Poems by Pietrina 2018

I am PIETRINA, a poet, trained human resource practitioner and psychologist, who believes that every experience is a learning point.

Writing to me is life expressed in words and opinions… an opportunity to create, build, and sometimes destroy notions and preconceived ideas. I write poems, flash-fiction, and I also co-host OutSPOKEN a poetic diary event of Nigeria held at the Revolving Art Incubator in Lagos, Nigeria.

Cold nights are the best
They make sleep come quickly
Give you no time to ponder
Under the sheets and behind shut eyelids there is bliss.

Hot nights are not nearly as fun
Bare essentials feel like hooded jackets
The night is long and seems endless
Morning comes and the cycle begins.

Alone in a crowded world
Time ticking
Rivers flowing
Climate changing
You remain constant
Just you…

Training my Senses.

The way your hand lingered on the back of my neck when we hugged still reminds me of the cool breeze on a hot evening.

The taste of your lips after a bowl of coconut flavored ice-cream still keeps me awake most nights

Every couple I see at our favorite cafe reminds me of all that we once shared and what could have been.

And oh the calming smell of your cologne no longer makes me smile, no it makes my heart ache when pass by someone who smells like you.

My playlist is half-empty because the songs in it were put there by you when the “love” we shared was still enough to be expressed, they make my ears hurt now.

Now that you are gone I am learning,
I am learning to retrain my senses to forget you
To forget the memories that we shared
I am learning, to build new moments with my senses.

Come, enter with me into that world inverted
where left is always right,
where the shadows are really the body,
where we stay awake all night,
where the heavens are shallow as the sea
Where we long for sleep but it never comes
Where we count sheep till we lose count
Come, stay with me in this world
Where a yawn is an expectation cut short
Where eyelids are warring partners with no meeting point
Come, let’s take a journey to that world downside up
Where right is always left
Where shadows go to rest when the bodies rest
Where we sleep through the night
Where the heavens are filled with stars that nudge us to sleep
Where sheep go over the fence without counting
Come let us stay in this world
Where a yawn is an assurance of things to come
Where eyelids are inseparable lovebirds
Come, come with me…


Cut off in her prime
The old is making way for the new
Phoenix from ashes

Let’s take a Shower

Calories burnt
Sweaty smells wafting through the air
Left and right leggings and sports bras getting relieved of their duties
Bodies looking forward to the feel of water

Behind my locker I stand
Waiting for all to be still
Off comes the wears
Out comes the scars on a body still looking forward to the feel of water

I am ready.

Like a deer pants for water I long for you
I want you
I need you

Like the earth longs for rain, I wait for you
You complete me
I am ready

Like a parched throat needing water, when will I find my love,
Come to me my lover
Let’s make memories that will last forever
I am ready for you

Boo…the crowd jeered after her horrendous theatrical display.
Boo…the word that always made her young daughter burst into laughter, as she peeked from the back of the chair.
Boo…her pet name for her lover who was resting in the bosom of another who he also called boo.


Colored Strength…

And this is for colored girls who have considered suicide but are moving towards the end of their own rainbows
Ntozake Shange

This is for colored girls who have consist suicide
For girls who constantly yell
“These chains,
These ones that were meant to keep me safe but have become a noose round my neck
These words that were meant as a solace but have fast become my suicide note
These perceived love that has turned to hate within me”

Wait a little longer
Just a few more breaths till you break loose from your hold and you choose a different ending to the story.
An ending where you rise and soar regardless of it all

This is for everyone who has considered giving up and letting go but decided not to.
This is for colored girls who have considered suicide but are moving towards the end of their own rainbows

The Hen
Telling time
Cackling sounds
Friendly for food
Fierce protector
Only taking flight when absolutely necessarily
…The Hen


Anxious thoughts
Fear of the unknown
Weary eyes from the hustle and bustle of the day
Teary eyes with no holds barred
Raging hormones that can’t be tamed
My body has been taken over by another.
The hourglass is set for five years
I am half way there two out of five
Soon my body will be mine again.
But until then tonight, I ‘ll pop one more pill to keep the hormones at bay.
The alarm clock chimes 10:00pm, I lift the glass and I swallow.
Tomorrow the pattern will be repeated.

Dreamy Fears
Chemistry finals
I could feel the beads of sweat forming on my forehead
Every question seemed like a badly concocted potion
What am I going to do?
I am definitely going to fail this
How will I get into University with bad grades?
What will happen to me?
“Submit your papers” the teacher yelled.
I sat rooted in my chair staring at my almost blank sheets
My friend nudged me to get up
I was sweating profusely
A bell was going off in a distant place
I woke up drenched in my sweat
My alarm clock had gone off
Reality dawned, I got up to get ready for work.

First Feelings

Slowly it crept in
Almost unnoticed
The withdrawal
The silence
The hushed-toned conversations when I passed
The giggles I could not share
The joke I would never get
Then it started to hurt real bad
Like an open sore doused with salt
The first loss of a friend never leaves your memory.

Of Faces and Stories

She had dark patches around her eyes where her blended skin once resided.
She looked at me and she smiled
I smiled back as we bargained
Her face told a story I was not sure of.

She wondered if my “husband” was okay with my chopped hair.
I smiled and said it was my head and besides I was not married
She opened her mouth in shock.
I started to understand the story her face told

She asked what body lotion I used,
I told her it was Cusson’s baby lotion
She was amazed as she admired my skin and told me not to even think about changing my cream.
I smiled as I finally understood the story her face was telling…

Of life lived to please others
Of life lived at the bidding of others
Of life spent at the mercy of others
Of life grasping for riches while ignoring contentment
Of life lived in the moment with no recourse to the past or consult with the future

Her face told a story…a story that could very well be mine…

Opposing Sides

The endless nights of making way for
you…the morning afters of tears and blood
The silent whisper…the loud wail
The bursts of laughter…the heaving
The flat surface…the bumpy surface
The addition of you…The loss of me
Your expected arrival…your sudden
The constant yearning…the resolution
that you will not be mine
The waiting line I created for you has
become the beginning of a new journey without you.

Learning Silence

I have learnt the silence of unrequited love
The gnawing silence that creeps in when you are not looking
I have mastered the silence of a broken heart
The weepy silence that lets you know that time doesn’t heal as fast as you thought
Oh I have learnt the silence of failed dreams
The silence that haunts every night and make up every nightmare
Worst of all these is the silence of my pen…
When my heart bleeds but my pen cannot find the right words.

Make Her.

A slight turn of the tide
Cloud roaring
Body swaying to the waves of the sea
Her glare boring holes into your willing heart
“Take Me” she nudged you with vacant eyes and two words not spoken

Did no one tell you
Did no one warn you;
That purple conversations were like a pack of cards waiting for a collapse

Flame for fame
Make her love you
Make her want you
Make her yearn for you
Share her pain
Spill your secrets
Give her time
Let the unspoken words find life
Then take her
Perhaps you will regain your honour

I move…

I move to keep things whole
To maintain a balance
I move to keep the jiggle in place,
I move to avoid attachment
I move to keep things whole
For the one time I stopped moving;
I lingered for too long and the jiggle lost its shape
The attachment became an entrapment
The sum of parts could not become a whole again

So now I move, even when it hurts I move
Even when I bleed I move
Even when I’d rather stay I move
I move
I move to keep things whole.

Off and on
He was here one minute and gone the next
Off and on
He made me laugh and then made me cry
Off and on
He gave me life and then took my breath
Off and on
My eyelids flickered and then shut for the last time
Off not on…like the faulty light switch in our bedroom.