This Week’s Poetry: Body Hair

Body Hair

From: milk & honey by Rupi Kaur

“the next time he

points out the

hair on your legs is

growing back remind

that boy your body

is not his home

he is a guest       

warn him to

never outstep

his welcome again”

milk and honey

“removing all the hair

off your body is okay

if that’s what you want to do

just as much as keeping all the hair

on your body is okay

if that’s what you want to do

You belong only to yourself

milk and honey

Poetry Prescription: Ijeoma, Rupi and Billy

Poetry is more than a few lines that rhyme, or throwing around big words trying to sound lyrical and esoteric. It’s an art and a form of communication. It exists in all languages, written or oral, and has always its uses in teaching, entertaining and beautifying the way we communicate with each other. There are poems that have made personal changes in people’s lives and poems that have made dramatic changes in the world and in history.

This year I have been consuming three poetry books throughout my personal journey, and these have helped me heal, put me in a good mood and changed my perspective on certain issues. They are;

milk and honey – Rupi Kaur

Questions for Ada – Ijeoma Umebinyuo

Chameleon Aura – Billy Chapata

These three books are filled with beautiful and simple poetry of love, pain, healing, inspiration, self-love, forgiveness, injustice, feminism and more. A lot of them are empowering, you read two lines and your whole mood for the day can stay on sunshine-mode.

I’d like to share some of my favourite poems from each book and I recommend that you get at least one of them. You’ll thank me later.

Questions for Ada – Ijeoma Umebinyuo

Before creating you

The Universe washed her hands

“This will take time,”

she said

as she closed her days.

*

Forgive your mother

for all the miracles she

couldn’t perform.

*

I am too full of life

to be half-loved

*

The way women are

told to carry pain in their bones

frightens me.


milk and honey – Rupi Kaur

you

have been

taught your legs

are a pit stop for men

that need a place to rest

a vacant body empty enough

for guests but no one

ever comes and is

willing to

stay

*

other women’s bodies

are not our battleground

*

don’t mistake

salt for sugar

if he wants to

be with you

he will

it’s that simple

*

i will not have you

build me into your life

when

what i want is to

build a life with you

-the difference


Chameleon Aura – Billy Chapata

*security*

let no one silence the loudness of your love. if they can’t handle

the intensity of the music, gently escort them out of the room.

*

darling

you’re not a burden. your past was never too heavy. their shoulders

are just not broad enough to carry a woman like you.

*

(don’t interrupt her)

and when you see her glowing

dripping gold from her pores

turning wounds into flowers

loving herself unconditionally – let her be

*

never

i have no interest in being for everyone

sometimes my truth will taste like whiskey

and sometimes my truth will taste like nectar

but i will never dilute myself for anyone.

I hope this poetry, and if you get a copy of any one of them, becomes your friend and therapist. It is one of the benefits of reading, to find a great companion in the pages. You’ll find yourself in one or more of the poems, and it will take a while before you return them to the shelf. 

10 Books I’ve Read More Than Once

“There’s nothing wrong with reading a book you love over and over. When you do, the words get inside you, become a part of you, in a way that words in a book you’ve read only once can’t.”
― Gail Carson Levine

These are books I loved so much I just had to start again from the beginning and read like it’s my first time. Some of them I read at a young age when I didn’t fully understand and got to enjoy them even more as I got older. Others I consult, I carry them around for a while and when in need of help, I go through specific chapters or start from the beginning and read through to the end.

10. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

This is a masterpiece. One of the greatest gems in African literature. I’ve probably read it five times or more. It is the only book by Achebe I’ve read and I recently got two others which I look forward to reading.

9. Manuscript Found in Accra and Brida by Paulo Coelho

I read it twice and that was probably the last time I read any of his work. I’ve read a few others and I started finding a lot of repetition in his work. His work is phenomenal but once you’ve read six or more of them, it’s okay to explore other authors.

8. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

I don’t know how many times I’ve read it. I keep going back to it because some of the poems are so therapeutic and I can use some of them as a form of counseling.

‘do not look for healing
at the feet of those
who broke you”
― Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey

7. Animal Farm by George Orwell

I must have read this five times. It’s an excellent book, it teaches a lot and it’s so real, in that what it talks about still exists. It’s also short and very easy to read.

6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

I was moved by her story and also enjoyed her style of writing. I read it three times. It was so raw, honest and not self-piteous at all. She was truly a phenomenal woman.

5. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

I have read it three times. I don’t agree with a few things in it but most of it has a way of getting me back on track and helping me find a sense of direction.

4. Maru by Bessie Head

I’ve probably read this one more than ten times. It was the prescribed reading in my eleventh and twelfth grade so I had to read and master it. I got a copy, years after high school and read it four times. Give me a copy now and I will devour it like it’s my first time.  

3. Mhudi by Sol Plaatje

I borrowed this book from my friend in 2013 and I still have it. I know, I’ve committed a crime in the bibliophile community constitution. I will return it. I just love the book because it’s so close to home – South African book and my people, Batswana, are in it. The writing, as well as the story, is exceptional. I read it twice.

2. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

1. Marabi Dance by Modikwe Dikobe

My absolute favourite. One of the books that made me fall in love with reading and start thinking of writing. I must have read six or seven times, and that was at a young age. I’d love to read it again now and see how I understand it, and how I enjoy it.