Thoughts. Ramblings. Heavy-hipped. Mango-obsessed.

Channel (Sex) Surfing...

(pic by: Fran-cis-ca)
I'm a late sleeper. Really late. So I was channel surfing, nothing much to watch at that time of the night - the further up I went, the crappier the channels got. Then I got to the sex channels, crap, crap, crap, most of them were geared to men, even the gay channels.

There was this particular channel that I found sad, cheap and highly tacky.

There were 3 women on a bed waiting for phonecalls - 2 white women, one black, each holding a number '7', '8', and '9' respectively (err, excuse the pun). The idea was that they were meant to do whatever callers asked them to do. It was really sad. One was a beautiful surgically-enhanced skeleton with boobs to match, the one in the middle seemed to be having fun, and the other looked bored.

It just looked so sad as they sat there waiting for calls to come through - sometimes not getting any for a while, one getting plenty, the others having to sit there and wait, staring at the screen, holding up their number, waiting for a call.

When the 'skeleton' got calls, it looked like every caller was asking her to bend over and simulate being f*cked from behind really slow, then really quick. That's all most of the callers were asking her to do. And she looked as skeletal from behind as she did from the front, her butt bones were jutting out. She just looked really unhealthy and I found the whole thing extremely disturbing let alone someone calling in to see an anorexic do something like that - she looked like a prisoner of war.

The bored one dropped the phone like she was about to die of monotony and walked off the set for about 5 mins. She came back a bit chirpier. Maybe she'd had some chocolate.

And the one that seemed to be having fun just kept on 'seeming to be having fun', spreading her legs, rubbing her tits, talking and laughing down the phone like she was talking to her best friend.

I watched it for about 15-20mins because I wanted to remember. I didn't want to forget how I felt watching it.


my alarm clock pours ice cubes down my back
i'm a 33 yr old angst-ridden teenager

my boss is Hitler with perfectly-manicured nails
bitch-red lipstick
dagger heels

i roll my eyes to the back of my head
suck my teeth in my mother-tongue
i want to cut her hair

she catches me looking
i hold her stare
and lick my lips slowly.

I Don't Get It...

Why do ITN & BBC News think it's their duty to update me EVERY DAY on the inquest into Princess Diana's death? I'M NOT INTERESTED. I normally switch channels straightaway or press mute the minute I hear her name, but this time, they caught me unawares. Just now on the BBC, the news guy said a witness at the inquest said Diana was using contraception in the weeks leading up to her death. AND? I mean what the heck does it have to do with Diana's death? And why do I need to know? I think it's in very bad taste, is very personal information that has nothing to do with anything.

I really did expect better from two news stations that really should know better - do they really have nothing better to slot into those 2-3mins.

I can see the importance of the inquest, but why do the public need to be updated on every single development?

And don't get me wrong, I loved Diana, even went to her funeral, cried my eyes out, but I've had enough of her being used at every opportunity - it's symptomatic of the media - and I wasn't expecting ITN/BBC News to be part of the tongue-wagging. I find it all quite sickening and I just think today was the last straw when BBC News of all people reported she was on contraception.

If ITN/BBC News really can't think of anything better to report within that 2-min time slot, I'll give them something to talk about, like why I'm increasingly walking into schools that have lost their soul, like why the truth isn't being told about 'immigration' (that in fact we're all a nation of [im]migrants), like why Canary Wharf is called 'Little Africa' (walk past there at 5.30am and you'll see why).

ITN, BBC - if you're twiddling your journalistic thumbs in ho-hum boredom and are stuck on what to report, filling 2-mins of your daily air-time with news of a woman who probably just wants to kick back with a great big bar of chocolate and chill in the afterlife, why don't you get your newscasters to ACTUALLY REPORT THE NEWS.

But PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, leave the Diana inquest within the confines of where it is - where it should be - in court.

If you could be ever so kind as to do that, I tell ya, it would really make my commerciaLIEsed, Jesus?-who's-Jesus?, PSP-is-every-child's-mother-tongue, Christmas.

Thank you...

Ebele Ajogbe, 'Me-MySelf-I' News, London.

The Hoosiers...

There's this mad British group I've recently come across - I think they are KER-RAZY, funny, playful, talented and highly creative - I think even their name suggests how crazy they are - 'the Hoosiers' - now what the hell does 'Hoosiers' mean? - I don't have a clue - but it sounds silly - and I like that.

They've got this song called Mr A (or is it called 'Goodbye Mr A'?) - it's about a classic superhero who's kidnapped, attached to a propeller and blasted off into space 'cos he might be a superhero but he has no soul, no personality, no human touch.

I love the musical arrangement for this song, the lyrics - and their video alone is a great creation in itself. I think it might be interesting to use the video in a workshop with the sound turned off and get the kids to write their own lyrical version of what they think is happening.

'Bout time we had something refreshing in the charts - I love Timbaland, very talented guy, but I was getting a bit tired of the creeping monopoly of Timbaland-produced songs - if it ain't a Nelly Furtado single produced by Timbaland, then it's a Justin Timberlake single produced by Timbaland, or it's a Timbaland song with one of his proteges, or wait, look it's Timbaland with Justin (again) and 50cent.

Then add the bands making a comeback (Spice Girls, Take That, Boyzone (or is it Westlife?). Take That I can 'take' for their initiative, but I think the other two are just jumping on the bandwagon. Oh how convenient, my dear Watson, they're coming out in time for Xmas too).   And then you have the slew of British groups who all of a sudden seem to think it's the in-thing to sing with a Cockney accent. Hello?

So, yeah, I find it refreshing to come across a group like The Hoosiers. They might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I like 'um.

Spare a Nostril for Xmas...

I have a blocked nose. (everyone say a sympathetic aaaaaaah).

Yep. One of my nostrils has up and baled on me. I thought it loved me. But obviously not.

Anyone got a nostril to spare? White people needn't apply (obviously. Black body, white nostril. Erm, no.)

It ain't fun breathing outta one nostril, I can tell you - it's as much fun as watching Gordon Brown do... actually, it's as much fun as watching Gordon Brown. Period.

So, this Christmas, while you're breathing in car exhaust fumes, b.o on trains, and everything in-between, please spare a thought for the woman with just one hairy nostril to keep her warm at night.

Breathe for me, people.


If Someone Else Hands Me a Free Newspaper, I Swear I'll, I'll, I'll...

Dear London Lite/ Metro Newspaper Person...

Why do you insist on handing me a paper:

a) when you can see my hands are FULL of shopping

b) when you can see I already have a frikkin free newspaper in my hand

c) when you know and i know i'm blanking you

d) when you're blocking my entrance to stratford station during rush hour


Thank you.


Royal Variety Performance, Scrapheap Challenge & Boyzone (or is it Westlife?)

One of the good things about feeling a bit under the weather is that while you're recuperating, you get to watch TV. Plenty of it. So this program called Scrapheap Challenge came on and I really couldn't be bothered to get up, grab the remote from the other sofa and change the channel. So I just watched what was on. And I tell ya, Scrapheap Challenge ROCKS!!!

In the past, I'd always changed the channel when it was on, but I love it!

Right, Scrapheap Challenge is a weekly program about two competing teams going into a scrap yard and building machines from bits and pieces of scrap they can find. This week, the teams had to build paddle boats, I found it fascinating – I think it might be the same part of me that loves going to charity shops, fetes and car boot sales. One of the teams built the base of their boat from an industrial boiler, the other got their engine from a big van. I thought it was so cool how they were able to recycle old abandoned parts into new working machines – like mechanical reincarnation. Loved it.

Then it was onto the Royal Variety Performance. I know some people might find this annual show for the Queen quite tacky, but you're talking to someone who loves watching Eurovision Song Contest (and will mourn when Terry Wogan stops presenting it for whatever reason). I don't know why I like watching both, but I do. On the Royal Var Perf, my highlight of the night was when Joan Rivers said f*ck infront of the Queen. Great! That should pull the wax out of old queeny's ears. Thank you, Joan! I love ya!

Do you know – I tend to get confused b/w Boyzone and Westlife? Anyway, one of the aforementioned boybands recently came out with a single called 'Home' – yet another cover – I don't know why they can't come up with their own original songs. Anyway, just to say the original by Michael Buble is a gazillion times better – I'm sorry Boyzone, WestLife, WestZone or whatever your name is, you've destroyed a good song, WHY?, WHY?, WHY?

Have a good week, y'all - may it be soaked in a bubble bath of your choice...

