[Der lyrische Mittwoch, Folge 15] Aka Teraka – FERNERHIN

Vielen Dank an Sebastian Schmidt für das Interview/Gespräch. Es war mir eine Freude, am lyrischen Mittwoch teilnehmen zu dürfen.

PS – “Aka Teraka” war zu jener Zeit mein Pseudonym.

HIER oder unten in voller Länge zu lesen:

[object HTMLTextAreaElement]

via [Der lyrische Mittwoch, Folge 15] Aka Teraka – FERNERHIN.

HATRED AND HOPE

Branded roses
Blood is your dance floor
Beast is the yeast of your flour
Your moist garden is the handle of my door
And your soup is dour.

I saw a stranger, dressed in black,
Quietly step back from your door –
I saw you, a black bird in grey skies
Flapping, rising
Hatred flaming in your chest like
A torn rose.

Yet I kissed you, don’t
Ask me why – your lips parted and I tasted
Hope on your tongue
Like a squirrel hiding in the bush.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

THE MAN-CHILD … (Easter intuitions)

ONCE, AS I stood outside my house early one dawn, I saw the man-child playing in front of my door.

I called to him:

Child of Creation! What brings you here?

He turned around, looked into my eyes with his bright, warming eyes.

I came to visit the world, he said, to learn its ways and woes.

I left my family and people, and went to the man-child, vowing to protect him from evil men. He, however, did not understand my vow, for he was yet to understand evil men.

And so we set off together, to learn him the world.

We first came across the weary and the poor, and the man-child smiled at them; and his smile, like the sun, melted their sorrows away. He told them stories of life in the higher realms of creation; and his stories, like gentle rain and cool breezes, calmed them and made them sleep, peacefully.

As we journeyed on, the man-child grew into an adolescent. Then we came across the entertainers and singers. He joined them and began to sing with them. That was the first time I noticed that little thing which would one day lead to much sorrow. It was obvious that the man-child was a better entertainer, and soon the others became jealous. But because he was still something of a boy, it would have seemed very foolish if they had expressed these feelings openly. So instead they said that he was an adolescent and should not be with men. They drove him away. As he walked away, I saw confusion mixed with sadness in his eyes, and I did my best to distract him from his inner pain.

Meanwhile the man-child grew into a youth and we came across the workers and the farmers. The youth asked for a chance to work, got it. But his work was the most beautiful and soon he became the recipient of the majority of the customers. The fruit of his farm was also the richest, and in no time more and more of the market-visitors came buying from him. The other workers and farmers grew angry, envious. And they planned against him; and, going to the scholars and the lawmakers, they bore false witness against him.

So the scholars and lawmakers summoned him and he explained his soul, whereupon it became apparent that he was innocent and it was the others who had lied. He became a hero.

By now he had grown into a man, and the scholars and lawmakers bid him stay with them for they perceived a keen intelligence behind his luminous eyes.

He consented, and stayed. But in no time at all, it became clear that the scholars were ignorant and the lawmakers themselves lawbreakers, because the man-child’s wisdom was like a bright light that illumined all inherent defects, much to the displeasure of the scholars and lawmakers. If it became apparent to all that he was wiser than they, that would be the end of their position of prominence and their status. So they promulgated a law deliberately designed to ensnare him, through which they arrested him for being a stranger and a deceiver.

But before they could sentence him to his punishment, I ran ahead to the elders and the custodians of truth, before whom I laid down the entire matter.

All parties were summoned.

I remember that day clearly. Everybody was sitted except the man-child. He stood in their middle and he was no more a child, but a man. His lips were formed into a perpetual, if subtle, half-smile, interrupted by lines of sorrow and a slight furrow on his forehead that both told more than the bitterest words would. Tears ran down my cheeks as I saw what the world had done to the beautiful, innocent child of creation.

Presiding over the sitting was the Prince of the Land, their highest authority. He too summoned himself to the sitting, for no case in recent history had been imbued with so much intrigue or attracted so much publicity.

