If It’s Broke – Fix It: Poetry & Self-Publishing

Love don't fear Half Cover Amazon 12.04.18You may have noticed that I changed the title and the cover of my latest poetry collection. Ha… the book had only been out for a month… ‘Why did you do that?’ one could ask…

Well, that month was the driest month as far as my book sales, on Amazon, are concerned. Not only was this book not selling, but my first book “Do Lend Me Your Ears” took a significant hit too. While they might have been caused by a range of factors – those events were too time-correlated for me to ignore. So, I pulled the plug on “Poems about Love and Fear” ☹ And when I did – my first book sales spiked yet again. Boom! 😊 That was about 1,5 months ago…

After picking up the scattered pieces of my wounded ‘marketeer ego’ (not really), I’m back with a confession: I rushed the cover design and did not take enough time to consider the title. It was me…

I don’t write about Love and Fear as if they’re equal – they’re not… I write about Love overcoming fear, hence the new more appropriate title: “Love, Don’t Fear”.

About that cover… picturing a random couple kissing in the background of the red, red wine… I mean the red, red cover… One of my friends said that, at first sight, she thought she was looking at an erotic novel.👀 Well, the book’s about affairs of the heart, but there’s no direct sexual content in it. “Love, Don’t Fear” explores emotional battles and relationship lows. And then, the plot leads you to inspiring breakthroughs and solutions. That’s what you’ll find within its dramatic and captivating story-lines…

Change was needed, hence poems about love and fear are no more (though Google may not know that yet). The cover’s still passionately red, but the kissing couple is gone. The title no longer magnifies fear – it puts LOVE in its proper place… 

Food for thought: If there’s a book inside of you – don’t be scared to write it and share it. You are not a failure if you don’t succeed at your first attempt. It just means that your story will gain a backstory… Gather more information, get all the help you need and go do it again! Just do it better, this time around.

I’m super excited to introduce my new (old) book: “Love, Don’t Fear” to You. It is available on Amazon now. The e-book will soon be available on my website too.

Check it out. Pick it up. Be entertained and inspired to love – not fear…

All the Time & Everywhere – Poem

lost found searching

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You don’t just find Him in Love, although

Many people like to think you do…

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His Love & His Peace break through our Hate

You find Him in joys, but more in despairs

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You find Him in dry spells. You find Him in rain

You find Him at night and during the day

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He is all the time. God is everywhere…

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Yet, here is the most beautiful thing

About finding Him…

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When you cannot find – you can’t even search

Your heart is too tired and too weak to care

He will find you…

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Wherever you’re at…

In sadness, in pain,

In the storm, in the rain

He is there…

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All the time & everywhere.

Get Free & Stay There – Poem

put on some music

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There are fervent desires hunting for each soul

Don’t let them imprison you. Learn to let things go

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When it hurts to not have what you think you need

Release and defy it – let your mind “stay freed”

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Learn to wait and believe – learn to let it go

Find a happy medium. Take your time to grow

In the meantime,

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Relax… Hear the silence and dance…

Life need not be this complicated, and you only live once

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Free yourself… Don’t be hasty. Get grateful today

When the time is right things will come your way.

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Talking with a Mother – Short Story

Homeless MotherWhile they seat in their big houses, I’m wondering how to tell my children that we must move out of our tiny flat, and that I don’t know where we’re going to…

–    ‘Must we leave our friends? Must we change our school?’

They ask, and I feel like running away, but they have only me, so I have to stay.

I go to the powers that be and ask them for help. They don’t look in my eyes. They glance… Their head holds a PC inside, rather than a mind, never mind a human heart. They hand me a number to ring. And I do, so I can be lied to… I sense that their words might be far from the truth, so I start my own search online. The computer, seemingly a little more humane, tells me part of what’s to know. “You are on the waiting list – number 334. So, I go back to the ‘people’, and ask:

–      “Does this mean that you’ll help us move house?”

–     “No.” They say. “Don’t leave there – stay. When you’re on the streets – come back. Then, we’ll have a chat. There are many like you. You are not the only one.” Fine! I leave. “Next one, please!” I hear them yell. I feel like I’ll lose my mind if I stay. From now on, I’ll send letters or I’ll e-mail them.

I will work, at the same time, as hard as I can. Though, to rent a new small flat this job won’t provide. What else will I do? I will cry, sometimes. Not too much. I don’t want to drown… in tears. Then, I’ll work again just to pay the bills. I feel really tired – I’ve been lacking sleep… I can’t let them kill me though! I’m going to live! Yet, I bottle these fears and the pain. There’s a bottle of wine in my hand.

