VOICES FROM THE FIRE: John Chinaka Onyeche

Perhaps Someday, I Will Find A Word To Mourn My Dead One’s Death.

That of my father’s disappearance in my hometown like the widow’s last coins lost. Maybe I should coin out a word, or I am yet to learn a metaphor with which I would mourn him better with after the many years of his name that danced in the East-wind silently as a forgotten song. Or maybe, I should birth for him a lexicon from where his voice, that which went silent in the year 2013 will come back and retell the stories of his life as a father. It is just like what looks as outside his, but what it is, is that which is called brotherly hatred in the care-given undertone and my father walked into the obliviousness of the world; no return as what we used to know him for. Or should I forget about her, she whom I find comfort in her eyes, her voice and her love for an offspring echoes; Janet. She was love in everything she does till that fateful morning when the day became darkened, eyes red as it rained rivers as if, if I cry oceans, maybe the deads will be brought back to life again. She laid down on that bed, pointing to these pictures of Christ Jesus on the walls healing the sick, and she whispered to me; “son, know thy God and creator, for it is as a duty even as you are becoming a father after your siblings”. It was as with a voice muffled in pain in an emptied room she murmured those words to my ears;  “son, go to the school, get your result and return so we could discuss the future”. But I came back meeting with a white casket, people gathered in tears and they all echoed in unison, here comes her son who will decide where his mother’s remain shall be laid to rest out of this troubled world. This was how I lost my parents when they were yet to tell me about the future, of how to become a man. And the ocean emptied on the rooftop of my grandfather without a remnant. Perhaps, someday I would find a metaphor to carve out their space in the tablet of time and memory.

The Cloud Where I belong.

We have now travelled thus far,

From a land where the skies 

hover over our heads. 

Where the constellation 

holds no water again 

to hail storms over our heads. 

On that threshold of no return, 

I offered my eyes as the only pool 

and watered the earth 

for the season of scotch.

Thistles – thick forest 

of memories of regrets,

Those I have made on this 

journey through life. 

Again, I stood at this point 

of my heaven and looked upward, 

The clouds dancing, 

to the east, it dances with all her rains. 

My will and my zeal all long for 

the place I will call my home, 

The place where I belong 

and I will forever treasure. 

Such a place I have come in 

tonight searching my lost heavens.

Don’t Promise Me Tomorrow.

At the aisle of the cathedral, 

on that same path, we walked in. 

Last night, I came back from my wanderings, 

looking for the promises we once made;

on this altar of gods and shades.

Our words were the chords that bind us.

On that lonesome twilight of longings 

that grow wings and fly away in a twinkle. 

I did remember the glows in your eyes, 

of the future’s uncertainty you yearn. 

But how time flies and memories die.

Who could have believed that there was 

what is known and called love within us?

Oh, and how memories of you hurt now. 

The sickened heart longs for a liniment. 

Of what has befallen it, it echoes pains. 

Who knows what emerges of the heart 

when the love we once longed for turned

– sour.

Time.

With every smile 

           that beams on this 

– face. 

I have learned – 

          to put my howls 

          in a muffled sub.  

For a time, they said; 

          it is a healer of 

– all men, for boys don’t cry.

Past, present and future 

– time heals.

Thousands – of times 

          I have been at the 

– threshold of times 

Of howls sniffing  

          for I have made my 

– bed with perfect timing

To heal the cracks on the 

         nectar of a rose.

Learn To Be Good At All Times. 

In this land of our birth, 

where dreams dance like a hurricane. 

laws are easily broken by those who hold it, 

survival as of the fittest, the reality we run from. 

We have learned to run alongside shades, 

for the realities, we hide from, echo dismay. 

like as the path of the prey, so to the predator, 

mourning etched its fingers like a hawk. 

Each day, we desire the former than the now, 

whimpering to the beings we see not above. 

Forging them to be better than we are, 

if not as above, even as it is with the beneath.

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