Requiem aeternam tibi, my dear brother, my dear friend. You sought peace on Earth, may you find peace in heaven. RIP Sampson Lemongoe Zaumu till we meet again. The golden glitter of floating clouds lift up the wings On the plane that carves out the way home. You stand and out your beard Breaks the smiles of years cheered By you and me thinking, saying, and doing the little things. On the plane that carves out the way home, I watch you go again: you never learnt to stop Until every task was done, And joy was everyone, And hearts spoke songs to each other in peaceful tomes. I watch you go again: you never learnt to stop! Nature set you back, the roads with vile treacherous trap Tried to take the clock But you never take a knock, You never say enough, you give and give, but never give up. Nature set you back, the roads with vile treacherous trap Changed our smiles for fears, our cheers are tears, But you wiped them away Telling us to be okay, While hoisting these little kids upon your fatherly lap. Changed are smiles for fears! Our cheers are tears Swelling inside and up our aching heart to our faces, Pouring out to be with you Seeking the tender “mchew” That says “It’s ok”, “It will be ok”, “Uh lahte”, “Why the fears?” Swelling inside and up our aching heart to our faces The dreadful whispers to Job seek our parched lips Wishing to curse the world In chaos and pain to all unfurled But the memory of that bearded smile halts those paces. The dreadful whispers to Job seek our parched lips, Like daggers to our hearts, but Mary took more than all, So calling on our Lord, As we watch you gently soar, May the golden glitter of floating clouds lift up the wings Of the angels taking you to her advocate arms, calling You to join the choir singing Hosanna to the King of Kings. (c) nyonglema
They are quite unpredictable like funeral tears.
The casket weighs down on a metallic stand in
The middle of the compound. The building
Is empty, the heart is empty, the palm fronds
Over this brownish soil staining my shoes
Have seen tears trickle in silence down faces.
The wind tries to snuff out the wick, but it resists.
You clung to the breath gushing out your throat,
Pulled by the cloaked reaper, but eventually it's
Gone. You've seen tears trickle down wrinkled
And smooth faces. You've consoled and cried,
With arms tight around a wounded shoulder.
Then, the breath soothed in melodic syllables.
You're clinging to the wind, the candle resists.
But the gusts gush too strong, the flame bends to
Mourn. The leaves rustle on the acacia tree,
The leaves rustle on the mango tree, The leaves
Pause to mourn. It wasn't the reaper calling.
A bearded Jew picks you up like a prom date,
His halo catching the pearls of your white dress.
The fiery chariot makes your half smile shine, as you
Look back at the tears to come, and say one last prayer.
But the gusts really gush too strong on the wick,
And the flames disappear to leave darkness.
We reach for the wick, but notice the flame still
Burns. The flame resists, our tears cannot.
Our fears cannot.
A fiery chariot
Took you away to a better place, but we are in
A bad place. We wanted to hear your voice,
We wanted to hold you, not some wax and wick in wind.
We wanted to own you, but life is for God's glory
And glory is unpredictable like a candle in the wind
Ripe the garden plants, bright the flowers they bear
For bees to frolic and play till in future fruits be bare.
But I look at the flowers and see the petals fall.
Have you seen it before? Beauty and the Beast?
One petal drops to the floor: Thriller’s gone, the man in the mirror
fades into history, losing colour, washed by tears and more
Harmonising Whitney, oh that’s a petal of my childhood I’ll
Misstep with tears as it sways and twists in the miracle of her wind
Not fast, not furious, gently falling, while Paul Walker walks
The stairway to heaven, staring at another petal on the aging rose
I watch them go, the falling petals, like the hair on my head,
Like the black in my chin, I watch the clock take one by one
And replace with something new, different, strange, something afraid
To ride my roller coaster heart, unlike those petals first to join
When life was a song, and the future was sunshine and childhood fun.
They say glass is made from sand, and I’ve witnessed
In documentaries how men take the so-rough-and-ugly
To make these marvelous pieces, that hold the best
Wine, whiskey, temperature, treasure. I had treasure once;
It wasn’t made of glass, but I lost it by my fault
And watched it pour into oblivion ounce by ounce.
I watched it freeze away, as my heartbeat slowed to nought,
And my smile blew away in the breathlessness of the air
Whispering to some distant mage: “This once I sought”
Injury of the soul beyond your finger on a sharp glass slice
And yes, I could feel the stitches coming lose where it dashed
For me. But the voice to save me is gone behind closed lies.
You know, lies like “I’m still here”, “I’m just sleeping”
Meanwhile the wood sips my warmth away, and nothing responds
To my smile calling away the tears, as all around me are weeping.
