SHE WAS A WEIGHTLIFTER

She was a weightlifter
They found it unseemly
But she was a shape-shifter
Their disdain was a lighter burden to bear
Than her fate.

Slum lady. Carried mud and bricks
Bore stones and sticks
Firewood, rusted water in weeping baskets
The stretch marks of impatient thirsty men
Bunched up her muscles.

Owned by all, never owned a thing
The madams’ slaps, the masters’ secrets
Nothing was too heavy a load to carry
To snatch, to clean, to jerk off –
Each jerk. Very ordinary.

Today, when she steps out unto the mat
Under the lights, there you see
Sunset in one eye, sunrise in the other –
It’s not heavy weights she’s lifting
She’s carrying hope.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

TENSE TIES

The quiet is defeaning
It bursts your eardrums
Eery and foreboding

Who will make the first move?
Who will change sides?
What is really happening?

History, like a confused child
Keeps coming back home
Looking for its parents

History, like a boomerang
Circles and circles the raised hand
Waiting for peace and rest.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

BRINK

The world is changing under your watch
There is hatred abroad, fear is at home
Never was it easier to manipulate the future
Crowds of boomerangs are rushing out of the past
Back to the present

When events take this turn, sharply
When all the resentments flower
When cultivated prejudices become seasoned culture
All that’s needed is a reason, a trigger, a spark
There is no hiding place

Everyone has got a grudge to prove
The dark hearts will plunge the world into chaos
And watch the good people tear themselves to pieces
– Who will rise above their shadow
And solve a paradox?

Everybody has been aching for the final conflict
Woe betide us
When it finally comes upon us.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

HISTORY AND DESTINY

Plenty of questions but no gaps, only seeming gaps – but how would you know unless you first tried to fill the gaps in answer to your questions? Then you fathom that you are the gap, you are the question, and the answer rests in you.

Plenty of questions, but not all are gaps. Plenty of gaps, but only some are visible, while the rest, the sleeping questions, are still waiting for you tomorrow. You don’t even know your deeper questions yet, the ones that will really tear you out of yourself and make you a part of something bigger than you could ever conceive of today.

Because you are the gap and the question, you are the answer, the future and the fate. And the more you find yourself, the more you find your questions. And the more you find yourself, the more you find your answers. Until there are no gaps left, and everything becomes simply the story.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

SURROGATE MOTHER EARTH AND HER STRANGE CHILDREN OF JOY

Everything about the earth’s geological history and trend suggests the disconcerting and alienating thought that human beings were not intended to exist on it for a long time – speaking in terms of geological time. It seems we are a species, the conditions favourable for whose biological existence would, like a thin strip on the broad spectrum of earth time, be laboriously reached after billions of years of evolution, tenderly maintained for several millions of years (very short compared to the past and future age of the earth), and then gradually evolved away from again. The earth will then plunge further in its cycle into more advanced states of instability or stability, which ever way you want to view it, eventually drastically altering the delicate balance of elementary interplay that once sustained higher animal and, above all, human life upon its surface. Mother Earth, it seems, like all mothers, after bearing and rearing her children, will one day tire of them and expel them from her home.

Whereas the earth is over 4,600 million years old, the first hominids appeared just 4 to 6 million years ago, while human beings as we know them today came on the scene only about 200,000 years ago. It took 1,600 million years for the first cyanobacteria (capable of photosynthesis, thus producing oxygen) to evolve, and after that it took another almost 3,000 million years before humans arrived, and many dramatic things happened along the way. This reminds me of an analogy I once read somewhere: that if the age of the earth up until now were a ninety kilometre long motorway, humans only appear somewhere in the last few meters at the end of the final, the ninetieth, kilometre. Quite awe-inspiring to me. It however does not end there. It keeps moving forward. Discontinuing the influence of human technology, which largely – at least in the short term – seems to be putting more pressure on the earth, the natural geological changes in the earth and solar system will, within many thousands of millions of years in the future, yield an environment poor in exactly those elements and conditions that once called forth biological life. Quite simply, even if in the future the earth is spared every possible kind of accident and trauma that ever befell it in the past, which is highly unlikely, yet the earth will still eventually age. The sun too will dramatically change and become very unfriendly. It seems quite unlikely that the human race will not become extinct some day, at least on earth.

Some say this is where science fiction comes into this motion picture. According to them, science fiction of today is science fact of tomorrow. Man, the technological being, will become master over the laws of nature. Time travel will become possible. The quick traversing of large distances that normally would cover light-years will be achieved. New sources of energy, new methods of making use of energy, would have been developed. New planets colonised. A new super race of galactic humans would have been bioengineered. And all the rest of that flight of fancy. Well, it’s hard to dispute something that has not yet happened. But so far all we seem to do is put ourselves in danger and expose just how vulnerable the human species is. So, as an aside, let’s just hope the bees don’t go extinct. And yet this dogged belief in technology’s ability to secure us a future is understandable, because… what’s the alternative? – eventual Extinction someday?… Really? Extinction?… It’s a thought that’s just inacceptable to the human mind, that the human mind will one day be no more, disappeared with the human being. Because it just does not make any sense: What on earth was the rationale behind the brief physical existence of this species – Human? What was the point? To grow and to know, only in order to forget and to die? The entire species – without being able to pass all that knowledge on to… someone… anyone. Why?

Well, what about passing it on to, retaining and using it, ourselves – somewhere, somehow? What if Mother Earth is not really our mother? Only our surrogate mother? Our temporary womb.

This is the point, I must admit, at which some times my thoughts turn to that little elusive thing called Spirit. That thing of which they say that it originates in a place, in a state, in a consistency, that floats above every measurable concept of time and space, that existed before and will continue to exist after every earth has had its day. They say it, Spirit, coming from there, is eternal and that it alone is in truth the true human being. I have read that it incarnates and reincarnates time and again, seeking maturity. I have read, have heard, have even sensed, that it speaks the language of intuition and will always be incomprehensible to the intellect, and yet will always continue to silently argue with it. Because, if the earth is my mother, who is my father? I know I can’t prove anything to anybody, not even to myself, yet for sure the earth will meet its end one day, and yet there is in me something that will live on, somewhere, somehow, consciously. Eternally and forever. And I call it Conscious Knowing Joy.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.