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The Path we refused to take continued

I promised to continue from where I left off last week. I am worried enough, concerned for my children and grandchildren to ask this question often. How come we are determined to be illiterates?

Let me share a couple of things here. Ask any Nigerian writer if he dares to live solely by the books he writes and he will look at you askance wondering if you had been out in the sun for too long. I asked Basorun Arogbofa that question years ago and he smiled gently at me. I scratched my head and sighed. I am a dreamer alright. Imagine wanting to live on my writings alone!. Like he said, I probably would be hungry for long periods.

How many best sellers do we have in Nigeria today? Are they celebrated, would a child recognize them? How many genres of writers do we have in the country? Do our publishers know them? Come to think of it, have you ever heard of the government making it easy for publishers printers to get good publishing paper so they can publish good attractive books? My publisher is not Nigerian, my stories are Nigerian stories. I thank him and his team for taking a chance on me and giving me a chance that the Nigerian publisher would not do because I did not have the money or connections, I wanted to be assessed right, get a good editor who will look through what I have written but will have the mentality of a good writer and not necessarily be a teacher of literature. I took my manuscript around for a long time. Yes you know why, the big Nigerian publishers asked me a few questions.
Let me state a few. One of them was if my story was political? Why?, they could be sure if it will raise enough ruckus to get the right kind of people to come to its presentation. They quickly yawned and looked the other way when I said No.

One publisher who really wanted to be helpful asked if I was sure I could get one or two state governments to have the book as a recommended school text. He looked at me hopefully asking me to check with one or two of my friends in government to tweak me as a good writer. Of course that didn’t fly anywhere because I simply didn’t have such friends who could tweak that for me.

We live in a country that simply is not interested in reading for pleasure. The writer is rarely recognized here in Nigeria. I used to be amused when I am introduced as a writer and the person simply pastes a smile, he is totally blank about what I am about. Sometimes though, the person doing the introduction gets a reaction when he /she casually says, ‘Have you ever watched I NEED TO KNOW?’, the person nods enthusiastically recalling favourite episodes, then he/she is told, Biola Olatunde wrote the series did you know that? There is shock, respect and suddenly a warm friendliness. I become amused, bored and wonder to myself. Will l ever get past being recognized as the writer of I NEED TO KNOW? It gets frustrating sometimes you know.

Reading for knowledge of other things not in our specified texts has been one of the paths we have refused to take. I think, we as a people have simply refused to take the path of seeing how reading can widen our knowledge, expands our vision and it is a sad commentary on us as a people.

I deliberately omitted the key word that Basorun put in his book. Properly Basorun stated, Nigeria: The path we refused to take. In the book per se, he talked about the politics, the missteps, restructuring and more. For me it was thus political, and my readers do know what I think of politics and politicians. Sehine Arogbofa is a writer amongst other things and thus I am more interested in the path we have refused to take as a country that do not read except we are sitting for an examination.
What we have refused to recognize however, is that we have taken a road that leads us to an ignorant understanding of the many shades and hues of thoughts that shapes our world and determines our future. So, in the sitting for the examination of life, we have refused to take the path of reading to gain knowledge or understanding of our different thoughts and shades

Until next time.

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THE PATH WE REFUSED TO TAKE

That is the title of a book presented by a literary lion recently in Akure at the Federal university of Technology Akure. The book was written by Basorun Sehinde Arogbofa. A well attended event with first firebrand governor of Osun State Chief Bisi Akande as chairman of the book presentation

No, I am not reviewing the book. It has been reviewed already by a greater personage than me. I am using the title of the book to ask myself and by extension I guess my reader a few questions. You could call this piece a lamentation and musing
Many years ago as a wide eyed secondary school student, my teachers taught me to expand my mind. We were allowed to read books. Good books, interesting books, adventure books. They moulded our minds and fired our imaginations. I cannot list all those books here now. I remember reading Enid Blyton’s FAMOUS FIVE series gave me an adventurous spirit. In a subtle way, I learnt to be very observant of the human nature, it helped me in so many ways. To this day, I panic if I don’t have anything to read. Remember that saying about the idle mind and the devil’s workshop?
Then, the government had this idea to participate in the moulding of our minds, and for some reason, reading took a downward dive, we lost interest in reading to improve our minds but to pass exams and get certificates so we can get jobs. We became educated illiterates. I have been asking that question for years. Maybe I should have titled this piece THE MURDER OF THE REAL NIGERIAN WRITER. For one it will get your attention, but I wonder if it will hold your mind.