E to the B to the E to the L to the E.

A Saturday Well Spent...

Imagine. 100's of women marching from Trafalgar Square thru Tottenham Court Rd to University College London chanting 'Whatever we wear, wherever we go – yes means yes and no means no'.

Yep! I went to a women's march last Saturday called Reclaim the Night. Marching against male violence & rape. I found it quite empowering to just be amongst so many women - there must have been at least 700 of us.

I was disappointed at the lack of black women there though - when we congregated at Trafalgar Sq just before the march, I made a point of walking around counting the amount of black women there - there were 15 on my count. But then there is some history behind that which I'm not completely versed about (but I won't go into it in this post). But I did think that for an issue that is unfortunately far reaching, affecting so many women - black, white or green - that there would have been more black women there.

Couple of things that stuck in my mind:

- bystanders taking pictures of the march; some of them, women - and wishing they'd join in

- an elderly woman placing a banner in front of an adult sex shop and the owner calling the woman a rude word and promptly kicking the banner away.

- Stringfellows (a nude-dancing club) was en route - some of us chose to sit/crouch down in front of the building for some time and demonstrate.

- a woman at a bus stop giving us the dirtiest look I've ever seen in a long time - a prolonged spiteful look

- chanting/singing til my voice kinda said 'time out, hun'.

I saw a couple of women I know that I hadn't seen in ages - a teacher from a lovely girls' school I had a residency at (I still miss that school), the lovely women from The Woman's Trust, and even a fellow poet, Jay.

After the march, we gathered in the student hall of the university. I wish the speakers on the panel had more time to speak and the audience were given a chance to ask questions. I didn't necessarily agree with everything the speakers had to say, but I did see that essentially everyone's hearts and thoughts were roughly in the same place. It was also great to see a couple of men coming out to support as they are part of the solution.

I left before the after-party, picked up leaflets on FGM, signed a couple of petitions, added my names to mailing lists on my way out - went home preoccupied, pensive but thankful to be safe, a roof over my head, healthy, loved and supported.

(p.s: Transport for London were giving out free safety alarms – I picked up 5 for the women in my life. If you'd like one (or more) sent to you, pls get in touch with Darren Crowson at

Peace... in whatever colour you imagine it to be...

Wow - Your Mobile Phone is More Important Than Your Life?

Today, I saw a woman crossing the road - a main road. She was on her mobile. She didn't even look up to see if a car was coming.

A car almost knocked her over, but she was so engrossed in her phone conversation, she was oblivious to what almost happened. She just kept on talking.


Go Figure...

London doesn't disappoint - it's about 6 degrees out there. Very windy. Cold. Wet.

And then I hear music from an ice-cream van.

I'm like: are you for real?, you really think a mum's gonna press some change in her child's hand to go buy your ice cream in that kinda weather?


Black History: So Much Things to Say...

I ran a workshop over 'Black History Month' with a group of women - I'd been invited by Inspired Word, a women's collective.

I guess some people assume that you go in as a workshop leader to inspire a group, but in all truth, it really is the other way round for me - I have gained strength, insight and inspiration from many groups. There's a particular workshop experience I will share in a later post about a girl whose wisdom & insight has never quite left me.

I have to say that it felt great to be amongst women - strong women. I've always loved creating/talking/being with/amongst women. We all wrote pieces inspired by Lauryn Hill's version of Bob Marley's song So Much Things To Say. We also talked about the personal significance of the whole commemoration of the passing of the abolition of the slave trade act. It meant different things to each woman. One felt that it was an opportunity for her to really acknowledge the pain her ancestors went through but to also acknowledge their strength, while another felt the commemoration was a sham. I, on the other hand, felt a mixture of anger and boredom at the whole thing - instead of the usual month, in 2007 we have a whole year in which we are reminded we were slaves. It's never really sat well with me.

I took the opportunity to roll us back - to take the focus away from slavery and to write about a time before that. We were never slaves even when we were deemed as such. A rose by any other name...

When they wrote, such truth came out. Such truth about who these women were, are, have always been.

If any of this speaks to you, I'd urge you to try this exercise yourself: imagine who you were before slavery. Write about it. Or paint it. Sing it. Or dance it. Smile over it. Build a shrine over it. And think about what is stopping you from being that person in the here and now. What part of who you were back then can you transfer, transform and embed into who you are now.

When I did the exercise, I wrote this:

I stood solid          big mampy feet       unshaved armpits
looking out over....

      farm   sunset

play      children   sisters

green / connected to the earth

   men & women ruled together   (actually, they didn't rule, they presided)

short orange dusty hair

a runner.

                   South African.
We lived
not survived.

                   Cheeky smile

We Are the Children of Those Who Chose to Survive...

The above title is a quote by Nana Pouissant in Daughters of the Dust. Though I'm yet to read this book, Nana's quote is mentioned in a book I own called Acts of Faith (Daily Meditations for People of Color) by Iyanla Vanzant.

We are the children of those who chose to survive...

I haven't read Acts of Faith in ages, but today I picked it up on my way to work - it had been whispering my name for a couple of days. I've never really read it from back to back - I tend to just randomly open a page and read - somehow I feel that whatever page I choose is the one I'm meant to read.

Well, today I flipped open a page - and I felt it was so relevant to my previous post about 'Black History Month' particularly where I wrote:

... and if you're gonna teach a black student about slavery, why not also teach them how strong & stubborn their ancestors were to have survived it, to have held doggedly to language and customs and rituals - and that that strong defiant gene exists in them, the student.

I thought I'd share that page with you. Because it resonates. Because it (re)confirms. Iyanla writes:

If you have ever doubted your ability to survive, look at who you came from. Don't limit yourself to parents and grandparents, go all the way back to the root. In your family line is the genius of those who were born into a barren land and built the pyramids. In the oasis of your mind is the consciousness of those who charted the stars, kept time by the sun and planted by the moon. In the center of your being is the strength of those who planted the crops, toiled in the fields and banqueted on what others discarded. In the light of your heart is the love of those who bore the children who were sold away only to one day hang from a tree. In the cells of your bloodstream is the memory of those who weathered the voyage, stood on the blocks, found their way through the forest and took their case to the Supreme Court. With all of that going for you, what are you worrying about?

My History, (Not) My Month...

Ask a lot of UK-based working black artists - 'Black History Month' is when they earn a significantly bigger chunk of money than most other months. I'm no exception. And I'm grateful for the opportunity.

However, as each 'Black History Month' has come and gone, I've grown increasingly dis-satisfied with the whole event. I don't think there should be a Black History Month at all because I beleive it should be spread out throughout the year. I've worked in schools - and as much as I appreciate their initiative to have a yearly BHM event at all (and some are really good events, doing the best they can with the budget they have), sometimes it all seems very 'tick the boxes so we can be seen to have done something for BHM' to me. Superficial.

There are a lot of students who don't see their faces reflected in their history textbooks and when they do, it's invariably about how their ancestors were slaves (and if you're gonna teach a black student about slavery, why not also teach them how strong & stubborn their ancestors were to have survived it, to have held doggedly to language and customs and rituals - and that that strong defiant gene exists in them, the student).

I don't think it's enough to bring a black artist in for one day in October. I also think it's quite ironic and unfortunate that some artists encounter ignorance, stereotypes & racist undertones (subtle or otherwise) in the very schools & organisations that have invited them to their BHM event in the first place. It's happened to me a few times and that's a few times too many.

I commend all schools and organisations that recognise that black history (any history for that matter) is much more than a month, than slavery, and do their best to address it on a deeper level.

When One Door Closes...

I'm not the richest of people in monetary terms, so when someone cancels a paying gig on my arse, my skeletal wallet feels the pinch on a profoundly deep level. (All artists/freelancers/self-employed angels out there know what I'm talking about)

Which is what an organiser did this week. Cancelled a performance gig on me.

The thing is though, I wasn't upset or disappointed about it - not one bit - I genuinely wished him and the event a big success and got on with whatever I was doing at the time.

A knowing...

I knew something else would come along - I'm usually not that clear about things. But I knew.

And today, Friday...

I get a call to run a day of workshops in a girls' school. I'm really into empowerment (particularly with women) and using Creativity to enable that. So this is right up my street!

So I'm happy.

Lesson Learnt...

Maybe I should learn to go with my own intuition a bit more, though it's hard to do that when you're financially challenged. To tell the truth, I was never a 100% keen on doing the performance gig - and I wasn't totally sure why - foresight, maybe? - but I went ahead and agreed to do it - that'll teach me to go against the grain of my own sway.

