LINEAGE

Look at the palm of my hand,
My lineage has run riot –
Griot! Take note!
For the palm is the root of our land.

Tapper, come down
from them high
intoxicating dread locks,

The Elders on the ground
Can see beyond the highest tree.
Tapper, come down
And tap your roots instead

Look at the palm of your land.
Before you boast, ask yourself if you really know
The back of your hand.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije
(PALM LINES)

ABOMINATION

My feet are stepping on me
My souls are brutalised
My grass is Thorn, apart

Strangers
Are laughing in glee
But my children do not understand

It is the foolish lizard
Who nods along wisely
To the snake’s slithering sermon

A child slaps his father
And corrects him
Did you hear the sky fall down?

Are you not ashamed?
If it is wisdom,
Why is it vestigial?

A short tree, shorter than me
Has peed on me –
Can I take it like a man?

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

STILL SEEKING THE FUTURE

I see
Wavering eyes
Tied around my ankles
Tightly beaded the masquerade stumbles

The drums think it is a dance and praise on
The familiar djini pokes his feathered skull
Out of the future – here I am!
Leaden feet leading until again

We stand on the river bank…
Sorry, where exactly?
We have been singing for the boat
Since time immemorial –

Unreversedly.

The mamiwater’s melodious silence answers us

Yet our ancestors did not lie
When they reassured us that the only
Real things are the invisible ones
Who refuse to see us.

If there be no boat
How shall the river
Cross us over
Onto the promised sand?

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.