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.

Growing Up

Dear Younger Me,

I have held on to you for so long because I didn’t know better.
I thought holding on to you will help me right my wrongs and make better decisions, it did for a while.
I know now that holding on to you was holding me back, you remind me of my fears and the mistakes I made.
It has not been all gloom though, you have thought me how to find joy in little things, to celebrate milestones on the way to achieving the goal.

This note is my way of saying goodbye and thank you.

Trip to Neverland

The day started like any other. She took a trip to her friend’s office, she just needed to share the news with someone, she couldn’t hide it for long. She sat there as her friend attended to her students, that was when she felt it, the sudden wetness.
The next few hours was a blur she was in front of the doctor. “How far along are you”. “About eight weeks” she answered. “I am sorry, but this only looks like five weeks” he said as he studied the sonogram.
There were no words to express what she felt. The next morning the wetness increased and the pain doubled, by afternoon the five-week old relieved itself of the hold it was hanging on to and went on a trip to Neverland.

Ode to food

Oh food…
How I long for the bliss that comes with you
The satisfaction tha
t your thought brings
How I savor the sweet moments that you leave me with.
Whether liquid, solid, mains or snack your role is distinct and unmatched.
You before whom all mortals lose reasoning at your disappearance
You who can mend broken hearts and fix warring cities
You who seem inconsequential until we realize that we cannot go anywhere without you.
Oh food…

That Joy…
The joy of new beginnings
Of starting afresh
Leaving the old behind
Birthing a new dream
Watching new life sprout…
That joy.

The joy of growing old
Of greying with fulfillment
Of finding solace in a life well lived.
The taste of aged-wine
The feel of driving a vintage car
Of listening to an old classic tune…
That joy.

The joy of love
Finding that one true person
The one who completes you
The one who makes you look forward to life, to living
The one person who gives you a reason to go on…

The joy of completion
The thrill of starting and completing
Knowing there is no piece out of place
Nothing is outstanding…
That joy

The joy of leaving
Taking a breather
Moving on without looking back
No hinges
No clutter
Just up, and leave…
That joy

The joy of being human.
The highs and the lows
The findings and the losses
The smiles and the tears
The bursts of laughter and wails of tears…
That joy.


This path is yours
Toiling, gruelling and painful
Demeaning and flattering
Yet, it’s yours.

Fight it,
Get up and fight.
Stay away from that path no matter how fun it seems.
Just do it,

To give up or not.

Wanted you

Longed for you

Prepped for you

Twice you came

Then you left

And again

Waiting starts

So you think

But not now

I am done

Stay away

Don’t return


Stop it!!

Stop telling me how you think I should live

How you think I look better when I wear my hair long

How you like it when I lose a little weight

Or when I tone up my muscle

Don’t tell me how you like it when I sit quietly at functions

Or how I look better when I am not arguing


Stop looking at me through your own reflection

Just stop!!!


I am the stone, the stone that
you tried to shatter

I am that fiery little rock, spitting
fire till my outside is completely hardened.

The rock that weathers all weathers
without flinching or breaking.

I am Pietrina.


Why do bad things happen to good people?

Why do people change?

Why is change inevitable?

Why does the inevitable sometimes become avoidable?



Why do avoidable mistakes become permanent messes?

Why do messes make or mar us?

Why does marring hurt more when it is done by a loved one?

Why do loved ones turn around and become the hated ones?

Why does the hated one feel no guilt?

Why does guilt eat away at our soul?

Why does the soul leave the body last when death comes?=


The sea and I

The curtains are falling on the day
Another day of toiling completed
I look out the window from the bus and I see it…

Today it is calm, the wind gently carries her waves and she seems to smile at me telling me all will be well.

Yesterday she was raging, tearing to tear down her banks and overrun her bounds, reminding me that we don’t always have it together.

Tomorrow is yet to come but I know she’ll be there again, mirroring my life in a way only her can.

The Abyss.

I stared into the abyss for too long, it stared right back at me. Dug a hole so deep inside of me, the more I tried to cover it the wider it became. I stripped myself and tried to fit me into the whole, it ate me up, all of me. I became the abyss, it became me. Come, take a peek into the abyss, lose yourself find yourself.



I am the stone,  the stone that
you tried to shatter

I am that fiery little rock, spitting
fire till my outside is completely hardened.

The rock that weathers all weathers
without flinching or breaking.

I am Pietrina.

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.