The thing is:

a) how do you differentiate between intuition and fear?

b) you'll only ever know if your instincts were right after the fact (on hindsight), not before, so how do you learn to trust it?


You've Gotta Luv 'Um...

Me: What did you just call her?

Him: I call her bitch all the time.

Me: Not in front of me, you don't.

Him: Sorry, Miss.

(an exchange I had with a student today)

Eye Yoga: What I Saw Today…

1. a black couple walking with their cute little girl. The mum was helping her walk across a little wall and when she reached the end, the dad carried her on his back.

2. another couple - white - getting on the bus at Bow with their little daughter who looked about 4. The girl flying into a panic when one of her little shoes drops on the pavement as she gets on. And the dad shouting 'Hold on, driver!' while mum, dad and daughter get off the bus to look for the shoe. They find it, then get back on.

3. Me, looking at the girl, and thinking 'aaah, I'd like to have a little girl'. At the same time, a funeral car drives past in the opposite direction.

4. a woman wearing a fluorescent-pink hijab. I'd never seen that kinda pink before. It was so vibrant, so beautiful. She looked beauty-full in it.

5. A white woman sitting next to me on the bus and me thinking: how many people fought for this?

6. a little girl in her pink pram, looking in her pink bag.

7. a little Asian boy, holding his mummy's hand, looked at me as he walked past. Beautiful little boy. (I wanted to tell him he was amazing.)

8. a black man in a white singlet casually standing outside his front door.

9. a white woman – a teacher – in a hijab. A black hijab. It lit up her face.

10. a group of black students talking about High School Musical and Africa and sand and plantain and green banana and jollof rice, and the librarian telling them to shush every 5 minutes.

And today, for the first time in a long time, I loved London inspite of its contradictions and addictions, inspite of its blooming crime rates, its diss-connected government and disillusioned scape-goated youth.

Her Own Truth...

When I look in the mirror,
I see a goddess,
with mangoes for earrings,
and armpits
shaped into    the map of Nigeria,
Fela Kuti   pulling & swaying her hips
to her own truth.

Her truth ain't produced by
mechanical smiles on TV who blah-blah about
wrinkles & shaving creams & grey hair

Her truth sits knee-deep
in the knowledge
that she was born   already enough.

© ebele - 2007

Britain's Next Top Model...

What I watched yesterday:

1) a woman who's CLEARLY had plastic surgery done on her face

2) a man who CLEARLY looks like he likes his doughnuts

3) a man who CLEARLY looks like he could do with a doughnut or two

4) a woman who, well, looks kinda average to me. (And I don't care if she's been out with George Clooney).

These are your judges for Britain's Next Top Model, people.


5) 4 semi-finalists, 3 of which could REALLY do with some feeding and some sleeping to clear up their skin. If you don't look good WITHOUT makeup, then what's the point? Makeup, if you're gonna use it, should compliment you, not hide you.

I was quite embarassed by the whole show. Judging a bunch of young women whose self-confidence isn't solid is cruel - that's not what they need - these women are at an age where they're still trying to figure out who they are. Hell, I'm still trying to figure out the sum of my whole parts and I'm in my 30's.

The Visitor(s)...

paid me a visit last night
no: bling
      gold teeth
      designer gear
just hip hop - a man
and a woman
at the foot of my bed
holding hands
naked as the day they were born
Adam & Eve

merged as one.

© ebele

Lullaby for a Lost Griot...

i do voodoo, so
dope beats cannot protect u
i'm comin for u

'cos your legacy breeds
boys with super-size hard-ons
unripe wombs with thongs

Now, when did it go from
'yo' momma is sooo fat'   to
'yo' momma is sooo slack'?

do you go down on your mother
with a tongue like that?

When did it go from
'she's 21'   to
'uh, but she looked 21'?

Sleep with one eye closed tonight, my friend
'cos I guarantee you
tomorrow, the future won't look so bright
with one eye missing

Now if you can boast openly
about what you wanna do to me
b/w the sheets,
then I can boast openly
about what I wanna do to your balls
(...but that's a whole different poem;
think I'll call it 'And Then There Was One')

It's not your fault, you say
it's the lingo, innit, we use it everyday,
well lingo this:
i do voodoo, so
dope beats cannot protect u,
got my cowrie beads in my left hand
the tail of a dead cow in my right
All I need is a picture of you
to make it complete
That shouldn't be so hard
I can grab one off my 8 year old niece

You better run
'cos with devil's chalk etched 'round my eyes
and gin in my mouth, I spit on you
Now quick, quick,
detach yourself from your latest 'bitch',
pull your trousers up
and run
Now who's the bitch now?, BITCH!?

Let me tell you this...

griot. misguided.
you are 50 times better
than you think you are

drink green tea. It will cleanse your tongue.
suspend ego. unmask truth.
it might seem like a long hard slog, my king
but I believe you can still create music organically...
    You are talented
    for I was there when She blessed you
    when We blessed you...

See?   I knew you wouldn't listen
blocked up by all the bling
the women
the millions

I.AM.SO.TIRED of loving you
defending you
being hurt by you

boys with super-size hard-ons?
unripe wombs with thongs? know I can't allow that

so, you are no longer my king
(oh, I'll mourn you for a while,
but I'll get over you)

a mouthful of gin, I spit on you

for you are a wolf in sheep's clothing

You are not Hip-Hop.

i do voodoo

i do voodoo

i do voodoo, so
dope beats cannot protect u
i'm comin for u...

© ebele ajogbe

I'm Not a Hip-Hop Head but...

(The blog I read couple nights ago - seems to have done something to me - brought up stuff - thrown more logs on the fire in my belly.   I wrote this piece some time ago - was an email convo I had with a friend - which I then expanded. So here it is.)

NOW, I'M NOT A HIP-HOP HEAD... I can very well imagine that one day someone will probably challenge me and say that I know nothing about hip-hop (implying that I have no right to challenge it). What I do know is that I'm not into lyrics that degrade women – it just so happened my subject of choice is hip-hop – it's as good a place to start as any, methinks.

I'm not prepared to watch certain artists give what is a great artform a bad name, riffing off with the mentality that 'that's just the way it is'. Now I might not know a whole heap about hip-hop but that's not what I imagine encouraged its initial growth – I think the growth of it might have started out of desperation, out of a need to say "Hello World, I have a voice", out of a need to say "if no-one's gonna tell me I'm beauty-full, if no-one's gonna give me the time of day because of the colour of my skin, if I'm gonna be shoved off to the ghetto and left to rot, if the money I spend does not enrich my community, but continues to suck the life out of it, then, hell, I'm gonna tell myself I'm beauty-full even if I have to exaggerate the hell out if it, this is my Capoiera, this is my gum-boot dance, this is my Oriki".

I draw the line when what you say presents a warped view of women (and romanticises gangster'ism and the ghetto), when you know and I know that you have a whole heap of talent and yet you choose to denigrate, when you know and I know that a lot of the people buying your music are young people and you wouldn't be where you are today had it not been for them – what?, a teenage girl scrapes pennies together to buy your latest CD to listen to you call her a bitch and a ho? - a boy buys your latest CD to listen to how you smacked your bitch up, fucked her from behind, bought her ass (out) with Gucci & Krystal?  If this wasn't so serious, it'd be childish and boring.

(Parental Advisory stickers on CD covers – erm, what's that?)

So, my cute 7yr old nephew comes up to me the other day and says "auntie, look how girls dance!", and he starts wining up in front of me – I'm like 'what?' – my soul sank to the bottom of my feet. I thought: hmm, do I hit him now or later when his parents ain’t around? (Or do I practice my karate skills on his folks instead?)

I argue with myself in my head and sometimes I think "but what some of these 'rappers' are rapping about is their reality, it's their way of expressing themselves, of venting - it's what they know". Then the other side of me thinks, "BULLLLLSHIT – no-one's that one-dimensional – and if what they're rapping about is harming just about everyone involved, including themselves, then what's the point? Really."

(You can take the man out of the ghetto but you can't take the ghetto out of the man – that's bullshit too. I don't know why. But it is.)

So, as far as I'm concerned, what some of these artists do is not hip-hop in my eyes. A wolf in sheep's clothing is still a wolf...even if it becomes a vegetarian!

(p.s., is Lil Kim fuelling or quenching the rampant level of misogyny in the industry?)

