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THE JOURNEY



THE JOURNEY


 A Chapbook on the road to becoming 


BlossomWrites


©2020



Copyright ©2020 Blossom Ibe-barth Chigozirim.

 All rights reserved. 

No part of this book may be reproduced, distributed, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without prior written permission from the publisher or author.

 For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to BlossomWrites

Book Cover and intensive formatting done by: 

C.M Okonkwo

Contact here or here.

Layout design done by:

Blossom Ibe-barth Chigozirim

+234 (0)701 830 4454

Ibeblossomjune@gmail.com


This book is dedicated to every imaginary character my running mind has conjured or come across. To every penned word that I’ve found peace in using. 

This book is also dedicated to every single person who still believes in my pen and I.



For Dad, 

                Send me a postcard from heaven one of these days. 

               I love you, dearly. 

              Always have, always will… 

 


 


“A writer is a time traveler, blending through time and space. The historian of a past he may have never seen but paints and the custodian of a future that he may never see but imagines. He is a citizen of a thousand universes, and his mind is always on a JOURNEY...”

                             — BlossomWrites



TABLE OF CONTENTS

 Foreword

I)  Destination Oyigbo

II)  Free: the blackbirds 

III) Things that lurk

IV) Voice in my head

V) A-lone

VI) My mother

VII) Ajiri’s love letter

VIII) On becoming

IX) The butterfly

X) In-betweens

XI) Black boy

XII) Ethereal

XIII) My very soul (An Ode to music)

XIV) Resurrection

XV) The testimony

XVI) Hey! Don’t leave

XVII) The Ex

XVIII) A story

XIX) Destination Saturn

 About the Author



FOREWORD

When I got the request to write a foreword for this debut chapbook from a mutual friend, I felt truly honoured, and quite excited to have been considered, although Blossom seemed more excited than I was that I had accepted to write it.

We had a quick introductory chat, and I asked to read the book, to have a feel of it and know a little about him before putting pen to paper. We connected instantly on, and somewhat beyond, a literary level, especially on the understanding of writers travelling through time to tell their stories, and being constantly on a journey of the mind.

This is exactly what this chapbook is about. It takes you on an interesting journey with Blossom through beautifully and carefully written words that explore themes on life, love and growth. It furnishes you with something to pause and think about, which is what I was able to feel with every word in the book.

As you read this book, prepare your mind to walk with Blossom, see with him, hear with him, love with him, smile with him, shed a tear with him and grow with him.

C. M. Okonkwo, Award Winning Author,

Secretary 20-22, Association of Nigerian Authors, Lagos

Member, International Thriller Writers and PEN Nigeria



I

DESTINATION OYIGBO


Oyigbo is a town in the Garden City, 

and a place in the streets of your head. 

It gets loud, pretty slam-bang, 

with the roar of offended engines

and the clash of pedestrians. 

The hurried greetings as neighbours meet, 

and the cries of street hawkers, 

enveloping you with a strange feeling of home. 

The beggars who should be pitied, 

and the soul seeking warmth and shelter. 

Everyone has something to offer.

Remember this while you sojourn. 


It’s like the tumult of your mind, 

when you just can’t grasp the essence of your being. 

You whisper in the noise that clouds your thoughts, your mind wheeling and enclosing all that needs to stay in. 

Yes, all that should stay in. 

You wonder about all that there is to wonder, 

how you became and why? 

You watch your voice get lost

in the babel of the social media—

towers and layers of fake imagery. 


It’s like the good times, 

and the kisses of strangers. 

Hop on the faded cerise bus called ‘Love’,

with tires that always run flat, 

and wrong addresses engraved on the hearts of those who do not alight early. 

Grab a bite as you go, 

you’ll need the energy for the rupture. 

Welcome to Oyigbo, 

the land of broken promises. 

Welcome. 


II

FREE: THE BLACKBIRDS


Two blackbirds on a tree, 

both in cages made of their will. 

And whilst the one saw a cage, 

the latter saw himself free. 


Free from the dark of the night

Free from the sorrows that bite

Free from the world’s corruption seed. 

Believe me, he was free indeed. 



III

THINGS THAT LURK


Sometimes love lurks behind a hostile heart, 

and hate behind the widest of smiles. 

