Speak again wind, blow through the virtual hair of my head.
I hear my children's voices in the yard,
I hear them gone on the stairs. It's hard,
But I can't touch them anymore than a jump to the ceiling.
They became beard-faced altered versions of me bustling
Through the challenges of life, baritone on the phone
Ordering me around, but basically never around.
I hear their children's voices in the yard,
I hear them going up the stairs. It's hard
To believe yesterday's a shadow I throw over dinner when
We meet to walk back to the plaid sheets I tugged over them:
Baby smiles, baby cries, dancing around to close baby eyes.
All those I have bottled inside, like chutney on a shelf.
Dear all of you living in the 21st debauchery
Of feel good madness, zombies gawking at shiny blocks
Of plastic, which spew tonnes of nothing to capture
I’m sorry that your freedom is freedom to do the same
As everybody else. The advertisement industry
Finally got your flag, and you’re raising your arms
To hail symbols you don’t understand.
You’re Chinese mercenaries in a Trojan war,
African slaves running the slave market.
I’m sorry that your parents gave up.
Literally gave you up to the television, internet
And everything else that added sand to their hour glasses.
There’s hope for you, but till then, I’ll pray for your freedom,
And that parents will actually look after the root of every kingdom
You know that one thing that rents your mind space like a blink,
The tornado of meaning as predicted by feelings and yards of ink
Was a mere heave, and the elements paused to listen to nature breathe
And you’re back to the cocoon whence Nemo got word from the white rabbit.
You’re back to the cocoon whence Nemo got word from the white rabbit,
Oblivious of the maggot feast of society and the prisons of habit
Where hopes meet dreams, and share Hennessey, the other Salmiakki
Some Sake and Odontol in coffins of fun, trust, love…apparently
Some sake and odontol in coffins of fun do, but trust and love apparently
Don’t suit that “Day” set out to deal with what we deal with currently,
And won’t fix anything. But you know most things are so important to humanity
That we set one day out for them, so we don’t forget how important.
That we set one day out for it, so we don’t forget how important
Maimed families from months of murder seeking new grounds to haunt,
Survivors who have everything they’ve lost stored in camps on the outskirts
Of life’s comfort, hidden from the sun’s rays, all crimped together are.
Off life’s comfort hidden from the sun’s rays, they stay all crimped together
Looking to the world which flung death at them, ruffled death’s feathers
Till he came hacking at innocent children watching death unfold
In gory Nandinis of blood, concrete, dust, metal and screams
In gory Nandinis of blood, concrete, dust, metal and screams,
With the distant gaze of art show rooms, I see shattered dreams
And dedicate this one day to something so important to these maimed families,
And dedicate the other 364 to making weapons and wars to maim families.
This is to refugees, women, youths, parents…all those things which seem important to humanity that we celebrate them once a year, and destroy them the rest of the year.
Thanks to @CrisisHuman for pointing out that “refugee” is just a bad way to disguise human beings displaced from their homes due to other human beings. We live at a time where more and more humans are losing everybody and everything, and have only the choice to leave to live. To all humans losing all, never lose hope….and to all of us, when will our greed stop?
All I wish is to feel your breath in the morning.
The morning bombs thundered our bonds
In shards of glass, piles of dirt and torn mounds
Of once friends, while we planned quickly to abscond
To anywhere Death wasn’t the only sound in the towns.
The blood-soaked dew stained our silent feet
Wading through the floating rattle from shots
Breaking the harmony of our adrenaline chorus of heartbeats
As we walked to the unknown only fearing to be caught.
The camp’s sunrise with promise showed over the horizon
And we got welcomed to our new life with silence
And hurting souls bundled in teary memories and sad songs
But respite too, and hope, nostalgia, food and tents
But all I wish is to feel your breath in the morning.
To wake and look at your eyes bouncing about in a dream
Of our new home, smiling that we made it out of mayhem
To peace. To see your chest heave, to watch the sweat beams
Glide along the tracks of mosquito bites on your bare skin
To feel the warmth you exude as if 35° Celsius
Wasn’t enough, while your hair moves in rhythm
With your sleepy breath, then you turn, oblivious
To all the homeless with us from various schisms.