(p.s.: If you find yourself getting defensive over my take on things (though I don't see why 'cos I'm sure you've heard it all before), and you feel like 'labelling' me a 'feminist' in the same way women were branded 'witches' back in the day, then please form an orderly queue behind 50 Cent, R Kelly and the rest of the gold-teethed bo-zoes that Africa's slowly becoming too ashamed to call one of her own.

Should your defensiveness upgrade to aggression, please convert said emotion into monetary energy which you may donate to a charity of your choice – lord knows there are plenty of women's centres, youth centres, children's homes, empowerment projects and support phone lines that could really do with the money.

The Aggression to Monetary conversion rate depends on the amount of r's in your Grrrrrrrrr. Each 'r' converts to a pound or a dollar. So, for example:

GRRR = £3




pps: ahem, you might be thinking "she's all talk and no action - what is she doing about it?" And that would be a good question. An even better question if it came from someone who was actually doing something about it. )

(ppps: do you know how many souls hip-hop has saved? Honour the religion or STEP THE FUCK OFF IT. )

Sexism, Misogny - the Great Sex Divide...

I was reading this blog last night.

And it made me think of my experience in the world of women & misogyny & claiming our tongues.

Some men don't realise when they're being sexist - everything about a woman is for their sexual pleasure - you can be a lesbian as long as they can watch, you can masturbate as long as they can watch. When you choose to pleasure yourself for yourself, it becomes a problem 'cos they're not part of the equation.

I performed at this event once - where most of the people were into hip-hop - the woman that came on before me had a short skirt on - whining up her waist and stuff - the crowd was cheering - really getting into her & the music.

Then I came on with a long jeans skirt & a t-shirt saying 'Phenomenal-Woman', asking the ladies to say they love their vaginas. You could have heard a pin drop. I moved on and did my poem.

When a woman claims her sexuality for herself, when she uses it to honour herself, it doesn't wash with a crowd that's used to seeing women objectified.

It really hit me hard - I went into the toilet and cried my eyes out - so much for a Phenomenal Woman.

Took me a while to get my groove back. The energy in there made me feel like I'd said something wrong, like I was dirty.

A couple of months later, I was performing at this other event and another performer approached me – turns out he was at the other event I did – he was a Christian - and he challenged me about using the word 'Vagina', then asked me what religion my parents were.   So.   Apparently. It's ok for a woman to whine up in front of you, but it's not ok for me to say the word 'Vagina'?   OK.

The woman that writes this blog has had enough – she's about to shut it down. She's worn herself out – which is what happens when you give energy out and less comes back. I know the feeling.

Go read her blog – you might not agree with everything she's got to say or with her approach, but if you love it, like it (or just like parts of it) and you can see yourself going back every now & then, please send her an email to let her know.

Have a nice weekend, y'all... men & women...


Dear Reader...I have nipple hair...

Two to be precise - just above my right nipple.

Potential health hazard if you ask me - imagine if you will:

Scenario 1: I have a baby. My baby chokes on my nipple hair while I'm breastfeeding him/her. I'll never be able to forgive myself (neither would my baby - poor kid could be traumatised for life).

Scenario 2: I shave my nipple hair - baby's lips get seriously bruised by the stubble.


Maybe I'm special.

Is it a bird?, is it a plane? - no, it's The Woman with the Bearded Nipple.


(Isn't it bad enough that I'm so beautiful? Why God, Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.)


On a serious note, I'm ok with it. I've had it for so long that I am now at one with it. Sometimes I shave it off. Sometimes I don't. Sometimes I bunch it up in a ponytail. Or a side parting.

I find it all freakingly interesting though - my nipple hair - same way I was amazed at the intricate way my stretchmarks grew on my body - like creeping plants.

My book 'How to Love Your Titty Hair' is available on Amazon and all good bookstores, including barber shops... except my local barber's - he's a perv.

HairSpray!, HairSpray! - Go watch HairSpray!

OK, the new HairSpray film might not be everyone's cup of tea - why should it? - but I LOVED IT! It made me feel good to be voluptuous - I do a lot of the time, but it was just great to see a film that celebrated that - I'm tired of the production-line of beautiful fit dumb 'teenagers' running scared, then being bludgeoned to death in some shape or form.

HairSpray was refreshing, funny, and fun to watch. Some bits were REALLY tacky but I think that was intentional - 'cos it's set in the 1960's. I found the very well-fed lead actress cute & energetic & agile as hell. It took me a bit of getting used to seeing John Travolta play her voluptuous-looking big momma 'cos (s)he looked kinda WEIRD. But, the thing is, after a while, the character he was playing started to grow on me and it really didn't matter as the film went along - maybe it's something a great actor is able to do, I suppose - make you forget the actor & appreciate the character.

You know, if I could afford it, I'd take every teenager that's insecure about their weight to go see it - boy or girl. 'Cos if I can come out whooping & cheering, then surely it can't do them any harm. I was even high-pitching to some of their songs!

Loved it, loved it, loved it. Would go and see it again.

(p.s.: Queen Latifah represented! Definitely held her own, in my view. Well done, woman.)

Momma, I've Just Been Kissed by a Woman!!!

...and a very nice bubbalicious MWAAAAAAAAH it was too :-)

And who oh who descended on me with a nice big wet joowsey smackeroony?

Well, none other than Bloggrrl herself!

and it was guuuuuuuuuuuuuud.

She likes my blog, Momma! She likes my blog!


Momma, Am a Rocking Girl Blogger!!!!!

Sundays are my new Fridays, I tell ya! First I read a lovely blog which really resonated with me, then I have me some sweet bread with soya butter (yum!), AND THEN I find out I've been honoured by a sista called Vanessa Byers with an award - not just ANY award, no, but a ROCKING GIRL BLOGGER AWARD - Oscars are sooooo yesterday. (I've never met Vanessa, but you know when sometimes you just 'feel' people?)

There's an Igbo saying: "Aka ekpe kwo aka nni, aka nni akwo aka ekpe" meaning "The left hand washes the right hand, the right hand washes the left" - so I'm gonna pay it forward & extend the honour to 5 other women whose blogs I admire the bras off of.

[the words in brackets are Igbo - 'ofu' means 1, 'ibuo' means 2 and so on...]

ofu) it goes without saying: Ms Straight No Chaser Vanessa Byers!

ibuo) Kristina Wong: Creative. Loopy. Sensitive.

ito) Kirsten Anderberg: Fearless Tongue.

ino) Kumiko: Not afraid to stand on her own.

ise) Bloggrrl: Funny. Sarcastic. Well written. Creative. Non-prescriptive.

isii) I know she said she shouldn't be added to the list, and I know I'm only allowed to recommend 5 women, but this woman initiated the whole Rocking Girl Blogger Award thingymejig, so she's gonna get one - she has no choice, yes, it's you Roberta Ferguson!

Pass the love-loaded appreciation on - if there are any female bloggers out there whose blogs you love reading, why not show it by giving them a Rocking Girl Blogger award? Let's get the mangoes rolling, people :-)

Here's a stretchmark I made earlier!!

i luv my stretchmarks /
nature has made her tattoos /
what a work of art.

My stretchmarks are x-mark-the-spots - marking exactly where you should kiss me.


It ain't a myth - it's a fact. Not a request - it's an order - Sir - ordained - by she-angels with cherried tongues - who are watching you if you make the wrong move - on my oh-so-deliberately-gratuitously-plumpified body.

So. Be careful how you kiss me, Sugar.
Or where the hell you kiss me, Sugar.
Or else I won't even call you Sugar.
I'll just call you Salt instead.     Sugar.

Now... you have 3 chances to get it right - I'm feeling particularly generous tonight - don't know - must be the full moon with her belly hung so low I can touch her.

So here's what?, I'll give you 5 goes instead of 3 - and you know what?, ya don't even have to thank me, see?

But 5 times wrong and I'm sorry - I'll have to turn you into a piece of cheese, a mogwai ...or Donald Trump.

Take your pick.

But don't worry, if you get it wrong, I'll tell your momma you wen' on a NASA expedition or something. (I'm thoughtful like that. She's very old, I know).

So, best gets to working, Mr - get it right - and you won't smell the faint scent of cherries - or hear angels giggling in the corner of the room.

And if ya really lucky, Mr.
If you're reeeeeeallly reeeeeeallly lucky, Mr
I might just marry you twice, Mr.
I might just marry you. Twice.

And carry you over the threshold my own damn self. Picket fence, DIY tools from B & Q, wide-screen Sony TV, the whole works for you, baby. You - barefoot and pregnant with Nigerian Guiness; Me - bringing home the bacon & jollof rice.