Sometimes tension hides behind the greatest of speeches, 

and wisdom in the mind of the youngest of persons. 

Sometimes fear reposes behind the bravest of men, 

and light in the darkest of moments. 

Sometimes timidity is concealed behind the airs of an arrogant wight, 

and deadly ambience behind the peplum of the prettiest face. 

Don’t open that peplum! 


IV

VOICE IN MY HEAD


Hello, 

Voice in my head. 

I heard you speak even more clearly, 

from the ruins of my soul. 

I heard you bring me closer

to all that can be called home. 

Thank you.

__________________________________________

When the tides sweep low, 

and the woes drown my soul, 

remember these words I’ve said, 

dear voice in my head. 



V

A-LONE


I am

a-lone. 

I am

a-loner. 

And it hurts. 

The tiny cracks on my heart

have begun to expand, 

bringing forth cisterns 

of agony and isolation. 

You couldn’t be in my shoes—

they pinch. 

More like I’m the only one

fit enough to wear them. 

Everyone has left, 

or so I feel. 

All I ever asked for, 

all I ever truly needed, 

I can’t seem to find… 

There’s huge rocks in my throat

and I can’t swallow. 

The scars on the me I’ve become

find a way to torment and scare me, 

and my reflection haunts me. 

Oh sorry! How could I forget? 

I have no reflection. 

She’s dead, 

or so I feel. 

I’m a caged bird

not able to scream, 

or sing to my freedom. 

I can’t fly either. 

Maybe, doom awaits me

if I ever escaped.

I need to be free. 

I am

a-lone.



VI

MY MOTHER


My mother is a rose. 

With a hundred regrets buried deep into her skin like hungry thorns and painful memories, she stays calm and beautiful— making sure that our lives are a better example. 

My mother doesn’t want to grow old. 

She’s the ageless mountain—

steady, supportive and full of the right words. 

Gray tufts lined on her forehead, 

like weary soldiers

and her heart is the beat of life. 

My mother is the peace of the ocean, 

her reprimands like the shore—

holding firm to the waist of your heart, 

and keeping you safe

from the dark and his friends, 

and the many lies that bite. 

My mother saves lives. 

She’s the superhero you need to meet. 

With genial hands and kind words, 

she gives life to the feeble—

the health worker I fell in love with. 

My mother is the first daughter of love. 

Her heart glitters in the dark

and her prayers I never lack. 

She’s the man I could never be—

fighting the demons of her darkest dreams. 

She echoes through the night: fierce. 

Her feet and knees kissing the earth, 

as her soul renders supplication. 

My mother is a vibe. 

You need to see the way she saves phone numbers! 

You don’t want to know! 

Her story is a reflection of pretty blossoms springing from concrete, 

and thick walls of loss and rue. 

My mother is a rose. 



VII

AJIRI’S LOVE LETTER


“Dear Blow,

I want to say a lot but at the same time, I want to hoard my thoughts to myself.

I rarely meet people that tug at the strings of my heart and pull at the edges of my consciousness, it’s like finding the square root of 1. Yeah, that difficult! But surprise surprise, I found you, virtually and physically (but virtually first), and we clicked, just like that (mind blowing sturvs, for me at least)


Now to understand the ludicrousness of this situation to me, you’d have to understand me first and I’m totally out of this world. I’m like extra freakin’ terrestrial, but that’s the whole point of it all. You understand me sometimes!

That, my man, is the miracle! 

A lot of people I’ve hung out with for years don’t and have no hope of ever understanding me, but you only came along one day and boom! There’s shrapnel everywhere… I’m unraveled, not totally, but unraveled still.

It’s an honor to have you in my life Blow, you are an amazing person and anyone who doesn’t realize that is just not bright, literally and figuratively. 

You are as important as Spaghetti is to me and to be called your friend is just brain-imploding astounding. 

I know I don’t express my appreciation and gratitude for your presence much and that’s because I’m not really an overly emotional person unlike you, it’s default setting. 

Nothing I do may ever rival the way you say my name or even respond to my calls, the excitement with which you greet my presence… Overwhelming and contagious. 

