Q&A With Akudo Gaius
The Above video is the featured poem in The Ephemera Series Vol. 1
Akudo Gaius Bio:
Originally from Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria, she currently resides in Birmingham, England. Akudo has lived in four countries, including her home country, Nigeria, England, the United States, and Canada. Akudo first fell in love with poetry back in 2012 when she lived in the United States. She went to an open mic in Oakland, California, and heard spoken word poetry for the first time. She was so moved by the art form that she began writing poetry herself. Her shyness didn't allow her to recite her poems, but she found peace with writing and sharing her work with others.
Akudo Gaius Q&A:
Lukumi: What inspired your poem?
Akudo Gaius: Grief inspired my poem. I let an excellent man go because I was too immature and foolish to give him a second chance. I used to have this false sense of pride and wanted a robotic relationship. And if you fell out of line with the terms, I set I would immediately cut you off and not look back. That's what I did to him, I cut him off for making simple human errors. Such as him being late, not giving me enough compliments, and being overly sarcastic. His jokes and lack of courtship, I felt at the time, came off as disrespectful, and my father disapproved of him because he was a black Canadian. So I left him and found a man who was more robotic and it was the worst decision of my life. I was absolutely miserable being with him. Although my father loved him because he's Nigerian, and my father felt I should marry him. He asked me for his hand in marriage, and I accepted his proposal because of pressure from my father. However, I would call an end to our relationship soon after.
Lukumi: You stated before that the man who inspired the poem wanted a second chance. Can you elaborate more on that?
Akudo Gaius: Yes, when we broke up, eight months later, he wanted to get back together, claiming he had changed and had the chance to think about the issues that occurred in our relationship. When we were together, I was living in Toronto, Canada, at that time. After our breakup, I began transitioning to London, England, for a job opportunity and to further my education. So I had no interest at the time in getting back with him or continuing to speak with him. I would ultimately block him from all social media platforms because I did not want to hear from him. Shortly after that, I began dating my ex-fiance. While we dated, his educational background impressed me, but his sense of humor and take on life was a bore to me. During this time, my mother became ill, and she was later diagnosed with breast cancer. I went into a dark place, especially not having the ability to travel to Nigeria to visit her. My ex-fiance didn't have the emotional awareness at the time to provide any type of moral support. And then came my ex-boyfriend, who contacted me through a mutual friend. My ex-boyfriend was the one who gave me the moral support I needed. At that time, I was working full time and trying to go to school full time to get my Master's degree, and then my mother got sick. It became overwhelming, and my ex-boyfriend helped me through it. During this time, I realized how much he had changed and we had the chance to talk about our past issues. I began to realize that everything wasn't his fault, and I played a major role in the issues we had. Soon after my mother began chemotherapy, six months later, she was cancer-free. I stayed cordial with my ex-boyfriend, but at that time I was too stuck in my ways to fully see the error in my ways.
Lukumi: When did you finally see the error of your ways?
Akudo Gaius: I began to see the error of my ways after I had called off the marriage with my ex-fiance. During the final course of our relationship, I started to miss my ex-boyfriend, and I found myself gazing at his pictures online. What brought everything into full perspective was that my mother passed away in 2017 from complications of breast cancer. This all happened right after I graduated with my Master's Degree. To my surprise, my ex-boyfriend was there to provide me with moral support. And not just supporting me with a conversation, he flew to London and Nigeria to be there with me. I cried on his shoulder and held his hand tightly at my mother's funeral. After my mother's funeral, I took a hiatus from work and had the chance to self-reflect. This is the time I began to work on myself and adjust my attitude. Shortly after a year later, I had the opportunity to relocate back to the United States, San Francisco, to be exact, for my job. I found out my ex-boyfriend was living in Los Angeles at the time. I reached out to him, and he informed me he had a pregnant fiance whom he would go on to marry and have multiple children with.
Lukumi: Your poem speaks about "Time" and at the end of the poem you state, "I just wait to be rich in time." Can you elaborate more on the meaning behind that?
Akudo Gaius: Yes, many people want to have the opportunity to gain wealth. But I want to gain wealth in "Time" that's something I didn't value. I pushed back all the things that mattered the most to me, and when I looked up, I lost my mother, the relationship with my family was never the same, fallouts with friends, the man that I desired was taken, and roughly 7 years later, I'm still single. At this point in my life, "time" is the most precious commodity.
Lukumi: What was your experience with poetry in Nigeria before you came to the United States?
Akudo Gaius: Poetry was around, but it wasn't really big. I don't remember hearing or learning much about it in school either.
Lukumi: In your bio, you state that you fell in love with poetry at an open mic in Oakland, California. Can you elaborate more on that experience?
Akudo Gaius: Yes, it was an electrifying experience. The atmosphere made my heart skip a beat. I have never witnessed anything like this before. The poet's confidence, energy, and stage control were brilliant. It led me to begin writing my own poetry.
Lukumi: How has poetry helped you deal with trauma in your life?
Akudo Gaius: Poetry has helped me greatly with expressing myself. I felt like at certain points in my life I was emotionally empty. I was so consumed with school and work that I lost touch with reality. Poetry helped ground me, and I was able to look back at some of my old poems and hear the arrogance in my writing.
Lukumi: Any last words for our readers?
Akudo Gaius: Yes, never take anything for granted, and appreciate the little things in life.
You can follow Akudo Gaius on Linkedin
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Lukumi Arlota – Contributing Writer
Lukumi Arlota is a mental health advocate, black empowerment activist, public speaker, and business owner.