And voices began to speak. To accuse. But when the man in the heart of the child of creation spoke, it became clear that the lawmakers were the lawbreakers and the scholars ignorant.

The Prince, he was a good man, he decided to let the man-child go free. But the elders were afraid and the custodians of truth were no real custodians of truth, for they realised that if the man in the heart of the child of creation continued speaking, he would soon show that even they were less than they were supposed to be.

They informed the Prince that if he did not convict the stranger, then he would gather enormous power, wealth and force-of-arm, and overthrow the Prince. When the Prince heard this, his fear and ego flared up within him. He charged the man-child to speak again and to make clear his position with regards to this accusation.

The man-child, however, having understood what was going on, shook his head and remained silent. His lips were turned down. No smile played on them any longer.

The Prince became confused. Finally he let the executioners execute the murdering of the man-child, lest he indeed become greater then he was and overthrow him.

It was a bright, hot noon, the day on which he was executed for being the child of creation. Nature wept.

Hours later, I walked away, remembering the times we had shared. Remembering his sunny heart. My heart broke. Then broke doubly. For I saw that the people were celebrating the murder of the troublesome stranger.

As my weeping grew deeper, a Shadow fell upon me. I looked up into the sky and saw the Avenger looking down on us all. And he was not smiling.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

MIRROR MIND (A Duet)

mirrormind 1

I’m looking at a person in the mirror
He mirrors my thoughts but not my actions
We stare each other quietly in the eye
Then I hide the mirror again in my closet
And walk away

I can no longer look at my reflection.
For it shows my weakness and my fear.
It’s as if the picture that paints my surface
has been discolored by my truth.

There will be no sun without a morning
There will be no lake without a mirror
If I claim to be dead, then I’m still alive
The frozen spark trapped inside is a spirit outside
Looking in

Grasping for what seems like eternity
to the small amount of existence I have left.
Aching for the courage and strength to
break through the barrier of acceptance.
Continuously wishing for hope to surround me.

And so shall it be, I touch myself
My lows, my highs, my spark,
The mirror cracks, the image is gone
Because I have come.

– (Che Chidi Chukwumerije / Deana Burson)
***
This is a duet I did with Deana at My thoughts on the subject are as follows.
If you havent read her work yet, please do. She is a restless writer with a gifted imagination.

Ị HỤ ỤZỌ

Ị chọọ ka anyị hụ ụzọ
Ị chaara m n’ụzọ, eee, ị chaara m n’ụzọ… –

Ị chaara m n’ụzọ, ọ bụrụ na
Ị meperela ọnwe gị ụzọ –

Ụzọ bụ nke m… ụzọ bụ nke gị… –
Bịa ka anyị chaara ọnwe anyị n’ụzọ,
Bịa ka anyị chịa ọchị ọzọ.

Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

TWO ROADS THAT NEVER MEET

In space, so strange, I observed
That roads abound
Some straight, some crooked, some even swerved
And came around
And then saw I two roads together walking
Side by side they walked, all the while talking

They spoke, they joked, they conversed
But never touched
Yet still as friends they traversed
Countries that notched
They sometimes turned and peered into each other’s eyes
And yet, so strange, they never formed any ties

They diverged, they converged, and again,
For days on days
They changed, they exchanged, each its lane
Yet kept their ways
And on and on they travel on their way to Heaven
Never parting, never touching, sometimes odd, always even…

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije

ODE TO POETRY

I’ve been biting like a volcano
Poetry has been crying lava
I’ve been biting hard

Stop! Stop bleeding me! Stop breaking me!
I want your nipple
Your lip, your ruthless restless tongue

Your thigh
And above it, your most tender secret
I want to reveal it, stop starving me.

The eruption was a corruption
Of merciful silence.
You should never have woken me up.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.
amazon cover copy palm lines 2015

TWO PAINTINGS

A YOUNG MAN. Alone. Poverty-stricken. What shall he do to survive? He has only one talent, much unused: he can draw and paint. He had done it all his short life, since that moment when he first saw the paintings of that legendary artist who killed herself as a young woman, long ago in the old Nigeria, before the war. Her paintings seemed to have torn open wounds within his heart from which, ceaselessly, it gushed forth.