– “Why?” The interviewer asks.

– “Why wine? I’m cutting my chocolate down.”

– “No. Why bottle the pain? Why not talk to someone?” He smiles.

– “Oh…” She sighs.

Those who are comfortable want to stay comfortable. They say that they pray for me and my family while they seat in their big houses comfortably. Meanwhile, I wonder how to tell my children that we have to move, again… And, I cannot tell them where we’re going to… I don’t know… God knows. Oh… {She pauses} That’s right. He does. ‘Oh, thank you for listening’, she adds.

The interviewer smiles.

 “I will put this wine away. I’m going to pray.”

She gets up and goes… Where to? Well… God knows.

Happy Mother's Day

Dedicated to all mothers - especially those forced to persevere 
a lot more than others. You are amazing! Happy Mother's Day!

The Perfects Tale – Poem

Mr and Mrs Perfect

Mr & Mrs Perfect sat on a Tree

J-U-D-G-I-N-G

They kept looking down from the highest branch

“Let’s gossip a little while we’re having lunch”

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“We’ve got a great view and so much spare time

It’s free entertainment – we won’t spend a dime!”

They looked down upon peeps – never looked within…

Birds pooped on their heads. The Sun burnt their skin

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“Oh, we look so noble. Oh, we have no flaws…

Let’s leap to conclusions. Let’s sharpen our claws

Let’s pay them no mind. No! We know it all!

Let us fix their problems whether big or small…”

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Seemingly quiet, reserved, even shy…

They don’t confront issues and never ask why

Yet, they judge, speculate, imagine, assume…

They’re the last to commend & the first to foredoom

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They have an opinion about everything

They’re so out of touch… like yang without yin

Their faults may be quieter, but equally wrong

Their talks sound so strange like ding without dong

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As they’ve sat there for days filled with evil thoughts

Their hair-dos got messy. Their dreams turned to naughts

Their skin started peeling off from way too much Sun

What they needed to do has been left undone…

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A wild swirl of wind drove dust to their eyes

Their aura attracted a large swarm of flies

Finally, they resolved to come down from on high…

Now, they’re here undercover – next to you and I

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undercover giphy.

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And that is the Perfects’ tale. Yes, this tale is true.

Let’s end with a riddle – I’ll give you a clue…

Do you know a Perfect? Yes? I know one too.

Am I one of them? Or could it be you? 😉

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Mirage, Marriage, Memoir – Poem

Mirage
He looked good and had a lot
So, she entered the mirage
Only, she had failed to notice
Ugliness & lack, inside

Their mirage turned to a marriage
From hell – especially for her…
Technically, it was not a marriage
She was not the only girl

Damn! Had she known before
Man! Had she shut that door
Now, things are not as they were
And there’s another… inside of her

They remain together
Every day is deader
Well, at least for her
He just doesn’t care

She is black & blue,
Although born to the white race,
With red cigarette marks
All over her face…

‘She’s such a good girl’, they say
‘How?! She doesn’t smoke’, they ask
They don’t want to dig too deep,
She feels safe behind her mask…

Many years ago,
Mum & dad (without a dime)
Saw their ‘once upon a time’…

giphy (1)
Very quickly, in one voice,
They approved her choice
They knew she would share the good life
‘Yes, our girl’s a rich man’s wife!’

Only now,
There’s too much drama
For daddy and mama…
And,
They feel like she failed
Because money’s still scarce
They do get their share, but
they spend & they spend…

She is all alone, except…
There is Another inside of her

She is finally getting there
Tired of sweet little lies
Turned to big & bitter crimes
She is bound & very tired,
But she can pretend no more
Keeps on choking on his waves,
But she’s swimming to the shore

There’s a miracle there, for her
Husband doesn’t want divorce, but he doesn’t care
Technically, he is not her husband
Coz she’s not the only girl

Now, she knows…
A graveyard may look like a park
Until you see its grave stones…
Finally, she’s been hurt enough
He’s fractured enough of her bones

Mirage turned to a marriage
Is becoming a memoir…
He will need to find an ashtray
To extinguish his cigar.

Taken from my new book “Poems about Love & Fear”

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Yeha Noha – A Friendly Croydon Café

yeha noha outside again

Interview with one of the Founders: Talking about Vision, Accolades, Team Work, Competition, Positive Energy & Work-Life Balance.

