The Ties That Bind

The Ties That Bind

The ties that blind take me back
To the corner bar and first taste of crack
In a previous life on Fourteenth Street
At Castignalio's, where we used to meet
There, everything had a price in dollars
A lot of things went down for tenners
Sex, drugs or even cold blooded murder
And somebody died one way or another

I still mind travel to that time and place
The crime scenes of a previous phase
You never forget where you left your ex
Or the first time you ever paid for sex
After all that, you’d give up on love
When guilt fits the hands tighter than glove
Inside me was a god sized hole
Am breaking up but only love makes whole

The tears that blind made me see
I lost a better half of me
Can I forget the very first time?
We ordered gin and you added lime
I was ebony, you was my ivory
And together we both made poetry
We talked of you and me and stardom
And what we’d do with money if we had some

But I had no money so I got a job
The options were few when I joined the mob
Being a bartender was just a front
I knew if you knew that you’d say, “Don’t”
See, I made much more dough selling joint
So many lies added up to the tipping point
But your love was blind so you couldn’t see
The little changes that happened to me

Till gradually we drifted apart
I always had many secrets of the heart
The baby mother you didn’t know about
Or when cops had for me a warrant out
At least it won’t hurt if you don’t know
That I had a family in another town, now
I came less and less to Serenity Avenue
The price I paid; I had to lose you

If I tried to explain, will you understand?
It’s a tough road to being an African man
Dreamy eyed, I left a third world country
Came to yours, hurt, broke and hungry
Meeting you was magic, our love was surreal
New chapters of passion, you did reveal
Accepted me wholly, without issues
I, a jigsaw puzzle, with missing pieces

You didn’t ask and I didn’t tell
About my past. It served me well
You were bed, meals and a green card,
Full disclosure would end what we had
That was, till Meekhams’ offer came
He owned the street, and I was game
You dine with the devil; you pay the price
I was down for whatever, like a roll of dice

Then, as they say, it came to pass
The cops came looking for my ass
I cut a deal, served three years clear
Came back confused and a little bit queer
Good thing my lawyer found a way
To clear my records and get me a stay
And just when I thought I was free at last
You came knocking from the past

What did you want? To have me back?
It so easy now to color me black
And just like you, I have a question
Was what we had love or just after a fashion?
Was I your man or your Mandingo?
I’d never know since I let you go
But I’ve gone too far to come back now
And it’s no use explaining why or how


  1. JD said...
    JD said...
    Okay... I had Jill Scott in my head the whole time I was reading this...
    N.I.M.M.O said...
    N.I.M.M.O said...
    I have always thot people who write poetry come from another planet or something because I can't rhyme for the life of me.

    Reading this takes everything to another level, I tell you. In fact, I think I should stop reading this series because anything else will be an anti-climax. Kiibaati sort of wraps everything up. Everything I have read so far.

    Well, maybe someone will do an epilogue which will prologue another stream. For me this is beautiful enough to tie and wrap up the stories so far.

    Pray, though, isn't the 'Toy' as in Toy(osi) rather than in Toy(in)?

    I still think there should be an editor somewhere in here.

    WOW stuff all the same.
    naijalines said...
    Love it.
    N.I.M.M.O said...
    "... The tears that blind made me see
    I lost a better half of me
    Can I forget the very first time?
    We ordered gin and you added lime
    I was ebony, you was my ivory
    And together we both made poetry
    We talked of you and me and stardom
    And what we’d do with money if we had some ...

    I'm still here
    Mocha said...
    L-O-V-E-D it!
    Great great stuff.
    naijalines said...
    "I was ebony, you was my ivory
    And together we both made poetry"

    Who said a bit of cheese is bad for you? I love cheese. See how everybody dey congratulate u. We naijas love our cheese sha :D

    Love it, Love it.
    naijalines said...
    Love the rhyming, narration, structure, language, style ... it's all in there. Ok I'm off now.
    Shubby Doo said...
    wow...this was so unexpected. i was just blown away. fab work...simply fab !
    Shubby Doo said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Shubby Doo said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Shubby Doo said...
    I’m sorry i just had to come back and comment again because of these two things below:

    1. 'I still mind travel to that time and place
    The crime scenes of a previous phase...'