Sehinde Arogbofa might not roar enough to make us shiver, because his brand of activism in writing is that of the mouse and the cheese. He eats away at our sleeping conscience asking us with an annoying persistence why the writer must go hungry in our beloved country. This time he tells us about the path we have refused to take. It is the third of his conversation with Nigeria.

I attended his book presentation, watched the quality of people that came and made announcements about so many copies for so much money and I sighed. Knowing the author within the limits of my assessment, I suspected he was more interested in people reading what he had to say in the book.
Later, when we asked him where we were to purchase the books, he gave a wry smile, gave me one of those looks that spoke volumes and in his usual soft voice he asked me what chances the book had of being read. He made a quiet survey of those of us seated and asked the question, ‘do Nigerians read’? The silence that followed was more than an answer
Maybe really, I should have titled the piece, HOW NIGERIAN WRITERS ARE MURDERED by the indifference of its people. I am at a loss to answer, because like Sehinde Arogbofa said, it is not always the money, but the cry deep from the heart that we may hear a response. I see a picture of a blind plodding mass determined to make money and reading only money.
The Path Nigeria refused to take could easily be changed to The books Nigerians refused to read. Remember we were told, that knowledge broadens the mind, how do we broaden a mind that reads only texts, lives 24/7 on the social media, and has very little knowledge of the world around him, even his neighbours next door? Unless of course it would bring him filthy lucre?
I am a writer and watching the presentation of the book only increased my despair about the fate of the Nigerian writer.
To be continued

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Books, Books and much more

Hello,
I am going to be talking books in thenext few weeks.
Naturally in agreement with the saying that charity begins at home, I will talk about my own books and where you can buy them.
I gave you that information before right? Okay, I have the pleasure to let you know that the last of the Numen trilogy can be bought in Nigeria, starting from this website.So let’s go over them again
BLOOD CONTRACT

For Ken,going home to The Niger delta after 15 years was not exactly what he asked for when he joined the security firm he worked for as a negotiator. The past he thought he had left behind had to be negotiated if he wants a future.
‘If I can’t mend my father’s house , I should not bring sh.t to his doorstep’he told Ganfo, but his security company would like to know what $30,000 was doing in his account especially when a whole ship was being held hostage

Numen Yeye

Book one of the Numen trilogy that starts from the incarnation of a light spirit, confused about her origin, and living amongst a tribe that thrived on witches, emeres and abiku. Imole Ife’s mum had qucikly forgotten what led to her being given permission to have a healthy baby after suffering the attention of the Dark one that tormented her with repeated childbirths that never made it to their second year. Her daughter did not follow the habits of an emere or abiku, she was just darn strange! Ife learns that she is the goddess of the town, and was not impressed at all! Read the story of her spiritual awakening and accepting her life mission and responsibilities in the trilogy of Numen Yeye
Rose of Numen

and the final Numen!

You can buy these books from our website biolaephesus.com

Sunshine booksellers at sunshinebooksellers.com
Mosuro Booksellers Ibadan
Toyin Bookshops in Akure

Visit our website today

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Let us be sincere

Let us be sincere with the children too.
A lot of us tend to boast as parents that we were picture perfect children tour own parents. We tell our own children how butter never melted in our mouths and how we were model children.
A parent sent me this and I read through carefully looking for the logs in my own eyes first. I thought I should share with you. Parenting apparently has been an issue since from the time of Adam and Eve.
Tirukkural by Tiruvalluvar (a Tamil poet/writer) was written more than 5,000 yrs ago. It’s one of the ancient science on Human Behaviour, which has not changed in spite of modern education & technology!*

*SOME GOLDEN THOUGHTS OF THIRUKKURAL:*

1. *If your child lies to you often, it is because you over-react too harshly to their inappropriate behaviour.*

2. *If your child is not taught to confide in you about their mistakes, you’ve lost them.*