And breathe heavily as if a sigh of deserved relief,
With the smile of our would-have-been 5 daughter,
Sleeping my pain away in this instant so brief
But healing wounds which would beat our dead doctor
To feel your breath every morning, my only wish
To feel alive again, after my numerous deaths.
Yes, just to feel your breath in the morning
To know I haven’t lost you too this morning.
The fish wiggle in the noise of tweeting birds blocked out by the polluted water
Trickling away in a little creek, under the bridge of my childhood quarter.
I’m laughing, but I know not why, then reach, catch one, reach further
Get a pair in a container, of which substance or colour I can’t recount here.
My friends on my side are mere shadows saying silence that made me chuckle
And we’d take these creatures to our homes to put in spare juice bottles
And feed them, watch them constrained to swim in a narrow aquarium
And I guess I was glad, but must have cried when it was time for requiem.
The trees I climbed with my siblings are still green, and the leaves rustled
As we went up to grab fruit with more shadows. And the wind bustled
By on its journey, bringing farm scents to my nose, the good and bad jostled
There, and I don’t remember which dominated the other in that tussle
But only that they were there, as we climbed and laughed away care
Talking of our stories, football on the tarmac with a whole throng of peers
And I know for a fact we went to the funeral of one of them at some point,
Or their parent…If you ask me which it was exactly, I don’t know it.
I recall as we got older and dared to talk to the girls, shivering like rain-beaten reeds,
And walking together to watch movies straight from Hollywood’s steeds
And the advent of cable, and a bunch of stories of which I can but catch seeds:
My first cigarette, a horror movie, some novel dad bought, buying school needs,
The day I fell into the bush picking up a ball and gashed my shin bleeding,
Or the machete accident, or the shell on the house wall, mum crying at me leaving,
My best friend leaving, projects of flying cars, some intricate software,
Recording my first song, a piano, some notes, a chord, some staves, a snare.
Each meeting with one of these seeds from the shadow that lived before now,
Where I waded in gathering souvenirs which got broken with each new now
Is like a stab to Caesar’s neck, leaving me sad inside, beaten, for they feel I disavow
Our history, the bond…despite my craving to remember each low and each wow,
To recall when we were where with what and why, and how we made it through,
And my cats I fed and petted, and came back to hear had turned to evening food
And the rats we tortured, and the birds captured…all these I wish I still knew
The beautiful and horrible memories lost from my childhood and adulthood.
RIP Farhad Ebanje Akale (March 15, 1985 – October 5, 2013)
Monopoly is quite a peculiar board.
It has always fascinated me from the days we
Heard the rain drops play on the roofs on Bamenda mornings,
But played on, played on…I won some, you won some,
Our siblings won some. The air filled with a peculiar
Smell of joy which only the carefree spirit of youth
I remember the whole Griffin collection
We dove into and made believe and had fun, diving
In and out of the books until the holidays were
Over in 1993, and we separated never to see again.
What got me thinking about you is a monopoly board, Farhad.
Got me wondering in the cold being I’ve become where
The fountain of youth in the memories we both had
Hides. Life has surely thrown it’s curved balls at you too,
But I was sure within me you’ll be ok. You always were cheerful.
When I typed “Farhad Akale”, I was expecting to scour through
Myriad faces on Linkedin and Facebook to find my old friend.
I wasn’t looking for an obituary page!
I didn’t want to see Slink performing a tribute to you.
I didn’t want to drown in the words of a father washing the
Lifeless bundle of memories from cradle to mischief
To a bullet hole.
To the bullet hole, I say, why did you take my friend?
I’m here teary eyed to the kid I left behind,
And for the adult I never got to meet.
This is not even a poem, I’m not even on technique. My hands
Which are usually still in the face of the most horrid gore
Are trembling. I’m stuck in a loop of pain at the stranger
You’ve become but what part of me you go with is considerable.
Those were the days we smiled roses and laughed daffodils
On lilac plains, dancing in the fragrance of a dozen
You probably forgot childhood too, but I hope the Griffin is proud of your
Life, and that you find peace beyond the coffin within which is your shroud.
By the way tomorrow is your birthday, so to all the ones I missed, these words
And prayers are for you till we are on the other side re-imagining our worlds.
Once I woke in a Bafoussam street which owned my brother’s flat,
Cold dusty straight path, with potholes, and the noise of city
Bustle, horning bikes, rolling cows going to grassy flats
To eat the meal of death-row. The cold sight I met from balcony
Of coffins, juxtaposed with coffins, round, weird, flat
Had me thinking about this final abode where nothing exists,
Lowered below eye level with nothing inside, prayed over
With nothing inside, but hopes hovering round, tears persist
As the memories ooze from the pulpit and eyes of lover,
Family friend, looking at nothing lying therein like insect in cyst,
Quietly non-existent, just an empty coffin in an empty coffin,
And I think about the empty coffin my mind feels like when I try
To reminisce of my teenage fade, where computer boffin
I attempted, and wormed through library books, with tears not cried
And failed at football, made my grades, but missed all often.
You see dad and mum were going through a tough one for long
And I guess this painting was not what I had ordered, so daily
I pushed the present to a part where this present would long
To find it, and rummage through intellectual pillage daily
But only find science and raps from Marshal Mathers songs.
A coffin. The voids of the pain were blinded in the blare
Of a hi-hat, bass drums and wordplay, while life zipped past
Me, leaving flowers and scars, bringing blessings in blitz glare
But which my eyes would see, inspect, understand then blast
Into a space where even long term memory feels like the recent past.
And here I look at wooden Me’s littering this lively street
Where hammers snare on nails and the bass of humming saws
Echo the memories I can’t get, the lost days I shall never meet
The friends to grace with awkward moments of hidden dropped jaws:
“Who are you again?” and a quizzical look from Sesame Street’s
Muppets. “Aaaah! Yeah, I remember now!”, I’d lie to their face
And sometimes I feel their psychic minds dissecting my tale,
And it digs another hole in the already empty space
Where the coffin’s emptiness fills every painful piece like ale
Or the rope that hastens the ebb of life’s painful pace.
Sometimes I wish I remembered the………………and
The ……………………………………….. but this
Coffin walking about doubts whether this instant
And the next would even be similar to ………………..
…all disappears and I’m left clawing away in a blank land.
I still remember when you were but members kicking in the air,
Reaching for my hair, my glasses, mouth bare, wide stare
Living life to the full without a fear, and very little care:
Your empty stomach, full diapers, or when dada or mum’s not there.
Yes, your gums gleamed for the future white to grow there,
And the first push through brought your mum-mum to crazy cheer,
And brought you and gramma and mum to some hospital chair,
To tend a fever…shame most of these times I was on foreign stairs.
The pictures brought me joy too, and I showed each peer,
Like “Check that out, the teeth are showing” to their blank stare
Of non-understanding, or about-to-jeer, or I-don’t care.
But that little trophy was mine and mine to carry everywhere!
Then they multiplied: more incisors premolars and each year
There was more to show in your mouth than in some trade fairs!
We were proud, but I bet as high as your head was your care
For the diamonds pushing through your gums as if fore’er.
But now I can feel the stab of the salty streak of each tear
That poured out as four years later the incisive pioneer
Lost its hold and you panicked and at that time we weren’t there
To guide you on this change that to you was a great scare.
But but how could you have…but but….Mummy….
How could I have known that things strong one day leave?
How could I have known that this time it wasn’t a pet peeve
And that that last heave for breath is the last you’d give?
How could I have known that so soon we would all have to grieve?
You were decisive and strong, standing through the toughest
And the roughest weather you brushed off your body’s surface,
And put on a warm face, smiled to heal the pain in my sore nest
Where the eggs of hope were being infested by hornets.
Like my little boy living life not thinking about the whites,
I loved deep but saying “I love you” was an Isaac sacrifice,
And by your bier, staring through the glass at shut made-up eyes,
I’m saying “I love you” as if to thaw your face and skin of ice.
I just realised after writing this today morning that this is the first poem I’ve dedicated to my late paternal grand mum thinking about her on this day dedicated to older persons, who struggle in the modern world. The real coincidence is in the fact that this is happening on the day of her patron saint : St. Theresia.