And we'll have our very own pole in the very middle of our very own room ...

and you'll sing for me and I'll dance for you...

and I'll clap for you and you'll strip for me...

and I'll sing, My Mr, I'll sing for you:

i luv my stretchmarks /
nature has made her tattoos /
what a work of art.

I said I'll sing for you Mr, I'll sing for you
Oh Lordy, lordy - I'll sing for you:

i. luv. my. stretch.marks.

then you'll look at me
you'll look at my body
look up to the sky
and mouth: thank you, Jesus

you'll look at me
lights off - moon bright
every kiss - on every mark:
a validation.

I cried when I read this...

...there are just no words.

I shall call her by her real name - Saartjie Baartman.


plastic is tragic
[what happened when I went to the butchers...]

I said I don't want a plastic bag, woman! What's wrong with you?

Yeah yeah I'd love me some chicken wings, but please please don't wrap it up like it's some EGYPTIAN MUMMY.

I mean, first you wrap it up with polythene & polystyrene so it won't fly away - (does it look pretty in polystyrene, er, no). And then upon my purchase, you put the polythene-&-polystyrene-wrapped chicken wings in a baby plastic bag – is that cute, no.

AND THEN finally, to finish off your masterpiece (because by now you've got a whole circle of customers marvelling at the ignorant genius that is you), you put the polythene-&-polystyrene-wrapped, baby-plastic-bagged chicken wings in ANOTHER plastic bag – no, this ain't a collection of Russian dolls, darling - you do not need to wrap & wrap & wrap it up like we're playing musical chairs. (Oh dear, you'd think the way you’re wrapping it up, it was poisoned. Hmmmm.)

And so I say to her, 'no plastic bag, please'.

And she says to me, 'if the wings aren’t in the 2nd plastic bag, yeah, security will think you nicked it.'

I'm like 'what planet is this woman on? (obviously not the one I'm doing my bit to save)'

And so I say, more firmly this time 'No, I don't want a plastic bag'.

(I mean, you'd think that PAYING FOR IT and HAVING THE RECEIPT would be enough.)

This is about to turn into a battle of wills – I reach into my bag for my SuperWoman outfit and my watch which sends people back in time to give them a chance to redeem themselves. I also reach into my bag for some water to parch my throat to prepare my voice to give her a good telling-to 'cos oh boy she ain't seen nothing yet - I am my mother's daughter, oh yes, siree, Nigerian through and through, I'm rolling up my SuperWoman sleeves now, I’m rolling them up - someone stop me 'cos I'm about ta, I'm about ta...

Oh wait. If I am my mother's daughter (for which I am), all I have to do is give her 'The Look' like my mother does.

And so I give her 'The Look', yeah, and say "Step away from the plastic bag".

The Look's got her all hypnotised. She steps away, eyes wide, lips trembling.

I, in my SuperWoman outfit, say: "Now repeat after me: Plastic is Tragic".

"Plastic is Tragic".

"I can't hear you".

"Plastic is Tragic".


"Plastic is Tragic".


"Plastic is Tragic".

"Now... if I EVER see you triple-wrapping my chicken or anybody's chicken for that matter, you, my dear, will spend the rest of your life... on a landfill site. GOT IT?"

She nods desperately.

And I. Fly out. Triumphant.

Mangoes, Bats & Keyboards...

I had a mango an hour ago. Swallowed the sun a half hour ago. Preached to bats 5mins ago. Smashed up & threw my keyboard to the dogs - chose to blink straight to the screen instead.

'Cos keyboards are for lazy people who don't trust their fingers. I trust mine.

My long ET-like fingers have touched God and known that (S)He is real, stroked a multitude of birds into flight, beckoned & held spirit-children 'til they stopped fearing life, stopped fists, redirected locust, comforted a crying man, pleasured a woman, muffled the sounds of bush-babies who were intent on robbing the souls of our children, mixed chalk for the witch-doctor, fetched water for the clouds, fixed the broken wings of angels, turned the smiling face of a neighbour to another.

Yes. My fingers are long - for a reason.

[to be continued. maybe.]

Going Solo...

I did a part of my solo show last night. It was intense and emotional. For one of the pieces, I was playing a character called Mahri. She's being bullied in school for being 'ginger' and 'fat'. Somewhere in the piece, I leave it open and let her do her thing - yesterday, she went into the audience asking them if she was fat, and when they said no, she called them 'LIAR'. Then she called everyone LIARS, called herself Ugly, Fat; lifted her t-shirt so the audience could see just how fat she was, then went back on stage and pigged out on food, while saying through her stuffed mouth that she was Ugly and that she hated the audience. 'I'm ugly, I'm ugly' she kept on saying. And then it all ended with a deep cry, almost like a howl, and she just crouched over the table in a dishevelled heap.

I'd never tried that part of the script before, so when I finished presenting my work and came off the stage, I was a bit of a wreck. The crying continued in the toilet, but this time, it was me Ebele crying for Mahri.

So, yes, that's how last night went.

I'd like to get hold of every bully out there and tell them to stop, to deal with their own shit.

After the performance, a woman came up to me and told me I was beauty-full and that I shouldn't do what I did again - that it ain't right - that it made her cry - that I really REALLY shouldn't do it to myself again. She also said that her partner had to leave because it upset her.

But, I'm like, this is life. This is the reality of being human. This is a facet of someone's life. This is their reality. Life is beauty-full and ugly and funny and exquisite and unfair and complete, and I just showed one facet of that.

It's great to take an audience on a journey whether it's through being funny or surreal or downright goofy (and that's in the show too), but we all have the ability to face the music and step outside our comfort zones. Yesterday, Mahri chose not to go on that journey on her own.

I'm proud of myself for:

a) actually remembering most of my lines!
b) going with the flow (some of the bits I did yesterday were improvised).
c) for giving Mahri a voice

I guess with more experience, I'll learn to deal better with what could be unleashed on stage, but yesterday, it was a lot for me to take in. I knew where the performance could go and I was willing to let it go there, holding back wasn't an option - but the extent it got to did take me aback – I felt like an observer – 'cos after a while, I became Mahri and I could feel what she was feeling – ugly, dishevelled, hideous, angry, extremely emotional – the way she cried, I can still hear it, so much pain. And when she raged at the audience 'I hate you', what she was really saying is that she hated herself.

Mahri is a beautiful, intelligent, funny young girl - in pain. The bullies don't need to bully her anymore. She's internalised their ruthless tongues. She bullies herself now.

Her mum will never know. She will stay an intelligent funny little girl for mummy.

The food helps.

Yesterday, it would have been nice to have a shoulder to come home to - partner, friend, sibling - 'cos I still felt quite tender and the flat felt too silent. Instead, I was washing the f**king Glastonbury mud off my f**king suitcase! Ah well...



these boots were made for walking!
I'm off to Glastonbury tomorrow. Last time I went to the festival was back in 2004. I remember when I was asked to perform there, I really didn't wanna go, I really didn't – the rain, the mud, the huge crowds, sleeping in a tent, smelly toilets, why the hell would I wanna put myself through that? I love the comfort of my own bed and a clean bathroom, thank you very much. Do I wanna wake up and find a worm staring straight at me? NO. And do I wanna manoeuver myself into the smallest toilet ever known to man? HELL NO.

But...I ended up going, 'cos I figured... there was a reason I was being asked to be a part of it. AND IT WAS GREAT!!! I made friends, learnt to live with the smell of pee & shit drifting from the nearby toilets, exercised my muscles thoroughly from trying not to slip in the mud and generally had me a blast! Thousands of people and the energy was great, peaceful, free and laidback. I remember back then I was thinking of quitting my job – just leaving the corporate world behind and going after my dreams – and the energy at Glastonbury made me feel that anything was possible. So when I got up on the mike, I told the audience that I was gonna quit my job and they all clapped. I quit my job that September.

So, in a way, going back to Glastonbury 3 years later is my way of saying thank you. I owe Her a lot. There are people I met there that I'm still really good friends with. And some of them are performing there this year too! So it's gonna be lovely chilling with them. And you know, thru Glast., I've gotten further gigs, been part of projects & groups, some of which I'm still a part of – these have been invaluable in sustaining me as an artist, both creatively and financially.

So bring on the mud!, Glastonbury, I am ready for you! Now I might not see a proper toilet for 4 days, but I, dear reader, have mastered the art of holding my breathe for 10 seconds at a time - besides, after a while, the combined smell of shit and methane-loaded piss can be quite therapeutic. And what if I'll only get to take a shower, like, once throughout my whole time there – baby wipes are the new showers, I say! (ps: thank god, I won't be on my period. That would be the worst thing.)