Your silent understanding of the unspoken words I’ve just spoken and my body language over the phone. 

I absolutely love you Blow. I’ll be me with whatever you choose to be for all lifetimes. 

Happy new month!”

From Arhjeree.


VIII

ON BECOMING


“Nwata gá etoeto juo ihe gburu nna ya, ihe gburu nna ya we gbuo ya.”1

My grandmother recites, drawing my ears,

her lips drawn to a thin line, 

and her eyes a dim radiance.

Worries sketched on her bony face,

she rises from her low stool,

lifting her legs in solemn steps,

like the creak of damaged hinges

and worn out doors.

I watch her fade

into the dark of the corridor,

as I ponder on Father’s words just the day before he died,

“Nna m, Ibụ nwoke abụghị ọrụ ụbọchị.”2

His snuff-stained teeth greeting my ignorance, 

and irritating my agile spirit.

They were about to begin the football game without me.

_______

I have always never been ready for growth,

for maturity is a huge cube of sugar—

sweet freedom, pleasure and more freedom,

But shuga na e nye ọrịa shuga!3

And so, I run. Far away into denial! 

I avoid my problems, 

treating them like non-existent house flies perching at a lowered moon. 

But the earth cannot be deceived, 

and agarachá4 must come back. 

And so, at the call of age’s aged flute, 

I came home. 

Beards have lined my once-smooth face—

now filled with burnt scattered pimples

and a thousand hungry worries. 

The sunrise beckons to me, 

heavy responsibilities strapped to my being, 

like backpacks and luggage. 

I have begun my journey. 

I am becoming. 


1 Igbo proverb. Literal translation: A child grows up to ask what killed his father, and the same thing that killed his father kills him. 

2 Igbo saying. Literal saying: “My father [My son], to be a man is not a day’s job”. It is a statement reflective of all the hurdles maturity entails. 

3 Igbo statement. Literal translation: Sugar gives diabetes

4 Igbo saying. Literal translation: A wanderer will always come back [home]. Deeper meaning: A person who runs away from his problems will always return to find them, waiting for him. A chronic runaway debtor or addict will always come back for some more help. 


IX

THE BUTTERFLY


I once watched an obscure caterpillar turn into the prettiest little butterfly. 

Chiamaka! She was mum’s little angel—

could think or do no harm. 

Raised under the teary and firm love of a single mother, she was caged and her wings never saw the light. 

Mum was scared— she had lived a carefree, rough life as a youth. 

She wouldn’t let dear Chiamaka do same. 

She couldn’t watch her drown, 

and so she became protective to a fault. 

But caterpillars must grow, 

or growth itself is shamed. 

And so, at the break of life’s free-dawn [freedom], 

the tamed became the untamed. 

Chiamaka left for the university, 

and curiosity killed the cat, eventually. 

Eyes opened, mind permissive to perversity, 

and her wings came forth. 

The butterfly flew! 

Fly away, she did. 

Away from the bother of decorum

and the tiredness of decency. 

And at the end of dusk, 

there was a fall, and a cry. 

Her wings had broken. 

And there are words yet unspoken. 


X

IN-BETWEENS


I’m at the edge of this cliff, 

overlooking life,

overanalyzing everything. 

The falls and bruises, 

and the days before I unconsciously let wisdom

creep in, like a secret lover

into the windows of my heart. 

When I was young, I was dumb. 

I’ve grown older and I’m still dumb, 

the difference is now I know it. 

I study the mystery I’ve become—

a wandering lad that never seems to find home, 

staggering on the rails that satisfy broken trains. 

Stuck between the in-betweens

and the call of life’s sad flute. 

It becomes easier to choose quietus, 

over the many spasms of one’s darkest moments. 

Irate and unsure, and standing on this cliff,

I question creation, 

wondering why my life is called a gift. 

I’m in between heaven and hell, 

and I try to catch the sky. 

My palms get cracked, 

and insight hits me like a bellicose husband. 

I stare at the sun, 

watch it blind me, 

and then I smile, 

the answers arranged — nakedly on my face. 

I just conquered the in-betweens. 


XI

BLACK BOY


Black boy. 

Bringer of joy. 

They called you fragile, 

I call you strong.

