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Prince Ihè | Here, We Sing A Sad Song

“We only live once. We only die once. How then, have I died many times without living? Why do I know how it feels to die, and not to live?”

Prince Ihè


The tightening of my chest was way too familiar, the telltale sign of a panic attack. The chill creeping over my skin, and the numbness of my fingers. The overflow of blood to my head – making me giddy, and the erratic beating of my heart, that threatened to force its way out.

My reflection stares back at me. Smiling, as if in mockery of my sanity. The shredded papers on the floor – which contains failed attempts at a farewell note, the total disarray of my room, and droplets of scarlet hued liquid my bloodied knuckles produced – a not so subtle indicator of my mental state.

You do not know me, but you do. I am your brother. But, I also am your cousin, your coursemate, your friend, an acquaintance. You have never really known me, because I kept my voice locked up in my head, and threw the key into the void – the same void, where humans discarded their conscience and humanity.  But I think I am ready. I think I am ready to give you a glimpse of my reality. I really want to say these words to someone, but would they understand? Would you understand? You never do. So, I just write it down on paper.

My life summed up, is a never-ending series of sorrow. I seem to be living in perpetual agony. Everything happens for a reason? I still wonder what delusional human said those words first. Nothing makes sense, nothing feels real. Everything is a construct. Everything I have always believed, and held onto is a lie.

Image: USGS on Unsplash

Being alive is painful. Sometimes, if not most times, unbearable. I wonder if everybody lives life this way too. Could it be possible every other person felt the same void in their chests? The feeling of shame, when PTSD kicks you hard in the nuts, and you want nothing more than to fold in on yourself, till you are nothing more than a molecule at the atomic level, and then disintegrate from all of existence? Did you get the miserable feeling, that no matter how hard you try, it will never be enough? That you will never be enough?

"The weight a heavy heart carries,
The pain a smile hides,
A quavering pillar of hope,
Holds this body."

I hate the fact that I remember the rather forgotten familiar scents. The scents that open up old scars. You know, that scent that opens up doors that you would rather remained shut for all eternity? That brings along with it clear photographic memories, like you are reliving a nightmare? That scent – the fragrance that calls unto ghosts of the past to come haunt you?

Countless nights, would I wake up, drenched in sweat, my heart beating at an irregular pace – tu-kum, tu-kum, like the sound of pounding yam from behind the restaurant that sells my favourite dish.


Did any other person hate themselves, for being themselves? To feel like a stain that should be erased from the earth, because you are not “normal?” Did the sharp edge of the knife entice you? Did you wonder just how deep the blade can go? Have you ever wondered what forever solitude feels like?

Image: Jr Korpa on Unsplash

Did you also feel the relieving bliss of pouring your heart out onto paper? The burdens of which you ease yourself by turning your anguish into words? I wonder if you also fight your demons with words? Did you open yourself up, and allow the soothing hands of music caress your scarred soul? Did you also feel all these things? Or is it only just fortunate me?

"The words that strangle me,
A love, I cannot be.
The wanting and desire,
I am here,
I am here."

Oh, the huge blows loss hits you with. Did you also see what you love fade away into nothingness? The ones you hold dear and love, slip through your fingers helplessly, never to return? To give your all, and gain nothing? Did you feel that too?

What is fair about these things? What reason could there be for all these? Life simply is just cruel. And I am here, trying and failing to make sense of the madness.



“I was swimming away from nothing, only away from myself. In my paranoia, I forgot I could not swim. I’m drowning.”

Prince Ihè

I’ve always felt alone. Forgotten. A lonely heart. A wandering soul. I remember the other day, when dark memories raised their ugly heads, which is the cause of the broken mirror in the bathroom, a replica of my broken soul. This crushing feeling of total desolation, sometimes too intense I wonder if this all in my head. If perhaps, this is a made up reality. Everything happens for a reason?

I’ve tried to understand why I want to disappear? Why I felt like I had something to prove to you? How could I not tell that you have no soul? How did I miss the fact that a vast majority of the world, are just empty vessels, a husk? How was I blind to see all you wanted was for me to be empty?

Why did I not see that? Why?

Growing up, I recall I used to long for belonging. A sense of community – other people with the same, or similar experiences. A safe space. A place that’s warm and comforting. A place where I wasn’t othered. It was a dream to me, a fantasy. Because, I was the only one who could be this dirty. There is no way in the universe, that there are other people who had these experiences too.

recent past
Image: Andrew Haimerl on Unsplash
"Hear me,
Feel me,
Want me,
Love me"

For far too long, I have been told how to live. How to act, how to talk, how to sit, how to feel… how to be. “Speak up, you are a boy!” “Spread your knees apart.” “Your hands move a lot when you talk.” It goes on and on. I heard them tell little boys my age one too many times, not to cry. To man up. I didn’t cry a lot in the presence of other people as a child, for fear of being called weak – yet they called me weird for not crying. They said I was sick. What do you really want from me?



The poetry that could be made from the sad tale, which is my life, is not lost on me. My life would have made a sad novel. A very, very sad novel. People would think the writer was a psycho.

A lot of people think I am a psycho. Am I a psycho? Honestly, I do not know. But, who cares? I’ve decided to live life on my own terms.

Image: Jr Korpa on Unsplash
"Wrap me in a warm embrace,
Tell me I'm worth it,
Tell me I'm worthy of love.
Worthy of happiness."

A loud, crashing sound dragged me out of my loathing. I opened my eyes, and realized I have smashed my head into the mirror. Again, another broken mirror. A new addition to the long trail of broken things that follow me, the epitome of brokeness. I slumped back onto the wooden seat, and blood trickled down my neck. As my blood, trickled down my neck.

I guess it is time to smile, because the show is not over. I like to think of myself as a ballerina, doing a pas de deux with Sadness. And life is the audience, watching with a twisted grin on its face. Ha!

 I am fine. I am fine.

“I wish my feet to dance, as the trees harmonize to the melody of the breeze. And my heart swell, as the river sings to the tunes of the birds. I wish to be me. I wish to be free.”

Prince Ihè
1 - Image: USGS on Unsplash
2 - Image: Jr Korpa on Unsplash
3 - Image: Andrew Haimerl on Unsplash
4 - Image: Jr Korpa on Unsplash
5 - Image: Dollar Gill on Unsplash cropped
Prince Ihè
Prince Ihè
Prince Ihè, hails from the Igbo tribe in South East Nigeria, and lives in Lagos. He is a writer and an avid reader, who writes about the hurdles of life. About things people are either too scared, or ignorant to talk about. His works have appeared in Brittle Paper magazine, and Kalahari Review. He is also a student of Applied Biochemistry, who finds joy in the little things. Twitter (X): @Pkwado | Instagram: @prince_ihechi


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