    2. '...Accepted me wholly, without issues
    I, a jigsaw puzzle, with missing pieces'

    okay i'll say it & double wow! Those 2 lines apply to anybody and everybody on this earth.

    As a stand alone piece it delivers and yet it also still works as part of the whole!

    Well executed Kiibaati
    30+ said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    30+ said...
    Oh my goodness, Kibbati you took my breath away. Thank you

    This piece is beauriful, just absolutely beauriful.
    Baroque said...
    ok Kiibati, you have gone & done it...very well written piece of poetry...if i start picking lines that caught my attention, i'll end up with almost he entire poem as my comment...good work
    bumight said...
    FINALLY! someone gives a "face" to Toy, if you will.

    even though I'm not usually a fan of poetry, i loved this!
    SMC said...
    Kudos to the writer. It is usually hard to toe an uncharted course. On this thread this was Innovative with a Different style, different dimension and it tells an enjoyable story too. Liked it...A lot actually.
    smc said...
    Oh! I forgot to add that on the down side however, some bits of it are really cheesy and poetry does not need to rhyme (long gone are the days when they used to), always gives the impression of nursery rhymes (it may be argued that it makes the poem easy to read).

    Nevertheless, I still like it. Nice work sir.
    Mz. Dee said...
    This was quite good...
    Anonymous said...
    @smc pls shut up and go take a shit!blah blah...poems dont need to rhyme...who cares!!since u always claim to know so much pls why dont we have your blog address so we can see how good a writer you are
    Anonymous said...
    @smc pls shut up and go take a shit!blah blah...poems dont need to rhyme...who cares!!since u always claim to know so much pls why dont we have your blog address so we can see how good a writer you are
    Anonymous said...
    LOL @ anonymous 3.14! I was wondering when someone would lay it on thick on smc... Nice! But really, smc... lets see your writing... don't be shy!
    Afrobabe said...
    Nice....real nice...infact beautiful...
    bumight said...
    I came back to reread this! it was that good.

    now I know clara, carl and toy. who else *I'm excited!*
    Smaragd said...
    Brava! or is it Bravo(is Kibaati a guy or a babe?)

    i for one dont like poems unless they are romantic/rhyme. This ryhmes well enough for me, and though it's not exactly romantic, it tells a story, which works for me too!

    U are too much!
    Smaragd said...
    Is the poem about Toy? I thot it was about Jack (the one Clara wanted to go back to)

    i love this line:

    " the tears that blind..."
    smc said...
    @ the anonymous joker of 3.14pm, I was unaware that we were ALL supposed to be gushing sycophants who pour accolades on people and their work even though we feel otherwise.

    Anyway, there are enough of you to do that without adding me to the list. Moreover, this is not about me so I'll ignore your crass jokes which only managed to elicit a half stifled chuckle from one person (probably still yourself pretending to be another "anonymous" poster at 4.04pm). All I'll add is - Don't give up your day job.
    Catwalq said...
    I will like to ask that you all respect the space and in the event you disagree with a comment, feel free to express your point of view without vulgar language or personal attacks. It is a desecration of the art that is this post and this blog.

    Kiibaati, great jon.
    guerreiranigeriana said...
    ...nicely written...nice to see some poetry to mix it up...
    Anonymous said...
    I went through the comments only once
    And caught the diatribes of a dunce
    Her keyboard strokes dripped with bile
    She sat in judgment over style
    Pity, why was she so imperious
    So serious, it must be deleterious
    So tied up, she had me in stitches
    I can’t stop laughing, as long as she bitches
    ablackjamesbond said...
    Good work!
    omidanbellafricaine said...
    Hehe drama but I will have to agree with SMC the poem was kinda cheesy. However Kiibati did a good job of humanizing Toy and it was a lovely respite from the usual drugs/sex/murder formula.
    Charizard said...
    Good work if u ask me...