So what can I say, RIP beloved Tsimi Theresia Pisoh aka U’uwu, we loved you lots, and we’ll see again by God’s will.
It’s night, and the termites are misting the veranda
On which we sit together and swat away, missing and hitting,
Then retire to the inside, you, my siblings and I.
I’m too young to understand the words you bandanna
About my head of past events like the friend you were skitting
In that one story, painting to us your comic side.
The smile on your face for the happy tales from that long ago
Lights up my heart, even though I don’t understand the sentences,
Nor the importance of understanding them now for later.
The tears that hide from the sad tales, from the gun and bomb echo
As you ran in fields at that first war, have my heart on picket fences
To see that pain, to relive through the jaws of the alligator.
But I relished every instant you brought us to that far away era,
And the candy you shared, and the advice…not always followed
My encyclopedia, my history book, the only type of history to love.
I felt Death toy with my infant soul each time he came a lil’ nearer
And the doctors would struggle to keep with you that breath borrowed,
Giving me more life, more time to really internalize what you spoke of.
It’s night U’uwu, and you’re not here, and I regret when I couldn’t sit
To care for my lovely gramma, wondering where you get all these stories
Wondering why an adult would need so much support, while dad, mum
They’re so strong, so big, like you, diving in and out of lion pits,
Lifting mountains, I thought you were strong, U’uwu, your allegories
Were stronger than dad’s, mum’s, and you’d given dad strength serum.
Where did it go? Why do you walk so slow, while you ran in your tales?
Where did the teeth go? Why are you bent over, U’uwu, what’s wrong
That your strength fled your body at time’s command, leaving this frail
Person, unlike the picture I could make from the time of bomb hails?
And now you’re gone U’uwu, and I miss you after answering my question
As dad,mum get your ageing strength, and I crawl behind on that same rail.
The wind gusts kissed the rain drops when we met in that MRS station :
Two souls seeking shelter but finding fetter for love in total elation.
Loving each instant of evening trips, the knighting pose to propose,
The stressful preparation together, and the white fairy wings we chose
To carry me to the next level of our bond, you in black, me in white
Sealing this bond, this bond, this bond, with one golden knot so tight
You said you’d be the third set of footsteps in the sand of my homeward journey,
Lifting me to the Lord’s arms, chaining your sad days to my listening gurney
Walking me to the Lord’s arms on that day we all must give back our depth
And lie together lifeless dust on lifeless dust playing the game of death.
Together in life we raced the shopping bustle, beat the crowded morning hustle
So should release every muscle at the same time to make simultaneous fossils
The wind gusts are kissing rain drops in another bland dying MRS station
And one soul seeks shelter or fetter but finds neither in total desperation
Hating each instant evening weeps, pics jocose now a dead wilted rose
The stressful separation, bad weather and the dark dreary things that I chose
To put in the box to carry you to the next level of God’s bond of light,
Killing this bond, this bond, this bond with one last breath … then night.
You said, you swore in breaths of love and swore and said some more
That you’ll be there, that this heart will never be bare, that sad yore’s lore
Of Capulet’s daughter’s end was never coming near this bond this bond this bond
And wound up leaving me standing alone, rended, shattered, worthless mound,
Lost, battered with tears digging ditches on these cheeks missing your every kiss,
Pale, scarred, marred, a fossil of some other time that knew something of bliss.
The wind gusts are fighting the rain drops in another dead MRS station
And I’m standing tethered to the past, seeking instant solution or re-creation.
This man’s one of God’s keeps, and sure has a solution to brighten my prose
For I’ve seen his promise take form in the sight of a blind man at his shows.
Oh! To find the third steps and make this burden of loss once again light
I’ll trust these words which God’s given this human creature of might.
-Then later… –
The wind gusts are gone, no rain drops in the dusty lonely MRS station
And I’m lying down praying my last, abandoned and in want of some medication.
That man standing’s not God’s tweet! Yes I paid in cash for all my throes,
But never got sight, never walked, just paid more and more to feed my woes
Oh come long lost love, lead the way to the tunnel bright with God’s light
To rebuild this bond this bond this bond in one golden knot more tight.