AFRICA BLEEDING OUT

It is the hope in the eyes
Of the arriving refugee
That breeds the sadness of heart
In the one that welcomes him
For he knows the frustration
That follows and the humiliation
That hollows out…
And the silence.

Knowledge is a heavy burden –
To know that Humiliation is
The highest they will get
And yet they are ready to take it
In the hope of a better life
Makes one sad…
What made Africa do this to itself
And its posterity?

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

WITH STANDING ON THE PUNISHMENT OF SOCIETY

The scar whipped
The back proudly
The ground is stepping on me
Yes I will die standing up

If you thirst for freedom then
Feel free
To bury me standing
Upright –
Only slaves prostrate before their executioner!

If the ground stands on me
Well, so will I too.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.
From  “Palm Lines”
amazon cover copy palm lines 2015

EVEN A NOBODY IS STILL SOMEBODY

Though you seem foolish
And out of touch
Keep on being who you are,
Neither life nor nature’s laws
Was created by human beings.

Though the politicians seem to have all power
Though the freedom-fighters seem to be the only brave ones
Though the intellectuals seem to know it all
Though the popular stars seem to be the only dream-achievers
Yet always remember…

Every single Thought you think
Every deep Intuition you perceive
Every Word you quietly say
And every Little Action in your life
Has an effect Somewhere, Somehow…

For nothing goes for nothing
Nothing gets lost in life, in nature, in Creation
And the fact is that while we’re all so busy
Running around the place
None of us really knows what it’s really all about.

So: Ye Unknown Ones, be brave
And when your Inner Sensing leads you away
From everything the world proclaims “Great” and “In”
Then forsake the world’s ways and quietly, quietly
Find Peace and Joy within your Hearts.

Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

THE PRESENCE

NEWLY THE sun shone anew. Happy the multitude was to see again their surroundings. But where were they? A no-land. Only space and space and space. But no footprints and not a voice on the wind.

We seek the voices, we hear the silence. The multitude is faced with the choice – to turn inwards or to turn outwards. The multitude turned inwards and became a nation. Generations later, the nation turned outwards and faced the world.

Thus was the first Pride born. For the nation was too much for the world.

Let us leave the world and the nation, the multitude, the space and the silence, and look at the street. A busy street. Hawkers, traders, pedestrians, beggars, jam the sidewalks. Busses, cars, motorcycles, cram the roads.

Above them, an unsmiling face, almost but not as large as the sky, looks down guardingly upon them. The face is not the face of a loving protector, that much can be deduced from its features. It is the face of a prison warden. Emotionless and evil. Because the prison is his.

A face turns upwards. One of the people on the street has a strange sensation hard to describe. She looks up, sees the face, screams and collapses. People walk by her. Others stop. She is dead. They cross themselves, mutter prayers and walk away.

Let us go back to the nation. The nation has arisen. It is all-powerful. It runs like a well-oiled machine, a high-tec computer. It shut itself out of the world for generations. It let nothing in, not even nature. Now it is ready to face the world. It towers over the rest of the world and opposes all who seek to break away from this new sway.

Others raise their gazes too, see the face of the guardian of evil. They collapse and die too, just like the woman. But the souls of the dead have risen too, they mingle amongst the living and strengthen invisibly their resolve. And sometimes now when I look up at the giant face of the prison-guard in the dark dark clouds above us, I see a slightly worried look in his eyes. Things are going wrong. He feels it. But he cannot put his finger on it.

Why are people looking up?

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

THE MAN-CHILD … (Easter intuitions)

ONCE, AS I stood outside my house early one dawn, I saw the man-child playing in front of my door.

I called to him:

Child of Creation! What brings you here?

He turned around, looked into my eyes with his bright, warming eyes.

I came to visit the world, he said, to learn its ways and woes.

I left my family and people, and went to the man-child, vowing to protect him from evil men. He, however, did not understand my vow, for he was yet to understand evil men.

And so we set off together, to learn him the world.

We first came across the weary and the poor, and the man-child smiled at them; and his smile, like the sun, melted their sorrows away. He told them stories of life in the higher realms of creation; and his stories, like gentle rain and cool breezes, calmed them and made them sleep, peacefully.

As we journeyed on, the man-child grew into an adolescent. Then we came across the entertainers and singers. He joined them and began to sing with them. That was the first time I noticed that little thing which would one day lead to much sorrow. It was obvious that the man-child was a better entertainer, and soon the others became jealous. But because he was still something of a boy, it would have seemed very foolish if they had expressed these feelings openly. So instead they said that he was an adolescent and should not be with men. They drove him away. As he walked away, I saw confusion mixed with sadness in his eyes, and I did my best to distract him from his inner pain.