Anyway, I need to go pack.


What I've learnt today...

...that when I confront things, they're almost not as bad/challenging/scary as I think they're gonna be. This is something I should have known in over 3 decades of laying on Earth's belly, but it's never too late to learn, I say.

I'm working on my solo show - it's a good show, but I've been dreading the memorisation part, so much that I'd been putting it off for weeks. Yesterday, along with the busy time schedule I know I have ahead of me over the next 3 weeks or so, I knew I just had to take my finger out of my curvaceous behind and face the music. And, the thing is, the music didn't sound that bad.

So, I managed to memorise a piece yesterday - it's not 100% perfected but I'd say I'm 97% there - the other 3% is just going over it again and again, but it's in my head, and that's good.

And now I'm onto my 2nd piece & I'm getting into the groove of it and it's not half as bad as I thought it was gonna be.

I also learnt that I'm better at memorising paragraphs than I am at memorising lists (which is crazy 'cos lists should be easier), but go figure, that's how my brain apparantly seems to be working.

In the script for the solo, there's a 'character' that's suddenly made herself known in one of the pieces, she has an American accent, she's very condescending, talks real slow as if everyone's stupid - she doesn't seem to see she has her own flaws.

She's always sitting down - doesn't move around much - most of her expression is in her voice, the tone of it - and in her face.

She's kinda scary but funny. Though she doesn't like to be regarded as 'funny' 'cos she's hell bent on being a serious, law-abiding individual.

I can hear her accent in my head, her mannerisms, facial expressions, how she pauses between her words, everything - and I just hope I can do her justice and portray her as clearly as I see and hear her.

Pixie Philosophy...

So I was thinking, erm...

...if you sprayed shit with perfume, will the flies still come? - are flies selective like that? - hmm? - or does it depend on the type of perfume you spray on it?

...and what about mosquitoes? - are they somewhat bourgeois too? - will they bite you on your arm, but not on your bum-crack?

Come to think of it - all those women that want their lips plumped up surgically, can't mosquitoes be used instead? Or bees? A sting here, a sting there and voila, you're all plumped up, m'lady! Much cheaper, me thinks. Using Mother Nature to her full potential. Then you can use the rest of the money you would have used for plastic surgery to buy me thank-you mangoes. Hey!, I'm happy, you're happy, we're all happy. Happy, Happy, Happy.

So, ermmm...I was also wondering if the sky would fall if shaved eyebrows were left to grow? - letting them find their own pathline every once in a while. I was speaking to an eyebrow the other day and it was sobbing its little follicles out, saying: "Ebele, you know, sometimes I....I...I just need to know ...that I exist."

(Eyebrows are victims in all of this, you know, like a cute little dyed-pink chihuahua caught up in a vicious divorce battle.)

OK. Pixie Philosophy over. Until the next time, take care of yourself

... and ya eyebrows.

(p.s.: The above ain't empty questions, you know? I WANT ANSWERS. My soul won't rest 'til then. I mean don't you want my soul to be at peace - don't you? Don't you?   So if you know, don't keep it to yourself. Share. You have my most-sought-after permission to remain anonymous.)


If I had nothing
and everything
to say,
I'd choose


I'd spend the weekend
washing the noise
out of my hair,
drying it in nature's breath,
oiling it with self-meditation,
twisting it into corn-rows
of silence.

I'd want you to come
be with me.
Let discomfort
tighten its grip
round our necks
while we sit
in silence.

I'd want you to come
be with me
know me
understand me
love me
as we say nothing
and everything

in silence.


Recipe: Baninger Soya Smoothie...

Definition: 'BANINGER' = Banana + Ginger

I am going through a Banana & Ginger Soya Smoothie phase at the moment - well, it's more than a moment, it's more like a couple of months! It's a pretty basic recipe, only takes a couple of minutes - so I thought I'd share it with the world!

It's ok. You can thank me later.

Don't say I don't help y'all...


375/400ml of soya milk
3-4 bananas
a generous amount of fresh ginger
Smoothie maker

1) Pour the soya milk in the smoothie maker
2) Peel & break the bananas into pieces with your hands. Add to the soya milk.
3) Peel & cut up the ginger. Add that to the mix.
4) Blend until smooth


- add/subtract bananas according to how thick you want the smoothie. I like mine pretty thick so I tend to add 1 banana to every 100ml of soya milk.

- likewise, adjust ginger to taste.

- you might also wanna add some honey - it's your call.

- if you don't have a smoothie maker, I guess you could try it in a blender - I personally haven't tried it in a blender so I don't know how it'll turn out.

Happy blending!

Happy birthday to me...

It's my birthday tomorrow...and I'm in a very reflective mood - a bit melancholy too - and a deep lull - that lull is telling me that I'm not satisfied. What with? - oh, a number of things - it's just that birthdays tend to bring it to the fore for me (thank you, birthday).

I don't feel like celebrating - I'm not gonna pretend I do (it doesn't help that my period started today too - I don't get painful ones, but I do tend to feel everything a whole lot more when I'm on - if I'm happy, I'm extra happy, if I'm sad, I'm the epitome of it - if I feel like giving you a hug, I'll give you two - you get the gist.)

I don't feel like being around people for my birthday, neither do I wanna be on my own (go figure, it's the Gemini in me).

If you can imagine, I have a collage of pictures, cards and inspiring emails stuck on the wall behind my computer. I look up at them now & again. And as I'm typing this, about how I'm feeling, one of the sheets have come unstuck. It's a poem a woman wrote for me in one of the workshops I ran:

Enigmatic, is the knowing smile & charming look she gives
beauty personified, the perfect example of womanhood
embodiment of love, care & joy
love embracing in her words, gestures & reassurance
exciting to be around

Coincidence? Or divine intervention?

All of a sudden, I don't feel quite as bad. I still feel reflective (and I think this is good), but I don't feel quite so boo-hoo'ish.

You know what? - I was given a big dirty chocolate & cognac cake yesterday for my birthday - I was saving it for tomorrow - but you know what? - I'm opening it now!

Hold on...while I go get it.


IT.IS.GOOD. I know it ain't particularly good for me, but today, I AM GOOD FOR IT!!!

Anyone want a piece?

Actually, no, pretend I didn't just say that. THIS IS ALL MINE. MINE. MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE.

I was

Beautyfull, Brilliant, Bold, Bodacious, Bedazzlingly Brown, Billowing Brightness, Brimming with Bucket-loads.of.Phunk


Ever since I can remember, I've always had dreams about the end of the world - it's usually quite dramatic and feels so real that I'm usually quite shaken up when I wake up from it. (I read in an interview once - can't remember which one 'cos it was a while ago - that Missy Elliot has/had those kind of dreams), and I remember thinking: thank God, it ain't just me.

The first dream (or the first couple of dreams) I remember having was when I was around 8 or so:

There was an earthquake, and when the ground split open, I looked down and there were giant maggots in the earth's core. There was also a blood moon, a rainbow, and Jesus in the sky - Jesus was MASSIVE - have you watched Independence Day? - remember how big the alien ships were? - that's how big he was.

I included those dreams in a poem I wrote last year:

In her world,
Jesus appeared gigantically over the earth
with a blood-moon for a crown,
and the ground split its legs open
to reveal giant maggots
made out of McCain Oven Chips

I've been having a couple of dreams lately about the world (or parts of it) being submerged in water. I've had them before and two of them came true which I find scary. I usually don't remember or understand the dream until it happens for real.

In one of those dreams, a massive wave was coming towards me - I knew it was the end - I knew I was gonna die and I was f***ing terrified. There was this man in a cream cloak in front of me - I couldn't see his face, but I knew that if I held onto him with all my might, I'd die, but it wouldn't hurt as much - I'd be ok 'cos I'd be going wherever he was going - and where he was going was a good place. And so I held onto him like a pitbull terrier! Next thing I knew, I was standing in a small chapel. I can't remember if he was there too. I think he was. There were people sitting on benches with their backs to me.

And that was it.

Anyway, enough about my dreams. I really could go on.

I've just had a banana & ginger soya smoothie - yum!   Now what's for lunch?

In other news, my next door neighbour's been going absolutely mental with her music (and her friends) since the very early hours of the morning, going 'yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey' and 'oh yeah' every couple of minutes and singing VERY BADLY and telling the neighbour downstairs to 'Fuck Off' everytime he comes upstairs to complain that the music's too loud. Amazingly, he shuffles obediently back downstairs.

