NON-MATERIAL THINGS

How frail the body
How it ages
And falls to sickness prey
And life is as a day…

If you send me pictures and reports
Of you enjoying material things
And hope to thereby impress me
Or make me envious
Would you still have the depth of perception to understand
That I pity you?

Send me a greeting to say
How are you? I wish you well…
Then will I see therein your Height
Like an arrow to the heart
That humbles and heals my Spirit.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

AFRICA BLEEDING OUT

It is the hope in the eyes
Of the arriving refugee
That breeds the sadness of heart
In the one that welcomes him
For he knows the frustration
That follows and the humiliation
That hollows out…
And the silence.

Knowledge is a heavy burden –
To know that Humiliation is
The highest they will get
And yet they are ready to take it
In the hope of a better life
Makes one sad…
What made Africa do this to itself
And its posterity?

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

VARIETY

I don’t make Afro-pop
Or naija-hiphop
Everything I do is
Alternative

Oil is not the only source
Of Revenue.
Nigeria, diversify
Tap your other talents

Build planes
Phones triggered by thought
Find a unique solution
To the problem of soil Erosion

Restless creativity
Is the mirror altar of the Higher God
Don’r run from yourself
Be a native of your Inner voice

Celebrate the different bird
Celebrate the alternative curious thought
Celebrate the bold Spirit of adventure
Make the celebration of diversity your art and culture
in perception, in Expression, in creation.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

SUCCESSION

It‘s a Saturday morning
My spirit wants to fly
My soul wants healing
My mind looks back and forth

My body is self-rejuvenating
I want this moment to last longer
My children want to watch TV
I‘ve told them to give me 20 more minutes

Five minutes later,
My daughter pokes her head
Through the living room door and asks
„Are twenty minutes over yet?“

I look up from the book I’m reading
And see the book of life staring at me
„No,“ I say, „Not yet.“
Five minutes later her brother comes in

And asks me the same question.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije

THE YOUNG SHALL GROW… INTO THE OLD.

My first experience with “partisan” politicking was when I was in junior secondary School. We had to separate out into different social groups and clubs, conduct elections, decide on and plan our first projects, and things like that. There were clubs like the “Junior Lieterary Society”, the “Dramatic and Cultural Soceity”, the “Red Cross Soceity”, the “UNICEF soceity”, and more. Some clubs were more popular than others, their members and leaders enjoying almost cult status and exuding an uncanny power of attraction on girls. Some people naturally wanted they and their friends to go enmasse into certain of these clubs and take over the structure and the leadership.

Spontaneously the political animal jumped out of little teenage boys; campaigns and clandestine signs, signals and meetings filled the corridors and classrooms for a few days; conspiracy theories and rumours abounded, and people cross-carpeted at will, sometimes multiple times in one day. Treachery, backstabbing, mockery, insinuation and slander were the rule of the day; it was gleeful fun; sweet-talking and arm-twisting; and efforts were made on all sides to influence people’s decisions to be loyal to one or betray another. The set was agog with negotiations and coalition-building and -undermining. Friends turned into spies; and one moment people were doing what they had condemned a moment before.

Promises of provisions, cornflakes, ice cream, invitations to certain parties, access to certain items of fashion like baffs, perfumes and designer shoes, assurances of cronje and copying, and even a share in one’s precious pocket money, could work wonders on the conscience and decision-making capacity of many a hitherto well-brought-up boy. Where cajoling and bribe proved ineffective, threats, intimidation and blackmail were applied. No-one wants to lose his friends or be left out of the group. Some people just followed out of insecurity, so as to belong. Some were more calculating and strategic in the way they aligned their support. Some others simply laughingly gave their vote to the highest bidder. Cash and carry junior politics.

Naturally not everyone displayed these maverick political instincts. Some aligned themselves based on noble ideology, some made a pledge and kept their word, and things like that; and some just had no clue or no interest. But in the end, it was the politicaally astute and the politically aggressive that won and got their way. Verily, with time even the “ideological” started to rethink their stance and to quietly join the popular clubs, especially when enticed with the offer of leadership positions. In all this of course I was not just an observer – I was caught in the web of dynamics.

