GENTLY TREAD

Just because I‘m alive doesn‘t mean I‘m not dead
Just because I‘m talking doesn’t mean anything has been said
Just because I‘m lost doesn’t mean I‘m not being led

You might still be hungry, even after you‘ve been fed,
when you’ve been fed stones instead of bread

Those who heal wounds today, have also once bled.

Che Chidi Chukwumerije

CORNERSTONE

The stone that stood
Alone, refused
And baked in sunshine hard
Stepped upon
Spat upon
Outcast, reject, discard
The stone that the builder refused
The stone that the hammer abused
Philosopher’s stone, dreamer’s muse
Song without a bard
Song without a bard.

Dark is the night
No light in sight
What can I say as comfort?
Rugged stranger
Lonewolf, Ranger
Even words of comfort hurt
The house is slow, is slow to rise
Each wall is pride, is compromise
Nobody wants to apologise
As they yearn for your support
As they yearn for your support.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.
—-

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.

FALLEN THROUGH THE CRACKS

Originally I used to cover my face
I was new to the street
A freshly fallen angel –

Would old friends pass this way
And recognise me? Old colleagues?
Old neighbours with whom I shared
A beer and a philosophical hour
Reflecting on the vicissitudes of life
The changing destinies of human lives
Society, politics, the role of science in
Religion, male jokes about women
And feeling entitled to be fortunate.

Will they recognise me now, when
They pass this way and hurry past the
Wretched beggar on the street corner
Maybe throw him a coin but avoid his intrusive eyes?
Opposites don’t match, is their marching song
Did they recognise me in me?

But I don’t avoid their eyes anymore
The eyes of my yesterday
Not anymore
Not anymore.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.