BECAUSE OF SOMETHING MISUNDERSTOOD

Because of something misunderstood, although constantly seen, we fought; we fought against one another. Neither of us was killed in the intense battle, but our friendship died, brutally murdered by mistrust and injured vanity and faults unconquered in you and me.

There was a word we left unspoken. Would that one had spoken it all this time, would that we had broken down the barriers, the artificial barriers, yesterday.

One day too late, yet all we see are smiles. Is it a joke, or a word of comfort, or a tale, an apology, a ruse, poetry or a bridge? Like it was when we started, like it was, is. Secrets sleeping sleep on still in the sands beneath the sea, lapping up the shores of solemn promises that may never be broken, until the sands are wetted and the rigid stances have melted, lest we break.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

WE ARE FRIENDS

Not because of what you did
Or did not do…

Not because of what you said
Or failed to say…

Not because of what you know
Or never came to know…

But because in your eyes I espy
A certain thing
Which I cannot immediately define
But by which I have hope
That you will be the important one in my life…

Patience.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

WAVING GOODBYE

When I started to interact with you
Little did I understand
That true friendship is an addiction
Too hurtful for lonely people

Metamorphosis from yesterday’s amnesia
To today’s cage of painful memories
Was like dawn that swiftly recedes
Unobserved.

The numbing melody of a thousand shards
Crashing to the splintered ground
Is a sad song
Yet I must dance alone.

Life has petalled pain
With the scent of a red rose
A caged rainbow beats in my chest
Like Harmattan waving goodbye to the rains.

-Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

LOVE THOSE YOU HAVE TODAY

So, your enemy
Disguised as a friend
Separated you from
Your real friend, in the end.

Well, it’s all good, it’s all good
Wear not regret as a crown of thorns
Love those you have today.

What use is the morning’s advice
If you understand it only in the evening,
When it’s too late
You think?
The day is already gone

Well, it’s all good, it’s all good
Love the night too
The moon is a growing sun.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

AT THE HOSPITAL

In the hospital waiting room
It was not the sick who were ailing
But the healthy who accompanied them

I saw more worry in the eye
Of many a mother
Many thoughts on the brow of
Each accompanying husband

I saw that love shares burdens
And carries them doubly
And friendship will go the extra mile
And family is a wordless wonder
And the heart is the deepest mystery on earth.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

WHERE THE WORLD STOPS

You make me richer
The more I give to you
The well fills the pitcher
Lovingly. This is from me to you
Sings the well, a wishing well
No coin can grant the wishes
That kindness will, a kindness well
Your heart, a table of rare dishes
More profound than profundity
Wiser than the wisest sagacity
Where it stops – the world – there begins
Aye there begins Friendship, and wins.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

MY FRIENDS

My friends are the improbable people
The ones you wouldn’t expect
Who never visit or party with me
Yet always show me respect

Who hide in the faceless crowd
And put in a good word for me
Who demand of me not company
But that I walk the path before me

Who even when we quarrel
Still never will betray me
Who tell me my failings to my face
But keep my secrets safely

Because I do the same for them
It is the way of friendship
The friends you rarely see me with
Are the ones you shouldn’t mess with.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

YEAR OF LIGHT

It began as a running thought
What I ought and ought not perhaps
Know, do or think

It began as a bowl of poems
But when the curtain lifted
I saw it was one poem.

This is the path of light
The curving straight line
Nothing is too far, nothing is too near
I shall get there.

Lovely are the snowflakes outside the
Airbus windows
Soon we shall rollbacktaxirunaway and
Take off –

And I shall remember the snow
And take along with me the love of friends
Into the new year.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

ROW YOUR BOAT

image

Do you see
Those two boats
On the river?
Two brothers
Will row, side by side
Into the sunset.

One will dock
On the golden banks
While the other
Will row on
And they will wave
Goodbye to each other.

This is the way
Of the world
Of love and loss
Of meeting and parting
Of friendship and memory
Of life and death.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

Picture:
My brother Kwame and I
University of Ibadan, Nigeria
1995