Prior to this occassion I had looked with disdain at the corrupt older generation, and with hope and certainty at my generation, sure that when it was our time we would do things differently and change the country for the better. This event was one of those important early turning points and awakening moments in my young life. I saw that we are all the same. I learned that generational change is an opportunity and, eventually, a necessity; but it is not a guarantee of spiritual renewal or character transformation of a group. It is a promise of change, but not in itself a fulfilment of it. Volition alone is the trigger of change. Old or Young, you have to want to change, or you will repeat – at best in different forms – the essence of the sins of villains past.

Another thing I learned is that kids are not innocent. They know early and they show early who they are and who they want to be, or are prepared to allow themselves to be.

So, now the Mantra: “Generational Change” is in the air again. But a young wolf and an old wolf are the same – with the difference, that a young wolf is probably even hungrier. The old of today were once the youth of yesterday; and the factors that sidelined the “good” yesterday and put the “bad” in power, those same factors will be at work again today; are at work again today – they don’t go on leave. So when you’re choosing the next generation, apply the filter of knowledge and experience gained from events and processes past. Because the young shall grow… into the old. So choose wisely, and follow those that will lead us not into temptation and corruption again.

It is the job of the old to set the right example for the youth. But where the old have failed to do this, then the youth must must set forth at dawn and set these examples for themselves, and for the youth of tomorrow. No more “same old, same old”. Once upon a time, Musical Youth sang “The Youth of Today”. What happened along the way? No wonder in the same song they also sang “Don’t blame the youth…” – as if they already knew what was coming next. Well, may the next “Generation Change” usher in at last the attitudinal Change and the orientation change that we so badly Need.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

MATURE MUSIC

Sorrow made you Dance
Laughter too
Worry made your heart beat
So did Love
Even Anger, even Hatred, and Fear
Made you move, you danced along
To Surprise, Curiousity, Longing for more
The Loneliness Shuffle, Regret backslides
Even Forgiveness has an ironic Twist to it
Because who really forgets?

Life the musician is not superficial
Live Music not artificial
Life makes Mature Music for
Old and Young maturing Spirits.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije

TREE LIFE

The trees speak to me
And tell me their Story

Some are planted first
For their growth will be long
And their fruits will come last
To feed the weakening strong
Who have made it to the end

Some flower early
To awaken in the young
The thirst for song, and in
The old the memory of beauty
As a birth gift for the Beyond

Some will be the fruit-bearers
In the middle of time
So that along the journey
Nature will take care of every
Wanderer, every Wonderer, every Seeker

The human life is spread out
Into stages and phases and types of natures
In every one you will find a helper
A teacher and a friend
This is love

Every Tree too has a Helper
Invisible to you and me
But this is love –
God leaves no one to struggle
Without giving him or her – or it – a helper too

For those whose leaves never drop
For those whose leaves drop and grow again
For those who stand straight
For those who bend in the wind
For those who grow unannounced, lonesome and rare
For those who meet me everywhere
I say Thank You.

The trees speak to me
And tell me their Story:
Now that you’ve tasted of the tree
Of the knowledge of good and evil
It is time for you to taste the fruit
Of the tree of life.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije

AN EARLY RECOGNITION ON RESISTANCE

When I was a little boy – 6 or 7 – I watched a film on the Holocaust, in the sitting room with my parents. One question nagged at me then: why did they follow so quietly and obediently to their own deaths? Why did they not resist?

That question has since then detached itself from that film and that story and has followed me everywhere in life to this day, in many forms and contexts. In truth it was not a question – it was a Resolution.

Always resist.

Never give up, unjustly, what belongs to you, and is valuable to you, without a fight. It’s either you win, or you lose with pride.

All that’s left is for you to decide what your valuable possessions are.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije