YOUNG AND OLD

Suffer not the young with belief in their ignorance
Thinking only the old can with wisdom be soaked
Watch: and see kids give to hidden truths substance
For what is a child but an adult cloaked

And seek not in the old for the seat of all staleness
Sure that, with youth passed, all vigour is lost
Look past the frame at a quicker, higher freshness
For what is an adult but a child unveiled

The child is the parent of the out-born adult
The adult is the parent of the in-born child
For up looks the earthling and up looks the moonling
And each sees nothing but the other in the skies

So suffer not greatness with the label of complexity
Nor suffer ordinariness with the verdict of the rejected
For where the great and the ordinary meet, simplicity
Is born, adult and child unite, and Perfection is reflected.

– 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.

COURAGE AWAKENING

Shades of morning
Mantles of night ascending
Ghosts, like fears of the past,
Lay down softly to sleep at last.

Fear. Will whisper.
A thousand reasons to be a coward.
Until your inner man comes calling
The ground is so close
How come you’re still falling?

Beauty, soft kiss of dawn
Quietens you for a moment of tenderness
Before you shed your final skin
Of fear and pain
And stand up, never to crawl again.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

DIGNITY

He threw all the standard colourful
Discriminatory bigot remarks and innuendo
At me, then stepped back with a smirk
And waited to see it shame and hurt me

I knew this one had run out of arguments
And was fishing for the killer-blow
So I let it pass by without contact or impact
And leaned back and watched it confuse and hurt him

Some lines of attack grow old and stale
But some people just don’t get it
I speak back when speaking back will hurt you
And I ignore it when ignoring it will hurt you

Once upon a time, a man was humiliated
With fear and the theft of his dignity
But before he died, he whispered to me – You
Are my victory. Let my history be a lesson to you

Never go down without a fight. Never beg
For mercy when the killer points his gun
If they’re fair to you, be fair to them
But if they hurt you unprovoked – always always always

Somewhere
Someday
Somehow
Hurt them back.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

CHIMERA

The moment she stopped being a chimera and became a human woman, memory and experience kicked in – my fascination waned, my hot blood cooled, my wild pursuit slowed down, and I hesitated… – Do I really want a real woman? Where is my chimera? Give me back my chimera. I want a strange thing that haunts my imagination and promises the unknown and knocks me out of my senses and makes me feel strange things. She looked at me and shook her head and said: Be careful what you wish for; learn to be grateful for the simple things you get.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

EVENING WALK

Kidnapped
Is there still hope for me?
The sun sets sadly as slowly as he can
By the last light of day
Find my way

Did you see the baby that was stolen?
Did you see the boy that was broken?
However hard you look, you will see
No resemblance at all between them and
The man now woken, now walking.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.