Today has been a good day for me.It felt like I had so much time and just enough to do with it. I thought I'd use the spare time to write a poem. But like every poet out there knows,a good poem is fed off of some inspiration.
Over the past couple of weeks, my mind and heart has been arched towards ending what i would love to call nothing less than a scourge; teenage pregnancy. It's one thing to hear about it over the news or read it on the internet and another to get the experience first hand from a victim; raw, unedited stories. Words dripping directly from their bleeding souls. Shared stories from young girls who are constantly covered by the blanket of 'I wish I knew'. Carrying resentment and regret like yokes around their necks. Yokes only put there because they lacked the right information to make the right choice.
Myths have become subtle parasites infesting the youth of today. Their diseases are sometimes hard to diagnose because their effects are often only seen after it is too late.
In my line of work, I am privileged to work directly with young people and always taken aback by the myths they hold on to; detrimental beliefs that end up stealing the brightness of their futures from their lives.
'If I have sex standing up, I won't get pregnant'
'If I wash my private parts with coke or panadol after sex, I won't get pregnant'
'If I have sex 10 days after my periods, I won't get pregnant'
'If I have never had a wet dream then I can't make her pregnant'
'If I have never had my periods then I can't get pregnant'....
And the list unfortunately goes on.
There. There is where i got my inspiration for this poem. Most young people assume that sex is just a game that you can gamble with, not realising that it is their very lives that they are using as the bet money. Depending on 'luck' when they could win with knowledge. I digress. Here is the poem.
The sun rose from the East
Peeping its head over the horizon,
Like every other day.
Scorched the feathers
Of the village cock,
Causing an involuntary impulse
Of an early morning crow;
Like every other day.
This was not
Like every other day;
It was her birthday.
A number she had always considered magical
Because it would be the age
When she gets to go to secondary school,
All the 100s and 90s she worked so hard to get
Would abracadabra her to senior one;
One step closer
To her dream of becoming a musawo;
As she stretched her arms,
The morning seemed to hand her
Her very first birthday gift;
The sight of an uncontrollably growing belly;
A testament of a life
Growing inside of her.
On this her birthday,
Her mind sang to her
Its own version of a birthday tune,
Echoing rhymes of her mother's screams
And her father's yelling
The day they found out their little girl
Would be forced to grow up
Before her time.
"What shame! You are not my daughter"
Out of the peripheral of her mind's eye,
She could see
Plasters of painful memories of the day she told Jim,
Empty promises of his support
If she silently took "it" out,
A death that nearly claimed two lives.
She overdosed on a combination of drugs
And fell into a coma.
Somewhere on her journey back to consciousness
Jim must have ran away,
Leaving her with their baby;
Two children surviving great odds.
Faced with a future bound to be tough.
As if a present of its own too,
Her body hurled out everything she had eaten the night before,
She made 13,
And her life would forever take a new turn.
No more school,
So many decisions she wished she could do over....