VOICES FROM THE FIRE: John Chinaka Onyeche

My Grandmother Was An Alchemist.

My grandmother. It was in late August, and the early 50s now, when I last visited her in that old cool smoky hut from whence, we were all bred. This visit was after I noticed that her sorrows had become like the early morning rains drizzling, that kind which leaves the divvy farmer indoors. She, being a former farmer in this neighborhood; knew what it means when seeds are planted in the farmland without early and the latter rain to help the seeds to transform even as like the craft of an alchemist: turning metals into gold. Today, my grandmother hovered her hands across her couch and brought out a pot filled with (Uri) from under her bed, the only valuable thing left for her she had said, and in this pot, there are names on a platter of papers, and there resonates the word: The Alchemy is mine. Inside the pot, Uri and papers are married together just like husband and wife. As such; she has inked all of her life’s good moments shared with his family and friends together as she had once told me: “these notes and inks are an elixir of life, each time life hits me with its uncertainty, I quickly reached out to this pot in pains, writing all that such wonderful memories of times past, naming them one after another to return to life, for life’s pains sometimes kills if you can’t burn the iron into gold”. In those tiny words written, she smiled again against her sorrows as she revitalized and lived 180 years surpassing all from her lineage. My grandmother as an alchemist, travail over her pains and lived in joy till the end.


What more again as unholy parishioners have, we not become, in these countries across the Atlantic, where we are born in the morning, with the shout of joy. In the noon, our faces are fractured by the pains of our existence. As in the evening, our bodies become the paradise for bullets to dwell on, and as it plants us underneath six feet forever never to germinate like a seed of time. And our breaths become like the Eagle bird, soared high to the mountains, and into oblivious lands of no return, where dirge becomes a home, painted with holes of bullets fired at will, dreams switched off by finger happy, trigger lovers, men in deaths uniform. As our immature bodies are tucked in caskets. It steadied therein, unmovable, in horrors of the punctures it received by the repeated hits and sounds of bullets; hitting and digging holes that usher one after another, into darkness amidst the one-time light promised at their altar of political Babel. And their worshipers sing amen, amen and amen, the crowd echoed in unison for the death of the strength of our nation’s gunned down at the Lekki Toll-gate.

Twilight Of Symphonies.

It has been a decade ago 

when we had our first dance. 

In what took the semblance of, 

crepuscular happenstance. 

On this floor of whither 

once dwelled memories, 

of our favorite symphonies fiddled. 

Despairs of the time past dissipate 

in every chord, our joy struck 

on the keynote of our hearts. 

Love rebirth and rolled out 

like the rivers of the Nile, 

flowing to eternity. 

Love found in the heart of 

two wanderers on earth. 

A walk-in on a twilight, 

our love re-echoes hope 

Published by Mike Zone

Mike Zone is the former Editor in Chief of Dumpster Fire Press and managing editor of Concrete Mist Press. The author of Screaming in the End: Poems and Stories, Fuck You: A Fucking Poetry Chap, Shedding Dark Places (almost), One Hell of a Muse , as well as coauthor of The Grind and Razorville. A frequent contributor to Alien Buddha Press and Mad Swirl. His work has been featured in: A Thin Slice of Anxiety, Black Shamrock Magazine, Horror Sleaze Trash, Better Than Starbucks, Piker Press, Punk Noir Magazine, Synchronized Chaos, and Cult Culture magazine.

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