Today, I’d like to introduce a wonderful café, based in South West London. Why? Well, I know it’s cliche, but I like to write (or spend time) in coffee shops. Yeha Noha Café is one of my favorite cafés in London. 

gosia i ja
Gosia from Yeha Noha Cafe & I

Yeha Noha’ means ‘Wishes of Happiness & Prosperity’. It’s also the first single from a very successful album of Chants and Dances of the Native Americans, released in ’94. Back to my subject matter… When Yeha Noha Café won Croydon’s Best Independent Café Award its owners were surprised, but I wasn’t… This café is a gem amongst restaurants and cafés in the area.

The vicinity used to be grey and uninspiring. Gosia, one of the founders, was able to see the potential of the area which may not have been obvious to everyone.

yeha noha outsideI feel like smiling when I look at the café’s colorful outbuilding and its cutesy fence – they’re friendly, fun and unusual (in the area). Inside, the atmosphere is quite special too – some call it magical. Gosia says: “I had imagined that this place would provoke growth in people, but at the same time it was meant to stop them from running all the time. That was my intention.” She says. “When you enter the café, it’s like being transferred from one world to another. It’s a bit like going on holidays. You can sit down and think, ‘What can I do to be happier’? Maybe I can meet new friends here…”

I wanted to find out how the idea to open this precious place came about, so I sat down with her and listened as she told me their story.

Gosia: We thought it’s difficult for a family with small children to live in London. My children were ‘half-orphans’ – Boban used to leave in the morning and wouldn’t come back until midnight…” Boban is Gosia’s and Yeha Noha’s significant other i.e. husband and co-founder. He used to work “in the City” managing a successful restaurant by the River Thames…

yeha inside lamp

Gosia continues: “One day, when coming back from our friends place we noticed a restaurant lit with soft colorful lights transmitting a wonderful atmosphere of relaxation…” Mesmerised Gosia said to her husband: “You have a business background. I have ideas. Why can’t we open something like this?” He answered: “Actually why not?” That’s how the idea was born.  It was a joint venture from day one. “Once the intention had been released into the atmosphere things started falling into place even though it’s taken a while” she adds…

Gosia, a self-proclaimed risk taker with a philosophy that “unless you do something you’ll never know if it could work” says: “I have to be able to make money independently – in such a way that kids can have free access to both mum and dad.” One of the initial challenges was finding a venue. They’d almost secured one in Crystal Palace, but that fizzled out. “It wasn’t meant to be” Gosia says. Today, Yeha Noha Café is just by their house. The kids used to go there after school – they’d eat dinner and do homework in the café, but most importantly they could spend time, with both parents, in a family-friendly work environment.

Gosia recalls being exhausted while painting the fence before the grand opening. She tells me how “passers-by kept shaking their heads with pitiful comments such as ‘I hope you survive for about 6 months’. People didn’t believe in us. Some laughed at us when they found out we were about to open” She says.

Yeha Noha ChocolateHowever, sometime after the opening, customers started showing up. The owners were excited to see their intentions materializePeople came. They ordered coffee, hot chocolate, food… They’d sit down and relax… In the first year, Gosia’s friends, from North London, organised all their events in the café. “Travelling the distance made no sense” Gosia says and adds how grateful she still is for the support. Yeha Noha is a labour of love – it is a sweet reflection of its owners.

The Best Croydon Independent Café Award (2016) came as a surprise to the owners. A client called yelling into the phone: “Gosia, congratulations! You won! You won!” They didn’t strive to win. They didn’t even announce that they’d been nominated. “I will not be part of a rat race… I don’t have the need to be the best. I like team work…” Gosia explains. When asked about the award, however, she admits it was encouraging. It re-affirmed their belief that it pays to be honest in life. The owners have a very interesting approach to competition. They believe there’s enough resources and space for everyone. On this note, they choose to support other cafés and collaborate rather than compete… “We can grow together” says Boban in an interview with a local TV station.

Boban is organised. He’s a social being and people like him. Gosia is more of a creative strength. Organizing events, courses, opening doors to meditation, Bible studies, live music & poetry is what she thinks about. He is an entrepreneur while she takes interest in psychology, psycho-biology, being assertive, designing your life rather than being a victim of circumstances. Her husband deals with finances, accountants, lawyers, etc. During a time of major challenges e.g. no building, no money – Gosia was there to encourage him, so he could fight those battles with confidence. They work well together, which is one of the “secrets” to Yeha Noha Café’s success.

