Invictus

By William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul

 

N/B Poem of the day

 

 

 

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Identity

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Twisted

 

Last weekend, I spent a night at a boy’s place

We didn’t do anything

But so much happened

 

Last night, a girl slept in my bed

I didn’t touch her

But I could feel her legs wrapped around my torso

And her warm breath on my neck

 

Tonight, we sleep with our arms wrapped around each other

No knife can break through this bond we have

We won’t go beyond the barrier

But emotions will be stirred

 

Tomorrow, she will lay naked

All alone in her lover’s bed

Listening to the quiet after

There will be no bruises, no bleeding

She won’t lose her virtue

Only her identity

Written for Ilemona by  A. O.

 

The Woes of First Dates

bad-date
It had been a while since he first asked me to go out with him, I always had an excuse. “I’m too busy” was the perfect one and I didn’t hesitate to use it over and over again. Then we got talking regularly on phone and I started to like him, finally I agreed to go out with him on a date, the FIRST date.

We met at a landmark because he didn’t have a car (I swear I didn’t mind). Then Mistake Number 1; he asked me “Where do you want to go”? I couldn’t believe my ears, after all this time surely he would have made adequate preparations without needing my input. I said I didn’t know, he gave me a few options and I picked one and off we went. Then Mistake Number 2; He put me in a cab with other people (I promise I’m not shallow or superficial) but in my head I thought, “you have been asking me out for months, surely you could have made arrangements for a drop?” The distance was so short it wouldn’t even have cost anything. I swallowed that in and said to myself “stop being so choosy, you like him remember.” We got to the location and had the date. Then Mistake Number 3; he complained about the date to me and how it wasn’t what he wanted to do. In my head I’m like- surely if you had envisioned a perfect date in your mind you could have taken me on that date instead of asking for my opinion and b**ching about it? Here I was already at the end of my rope. So I got a cab and said my goodbyes and guess what? Yes, you guessed right. He didn’t offer to pay (I’m rich and do not need your money but chivalry goes a long way).

I figured I had learned from this. So when another guy and another first date came around, we met at the location this time so I wouldn’t have to find out if he would make mistake number 1 or 2! We met at a restaurant, I sat down and he asked me “What do you want to eat?” “What would you like to have?” would have been a better question. But seeing as I don’t like any of those questions because it makes me feel as if I’m a hungry girl (Yeah, I’m a little weird), I said “Oh I don’t know, what are you having?” Then he makes mistake number 1; he said: “Oh I’m not hungry, I ate before I came so you can just pick anything.”  “Really? You decided to eat before you came on a date you invited me on, so I should be eating while you watch me?” was what I was tempted to say, instead I said, “oh that’s alright, I’m fine too.” He insisted on getting me water and nothing for himself, of course. We talked and then it was time to go, but of course he didn’t put me in a drop or offer to pay for my cab (and it was in the night), that was his mistake number 2.

And then another first date, we met at the location of course. Then he made his Mistake Number 1; he came LATE! I would like to point out that I’m not a punctual person, I go late for stuff. So I got there a few minutes late and he got there 30 minutes later than I did. I would have left but it was the mall and I was shopping, he came and apologised profusely and I graciously accepted the apology. We went to the movies and Mistake Number 2; he started groping me! Hello? I just met you and what gives you the right to think you can feel me up for a few bucks? I almost made a scene so he let me be, apologised and I left.

I could go on and on about how I’ve suffered through first dates. I’ve had some good ones, but for now the bad ones outweigh the good.

by Jessie

 

Editor’s Note: Remember how we said we would love to publish your stories? You can send them to ilemonablog@gmail.com.  Don’t forget to drop your comments too!

The Pilgrim’s Regress

It happened again. To be sincere, I’m extremely tempted to give up cause I think you have given up on me.

This time it didn’t  even feel like I was doing anything strange. It felt like I had been doing it forever.

I might as well strip myself of the title, it doesn’t fit anymore. People shouldn’t expect the best from me anymore, cause I don’t deserve it. I’m not any better than the one who never wore the title, or the one who got stripped of it a long time ago.

Oh, how I hate it when they address me by the title. It irks- not just  because I know it does not fit, but there shouldn’t even be a title. Even if there is, it shouldn’t be known. But that’s not what is important right now. What’s important is I lost it a long time ago.

It doesn’t matter that No one knows or that i haven’t lost it completely. I feel like I have, and by the way, I’m not even talking about the title. Each time I think I have it back- him and our love, I feel my self reaching that place we were before, I feel the excitement building…. she comes in. Ever so subtle, she never comes with blazing guns or a war cry. No, she comes in with a warm smile, waving a white flag in peace. And I should know it’s not real, I should know it’s a ploy, it’s not the first time she’s pulled this. It’s an old one, but I fall for it every single time. And it won’t be the last time. But like the one before this, “you are wiser, you are stronger. You know her ways, she won’t catch you off guard this time.”