Your fathers were slaves, 

cuffed to death and grave. 

Whips on their backs, 

poison in their veins. 

They hungered for freedom

and were enslaved again. 

Intellectual bondage—

they made you hate you, 

but black is not just the colour, 

black is the attitude. 

And you, black boy, 

are a son of the sun,

a balance between life and prestige. 

You birth your throes

and sing your melodies, 

from the dunes of the Sahara

to the islands of Guinea Bissau. 

Ebony became light, 

and light is knowledge. 

And so, with pockets filled with dreams

and eyes misty with a rare hope, 

you’ll rise and lift this weight—

every stereotype, every wrong claim, 

every long night, every stained day. 

Yes, black boy, you are not what they say! 

Your heart beats for the truth, 

and you want to do all that’s good. 

And it’s okay to be trapped once in a while, 

for it’s in the trapping that you will liberate yourself, 

and make peace with deep coloured skies. 

Dear black boy, 

I find you amusing and sharp-witted, 

and outstanding is just one of the many descriptions, 

dwelling in the deep chests of your humanity. 

You are KING. 


XII

ETHEREAL


Isn’t this ethereal already? 

Twenty and three times three. 

I come awake inside of you, 

I swear I’ll set you free. 

Hungry desires clawing my back, 

and leaving lines of submission. 

Integument kissing integument, 

and yes, you have my full attention. 

Lights off, blinds on, eyes shut, 

and yet we don’t miss a thing. 

I’ll pet your pretty flower,

and kiss all of its rings. 

Deep down into your shallows

and the place I reign as god. 

Your legs locked on me shoulders, 

Chemistry: inexplicably odd. 

You whisper, your sounds inspire—

pushing me to the edge to do more, 

to be more, like a lawyer to his law. 

It’s not something I can ignore. 

I’ll envelope you in strokes, 

and watch your body quake. 

Let your passions burn me up, 

these desires make no mistake. 

And then, we do it your way. 

Reverse the missionary, take the lead. 

We dance in frenzies of sensual energy, 

as to the warmth of your insides I cede. 

Role-play, foreplay, your way, 

we’ll meet in the middle, 

as I recite alphabets on your V-ery lips, 

and with your buttons, fiddle. 

Switching positions and lanes

as I feed you with dominance—

the strength of my manliness, 

His royal P-reeminence. 

Working your within to a climax, 

worshipping and feasting like a cereal. 

Heavenly showers blind me, 

as you collapse.

Yes, this is ethereal. 


XIII

MY VERY SOUL [AN ODE TO MUSIC]


What would I do without you? 

The skies would rain fire, 

and the nights would lose their taste

on the lips of great men yet unborn. 

You’ve kept my soul alive

and yet you are my very soul—

filling me with substance,

and bringing me to Elysium.

I cry when you speak, 

and I listen to your heart beat.

You control my breath with pauses and stops, 

yours is a most selfless love. 

We run nude in the highways of my brain, 

and make love, clinging like kidnapped brothers. 

Too scared to depart, we became a communion. 

Paeans with the strangest emotions, 

and bulbs in the darkest rooms.

Your history deeply fascinates,

as immortals have drunk from your wine.

Your present reinvigorates,

like chilled water on a sunny day.

I find you in the ears of strangers

and the yowls of little infants.

I follow you to the courts of an Obá,1

 and a Lagos party for the elites.

You teach me to thirst after more life, 

reminding me of my very humanity. 

You’re the muse after the dawn, 

bringing my feet to a sway, 

and my pen to paper. 

You arrest my thoughts,

the calm in my loneliest moments, 

I love you, 

Muse-ic.


*1 Yoruba title for ‘King’.



XIV

RESURRECTION


Tell me what’s resurrection? 

I mean, 

just tell me, why ‘resurrection’? 

Feathers fall off the bird,

and his flight, well, restricted. 

The snake sheds skin while he moults— that’s transformation. 

Why then does my soul scream “Resurrection!”

Engulfed in the deepest of seas, 

I ask for help. 

Entombed in this web that I have become, 

I needed to see. 

I needed to feel. 

Is this why I need it? 

—Resurrecting my soul to come home, 

where free is free

and real is real. 

