#70. I am the WORD.
On air; in mid-flight,
In between travels; in transit,
On the bus; in between bus stops.
In a lift; in between space and time.
Jejeli, minding my own business,
and then other people’s business.
Gbeborun, overtly and covertly,
politely and rudely eavesdropping,
to cues, looks and conversations between:
sexy strangers and soon-to-be lovers,
the ecstatically married or estranged couples,
and the contented or lonely searching singles,
– those day dreamers of happily-ever-afters.
In sandy playgrounds,
taking in the airs of brutal honesty
of tired, over-worked, young nannies
and their innocent or naughty children.
In the muted conversations,
of stuck, lonely housewives and
the disappointed, expectant mistresses.
In noisy hair salons and spas,
And in noisier joints and bars.
On doctor’s couches and
in work-places and -stations and
even in the sacred confessionals.
I am everywhere, no where
somewhere and anywhere.
These are the birthplaces
that give me form and
magically bring me to life,
into the waiting arms
of midwives, – my storytellers.
They, who take their sweet time
to clean me up and wrap me up,
in diapers and warm blankets
and make me shriek and cry,
let out a gurgle, smile and chuckle.
Hungry, I suckle at my mama’s breasts
and then rejuvenate in calm sleep.
Sometimes, they croon to me,
a soft, lilting lullaby and I flow
into quiet, sleepy creativity mode
where ideas soak and marinade.
And soon they name me,
so many different stories
and versions of my name.
and I sometimes struggle
to recognize my true self
if at all I’m that lucky, that is.
They put so many labels on me,
my feelings are not my own!
They mould me and shape me
into their own image, and I unfold
in their memories and dreams.
The create me as funny or flat,
angry, depressed or sad,
inspired, sappy or boring,
historical or contemporary
Or jumbled little bits of them all.
And then they send me out,
into the wild, wide world,
to the caring waiting arms
of welcoming strangers
or unfriendly minds and homes,
where they leave me to collect dust.
And sometimes when I’m lucky
Someone falls deeply in love with me
And takes me on magical journeys
from print to stage to screen!
And then other times, over the years
I’ll be understood or vilified
cherished or abandoned
unfairly judged and criticized
nurtured or even tortured
by those who fear my power.
They twist and interpret my meaning
To suit their whims and desires.
And all I ever really wanted
was to be birthed from heads and hearts
caressed by tongues and sung in voices.
I long to be written and spoken with truth,
to be read, heard and understood,
fluently, brokenly or haltingly
Shared selflessly and celebrated.
I wait in longing for the special ones
who come along once in a while
and fall deeply, madly, passionately
in pure, consuming love with me!
They seek no fame, glory or rewards.
They let me reign free and run unfettered.
Understanding that I am the seed
and they are merely my vessels.
Somedays, I am lonely, desecrated,
on those days, I am simply a mere word.
To the ones who know how to love me,
I fully reveal myself; I am the WORD!
© Juliet ‘Kego Ume-Onyido, 2015 (All rights reserved).
[Jejeli : A Nigerian broken English (pidgin) slang for softly and gently]
[Gbeboroun: A Nigerian word (in Yoruba language), meaning gossip or busy-body]