************************************************************************************

Those words you whisper to yourself, you know they are not true. But it’s too late, you can already feel her warmth coursing through your veins. And so you lean forward as she brings out her oils- the soothing aroma of those oils.  She did this the last time, you remember. But it feels so good, so you don’t stop her. And so you smile as you watch her reach the rug beneath your feet to pull it out. Your beautiful voice rings out in such ecstasy.

Crashing always feels so good!!! And the after feeling is even better cause she sits with you through the painful pleasure of it all. But you always remember, oh you can never forget what this pleasure is costing you. Him, us, our love. Your shoulders sag once again in defeat, as you look up at her. She knows what’s coming but she’s not sad this time because she knows she’s got you in her shackles. And like the last time, she smiles as she lets go of you, she knows you’ll be back.

************************************************************************************

This time, you don’t run back into his arms weeping. You shuffle your feet; waiting just outside the circle. Because falling isn’t strange anymore, it’s become a habit you can’t let go of. Weeping is nothing but an act, or so  you think. But if it is, why do you always find your way back. Maybe falling is something you became used to, but staying on the ground isn’t you just yet. And that’s what gets you moving, back in his direction. Because you don’t want to stay down. Crashing feels good, but living in the ruins?

No, that’s not you. Because a part of you isn’t numb. You still want him, you still need him and his love—your love, it’s what sustains you. And you know somehow, he is still waiting for you. So your steps quicken. Ain’t you so fortunate?

But then there is the voice whispering in your head, telling you, next time you may not be so lucky. Your next crash may kill you. Worse, you may lose your marbles, and be left with amnesia.

Tell me sweet soul, please tell me, what happens when you can’t find can’t remember your way back home?

Adeola O

Dear Dad

Dear Dad,

I bet you know why I am writing to you. Yes, you guessed right. It’s because I still haven’t gotten the car you promised me since i left secondary school (in 2008!!!!!). It’s 2017 now, and I’m supposed to be a grown woman, but I don’t forget promises that quickly.

No Dad, you can’t get away by claiming sudden amnesia. Remember how you said once I get admitted into the university, “I will buy a car for you“. I remember how you even described it. It was supposed to be one of those cute golf cars. Instead the minute I got into uni, you handed me the keys to your jalopi (remember your blue Camry?). “It’s just for a short while” is what you told me when I gave you the look. Well dad, my brother inherited the same blue camry from me, and just in case you can’t remember- I STILL DIDN’T GET MY CUTE GOLF CAR AND THIS IS 2017.

It’s okay, dad. No, really it is. I just felt the need to take you on a short guilt trip (:-p). I’m not complaining, because you have been an awesome father to me and I feel blessed to have you. I’m extremely glad I have you as my dad.

I still bask in the glory of the tales of how we were inseparable when I was a baby- that is until my evil sister came along, kmt. But let’s go back to the happy days- you know when they asked if I was adopted or if you had married someone of another race because you were so dark and I looked like I escaped albinism (sadly when I look in the mirror today all I see is my burnt face- Naija sun haff finish me).

You are the kind of father everyone prays to have. You are always there for me, most especially those times I went on a splurge spree and I was broke. I didn’t deserve your help half of the time, but you couldn’t stand to see me suffer. (I promise that’s not the only reason I love you).

Remember those times you always called to check up on me, when I was lost in my world and did not care about any other person but myself? And how you labour over me in prayers every day, I probably won’t be here if you didn’t.

Oh, and our ironing lessons! “it’s all in the way you fold…” You’d tell me.  I hate to break it to you, I still haven’t gotten the hang of it- I can’t iron without leaving a single crease.

I remember all the nights I slept off in the sitting room, just so you’d carry me to my room. I never really appreciated it, until the one time you were away, and I woke up in the dead of the night, all alone in the dark-gosh I was too frightened to even move a muscle (I think mum left me out there to teach me a lesson though).

Thanks for having my back when I did the most crazy things and for not ratting me out to mum. I won’t forget that time you came home earlier than usual and you met a boy with me in YOUR HOUSE!!! I can’t imagine what was going through your head even as you walked the boy calmly out of the house, and without raising your voice asked me if I was ready to get married (lol). I was so ashamed and I was mentally ready for you to scream the roof down, but shockingly you did not. Just in case you still don’t believe me, I SWEAR WE WERE NOT DOING ANYTHING!!!

Dad, you are still one of the few kind men I know. You always waited on me and spoilt me silly when I was ill. I still don’t know how you do that, I never know what to do when people around me are ill (I think I got that from mum).

Most importantly, thank you for letting me choose my own path and be myself, even when you did not approve of some of my ways. I can still hear you muttering under your breath about how adding weaves to my hair is demonic (lmao). You never complained or berated me when i took over your car stereo and played songs that you didn’t approve of.

I know Father’s day has since passed, but I hope you know I love you Dad. I hope I make you a proud father.

Your only  first daughter

Toffy

P.S.: Dad, I really won’t mind that car right now. Adulthood isn’t what I thought it would be.

Just kidding… Hahaha.

Candle in the Wind

You are probably wondering, “what’s with the title?” Oh well, truthfully I we I don’t know too. But I do know that we are sorry to have gone AWOL for so long. Nope we don’t have any excuses. We just got too busy trying to set our lives in order, we stopped doing some of the things we love. We sincerely apologise. And to make up for our very long leave of absence, and since we have never done this (I bet you are curious too) we decided to talk about what ILEMONA really is about. Let’s start with the name.

Ilemona means light in one of Nigeria’s favourite languages- Oh well, sort of. To us it means a variety of things- light of the dawn (that made more sense in my head), light, candlelight, dawning light… you get the drift, dontcha? But you see, when we came up with the name, we didn’t realise we were murdering the language (I can’t even bring myself to mention what language it is out of shame-Some of you smart ones must have figured it out by now), we thought we did a real good translation, seeing that we are pretty smart ourselves. Sad to say we didn’t. But the name sounded cooler than the real deal, and it grew on us, so we stuck with it. Plus we feel like it gives us a different identity. So, there, you have it.

And then, what is ILEMONA about? Like we said before, Ilemona is a blog about random stuff- your worries are our worries- we talk about any thing and everything. Let’s call it an open diary.

Now, to the difficult question of the day- Who are “we”?

WE ARE MANY!!!!

Okay, that doesn’t read so funny on paper.

Seriously, there’s the owner of the blog, Toffy (those who know, know) who is the key function here. And then there is her friend, who likes to pretend she’s not into this idea, let’s call her “the Friend”. And most importantly, there are the variety of other individuals who give the blog the occasional “random” spice it needs (it could be you, yup, you read right- YOU!). Now you know it’s not a one man business, that’s why it’s so difficult to stick to one pronoun (you must have noticed that by now).

Soooooo, it took us long enough… (insert drumroll here), but we are open for business😊. We ain’t going anywhere this time, but you should know, we can’t do this without you. So tell a friend to tell a friend, we are back and taking our business very serious.

P.s.: remember that part we said you can be one of those people who add random spice to Ilemona? So if you have a story you want to tell or feel should be published on a platform somewhere, and you don’t have such platform yet or you want to do it anonymously, please write to us at ilemonablog@gmail.com. You shouldn’t worry much about rights, we got you 😉. We would love to read from you soon.

THE BREADWINNER PROBLEM

 

You remember when we Nigerians used to think that we were the only sane ones and oyinbo people were just plain crazy when it comes to marriages. Oh yea i forgot, we still think that. Sadly, it seems we Nigerians are not any better, our African mentality of marriage is quickly disintegrating. The “African mentality” (just in case you don’t know) is the belief that once you have entered” a marriage, you have “entered” it!!! It is strictly till death do you part. And the worst part is that you hear the most flimsy excuses- remember the one about the wife who could not stand her husband pressing the toothpaste tube from the middle (I hate that too btw). Although I am not sure that story was legit. But i must admit that there are some legitimate reasons for divorce.

The one major cause that still gets at me is the money problem. It’s funny the way things are going really rosy till the man’s “oil well” dries up and you start wondering what happened to the declarations of love and the submissive wife.

I’ve come across some appalling instances in my line of work. There was this woman whose child was sent home and his mother refused to pay even though she could afford to. Well, according to her, the rule is that the husband pays the children’s school fees (who comes up with these rules anyway). She went as far as stating this to her son’s hearing and even calling him useless!!! (who says that in front of a child…*sigh*)

There was also the woman who blatantly refused to pay rent her husband could not afford. It did not matter that she could afford it and save them the embarrassment. And oh yea, the one that packed all the interior decorations and the furniture in the house because… I think I’m digressing.

I could go on and on. But I’m pretty sure you get my point. And in all these cases, the men are tagged “unfortunate”  and are suddenly not good enough to be called husbands anymore. And what’s next? The woman moves straight out and may decide to go with some choice items in the house as well.

Sometimes I wonder if it would be so bad if the woman takes over financially. But I’ve learnt time after time, it takes only a superwoman to step up and be the breadwinner (without any necessary hassle) even for a short period of time. And a super super man to allow it and wholly recover from his setbacks. Unfortunately, not all men can deal with this. Most will feel emasculated and suddenly become emotionally abusive or it may lead to something even worse and of course the marriage breaks down irretrievably.  Then, there is the woman who will wonder why she has to bring home the bacon; many thoughts are coursing through her head. If she has to provide, doesn’t that her make her the boss of the home? Or worse still, she begins to think the man is taking her for granted- i mean she feels she’s doing so much and all he does is he keeps taking everything from her.

I wish we would see marriage for what it really is or rather what it should be.
A contract-A partnership!! It’s why you are both in it together, it’s not  a one party thing. It’s so you can cover each other’s rear ends, depending on who is wearing the torn dress. It is about striving to be perfect together. It is holding onto each other and ensuring that one is there to be a support when the other trips, when one partner falls the other lifts up. At the end of it all, you both shine together. So if today, he is going through a hard time, it doesn’t mean that you (woman) can’t step up and do a few things. And it doesn’t also mean that you (man) have been emasculated, it just means it’s time to step up your game- you don’t want to be that infidel Paul referred to, do you?

Don’t sit in the mess and grovel.