Footsteps On The Sands Of Time

Kwame Ekwueme Chukwumerije 1975 – 1995

Kwame, you would have turned 47 today, but that dream died a long time ago. You didn‘t even quite make it out of teenage.
But, brother, your few poems have long made it unto the pages of our hearts for all eternity, like footsteps on the sands of time.

Available on Amazon:
Footsteps On The Sands Of Time: (Poems)
– by Kwame Ekwueme Chukwumerije

REFLECT BEFORE CELEBRATE

Why was I born? Why were you born?
Into this Earth.

My birthday always makes me think. This year more than ever, I don‘t know why. The questioning thought: Everything I‘ve done in the last 48yrs, have they in any way really fulfilled the reason WHY I WAS BORN? Or have I up until now, in a deep subtle way, just been wasting my time? For I was not born in order to celebrate that birth annually. Viewed logically, that‘s a senseless feedback loop – unless augmented, nay, superseded, by a PURPOSE – and the fulfilment of that purpose – of my birth into this earth.

49 years ago, I was not here. I was not a part of this daily hustle and bustle, getting into cars and busses, voting in elections, raising kids, being earthy and doing the earthly. So, where was I? And why did I come here? Where were you before you were born? And why did you come here?

Every year the certainty that I‘m closer to my earthly death, to my departure. I just feel it, so strongly. That reduced distance. It‘s not just a piece of general knowledge that we all have: Everybody dies one day. Yes we all know this. But it is more than this. It‘s also a solid emotional perception, a physical presence that comes closer, that you can feel when you close your eyes and pay attention.

My birthday makes me think, not just of birth, but also of death.

My brother, Kwame, aged 19, died on my 21st birthday. It was a few weeks before his own 20th birthday. The person closest to me. Why did he come? Did he or did he not fulfil the purpose of it? And then he was gone again. It‘s a date we share, in life and death.

Life existed before we were born into it. It was perfect, already. Before we were created, Creation was already formed and perfect. This realisation makes me think and there is no end to this reflection. Just a clear line of perception – an intuitive perception:

You are not without a reason and not without a purpose, unless you fail – consciously or unconsciously – to discover that reason and that purpose; and then to – deliberately or instinctively – fulfil that reason and that purpose.

It‘s a serious and thought-provoking business meeting your birthday again, and still not knowing why. Or knowing if you’re fulfilling why, as best as you can. Year after year.

I don‘t need to celebrate my birthday. I need to reflect upon it.

Reflect before celebrate.

Che Chidi Chukwumerije
06. April 2022

Little Che – mid 1970s.

COMRADE

There was an eagle in your eyes
In your gait
In your voice
In your words
In your deeds
In your mind
In your Heart, Daddy –

It was you. Your spirit. Your essence.

That eagle is flown away today
Six years ago
But the arch of its flight is still imprinted
In my memory
Like daylight in the nighttime.
A Comrade in life
And a Comrade in the afterlife.

Che Chidi Chukwumerije

In Memoriam:
Comrade Uche Chukwumerije
11.01.1939 – 19.04.2015
Ugo Mba 1 Isuochi
Dike Ogu Ndi Igbo
Convinced Socialist. Proud Panafricanist.
Father. Teacher. Comrade. Enigma.

MEIN GROSSVATER

Er nannte ihn den Hitlerkrieg.
Der Ausdruck 2. Weltkrieg
Wurde erst später populärer,
Nach der Allierten Sieg.

Davon war er ein Teil,
Ein Schwarzer Kolonialsoldat
Aus britischem Nigeria –
Danach erfuhren sie den Verrat:

Tilgung aus den Geschichtsbüchern.
Alle Seiten wechselten Seiten –
Freund in guten Zeiten ist nicht
Immer Freund in schlechten Zeiten.

Wiederdaheim wurde er Polizist,
Lehrte seine Kinder 3 Dinge lieben:
Einander, die Bildung und Gerechtigkeit –
Der Schlüssel, hat er gelernt, zum Siegen.