Yeha Noha SoupGosia shares with me that one of her desires is to bring positive energy into her world. She says: “I don’t want people to feel like they have to rush in, buy and then rush out of the café…” She encourages her customers to stay and enjoy the place & food (so tasty, by the way) while respecting the needs of other customers. “Just because I am born Catholic doesn’t mean I cannot serve a Muslim woman in a hijab. If we both have good will, there’s no problem.” She says. Yeha Noha Café is a place for everyone.

Reportedly, old & new friendships continue to grow in the café. Marriages have been born there. Couples come back to celebrate their anniversaries while new initiatives continue to develop within and around the café. Yeha Noha Café, recognized by the judges & journalists, continues to be appreciated by its loyal customers…

Consider visiting them if you’re looking for a café to call your own, or if you simply want a nice cup of hot chocolate or a delicious meal to warm your soul…

Love, Don’t Fear – New Poetry Collection

Love don't fear Half Cover Amazon 12.04.18My new book titled: “Love, Don’t Fear” is available now. It is a poetry collection which… oh, hold on… It isn’t for me to tell you what it’s about. I’d like to let the book’s foreword, by Ayọ (Joy Ogunmakin), make this introduction. I could not do it better…

Ayọ is an award-winning singer-songwriter. Her debut album was certified Double-Platinum, Platinum & Gold (respectively) in several European countries. She currently lives in New York and she’s just successfully released her fifth album self-titled “Ayọ”.

“Music can be a weapon or medication…” she said in an interview with Essence Magazine. I feel the same way about poetry… Joy is a beautiful, warm-hearted, strong woman & a world-class songwriter. It is my great privilege to have her introduce “Poems about Love & Fear” to You.

Thank you for reading… 🙂

 FOREWORD¹ to “Love, Don’t Fear”

By Ayọ (Joy Olasunmibo Ogunmakin)

The opposite of love is not hate – it is fear. Fear always tries to get in the way of love. “Love, Don’t Fear” is like a nice breeze on a hot summer day or a warm blanket on a frigid winter night.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has been or is going through turbulence – not only in romantic affairs like marriage for instance, but also in friendships, family connections and others… It is a book for someone who feels challenged by their relationship and can’t find the words to express how they feel. You will discover your own truth in the emotions of these poems. Your truth may be different than mine, but I believe you will find yourself in them.

This book is powerful, yet it is simple. You might appreciate it even if you’re not a huge fan of poetry since it tends to be complicated. When I started reading “Love. Don’t Fear” I wanted to read the whole book. This is significant because I often start a book, but then leave it unfinished if it’s unable to hold my attention. Structurally, this book is just the right length and its stories flow nicely.

I don’t enjoy having to play Sherlock Holmes trying to read between the lines all the time. I want to hear God speak to me between the lines. The author of this poetry collection is connected. She is on the right search, asks the right questions and doesn’t look for things that don’t need to be found.

These stories are therapeutic because they are written from the right place. The book takes you back to the Power of God. It reminds you that you can move mountains if you only believe.’

Ay

Get the Book on Amazon (.com)

Get the Book on Amazon (.co.uk)

 

[1] Foreword transcribed & edited by Monika Ribeiro

Excuses for Loving You – Poem

Colourful I love You Pic

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I love you because when I told you to go

You said you would not and you didn’t budge

You are dark & sweet. You’re my favourite thing

Way ahead of chocolate – even chocolate fudge!

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I love when you look at me like a little boy

Who’s just been presented with his favorite toy

Stimulating my soul in untainted liberation 😊

I like how you do it. Mmm, such a sweet sensation.

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Many times, I wondered if our love was right

When our days were nights, and we saw no light…

Yet, after each storm He’s taken us through

I remember how much I love the essence of you.

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They thought I loved you because I loved drama,

And I had become what they call a baby mama.

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Some thought it was purely awe-inspiring sex

And I’d dread my future if you were my ex

…Looking at another girl like a little boy

Who’s just been presented with his favorite toy

Sad Face Dried Flowers

There may be a grain of truth 

In all the above…,

But those aren’t the main excuses 

For You being the One I love…

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The main reason why I hope to love you forever

Is bullheaded trust that God joined us together.

Even when I feel like we’re going under –

I believe we have no right to put us asunder.