Meanwhile the man-child grew into a youth and we came across the workers and the farmers. The youth asked for a chance to work, got it. But his work was the most beautiful and soon he became the recipient of the majority of the customers. The fruit of his farm was also the richest, and in no time more and more of the market-visitors came buying from him. The other workers and farmers grew angry, envious. And they planned against him; and, going to the scholars and the lawmakers, they bore false witness against him.

So the scholars and lawmakers summoned him and he explained his soul, whereupon it became apparent that he was innocent and it was the others who had lied. He became a hero.

By now he had grown into a man, and the scholars and lawmakers bid him stay with them for they perceived a keen intelligence behind his luminous eyes.

He consented, and stayed. But in no time at all, it became clear that the scholars were ignorant and the lawmakers themselves lawbreakers, because the man-child’s wisdom was like a bright light that illumined all inherent defects, much to the displeasure of the scholars and lawmakers. If it became apparent to all that he was wiser than they, that would be the end of their position of prominence and their status. So they promulgated a law deliberately designed to ensnare him, through which they arrested him for being a stranger and a deceiver.

But before they could sentence him to his punishment, I ran ahead to the elders and the custodians of truth, before whom I laid down the entire matter.

All parties were summoned.

I remember that day clearly. Everybody was sitted except the man-child. He stood in their middle and he was no more a child, but a man. His lips were formed into a perpetual, if subtle, half-smile, interrupted by lines of sorrow and a slight furrow on his forehead that both told more than the bitterest words would. Tears ran down my cheeks as I saw what the world had done to the beautiful, innocent child of creation.

Presiding over the sitting was the Prince of the Land, their highest authority. He too summoned himself to the sitting, for no case in recent history had been imbued with so much intrigue or attracted so much publicity.

And voices began to speak. To accuse. But when the man in the heart of the child of creation spoke, it became clear that the lawmakers were the lawbreakers and the scholars ignorant.

The Prince, he was a good man, he decided to let the man-child go free. But the elders were afraid and the custodians of truth were no real custodians of truth, for they realised that if the man in the heart of the child of creation continued speaking, he would soon show that even they were less than they were supposed to be.

They informed the Prince that if he did not convict the stranger, then he would gather enormous power, wealth and force-of-arm, and overthrow the Prince. When the Prince heard this, his fear and ego flared up within him. He charged the man-child to speak again and to make clear his position with regards to this accusation.

The man-child, however, having understood what was going on, shook his head and remained silent. His lips were turned down. No smile played on them any longer.

The Prince became confused. Finally he let the executioners execute the murdering of the man-child, lest he indeed become greater then he was and overthrow him.

It was a bright, hot noon, the day on which he was executed for being the child of creation. Nature wept.

Hours later, I walked away, remembering the times we had shared. Remembering his sunny heart. My heart broke. Then broke doubly. For I saw that the people were celebrating the murder of the troublesome stranger.

As my weeping grew deeper, a Shadow fell upon me. I looked up into the sky and saw the Avenger looking down on us all. And he was not smiling.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

REGRET IS SWEETEST AT NIGHT

See there, a stream
It flows only at night
How can this be?
Who melted my frozen pride?

Who taught me how to cry
When the night is singing?
The book of my life
The pages start revealing

Every petal of blossoming pain
The seed was mine, I broke the ground
And sealed it over with a pound of pride
Not a drop of remorse

Or so I thought.
Yet see, there, a stream
It flows at night in my loneliness
Pride thaws and falls like rains of regret.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

PRIDE AND PAIN

That Mountain yes
It is high, hard, rugged, dogged
And casts a long shadow

It will not stop you
From arriving the other side
Of your pride, when love touches you –

You say it, I’m sorry
It hurts but not for long
Pain heals. I’m sorry…

Those tears are more powerful
Than a waterfall, every barrier will break
In their wake, they will wash the air
Clean, like nature’s storm –

I’m sorry is a power that is a winner.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

SHARED SILENCE, SHARED DISTANCE

Your silence deafens music
The songs don’t move me anymore
But to tears

Your absence ‘tis so loud
Woke me up with a jolt last night
And your emptiness shivered

And I recalled your poems by name
The rain, cheeky, in your hair
The palm wine melody line of dancing pain

It is our way
To do the things that cause us pain
And then share the pain with each other.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.