Before I learned of my life as an edgeless wound stretching across walls of lies, I’d listened to men open my heart to doors of desire with many tongues. I begged for silence each time they said: I love you because you’re crazy; girls like you catch my fancy. I love you because you’re smart & goal-driven. I love you because God, you’re hot, unafraid, sensual. Unlike the other women I know— timid, living in fear, afraid of each other. I love you because you don’t care what others think. I love how you love me. & how you make me feel like I am a flower growing through a hole in a fence of sorrows & you’re running through my veins, blocking out the darkness. I love you because you’re ‘nice’. I love you but my people wouldn’t let me take home a girl like you. I love you but I’m just not there right now. I love you but you’re too exposed. I love you but you don’t wear atamfa very often. I love you but you don’t even speak your native language. I love you but you’re quite popular. I love you but your dreams are too big for a girl from the north. I love you but I cannot control you. I love you but you have daddy issues. I love you but I’m married. I love you but you’re just too much. I love you but more like a friend. I want to do really bad things to you though; maybe tie you up a little sometimes. Walk my way into the warmth of your insides — kiss & touch you in places where my prayers pull moans from your mouth. I love your voice & how your accent hardens my groin. I love you but I wish I had met you earlier ‘cause now I’m emotionally unavailable. I love you but I’m still hung up on my ex. I love you but now I have to get mean & distant so you breakup with me because I’m actually starting to feel something for you. I love you but I’m not looking for anything serious right now. I love you but I’m just not the man for you, you will get the love that you deserve, be patient. I love you. & I don't.
3 Questions for Zainab
What was your process for creating this work?
It started as a journal of me ranting about the men I have been meeting. As the words found me, the form and devices flowed on their own too. Although the opening line came right after some editing and with the help of my friend.
What is the significance of the form you chose?
It is less structured and easy to write.
What is the significance of this work to you?
The significance of this work was to tell the story about the kind of men I have crossed paths with. How I have always been the girl in the wrong. How tiring & vexing it is to think you’ve finally met someone and they in turn break your heart with their fear of commitment.
Zainab Kuyizhi is a young Nigerian poet and a spoken word artist. Her work explores the dynamics of life and its entirety, especially, love, pain, and anger, and it’s appeared in OneBlackBoyLikeThat Review, Tilted House Review and elsewhere. She's on Twitter & Instagram @yar_kuyizhi.