3. *If your child had poor self-esteem, it is because you advice them more than you encourage them.*

4. *If your child does not stand up for themselves, it is because from a young age you have disciplined them regularly in public.*

5. *If your child takes things that do not belong to them, it is because when you buy them things, you don’t let them chose what they want.*

6. *If your child is cowardly, it is because you help them too quickly.*

7. *If your child does not respect other people’s feelings, it is because instead of speaking to your child, you order & command them.*

8. *If your child is too quick to anger, it is because you give too much attention to misbehaviour & you give little attention to good behaviour.*

9. *If your child is excessively jealous, it is because you only congratulate them when they successfully complete something & not when they improve at something even if they don’t successfully complete it*

10. *If your child intentionally disturbs you, it is because you are not physically affectionate enough.*

11. *If your child is openly defiant, it is because you openly threaten to do something but don’t follow through.*

12. *If your child is secretive, it is because they don’t trust that you won’t blow things out of proportion.*

13. *If your child talks back to you, it is because they watch you do it to others & think its normal behaviour.*

14. *If your child doesn’t listen to you but listens to others, it is because you are too quick to jump to conclusions*

15. *If your child rebels it is because they know you care more about what others think than what is right*

*Pls fwd this to Parents who care to read this!*
*IT MAY GUIDE OUR MODERN PARENTING!*
*Positive Parenting!*

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Prodigal son? Blood Contract

Ken stood silhouetted against the setting sun. He was alone in the boat as the lagoon took on the color of the red sun, making the waters look almost metallic. He was contemplating paying his father a visit and suddenly he had become unsure. Questions needed to be answered. He could not hold back anymore and the one person who could give him some of the answers was a few meters away. His hands shook as he tried to calm his nerves.
There was a small sardonic smile playing across his lips. It was time to take a look at the wounds, time to come face to face with his ghosts and why he had left. Why he had promised himself he was never coming back. He needed to make peace with his father if not with himself. He remembered the bitter arguments, his sense of not being good enough for his father. He remembered Douglas and he felt some pain that no one had ever made any attempt to reach out to him.

It was a tough place to have dreams. He had wanted to further his education and he knew his father was not going to be able to cope with the payments. He had been grateful for the secondary education he got. He was not about to just sit down in the place, getting married, have babies, and be a fisherman. His whole soul had rebelled against such a future.
It was not therefore too surprising when he followed the boys to do some small oil bunkering. The first time he got paid he was stunned at making such easy money. He had instinctively kept that business from his father. But being a young man he could not resist buying a few things that was more than his income as a fisherman could fetch him.
His father had asked probing questions and he thought he had succeeded in deceiving him until one evening he came home to find his father in his room, a cold implacable look on his face, and his wad of currency in his hand. There was nothing left to do than to confess what he had been doing. He expected anger but not the blistering rage of the old man.

He still felt disbelief at the blazing words, stating that no son of his was going to be a coward and refuse to stand and fight.
“I can’t see much of any fight with you Papa,” he had taunted back. “No money, no food and I try to do business and you call me a thief.”
There had been the silence.
“Bravery has nothing to do with stealing oil from the creeks. A thief is a thief no matter in what clothes you dress it.”
He had yelled back in his own pain, “I have not stolen anything, just taken what belongs to me.”
“Who allocated stealing to you, Kenawari?”
“Papa!”
“Get out; you have a smell I don’t want around here.”
He had yelled back that he was getting out and was never coming back, that he would make good and his father was going to regret calling him a thief. That was when he made contact with Elias and left the village a few days later. Papa never spoke to him from that night. He never went back to the business, for it had served the purpose he wanted. He never called home.

Ken had not seen Ebijor either or connected with her until the night of his return. He had kept her in his mind for years, knowing he needed to explain his abrupt departure. Knowing the culture of his people, he knew she would have been married off after a time. He wondered if she had resisted or simply accepted his apparent desertion and shrugged her shoulders and settled down to married bliss. He had wondered if she understood about love. He could not sleep at nights as he imagined her in someone’s arms and he was racked by jealousy. A dangerous jealousy he knew, for she belonged to another man. Someone the rest of the community would defend if he tried anything funny. He had also not known about Douglas. He had assumed the silence had been in obedience to their father. He needed time to take a look at that piece of information.