She's playing a Micheal Jackson oldie at the mo'.

Now she's playing Thriller...


If someone tells u you've put on weight...

my response
I drew this after growing tired of (certain) people telling me I've put on weight. For example, my cousin told me I'd put on weight.

He's bigger than me.

My reply to him was that he'd put on weight too.

And his reply was and I quote: "it's ok for men".

A friend of my mum's who hadn't seen me for a while got VERY vocal and dramatic about my weight. I was feeling particularly vunerable on that day so it was the last thing I wanted to hear from another woman.

I believe there's a way to say it, but definitely not as an Oscar-winning performance.

If I've put on weight, don't you think I know?

If I've put on weight, did it ever occur to you that I might just be ok with it?, that I don't think it's the end of the world?, that you seem to be more upset about it than I am?, that it might just say more about you than it says about me?

So...  where do I stand on my weight???

I am beautyFULL regardless of whether I put on, lose some or stay at the weight that I am now. Regardless of how I feel or how you feel about it.

I am beautyFULL by default.

And that's what I choose to focus on.

Coffee & Definitions...

I like the smell of coffee when I'm writing. For some reason, it makes me feel like more of 'a writer'. Peppermint tea doesn't quite cut it (though I do like that too).

I've never felt like a writer, though I've sometimes called myself that. And people have called me the same - 'a writer'. Sometimes it's easier to just say I'm a writer - some people have asked me what I'm into & when I've said 'poetry', they reply 'say that again?' or they say 'poultry' and I've had to repeat myself like 2 or 3 times. Ho hum...

Do you have to write everyday to be a writer? Do you have to feel like there's an intolerable itch you need to scratch if you don't write for days at a time? I don't write obsessively, not the way I used to - when I first got into poetry, I was like a nympho - poems scribbled on anything I could write on with anything I could write with. I've calmed down somewhat, almost like a couple who've emigrated to the Caribbean to retire, spending the rest of their days enjoying the simple life. But, I don't dream any less - I dream as feverishly and abundantly as I used to, just like I did before I got into poetry.

I feel 'the itch' if I don't dream everyday though, if I'm not creating things in my head. I have a handful of ideas a day, it's what sustains my spirit - sometimes it's secondary whether these ideas come to fruition or not - it's just the joy of it panning out in my brain - it really quickens my blood.

I'm willing to accept I'm a poet, but not a writer, though I do write. And it's not a confidence issue, you know, of me not feeling I live up to the title - I used to think that that was it, but it isn't. I'm not a poet because I 'write' poetry - I'm a poet inspite of it. I was dreaming in poetry way before that - I could have created music, dance, paintings, film out of my dream-thoughts, but, for now, I (mostly) cho(o)se to 'write' it - 'for now' being the operative word - 'cos 'now' ain't even a constant, not in my world anyway.

Maybe that's why my mind throws a hiccup when I'm called:

- a performance poet
- a performer
- a spoken-word artist
- a writer

and I'm sure I'd feel the same way if, upon exploring music, I'm called a musician or singer.

Two things I know - I'm a poet (in the widest sense possible), I'm Ebele (oh yeah, and I'm a woman). A poet who has chosen to write her poems for now. Next year, I might choose to paint my poems. Hell, year after that, I might dance 'um. Or do all three together. And I don't have to be brilliant at them either - just wanna do what my soul feels to do and not argue with it (did you know my soul has a six-pack?).

So, yeah, I'm a poet (she smiles - a smile so wide, so beauty-full, it distracts you from the spinach lodged b/w her teeth).

ebele (black pixie/ mango ho'/ heart as big as her backside....

( and that's a lot of heart ;-) )

A tradition lost...

my uli painting
I'm Igbo (Nigerian). I was doing some research on an old traditional art form practised by Igbo women called Uli which is (from what I understand) a symbol-based form of body painting & wall painting - symbols can range from nature & everyday village objects to dots & triangles. The idea is to 'go with the flow' and go where your chi (god) takes you - there are no mistakes, everything is as it should be - and so the artist cannot 'correct' her work (nor should she want to, for that matter).

In Igbo mythology, Uli is believed to have been passed down by the Igbo Goddess of Fertility & Creativity to her Chief Painter who then passed it on to women-folk. There are two (or maybe 3) things that upset me:

1) the form has since been adopted (& dominated) by men

2) however, it is a dying art form as it's not practised as widely as it used to

3) however, in its adoption, the traditional form has been adapted into a more contemporary expression (which is cool, but I think the practice should also be expressed/honoured in as close to its original form as possible).

4) there is an organisation (German-based) who specialise in saving old art traditions from extinction who have taken on the revival of Uli; however, they've split the artform into two calling the wall-painting 'Upa' & body-painting 'Uli'. I find this upsetting because although I appreciate their much-needed role in saving this artform, it feels like they've patented it by renaming a part of it.

In exploring my cultural heritage, I've unearthed a beautiful, spiritual art form, but with it comes a history of demise & exploitation that I had no control over - I felt proud to have descended from and to be part of a people with such an artistic legacy - some things about myself had been answered, but I also felt helpless, frustrated and angry that Uli art had been allowed to wither away.

And so I responded/coped by painting into the early hours of the morning.
I am not a painter. I didn't have the tools or the colours for Uli, but I painted with the same spirit.

The picture you see above is what I came up with.

My dad...

My dad turned 75 today...and I am so so proud of him for breathing this long, for sticking around, for being fit & healthy, for being a living testimony to the fact that at a quarter to midnight, the bar ain't closed yet!, the fat lady's still singing. I'm glad he's met his grand-children & great-grandchild and that his life hasn't been squeezed into a story I have to tell them because he’s no longer around. They can meet him, feel him for the man he is.

I'd also like to think the love of a good woman had something to do with it too! My mum & dad have been together for over 40 years. I watch them – he adores the woman! – would do anything for her – he's like a love-sick puppy – and my mum still plays hard to get at times like she ain't interested. They go through these cute phases together – one minute, they're obsessed with nothing but fried rice, next minute it’s fruit smoothies, a couple of months ago, it was a 'let's-stay-up-til-insane-hours-of-the-night-watching-Nigerian-films' phase. It's not always share-and-share-alike though (no, that would be a Hollywood film) – my mum LOVES these cereals called Jordans. He doesn't. My dad boils and drinks the juice from this really bitter leaf called Onugbu which he believes 'invigorates' him. My mum hates it. But I’m like, if she gets to benefit from this renewed sense of energy (if you get my drift), then it's all good! There was a time when they were both glowing and I KNOW she ain’t touched the stuff! More power to 'em!

He's a strong, funny, very very loving man, my dad - he tells me he loves me all the time – in a world where men aren't necessarily encouraged to express their true feelings – are told to bottle them up - 'be a man', whatever that means – well, it takes a human 'being a human' to be a man.

I remember back in the days in Nigeria when it was an abomination for a woman to wear trousers, you were considered an 'ashawo' (a whore) if you did. But my mum put on her jeans and a pair of shades and strolled casually down the street – and my dad walked beside her in his jeans and shades – holding hands. I was about 9 when that happened and it's an image I'll NEVER forget – will always be grateful to them for that.

I saw him in a pair of jeans the other day - for the first time in a very long time. He looked adorable – kept on asking me if the jeans looked good with the trainers he had on.

I wrote this for him a while back:


I was born with Kente cloth wrapped round my umbilical cord, a brown spoon in my mouth to match my skin, and dirt under my fingernails, hands defiantly clutching the soil I once danced on.

The entrance into the world was relatively easy for me - familiar. I had already rehearsed it four times through the eyes of my older siblings. But yet, when the time came, I thought it would be best to cry like the rest of them, for I'd been warned by my brothers and sisters, that if I didn’t cry, I'd get pinched by the nurse. If I didn't cry, I’d be known by all the brown-sugar babies in the world as the 'Un-cry' baby. My reputation would be ruined before I could even crawl. And so I cried and cried and cried. I cried 'til the whole hospital knew I existed, 'til the walls were encrusted with my tears, 'til the cows came home and went back to pasture. I cried…

...and then I stopped

'cos this man - called himself 'Da Da' - picked me up.

'Cos he was crying too...

I felt his afro-haloed face move towards mine, his big, beautiful, black nose press up against my cheek, and his lips press sanctuary onto my bloody forehead.

