WITH STANDING ON THE PUNISHMENT OF SOCIETY

The scar whipped
The back proudly
The ground is stepping on me
Yes I will die standing up

If you thirst for freedom then
Feel free
To bury me standing
Upright –
Only slaves prostrate before their executioner!

If the ground stands on me
Well, so will I too.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.
From  “Palm Lines”
amazon cover copy palm lines 2015

THE PRESENCE

NEWLY THE sun shone anew. Happy the multitude was to see again their surroundings. But where were they? A no-land. Only space and space and space. But no footprints and not a voice on the wind.

We seek the voices, we hear the silence. The multitude is faced with the choice – to turn inwards or to turn outwards. The multitude turned inwards and became a nation. Generations later, the nation turned outwards and faced the world.

Thus was the first Pride born. For the nation was too much for the world.

Let us leave the world and the nation, the multitude, the space and the silence, and look at the street. A busy street. Hawkers, traders, pedestrians, beggars, jam the sidewalks. Busses, cars, motorcycles, cram the roads.

Above them, an unsmiling face, almost but not as large as the sky, looks down guardingly upon them. The face is not the face of a loving protector, that much can be deduced from its features. It is the face of a prison warden. Emotionless and evil. Because the prison is his.

A face turns upwards. One of the people on the street has a strange sensation hard to describe. She looks up, sees the face, screams and collapses. People walk by her. Others stop. She is dead. They cross themselves, mutter prayers and walk away.

Let us go back to the nation. The nation has arisen. It is all-powerful. It runs like a well-oiled machine, a high-tec computer. It shut itself out of the world for generations. It let nothing in, not even nature. Now it is ready to face the world. It towers over the rest of the world and opposes all who seek to break away from this new sway.

Others raise their gazes too, see the face of the guardian of evil. They collapse and die too, just like the woman. But the souls of the dead have risen too, they mingle amongst the living and strengthen invisibly their resolve. And sometimes now when I look up at the giant face of the prison-guard in the dark dark clouds above us, I see a slightly worried look in his eyes. Things are going wrong. He feels it. But he cannot put his finger on it.

Why are people looking up?

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

WEALTH OF POVERTY

They shrink away instinctively
Disgustedly
From the poor
As though poverty were a disease

But even faster they
Avert their thought-sprinkled eyes
Nobody wants to see Shame
The shame mirrored within

Who is ashamed of whom?
Of what?
The rich is ashamed for being rich
The poor is ashamed for being poor

They both are ashamed of being
In the company of each other
One hopes the tides will turn
One fears the tides will turn.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

P.O.V.ERTY

Sand for breakfast
Tasted no better than shit
I don’t beg for alms anymore
I just snatch it

My mother’s tears
Son I did not bring you up to be a thief
Mom you didn’t raise me to suffer in poverty, did you?
I just want some relief.

Sometimes they look out of their cars
Our eyes meet
I wonder if they ever wonder
If I know the taste of meat.

If I were in their shoes
Would I mean nothing to me
If driving by I saw me chained by poverty
In a system that benefits only me.

– CHE CHIDI CHUKWUMERIJE.