange will have a bad day tomorrow.
I am sharp now, I tell you.
Vigilant.

There are things I can do right this moment,
things with my bare hands,
Things that can maim a grown man.
Things that can enliven a woman dead inside.
I await the things that will run into me in the dark,
as they often do.
Nobody and nothing.
Oh, if they dared,
Death slept at the ends of my fingertips.

I stumble and lay awhile on the precious ground,
grabbing my chest,
Watching the moon drown.
Rainwater is good for the skin, I hear.
It has the vitamins that clear the eyes.
The first rain too is for luck, I’ve been told.
You are to open your mouth to collect.
Then swallow.
Feel your father’s sins leave through your legs,
Some beautiful nonsense will happen.
Such rubbish burn like wild fire.

Suddenly, yellow lights of a car approach from nowhere,
The honking, the splash,
The near miss, the close call.
I run to the side of the road with speed,
I still got it, I think.
I cannot find a shoe.
Sweet Jesus,
I almost died.

Soon I figure it out,
The door in the corner building that belongs to me.
Behind that wooden thing,
Bode the wife of my youth.
Warm and dry and wicked.
The magic of a lengthy marriage
Making us lookalikes.

She looked good on me, I have been told.
I find the metal latch and push,
I drive my head into the door,
It would not budge.
This is not pain, this is life.
With hope, without hope.
She has done it again.
How can one woman have this much hate?
I beg her from the corridors.
One last chance, I say.
It is the devil’s doing.
I beg you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

She is snoring a little loudly,
grumbling on occasion,
preparing for war.
I am let in after half an hour,
As I threaten to fellate my self in her honor.

And she’s kicking me, she’s biting.
How can one woman have this much cement in her soul?
It’s a dangerous thing for a man to be with a woman who can
knock him down with fists,
And then with her tongue.
But better a biting woman,
For there are indeed deadlier sins.

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