I’m still that boy you howled your words at,
The boy finding his voice in the cracked wind;
A portrait of a suffering city not far from the eyes of the devil.
I’m the figurine of everything you left behind; you left
Your death on the body of a disjointed saint trying
To find how much souls are worth!
The last time I painted Jesus,
I painted a black martyr Jesus listening to
Enya’s Flora secret & my mind could not contain the image,
That was how my teacher taught us to be normal;
She said when you sing out memory from your head,
You’ll begin to accept to burn into the kind of flames no water can quench.
Each time I measure the storm in my head,
A beautiful butterfly is let out to persecution.
I cut corners into ablution of emptiness.
For those of us who were born with fire in our bones;
There are nights we leave our bodies to roam on the sky.
I left my conscience burning in anguish in the wilderness,
You won’t persecute it again like
Nigerian government suffer her masses.
Like the martyrdom of Saint Anthony,
I carry this cross holding the heart of my
Sister that became memory of Leah Sharibu.
In that house on the other side of the street,
My mother infused Sikhism to her songs.
& Father won’t bury his head again in his
Palm after he watched how my Brother’s
Spirit was pulled out of his body like Stephen’s
Last night, we saw god remove this:
Blood stained clothes from the sky,
Burnt ashes & dust of men of great honour,
He bridled their housed tears almost home
& their memories, he lost in abyss of death.
This is how death guided their hope in tears
& the only pictures seen are restlessness.
Sometimes our bodies melt away from
The salvations of humanity & sacrilegious
Spirits & our reflections become scary,
We fold ourselves into brown sorrow like
We’ll return here with a sermon of divinity
To redemption, to reconnection of those lost in
Between fate & destiny & search for freedom.
Life is a boring adventure keeping watch
Over the tragedies of death & those killed.
Every room becomes available for shadows,
Black tilted shadows. Broken. Teared up.
Having the memories & reflections of life,
Bodies burnt by fire, bodies swallowed, bodies
Slaughtered; bodies wounded, & those taken.
Journey’s full of meanings and mysteries,
Feeding its eyes with nightful of uncertainty.
Emeka was engulfed yesterday on autocrash,
His mother planted a forgotten kiss on altars,
Femi was slaughtered by lurking herdsmen,
He never returned from farm & family waited,
Musa admired the sun & was gunned down,
We gather these memories at dawn for Pius
‘cause we never know who returns every time.
His deeds will linger from those red flames
Raising his names before the lazy clouds to light up the world from the face of the Earth.
I’m sure god wears him like a prayer,
I’m sure he held these light— flags of heroes closer to him even as he drowned in himself.
Let these lights keep his memories in our palms till tomorrow when next we meet.
THE HOUSE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET
Mother won’t bleed—
Mother won’t bleed again to the breaking song
According to the gospel of man’s insanity:
She says life is in the hands of a madman,
She says Sunday is not enough to bless the
Memories of her son lost in the hands of
Straying bullets. We’ll hold down Borno;
Mother won’t bleed—
Mother won’t bleed again in that house on
The other side of the street holding the tale
Of her daughter with the étagère before she took
Her last picture from the universe.
And the pastor said to her ghost “dust &
Unto dust you shall return”
It was ash Wednesday & the frond hasn’t been
Burnt to ashes, would mother bleed again?
The leather missal is no more & Mary could not
Attest to its provocative missing…
When we saw tears in the eyes of God,
We knew this house on the other side of the
Street started this—the madness in us all.
We could not see also the body of the missing Christ. the figurine. The chaplet. the rosary.
Mother won’t bleed again to this course…
But her memories did not start in Benue
Where she beheld laughing ghost of humans
Celebrating how her homeland tortured them,
It started here in that house on the other side of
The street where her two children died in
Fear. Anxiety. Depression. Tears. Forgotten.
& she taught us how to dry our eyes before Sunday service.
John Chizoba Vincents become the names of three people who deliberately see through each other. Sometimes, they are at war with each other and at times, they are the ties that never got broken. They: Them: Us: We represent Boys and their Anatomies, Men and their vulnerabilities, and Humans and their imperfections. Between them are rosy track roads that are rough and tough. They live in a lonely room in Lagos, Nigeria
Featured image: DDP, Unsplash