A place where the me in me is awake, and not numb. Am I even dumb? 

If there’s such a place as ‘light’ after this tunnel I’m in, why then can’t I see it? 

Why can’t it blind me, you know, change me? 

And like at Damascus, will I f-i-n-a-l-l-y be made whole, again? Maybe after three days? 

If this is a journey, then I’m guessing it’s over. 

Or has it just begun? 

Too many questions, but isn’t that the holy way? 

Sunday. 

The church bells ring, again. 

And my soul pleads that I resurrect. 



XV

THE TESTIMONY


“A lonely forest — ever heard of that?! 

That was the perfect definition of my sick self. 

Many hands were willing to carry me up, 

but few were willing to sustain me at the top. 

Did you know? 

Those pictures I used to take, 

they were so damn fake. 

There were so much comments and likes, 

but behind those broad smiles, 

was a chick in an egg, struggling to break out. 

Sometimes I would get so mad, wanting to freak out, 

but I’d have to turn that wide-open mouth into a broad smile. 

Yeah! They didn’t understand it. 

So, at some point, 

I condescended to the life the world thought was real, 

till you came along. 

It was on that uncertain night my fingers found expression on my keypad, 

I didn’t want to feel bad, 

So I just gave two taps ‘Hi’, 

The rest is history, B. 

Your words are like light that expels darkness. 

Coming to know you, 

my life has to a large extent found essence. 

I don’t want to make you feel like God – His Royal Highness, 

but I know you are a real epitome of kindness. 

How could I forget godliness?! 

My God! Handsomeness! 

Even in your saddest moments, I find solace in your words. 

Those dreams of you keep me awake 

when slumber comes. 

I’ll always be grateful to the presenter

for his present. 

Trust me, I love you, 

and knowing you, 

I don’t ever regret.”


          From Abundance Daniels.



XVI

HEY! DON’T LEAVE


I’d like to be alone, 

alone with you. 

Does that sound right? 

Take in the darkness

and make no sound, 

while you stare all night—

confused at the man I’ve become, 

a lost one, I guess. 

With eyes and still, no sight. 

But hey! Don’t leave! 

You make me whole, 

you bring me light. 

You make the pain easier, 

cleaning my soul with your presence, 

and when you’re gone, I might

leave with you. 

A different destination, I presume. 

With a backpack. I go light. 

Please! Don’t leave just yet. 

Give me some time and

stay till the morning’s a bit bright, 

my soul just might return. 

He’ll hear tunes from the birds

and he’ll be alright. 

I’m not sure of that, 

I may never be, 

but it’s a risk worth taking, right? 

Please wait a little longer,

till the flowers blossom, 

and my eyes sparkle with delight. 

I wasn’t always like this you know? 

I could be better, 

I’ll just have to wait for tonight. 

Don’t leave!


XVII

THE EX


If only you could see the pain, 

from a more distant heartbeat, 

maybe you’d understand my plight, 

and how my agony is not far fetched. 

The eyebags and the late nights. 

The promises and the sighs. 

Flesh clinging to flesh, 

and making hearts burn with desire. 

We touched and felt touched. 

Conscious of every sound, 

and the light permeating our souls, 

as our bodies aligned

to a space beyond us. 

I heard you moved out, 

out from the chambers of my heart, 

leaving trails of careless emotions, 

and endangering me with myself. 

Paranoid, I search the streets for you. 

You: the perfect gift of love. 

A love we spoke boldly of, 

so often we became scarred with futuristic dreams. 

I need you home.



XVIII

A STORY


The rain slowed down to a patter, 

hitting painfully against her windowpanes, 

each diagonal strike reducing in intensity, 

as if to bother and not disturb. 

But she did not notice any of this, 

she was lost in thought. 

A cold bed and perhaps, a colder heart

had freed her of the ability to feel;

to appreciate the things she once saw as divine—

the stars, the moon, and the warmth that flowed from his bodice

through cold-blooded days like this. 

So she wraps herself now, 

in his old knit sweater, and reminisces, 

about the good old days and how he had brought life to her dead heart, like flowers to a storm. 

He had appeared, a superhero in a hoodie at the mall on the very night she lost her father. 

