MISSING

Where are you?
The police have looked high and low
Community watch and kind strangers near and far
Have tried your trail to follow

The orange tree we planted
Yields season after season bitter bitter fruits
That would turn sweet were you but here
To pick them off their roots

The children you lovingly bore
Daily older grow, as beautiful as you were
They ask where their mother is
Unable to comprehend how people disappear

I wish we hadn’t gone on that holiday
I wish you hadn’t taken that stroll
That night alone to watch the waves
The ensuing years have taken their toll

My thoughts spank of guilt
I should have been your guard on every walk
What happened, my love? Footsteps don’t talk
Time is a blackboard of fading chalk

Give me a sign of life
Calm my heart, let us know
You’re happy, even in the beyond somewhere
Saying goodbye, I love you in my soul

Strength is a luxury
But succour shall whisper quietly some day
All good things come together in their own day
In their own way, this I pray.

Waiting and waiting in vain
For you to return, to talk, share and to listen
Where are you, my dear? Your picture is silent
Written above it, that killing word, still: MISSING.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

THOUGHTS AT THE DEPARTURE TERMINAL

I will soon spread my wings and fly away. Who will come with me? Whom will I leave behind? What will happen when I’m gone? What will they say? Will the sky still be blue? Will the waters still bear sailing ships? Will the earth still revolve around the sun? Will they remember me here after a little while, or will I fade away in their memories like innumerable disappeared friends from once upon a time? But this is behind me now.

Have I broken hearts? Have I healed broken hearts? Have I quickened hearts and brought adventure into other people’s lives, raw new adventure? Am I a burden on anyone? Then we must part now.

Have I wrought damage beyond salvage? Have I done much more than can be remedied? Am I a ghost? Am I a thing of joy? Am I a precious memory? Am I still there? Am I still there? If I go, will I ever return? Goodbye now.

My life is full these days, full of partings and goodbyes. They come in the form of meetings, unitings and re-unifications; but at the end they shed their cloaks and reveal that they always were, from the beginning, another separation.

Farewell, farewell now.

————–
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.

GOODBYE, LAUGHTER

Have you ever listened to
The night talking to itself
While you lay there beside one another
And not a word occurred to you?

You see the end approaching
Like a boat coming to the shore
To take you away
Away from a laughter called love

And as your worlds drift apart
In the space of one short night
Strange, but no words occur to you
To adequately say goodbye.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

GOODBYE – WELCOME

ONCE UPON A time three ants ran across a wall. They all got crushed by the same hand and died. The hand put itself into food and fed the mouth, and the owner of hand and mouth died because the ants were rare and poisonous. Those who buried the corpse fell ill and died too because the poison was spreading. Nobody buried them. Birds of prey fed on them and later fell down dead from the sky. Goats and cows fed on the grass near the dead birds and, before they died, men drank of their milk; the goats and cows died and the disease was back in the lives of men.

People were dying left and right everyday. From where had this unknown disease come? Where was it headed? Would it move on and leave us alone or would it stay or would it take us along?

But there was a breed of people who did not die, against whom the poison held no sting, in whose land the power of the disease was broken. And all those who knew, or found, and walked the way into their land, this inner state of being, overcame the death that lives through our folly.

Goodbye.

Welcome.

– 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.

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.