Che Chidi Chukwumerije
2019: Das Jahr der deutschen Dichtung

MEIN VATER

Er nannte seinen ersten Sohn Che,
Glaubte an Marx und Sozialismus,
Verehrte aus der Ferne die DDR,
Und verpönte den Kapitalismus.

Doch die Welt würde sich verändern,
Kameraden wandten sich ab vom Kommunismus,
Che starb und Jahrzehnte später die DDR,
Geblieben ist nur der Kapitalismus.

Er sah die Globalisierung Platz nehmen,
Als Konservativ auch den Liberalismus,
Als Christ den Anstieg der Glaubenskriege,
Und die Rückkehr von Rassismus und Faschismus.

Sein geliebter Panafrikanismus fruchtete nicht
Zeitlebens; und Biafra blieb mißverstanden,
Als er im Kreis seiner Kinder nachdenklich starb,
Gottvertrauend, von vielen Menschen unverstanden.

Che Chidi Chukwumerije
2019: Das Jahr der deutschen Dichtung

THE WAY OF THE DRAGON

What was strange to others, was ordinary to us. When other kids went for children’s parties, we went for training and competition in martial arts and swimming. That was our father’s way – and it was the only way we knew; and looking back now, God bless that man. He was just unapologetically himself. He gave us a different world in which to live because it was the only world he was convinced of. A world of discipline, simplicity, hardwork, scholarship, modesty, frugality, brotherhood and fraternity. This is the root of our bond today – my siblings and I.

The most horrible thing that can happen to any person, to any family, to any society, is to think that there is something wrong in being different. For, then, there will neither be change nor progress. Just be yourself, even if it is different – nay, especially if it is different. Earth thrives on diversity. And diversity is only guaranteed when each person has the courage to be himself/herself. Thus, courage is the protector of our future as a human species. People, BE BRAVE.

Our father wanted to strengthen bravery in us, so he threw us into the martial arts, where you are alone in the ring and only your own fearlessness will see you through – and, win or lose, will cement your character and your legend. Just fight fearlessly. That was his message: Let fearlessness be your blood; that is all I ask of you. Win or lose, please my child just fight to the end.

When we turned it against him, though, it caught him unawares. Maybe he unconsciously hoped everybody was burning to be a public servant, or a socialist, and things like that, like himself. But I just wanted to be myself, to answer the call of life in another context – and he had taught me the courage to do so. But myself, at least in that period, was everything different from what he wanted for and from me. The irony and riddle of doing what is expected of you and thereby going against what is expected of you. The split was unpreventable, unavoidable and – for many decades it seemed – unhealable.

But Time, that great Mender, was Merciful. And Love pushed its stubborn head through and I will forever be grateful for the three beautiful years we had until he died.

Well, what on earth is this life all about? Who really knows? Is it politics? – Not everyone can be a politician. Is it the professions? – Not everyone can pursue one. Is it family? – Not everyone will make one. Is it ideology? – Not everyone will feel inclined to one. So what on earth is this earthlife all about?

In the end, it is simply whatever is in you that has to come out of you. And all you need to do, to make that happen, is simply to BE BRAVE. Brave enough to follow your innermost voice, no matter what!

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

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.

AS IF ALREADY WE KNEW

I remember you
Almost everyday.
Do thoughts forget
Their creators? Heart
And common sense agree
In me that they never could.
I remember you daily.

Our childhood and youth
Made my heart what
It is today. And though
You’re gone who knows
Where in the Beyond,
Still my memories of you,
Brother, know no boundaries.

How many times did
We watch Joe Panther?
Little did we know that
We were watching our future.
For, like Tiger died and left Joe,
One of us would go
And the other would lonely stay.

And I remember how quietly
We sat, together, trying
To hold back and conceal
Our tears that first time
We watched La Bamba –
As if already then we knew
How it would one day feel.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

RIVER RIVER FLOWING HOME

image
Che and Kwame

I saw a departed soul
There
On the other side of the river
Yet there is no bridge
Across the river
So how did he get there?
How did he cross to the other
Side of the river

River, river, flowing home

Bathed in the mild glows of
The fields across
The river
Stood a soul
And he said, Brother
Goodbye…

River, river, flowing, going home.

– CHE CHIDI CHUKWUMERIJE.