Where are those smiths to make a diamond from my broken hour glass?
Since glass holds the best, can I add some salt from my heart?
Oh, how it drills into my whole
That As my light the glass holds,
Leaving me in the dark staring into my resting past
It’s just a mirror for you and me, lost and forever apart.
This is for my dear mum Gaffo, gone to the Lord in 2009. I’ll never forget staring at her lovely face through the glass of her coffin, smiling at her, and so hurt that I’ll never see that smile again, that she will not smile back.
When you cross the Pearly Gates, will you sing for mum?
I recall those tender dew watered Yaoundé morns
When the cassette spun your voice out the Kenwood speakers,
Lulling my childhood ears to plains which white lilies adorn
And bees buzz the harmony to your vocals and the horns.
I recall especially as each new year died to birth another one
That mum would pop the cassette as metronome to the countdown.
And we would be eagerly watching the TV, eyes darting from clock
To TV, from clock to TV, holding on to the present’s each sound,
Conscious these moments shall roam hence only in Memory’s town.
The lyrics were beyond my mono-lingual grasp, but for “Liberté”
Where I felt freedom of my spirit soaring, and then “Bonne année”
Which nobody needed to explain. This is all I can take with me round
Memory’s town. But mum sure knew all the songs, and would sing away
As I watched in marvel as her lips waved a magical musical day
So Ma’am Nzie, this only I ask of you as you walk the path she took:
Let those words I didn’t understand but which my childhood shook
Pour once again beyond Peter, with love messages from me, three and more
And please, let her… please… harmonize once more every single hook
As once she did, but now in praise to my Maker as He lovingly looks.
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.
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.
As a little boy, I wondered why I have a mum.
All she did was shout when I was gaming;
Whip me when the VHS entertained me;
Slap me when with friends we played crazy;
Force me to make up our room;
Keep me away from my darling TV.
But as I got older, I now know why I miss my mum.
What she really did was teach me discipline;
Tell me to focus on priorities;
To choose friends wisely, cherish friendship,
To keep my life in order no matter what
And to love what I have, while dreaming of what I could be.
She brought peace when we threw punches,;
She brought delicious meals at dinners and lunches;
She cheered loudest at success, and consoled my failures.
The cohesion felt when the mum gathers her chicks
Fades away when her time is done on earth.
So now I know why I had a mum,
But how will she know I wish she wasn’t gone?
Where’s the sweet smile on the sunlit porch,
Sitting calmly and watching the world bustle by?
Where are the hugs from that sweet voice, pitch high,
But sweet soft? The flame on my darkness’ torch?
Where lie those sweet smells through the threshold,
Playing notes upon my nose, stirring thoughts in my tummy?
Where’s that sweet face like that on me,
Looking at me up and down like when I left the fresh mold?
Where’s that intangible love exchanged non-verbally,
As we shared recent events for hours,
You encouraging me to build my own life towers,
And those sweet thoughts shaping me morally and mentally?
Where’s the history of how you bore me 9 months,
And brought me through pain to this place of stress
Where I now have to live without your face,
Words, or touch till I’m done counting months?
Where are the trips to church, outings trips in the sun?
Where’s that beautiful chocolate skin you’ve given us?
Where’s the joy now that you’ve left us?
Where are you mum?
I’ve seen mirages, images of bright joy,
But they were just images, like child toys.
I found blessing, but little did my eyes see,
And I found a curse within and my heart bleeds.
All I sought was smiles on my face and theirs.
Laughs from peers and a happy tomorrow, my prayer;
Leading the right way, and stopping all from straying,
But I’m not he! No not he! I’m lost in life’s string.
As my last breath bathes my philtrum, leads to my coffin,
I think: “Had I but made my soul a better home,
So it could run in glee like a school of dolphins
And yield aught! My existence can now be labelled ‘Nought’.”
What singular body of the spheres is missed at night,
As the orchestra plays starlight beyond the moon in its might?
Substitution for failed parts, that’s all I crave,
And comfort on all who’ll stoop at my grave.
Colourful dreams, thoughts and hopes I knew since!
But new pain digs deep and I’m a fish without fins;
The current is strong and I can’t swim home,
The current events prove I’ll soon be lost in the foam.
Not so it is (I believe) to hurt the mettle.
But my frail meddled interior weeps to settle
He hurt us, and now she hurts me worse!
Is being trampled upon and abused part of the curse?
You my Maker who masters the clay and blows the Breath
Grant to all daily bread beneath Heaven’s hearth,
But to the lifeless only eternal rest;
When I’m gone may joy reign at last, for gone is the worst.
…..sometimes writing down the hurt can help you get out of it…this is where I was at that time.