    Thank God! One puzzled solved! X more to go...
    Funms said...
    verryyyyyyyy nice...... ur a good poet i must say
    smc said...
    We've had prose, we've had poetry, will one of the remaining contributors give us their installment in DRAMA form?
    fantasy queen said...
    it has this effect of when directors scream 'its a wrap' sort of like, giving the stories thus far an ending.
    gives fourteenth and serenity a softer side in the midst of all the guns and hos and booze and fags, although its still got a touch of all those stuff, it makes it seem more humane.

    they all ordered gin, and you just squeezed in the lime. lol
    whatever i mean by that....i think what i'm trying to say is nice work.
    Doja said...
    I read the story and I was going to leave a comment, then I saw The war of words between SMC and anonymous! So I decided to comment on that Instead.....How old are you people? I am not hating OOO , I am just asking, it all seems so funny to me.
    Naapali said...
    My people, I beg for civility as the comments section is beginning to reflect the violence on 14th Street. Everyone is entitled to share their opinions about what they read and constructive criticism is not always flattering but hopefully can be civil.

    Some rhyme others don't, it is more a question of style than content. Most of the most memorable poems and poets rhyme though it may no longer be fashionable to do so.
    Anonymous said...
    @ SMC why must you always have something to say!all the one is saying you should praise the writers all the time..but seriously there is always something wrong with a story each time in your eyes!all the time!HABA! now u are suggesting the form they should write in again?na wa for you o!

    seriously SMC we need you to write something!abeg catwalq n co allow this know it all to write!and we dont mean a story full of ambiguous words !
    NigerianDramaQueen said...
    *I am a huge fan of poetry, so I was excited when I saw a post in this form. I read this early this morning but didnt have time to leave a comment. I liked it even better reading it the second time.
    *By humanizing this character an letting us know what 'binds him', it makes us less prone to 'color him black'. You gave a soul to a character that was in dire need of it.
    *You told a story in your poetry that is believable and relatable-and you were able to do it with art. The part about him being a starry eyed immigrant was really good.
    *I like the fact that when you rhymed, you didnt just rhyme for the heck of it-you made sense.
    *The ties that bind me..the tears that blind me'-that will be in my head for a long time.
    *Did I say I loved this? Great job.
    Pink-satin said...
    came here to comment only to be hit by VENOM!!!wow!anyway as NDQ said the poem made sense even with all the rhyming!Good job Kiibaati and all other writers here!Me, i appreciate what you guys are doing its not easy to put your work out there and have some people constantly criticise!!
    southern-tree said...
    I have read each story...more than once and I can safely say that each writer is gifted and different. They have all brought in their own unique style and voices and that was the whole point to this experiment.

    While each story is unique, I dare say that it would be impertinent to suggest that there has been a weak link in all this. What we should remember that the singular unifying element of this experiment is 14th&Serenity more than the xters that fold in and out of it.

    It is disrespectful to come in here and start saying that one story is better than the order or that one story was the weak link. No one has asked anyone to shower praises either on pieces they enjoyed or did not. There is something called taste. We all have varying tastes as well as tact, I believe.

    I believe each installation thus far has been brilliant. I find myself going to each author's blog to experience their kind of writing (their passions so-to-speak) and I have not been disappointed.

    This is a wonderful experiment. Lets all enjoy it without feeling the need to be hateful and judgemental!
    Kiibaati said...
    What is poetry without passion? It's nice to see different views but please, let's keep it civil. Nothing personal, abi?
    Sasuke said...
    Men una done mad for this fourteenth and serenity. if person crase sef una go write guys are doing joke
    smc said...
    OMG, I am so stupid, dumb,childish and have no life, please help me.
    smc said...
    I need a job, help please. I cant write to save my life.

    I am shit, people dont like me.
    smc said...
    Hey smc sweetie, how does that feel for self assesment?
    Shubby Doo said...
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    Shubby Doo said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Shubby Doo said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Shubby Doo said...
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    Shubby Doo said...
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    Shubby Doo said...
    smc...haba...there is no need now.