I didn't have to be washed - his tears did that. Didn't even have to be weighed - his undying affection for his sweat-tired Nigerian queen matched mine for his - pound for pound.

His ‘Da Da’ breath escaped an 'Afum gi n'anya - I love you' into my ears.

I knew we'd be best friends for life.

I love the guy – I think he's an amazing human being. Glad I met him.

Plastic bags: an addiction - end of wk 4...

final week! fresh plastic bags used = 1

well, i've proved that i can do it! Over the past month, i've used 5 new plastic bags which is a hell of a big improvement on the amount i used to use. i'm proud of myself! Now, when i go into a supermarket, i don't feel awkward when i say 'i have my own bag thanks' - i say it with an acquired boldness now. Ok, so my month of setting myself this task is over, but you know what, i'd like to think i've acquired a new change in lifestyle that's here to stay.

Hmm, now what task should i set myself next! :-)

i returned into mySelf...

traced my footsteps
crusty-toed and all

back to a place
situated just left of my breast

back to the sound of my mother cackling
as I told a dirty joke in igbo

beating a rhythm across mother nature's soft-skinned backside,
slapping the words 'live, goddamit' into the souls of the fearful,

teaching presidents

…to write poetry.

(for kelechi...)

Plastic bags: an addiction - end of wk 3...

update: week 3 - fresh plastic bags used = none! Double Yay!

what more can i say?! :-)

Love is... melted cheese on a pea-grape...

Love is... kissed stretch-marks.

Love is... when he farts ...and you smile.

Love is... my nephew when he sleeps.

Love is... oiling her grey dreadlocks.

Love is... watching her hips sway by.

Love is... mangoes that don't bite back.

Plastic bags: an addiction - end of wk 2...


...and it was 1 because:

I went to Sainsburys PREPARED i tell you, PREPARED - Big white plastic bag from my cupboard & everything - told the woman @ the till that i came with my own bag (and she smiled at me like i was some cute baby learning to walk). So there I was happily packing stuff into my bag AND THEN she goes & puts the chicken in A FRESH BAG. GRRRR....

...and that's how i ended up with 1.

...oh and the big white plastic bag snapped on the way home so i had to hold it like a sack... not pretty

task: buy one of those durable shopping bags made out of cloth. see? now ain't i clever?

Me? A feminist?

Oh thank you!, thank you!, thank you! - no one's ever called me a feminist before! (sniffle, sniffle) - someone please pass the tissue - thank you so much.

(looking down - wringing my fingers)
I've always felt I was a feminist but i was too scared to tell anyone - not even my best friend, Georgina. Been keeping it to myself all these years - heavy burden to bear. I went to the pastor once... to confess... & he told me: Do 10 Hail Marys, 10 Our Fathers & 10 sit ups and you'll be just fine. I said: Oh thank you, preacher, I mean, pastor! Thank you! God Bless You! And he said: What do you mean, God? I AM God. And I said: OK. I'll leave you to it, then. and made my exit walking slooowly backwards.

So how did you know i was a feminist anyway? I thought i hid it quite well. I mean, my hair's not short, I wear sacks of make-up, wear stilettos with heels taller than a palm tree, I luuurve cooking & i have a gazillion bras.

What? You could smell I was a feminist? How the f**k does a feminist smell? Like what? - like a woman.

You're funny.

Plastic bags: an addiction - end of wk 1...

FRESH BAGS USED = 3.   Why?: 'cos:

(a) i wasn't planning to shop that day, but found myself going into a supermarket

(b) when i did have a re-used plastic bag with me, wasn't enough as i bought more stuff than i expected

...BUT 3 fresh bags in a week ain't bad! - just need to be more 'on it'.

So i went to one fruit & veg stall, bought myself a whole bunch of bananas - asked the guy to put it in my duffle bag - he said 'no, i'll put in the plastic bag first' - i said 'no, just put it in my bag, please' - he said 'ok, love, whatever floats your boat'. hmmm...

Am I evil???

getting caught
i live on a major road - opposite a bus stop - and every so often, you get a swarm of ticket collectors & police-folk there checking for fare dodgers.

Confession: I like seeing people get caught.

Is that really bad (of me)?

And since we're at it... i like seeing people miss the bus too.(bad girl, ebele, bad girl)

i hardly ever run for the bus (or the train for that matter) 'cos i know there'll be someone on it, just as evil as me, smiling & rubbing their hands with glee, waving from the back of the bus, going WO-HA-HAAAA. i just don't bother ...unless i'm AAABSOLUTELY sure i'm gonna make it (but that would involve me doing some juju to project myself into the future to check if my ample-African-woman run for the bus would prove fruitful or not... and, frankly, that's just too much work. I only do juju on special occasions... like if i wanna break someone's balls...or catch a thief ...or get a really cheap ticket to New York - Richard Branson, you are feeling veeeery sleepy... ).

Random thought...

I like it when it's raining/snowing and I'm inside. I can see it but it can't touch me....unless I open the window and hear/feel the brunt of its personality, unless I stick my hand, my face, my tongue out and tell it to claim me.

Once, a snowflake dropped on my pillow. The window wasn't open. I watched it die and turn into a raindrop - the quickest transformation I'd ever seen - a caterpillar in a hurry to transform. I wept for it - my tears became part of it. Am I a raindrop - part of a multitude of lost souls that can't remember who they are? I want to know who I am in my entirety. Am I the sun's daughter? Did I scorch my tongue with her solar rhythm? Does the sun see my strength even when I am bat-blind to it. Does a shadow stroke my womb lovingly? Is my grandmum right here, right now, peering over my shoulder, telling me to just get on with it.

I watched a film the other day - called Pitch Black - about these vampires that only come out when there's an eclipse. They were invisible to the human eye - only one man could see them. Do I wanna be that man? Or would I rather not know and fumble around as I go?

I don't want a car, don't want a mortgage, clothes make my spirit gag and food makes me happy. I hug as much as I can & tell people how lovely they are - because they are. I want him to be happy - I really do - even if it's not with me - he was a troubled soul who I feel was born at the wrong time - if he doesn't realise this, he'll spend the rest of his life trying to understand himself.

just writing...

Plastic bags: an addiction...

My kitchen cupboard's full of plastic shopping bags like i'm some kind of squirrel. I'm improving - there was a time when the hoarding got so bad, the bags were leaking out the other end of the cupboard. But now, i sometimes walk with the cupboard ones when i'm out shopping - when i remember to. I do feel a bit funny when i say 'no, thank you' to a till attendant and whip out my Morrison's bag in a Sainsbury's store, but oh well.

I'm doing well'ish, but i could do better. So, for the next 4 wks, i'm gonna try to:

- listen more often to the ones in the cupboard that are crying out to be re-used - remember to stuff a couple of them in my duffel bag, building up to the degree to which i make sure my keys are in my bag

- make a note of the bags i could have freshly-acquired from one shop or the other...... but didn't! Yey! And when the person at the till offers one, I'll just say 'no thank you 'COS, TA-NAAAAAA, HERE'S ONE I MADE EARLIER!!!'

Is my quest anything to do with global warming, almost-full-to-the-brim land-fill sites, the fact that plastic bags degrade @ a snail's pace? Yes. And no. I'm worried 'bout the environment & the role I play in it. But I also know my level of plastic bag usage is a brainless habit that I want to (and can) nip in the bud.

So there. Let's see how the nxt 4 wks go.

I 'heart' mangoes...

heart I think it's only fitting (lest the gods strike me down) that my first post should be about the succulent fruit!

Me & mangoes? - we go back a long, long way. I believe when I die, they will die with me. Period.

Nigeria. 1981. I was 7 yrs old. Just arrived from England. Everything fascinated me. From the lizards that would nod a 'howdy do' as they passed me by - to the cockroaches who were really black butterflies. And I watched goats bleat 7 times before pushing beauty-full small dark balls of shit out their butts - and watched the way these dark pellets would cascade to the ground and settle in a unique constellation.

I can't remember exactly when I met my 1st mango but I can imagine I was probably going about my business (as most Little Miss 7 yr olds do) - and the mango came bouncing along saying 'eat me' and I said 'are you sure?' and it said 'Mm-hmm'. So I did.

And the sun shone through my little belly for the rest of the day.

That night, like most nights, when there was yet another sudden electricity cut and my grandmother felt her way around for the kerosene lamp, I told her not to worry tonight, and patted my glowing belly.

Hey, if you've got nothing better to do, check out my mango shrine. (no kidding. I do have a mango shrine.)