Growing up in the mad heady dash to afro-modernity that was Lagos, he had forgotten to back himself up with an alternative education while following with audacious self-will his crazy passion and living his dream. Now he stood on the brink of starvation and understood her. But he also knew that if he had armed himself with an alternative, he would today in hungry desperation betray everything he believed in, and he was glad he had not. For this one thing he knew: he would never give up. One day, the tables would turn. So the struggle continued. And then one day arrived in which he had absolutely nothing left and knew not what to do.

Finally he mixed his last paints and, full of anguish, loneliness and a something else not easy to define, wrought two paintings upon two round, flat surfaces, and stood with them beside a mechanic workshop on one of the busy roadsides in Lagos, to peddle them, and eat.

A woman passing in a car beheld the two paintings and the hawker. In Nigeria, people hawk any and all things which they can lay their hands on. Therefore, the woman never even gave thought to the notion that that ragged bony pauper might have actually painted those works himself. All she knew, straightaway, was that they were masterpieces. So she stopped and bargained them down to a cruelly small price and bought them off him, believing in her mind that he must have stolen them from somewhere, thus whatever amount he sold them for would still mean a profit. She bought them for the price of a day’s meal.

But as she was driving away she chanced to glance into the rear-view mirror and noticed the hawker still standing there, gazing after her with a strange, intense, burning look on his face. Suddenly she just knew that he was the artist, the painter who executed these works personally.

She began to do a u-turn but before she was done a sportscar had gone out of control and hit the dreaming painter and sped off. He was on the brink of no return by the time she got to him, and then, after exchanging a look of unwordable intimacy with her, he died, in her arms, his two eyes open, still looking at her.

And suddenly she wondered why he looked so strongly familiar.

She hung his two paintings in her home, for she felt an irresistible connection to these her only connections to that unknown pauper. There was something about the paintings…

One was about women bathing in a stream…

The other was about women lying dead in the woods…

In both paintings, outside the woods, was a single gravestone, with an old woman standing beside it, looking towards the woods with a worried expression on her wise old face.

The paintings held her like a spell.

One day, another woman, one with whom she was bound by quarrels and disagreements and tensions, came calling on her for the purpose of continuing an old line of altercation and settling an old debt. She was one of her bitterest foes.

But then her eyes fell upon, she saw and fell in love with the two paintings, this other woman too. Her heart fell upon them. When the first woman still proved unable to pay back the huge financial debt she owed her, she asked for one of the paintings instead. With anguished heart, the first lady surrendered one, the one where the women lay dead in the woods.

Her foe took it away and hung it up in her home. A few days later she called to ask after the painter of this work, for it seemed to her so familiar. Together they visited his grave, and, for some reason, bitterly wept.

With time they began to call on each other more often, each wanting to see the other painting and to discuss the effect they had on them. So did their bond become mystic, the two women. Each feels an intense connection to the paintings and, through them, to the unknown artist who wrought them, he who seemed so familiar. Their feud came to an end, replaced by a sense of kinship older and deeper than words could explain.

Two paintings. One artist, dead and buried; but his works live on.

And both women still cannot understand what the two paintings mean, nor why they move them both. They only know that the artist had deposited more than just two masterpieces on earth. Verily, he seemed indeed to have also deposited two mistresses and peace on earth, and then departed. –

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

CHERISHED ALWAYS

I know you’re waiting for me to come
You know I’m waiting for you to become –
How long?

An upturned Calabash hides something
A broken mirror is still a mirror
A song unsung – is it a song?
A loveless soul – is it a soul?
When lovers part, are they still lovers?
Have they learnt how to love
Or forgotten how to love a little?
Upsidedownworld.
Turn it upsideupanddownsidedown
But leave the middle in the middle.

The world grows quiet quietly
A lone car passes now and then
A dog barks gently, night falls lightly
And the studio condenses around me again.

Who was I thinking of just now?
Where was I before evening called me back?
A heart is a thousand stories
And forgotten memories.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije