no5x: I come on her each day, you really have a gift with words, You are everything I want to be in a few years, thank you for your poems, sometimes i find myself completely absorbed.

Your words fill me with so much light. I had to sit with it for awhile to comprehend it all and all i can write from every inch of my soul is, thank you. Thank you and thank you. 

Light upon light, 
Ijeoma.

I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me.

Muhammad Ali

your best friend waits till lunch break
you notice her eyes looking around
till she is sure no one is there

fifteen years old
her breasts already full
the economics teacher
calls her a slut,
the yoruba teacher
tells all girls never to be like her

you ignored them
she laughs at their accusations
and walks with her widening hips
biting her lower lip
as the older boys pass by

your best friend waits till lunch break
you notice her eyes looking around
till she is sure no one is there

she holds your hands,
looks away and begins to shake
you watch her recount how
he held a gun
telling her not to say anything

fifteen years old
her breasts already full
the economics teacher
calls her a slut,
the yoruba teacher
tells all girls never to be like her

she asks,
“who will i talk to? who will believe me?
they will ask what i was doing
in his house…”
you quickly learn
how society works

she holds your hands
looking away
as you sing her songs
she breaks into tears
asking for a hug.

March

Ijeoma Umebinyuo

everythingisgeometry: your writing shows me africa. you have a beautiful mind, a beautiful soul, and your light shines far and wide, even when some people tell you it doesn't.

Light upon light, blessings for this and many thanks.

Ijeoma.

asakiyume: "Ogechi" is such a powerful poem-- it hurts like a blow.

Thank you. The end really….i don’t know….that end…just…i didn’t know…i just…thank you. Thank you and thank you. 

villagewife: I stopped poetry soooo long ago, but your pieces drag me so many years back. Where do you get the inspiration?

Ijeoma, honestly, i don’t know how i will live properly if i don’t write. I have been writing poems since i was in primary school and for some reason, i keep writing. I have grown with it. It is somewhat political for me now. My pieces are inspired by everything; my culture, colonization, my people, my feminist ideologies, the body of a woman, the body of a man, the walk of a woman, the silence of some and the struggles of human beings who may or may not look like me.

Sometimes, i write remembering Wole Soyinka in his no ‘nonsense’ style. Our people are story tellers. A lot of times, the silliest thing inspires me. I don’t take inspiration for granted, once i feel something, i write it and it may take months to germinate but it is there somewhere, waiting for me. Once i remember something, i write. I remember writing my piece “Chetachi" a few years ago. My cousin read it and sent me a message telling me i must be insane, why would i write in pidgin english? I wrote it in pidgin english and i will never translate it to english. It holds a special place in my heart because it shows the class divide between the rich and the poor in Nigeria. It is also written in a language spoken mostly by those who have endured such. 

When i wrote this piece, it was a free write at night. All i remember was thinking “some women survive” and i just kept going with that. I decided to post it on my blog after i wrote it. I didn’t shift any sentence, i wrote it exactly as it came to me.

I wrote “Ajayi" a few years back. I was inspired by Yoruba mythology, Ibadan and Ifa divination.  Ifa priestess and priests never ever ever lie during divination. That is something i learnt a long time ago. Never. We are not told such, a lot of times, we rubbish the spirituality of our ancestors, so i wrote that and kept peeking into it.

I wrote “Ebuka" because at a time while living in Nigeria, there were dead bodies of Igbos coming home in lorries/trailers from the North. Humans killed like they are not sons and daughters of someone.

Inspiration comes in so many forms, in so many ways, from memories to stories i have been told. I also read. Reading and writing for me goes hand in hand, always have and always will.  My pieces are truly inspired by people who have lived, people who are living and those who will come to earth. Writing to me is a way to never leave others out, to remember others, i really don’t write about me, i am not that interesting of a person. I am inspired by the resilience of others.

My namesake, hope i sorta answered your question.

Ijeoma.

P.S. Answer m nka dika essay. Chukwu nna! :)

the harmattan season had already begun
the saturday was just waking up,
Ogechi ate moin-moin
and akamu with her auntie
she calls me from the kiosk of
the woman who sells recharge cards
the woman’s first son
has taken a liking to Ogechi
she tells me how much she loves
this part of the North
and she laughs
when the boy walks in
she tells me boys love when you laugh
so, there was Ogechi laughing
like a little rooster
but
softening her voice
in his presence
boys love that too,
she tells me.

'i am enjoying my holiday
my dear, Jos is so beautiful..’
she says as she hangs up.


that day,
she goes to her Auntie’s store
and dances around
to some Aaliyah
her favorite artist
that day,
she laughs a little louder
when her auntie teases her
about her breasts getting bigger.

the fight started somewhere
a few stores away
the youths decide to take
matters into their own hands
asking how you pray
to know if today
will be your last.

the next day
i knelt before God
cursing everyone
who stood by
and watched
as Ogechi
begged for her mother.

Fa si na chukwu di egwu
fa si na chi’m di egwu
maka na onwegi ife
chi’m ha ga eme
ka o di’m mma.

chukwu no n’eligwe
anyi na ekele gi.

Ijeoma Umebinyuo

*google translate will translate it to gibberish*