Ken had stalked the markets hoping to catch a glimpse of Ebijor, but she seemed to have suddenly voluntarily imprisoned herself. He was not about to ask anyone questions. Tonbra too had become invisible. He understood, believing she was remorseful about her big mouth and was keeping out of his way with respect. He sighed and started walking along the single plank walkway.

Ken walked past his father’s home deliberately and chose to stop at a point two houses away, because he had not being prepared to find his father sitting outside on an easy rocking chair. He was sure his father had seen him. Ken suddenly lost his nerve. He felt lonely too. That is my father, damn it! You don’t just walk back to fifteen years at the drop of a hat do you? You don’t just wipe out fifteen years of longing, pain, anger and confused thoughts do you? The fact that his father had never enquired after him still hurt, he acknowledged to himself.

Interested readers in Nigeria can now buy copies of BLOOD CONTRACT from thefollowing book retailers:
1.Sunshine booksellers
University of Ibadan
2. The Booksellers(Mosuro Books)
Ring road, Ibadan
3.The Kids Centre
Akure Mall, Akure
4.Toyin Bookshop
Akure
5.Arowolo Bookshop
Akure
6,Seyem Bookshop
Akure
We will update youas more book retailers are added on

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Blood Contract


This book is now printed and available in Nigeria, a gesture of faith and trust.
Excerpt from the book
“My name is Tonbra; Papa thinks you may not have had
dinner, so he sent me to make one for you. The fish is okay,” she
said with a laugh.
“Hmm…Who is Papa?”
“Your father and mine, I am your half sister!”
Ken stared at her in shock, and then he looked at the food.
“No, it is not poisoned,” she said, amused.
Ken smiled, sat down and opened the bowls. “How old are
you?”
“As old as the time you left.”
“Had to leave!” he snapped, angry with her for bringing up a
past he would rather forget. Besides, he didn’t owe her any
explanation. Damn it, he thought, she is just a girl. You don’t explain
your actions to a girl.
“Yeah, I heard the entire story.”
“Are you still in school?” he curiously asked.
“Which school?”
He looked at her again. “You did not go to school?”
“I did, your school.”
“Sphinx! Tell me.” He liked her style of speech and the fact
that she was not awed by a big brother.
They tried to bridge a gap of fifteen years as they chatted
while he ate. It was later that he became conscious of the time and
insisted on escorting her to the house. He walked quietly back to
the longhouse and was asleep in minutes, something he had not
been able to do that easily in years.

The next morning he was standing by the beach watching the
sea waves. He walked to his boat and got it ready to put out to
sea. There had been a message from the elders that they wished
him to wait until the next day before the meeting could continue.
When the directive came, he had shrugged; it was all part of the
business. One step forward two steps back. He now had a day
stretched out with nothing particular he wanted to do.
He decided he might as well go around the other islands and
see a bit of the place. Maybe he might pick up some local news on
the grapevine about the kidnapping. His people were normally
close mouthed about things like that, but since he was a son of the
soil, he felt his people might relax enough to tell him a few things.
It also gave him the opportunity to see a bit of neglect. It was
usual to have a representative of the community in an institution
the Federal Government had set up which they called
‘Development Unions’. The elders had always tried to get
effective representation. However, it was always just a shallow,
toothless representation; the government had learned the art of
divide and rule so well, that you never really knew who was
taking the cream off the community. It was the reason the people
were so angry.
A boat moving very fast was coming ashore. Ken was angry
that the idiot was going to splash him with sea water, then saw it
was his half-­‐‑sister stepping out from the boat. He was impressed
by her dexterity. “I see you are a show off as well. You took your
time this morning.”
Tonbra laughed as she got out of the boat and walked up to
him. “I had things to do; you feel better?”
“Really? What could you be doing in this filth?”