And that was the beginning of the end. 

She sits upright on the bed now, 

a silent cuss escaping pursed lips, 

as she remembers how they conquered the world, 

put their demons to rest, 

and how he had been the light to her dark, 

rescuing her from the deep of her wretched soul, 

four times too many and a thousand more. 

She had seen herself become vulnerable and for the first time, she wasn’t scared. 

She still remembers getting angry with him, 

because he always knew what to say and when to say it — like he was some sort of saint. 

Tueh!¹

He had been, to her, a cross between warmth and silvery drops of sugar. 

But he had walked away, 

just as mysteriously as he came, 

and sugar turned bitter. Very bitter. 

She had gotten a text months later from an unknown number, 

saying he missed her but couldn’t be with her— his parents didn’t agree of the union. 

She was from an aggressive tribe. 

That. was. the. day. she. turned. mad. 

She still remembers the deathly look in her eyes, after crying and breaking all she could find, the look of a bird that had been crippled and caged for no obvious reason, when it finally found its freedom. 

But this wasn’t freedom. She was lost. 

And subdued. 

              ______________________________________

She lets the tears hiding by the cloak of her emotions fall freely, just like the rain against the window. 

She’s built a solid wall — miles and miles of carefully-placed bricks,

knowing no one can cross now. 

She’s a sad song waiting for a jukebox, 

so she can play, 

again. 


* 1 A low-throated sound showing disapproval, disgust, irritation or frustration. Very similar to the sound a person makes when they spit, especially in disgust. 



XIX

DESTINATION SATURN


I heard my counterpart 

told you about tumults and chaos. 

Well, he’s only human—

filled with angry colours: Hue-man. 

But let’s take a journey through the universe, 

past the constellations and multi-coloured fullness, 

to an emptiness that satisfies. 

We’ll float and discuss space ships, 

our minds aligning to the nebula, 

landing on pale yellow crystals from the belly of this space, 

and the many stars of our nature. 

We’ll visit home and play with the rings, 

and lacunae reserved for kings. 

We’ll listen to good music—

alien-ic majesties, 

rid our soul of its madness, 

as it gives in to a certain stillness. 

Let’s paint the stars and mark our names, 

thrusting deep into the shade the moon offers. 

Get lost in the peace of the cosmos, 

and the warmth that floods your soul.  

Sickles. 

Saturn is a place for expression. 

It is the heart that beats, 

and the soul that lives. 

It is the red to your heart,

and the wall to your past. 

So come onboard, 

and let’s visit my world. 

Welcome to Saturn. 

Welcome home. 

Welcome.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Blossom Ibe-barth Chigozirim is a writer, SEO Specialist, poet, artiste, content creator, copywriter and microcopy enthusiast from Imo state in Nigeria, West Africa. He writes with a flair for painting pictures from his thoughts and discussing life and love. His works have appeared in various national and international blogs and magazines, including Quarterly Digest, Opera Mini news blog, Paul Kay’s blog, The Sun and some others.

He began writing officially in the year 2018, and released an online poetry album titled ‘For Leaving’ in the year 2019, on Facebook. He released another online poetry album (currently ongoing) titled ‘Tissues, Pretty faces and dead flowers’ in the year 2020.

He resides with his mother and siblings in Oyigbo, Rivers State, Nigeria. He believes in a beautiful world, painted with opaque colours. He also believes that beans and plantain with soaked garri is a dish designed by God himself. 


CONNECT WITH THE JOURNEY.

“I grew up an introverted lover of books, greatly admiring literary works of legends like William Shakespeare, George Orwell and Oliver Goldsmith, to mention but a few. But writing [poetry, especially] scared me. I always imagined I had nothing to offer and that nothing my mind and pen could ever produce would match up with that of the many greats that had come before me. But I took the risk. Defeated my fear of poetry by becoming a poet. Yeah, I started writing, and truthfully speaking, it’s been a completely uphill and yet, downhill journey. I have learnt a lot and I have built a wall of expression behind every poem my mind has ever conceived. I tell my stories, or the stories of imaginary friends and muses through poetry. I write because I have a soul that speaks poetry, and countless thoughts running through my bleeding mind.”


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