    There was nothing wrong with your initial comments on this post. It was constructive and it praised what worked. If others descend into abuse it doesn't mean you should then follow. Take the high road

    There was nothing wrong with a suggestion for drama. There is also absolutely nothing wrong if the writers choose to ignore smc's comment. This is THEIR work. Hell, if I can’t do drama...I’m not going to write in that particular from just because someone suggests it.

    Nobody here is better than the rest.

    Just because we are Nigerian does not mean we are apes & snakes that need to bite at each other on the comment section of these posts. Abeg the world itself evolved past that way before anyone of us was born. So quit using this forum to snipe at each is meant for something else.

    Pls praise the writers if you feel they get it right and u have enjoyed it

    If some feel that these writers are great but they are not yet masters of their skills & want to share humble opinions in order 2 help a follow brethren...then why not?...pointers to make the next instalment better should be welcomed

    I also suggest that if you do not know how to do this without resulting to insults then either
    1) pat them on the back as you watch them move towards their goal
    2) just don’t comment at all if you cannot be constructive.

    It is that simply

    Enjoy what you can from this and lets all work 'together' to make this a great project.

    I actually use this comment section to see how & why others appreciate the writer’s work on show...It is a great vessel for sharing.

    abeg everybody should just allow all others to be. Me I don tire of the ongoing is rubbish!
    SMC said...
    I am laughing so hard at the impostor who has tried to post some ridiculous things under my ID (as SMC) at 10.41am, 10.42am and 10.43am today. I'm sure if anyone checks the IP address, they'd see that it was (almost guaranteed to be) that anonymous joker and not me. I'm sure any intelligent person would be able to see that it couldn't have been me who wrote those unintelligent things. It smacks of desperation when one finds it necessary to take on another person's ID to post rubbish on here.

    I had previously stated that this blog was not about me and I have decided to toe the line and respect this space like catwalq rightly said. I had previously ignored the anonymous git, but only decided to issue a rejoinder because (s)he had been dogging me for quite a while. Anyhow, I shall return to ignoring his/her ranting and doing what I have been doing all along (i.e. giving my opinion on the work tendered as allowed under the blog rules).

    My apologies to everyone who has had to read this nasty, unnecessary imbroglio. I can only hope that good judgment and maturity reigns henceforth.
    Mocha said...
    I just had to say again that I LOVED this!!
    it reads in my head like I'm listening to spoken word..great stuff..
    Carlang said...
    @ SMC:

    Hi SMC.
    I have refrained from commenting all this while because I really didnt have much too say.
    I do have this to say though.

    I have found your commments very insightful and helpful thus far.

    I'm not sure what triggered the brawl i just read ( i lay no blame on anyone) but it does sadden me.

    Stories are meant to collide on 14th.
    Not people.

    I have loved your visits and contribution and have looked forward to them with as much anticipation as i have the stories.
    Well maybe not my story

    Thanks for the insight again.

    I return to my Reflective hibernation.
    SMC said...
    @ Carlang, Thanks for your kind words :)

    I never knew any of the writers partaking in this project until I read of the project on Molara Wood's blog. I have checked most of them out and added a couple of them to my favourites list. I must say that your rendition that began with how your mother suffered the indignity of being robbed twice in one day, almost had me in stitches (I actually had to brazenly lie about what I was doing when I inadvertently let out a guffaw while at work). You do have a knack with your writing (and I look forward to seeing more of your writing).
    Ms Sula said...
    Love it, love it, love it!

    I love that no direct reference is made to any character, that the author remained true to her(his?) style... and you could just feel the level of comfort emanating from the piece.

    I don't even care to know how it "fits" into the whole story.... It's just a brilliant take on the topic.

    Kudos to Kiibati!

    (And I guess the people in need of "naijaness" are served, although the man is African not necessarily Nigerian, would that be an issue? Rhetorical question of course")
    okay kiibaati, how is anyone supposed to follow this?

    Great work, my brother. I must give props where props are due. Kai!
    Sherri said...
    Well done!
    loved it!

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