Book for your copy and pay in our local currency. Check with the website biolaephesus.com

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What should I tell mum

I came home after seven years, I still looked fresh almost untouched. I really didn’t know what to expect, even why I came home. I was tired, emotionally tired, spiritually empty. It was time to go home.
I really had not factored into my spirit what my mum was going to say. Seven years is a long time to have stayed angry and rebellious. Seven years was the time it took me to look in the mirror. Really look in the mirror to look for me. To look for my definition of me, what it means to be me. I am not making any excuses my friend. I just got tired of it all, suicide even lost its attraction. Tried it for the first time after the physics teacher ran his hands all over me in class just before lights out. It was the same night the principal had called me into his office and asked me to sit on his lap and something hard kept sticking into me and I struggled to move away.
Yes those silent struggles, in his office his long beard and his pants, it was the reason I asked my mum to sew khaki shorts for me and I zipped them up my belly, to stop those wandering hands. I would scrub my body every night trying to take his smell on my body off. I was scared, I did not know who to ask the questions. Then I looked in the mirror then, saw my staring eyes and despaired .
Subuola would in rage insist I was after her boyfriend, first time I understood the import of what she meant, we had a big fight. It was Kola who in sheer mirth explained that I could make men commit sins. I asked him to explain, but he simply laughed and shook his head. He said my dimples and those bewildered eyes were a dangerous combination.

But that explanation came years later after two suicide attempts. But back in those days, I only felt shame, dirty and sad. Why would the principal do this things, and the physics teacher. I never had good grades in that subject, I could not explain why my brain will close up just seeing the subject written on the board. I was in constant state of terror just seeing him. He would pinch my breasts ( it was just coming up) very painfully. Hold me very tightly and rub himself hard against me. I would whimper and struggle, gradually my shame changed to anger and developed into a rage.

Seven years ago I timidly asked my mum why men were like that, and she lost it. I had never been so severely beaten. My backsides ached, mum checked my innermost places almost with a torchlight and there was no name left to call me after six hours of verbal abuse. I felt like nothing. The mat was so hard, and when it started raining, I embraced its cold sharp stings. It was better than all the abuse. I didn’t know when I started walking that night. I did not remember if I met any masquerade, I just walked, and walked.
The morning found me in the city, and the call of the conductor brought me sharply awake. Ikoyi still had a park in those days, so I guess in some fashion. I got there. Slept in the grass for a long time. Then this family approached me and asked if there was anything wrong. I remember saying very simply that I was missing and needed a job. Those were strange days. No telephones then, so I stayed with them for a while being a nanny to their child. Took my ‘A’ levels as a private student, rekindled my dream to be a human being.

I discovered later I had been damaged by the silent abuses, my mum’s lack of understanding made me a very bitter person. I closed my heart , kept the keys but refused to communicate.

I started teaching and loved the children particularly one sad eyed angel called Tina. She always sat quietly in a corner. Rarely went to breaks with the other children, never got her clothes dirty until one day another tiny one mistakenly splashed her with the drink she was having. I saw the terror that came into her eyes and how she trembled uncontrollably. Suddenly I knew what was wrong with her. I picked her up and rocked her as my own tears finally burst and we both cried helplessly.

Hours later, when the storm was over, and the wretched house girl who had been abusing Tina was arrested. I went to my clean, over clean spruced flat and looked in the mirror again
Now I am on my way home to talk to Mum.

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Timor Mortis even now?

TIMOR MORTIS EVEN NOW?

Rise above death,
Show love,
Rise above pain,
Give comfort.
Mortality beckons when you think of self,
Rise above death,
When you give meaning to your name.

Search for the meaning of your name,
Search still for the meaning of Light,
Look to your soul,
When next Life’s hefts,
Has you in wefts!

ONE DAY CHILD

The Lord touched me,
When the sun rose golden,
Fresh from yesterday’s slumber,
With gifts of the day
One more day child.

The Lord touched me,
When the clouds parted,
And thunder rolled her
Carpets of soothing rain
To cool me fevered hopes,
One more day child.

The Lord touched me,
When the earth robed
Her children in splashes
Of harvesting colors
To feed my yearning soul
One more day child

The Lord touched me
When He sent HIM
To hold my hand gently
As I step over crags and thorns
HIS love like Dove’s down,
Guides my spirit’s trip
Make Hay child!

LOVE TO KILL

She offered me friendship,
I gave her my kinship,
Then she fancied him,
He was yesterday’s pansy,
That became today’s dandy,
He was quite handy,
To anyone he fancied,
Both of them became foolhardy,
When they chose to be tardy,
And turned beauty into bawdy,
As their stolen love became tawdry.

Here I stand,
My friendship in tatters,
Flying in some feathers,
Neither hither nor thither,
For it was never tethered.
T’is novel to kill
What you can’t ken to fill,
With the truth to feel,
When your treachery keels
Over one looks ill
With love for you
My friendship killed
By my lady Serpentine!


THE PILGRIMS

They come to the mountain,
High up in light,
In their professed whiteness,
Their hems stained with oil,
Their fingers grimy with dirt,
From their thoughts and hates,
The earth has wept sodden,
The beings sighed faint,
While they chased gold,
As prizes for their feints!

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She Looked in the mirror…Short Stories


Early dawn, just the mournful call to prayer, and her heart responded in tears. Her face feltstiff and she touched it gingerly. Quietly she removed all her clothes and walked naked to the courtyard looking at the sky. She went to the kitchen and poured water in the calabash. She set it up on three stones and stood in front of it motionless. She remained like that for a while consciously emptying her thoughts of all thoughts. When she felt reasonably calm and her heart had stopped weeping, she took the bowl of water and poured it over her person. The icy cold water brought her sharply awake. She suppressed her instinctive gasp.

With measured footsteps she returned to the bedroom and stared blankly at his drunken huddled form as it snored. She went to the corner of the bedroom and silently picked her clothes , stuffing them in the bag. Her son stirred in the corner and she carried him putting himon her back as she strapped him securely.
She checked her bag, to be sure her ATM was in her purse. She had gone over lateat night and from swollen bloody lips had asked for her ATM which she had kept with Madam Stella her neighbour. She took a long look at Kunle and the screams threatened to escape her lips. She turned him over and tied his hands to the bed post. The she slapped him awake.

He opened his eyes slowly and stared in shock at his wife who gave him a wolfish grin. His moth was taped with her bloodied underwear .
Are you awake now my darling?
He tried to talk but was too tightly gagged, his eyes bulged in wild terror when he saw the knife?
His wife sighed and his eyes pleaded for mercy. She seemed to be contemplating. In a soft voice she read the poem to him as if from a long ago memory.

Do you remember this poem? I wrote it the first time you raped me and you begged me that you did not know what came over you? I warned you that if you drive the sheep to the wall it might turn on you. I am going away. I hope they find you in time. Then she brought the knife, she hummed softly as she worked on him

Five hours later, the police found him. No one knew her name and Madam Stella could only weep for the sweet faced girl who brought her the ATM to keep.
Sweet revenge
She splayed him out
sang lullaby to his screams
as she tested the knife
against his scrotum
one peel after the other
she carved
in bloody art
all the names
he called her
in drunken stupor
through the red mist
as he raped her
and maimed her
for any man.

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Woman and other poems….Poetry


Woman
Don’t summarize me as woman
The weak sex
your ornament
bed warmer
house decor
look into my eyes
your fate is written
by the level of appreciation
you give to my spirit
to show you
way home
to the Lights
See me as woman
guided by the streams
of creation
to hold the beams
of Light back home
I am woman
dignified by grace
and enhanced by His Love
to stand as gate to your dreams
I am woman
I may help you
if you know how
to treat me as Woman.

THE RITE OF BECOMING WOMAN
Locked in the rhythm
Of my bloody past
We walk along the paths
Strewn with the pains
Of our tradition

I become woman
Through the red mists
Of the circumciser’s knife
Through the groan of torn flesh
I became a member
Of a bloody clan
That gave me membership
Through the cut of my womanhood
That denies my right
To be creator’s woman

I walk the nights
Feel the morning’s kiss
But stand in swirls of pain
That decides my right
To belong to the clan

Through the mists of pain
I hear his grunt
Of pleasure
Through mists of pain
I must bring forth his seed


Sweet revenge

She splayed him out
sang lullaby to his screams
as she tested the knife
against his scrotum
one peel after the other
she carved
in bloody art
all the names
he called her
in drunken stupor
through the red mist
as he raped her
and maimed her
for any man.