Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Three Poems, Philip Chijioke Abonyi

Origin of water 

everything cloudy
has water inside it
when you dissect 
tears what exactly 
do you find 
if not a dark images? 
rivers are women
weeping over their dead juveniles
streams are girls who misplaced
their innocence in the territory of dogs 
seas are the survivors of war 
mourning the dead 
lakes are men grieving 
silently over their lives.
water is not colorless/
tasteless or odorless
it is dark in the eyes of a child whose mother is drowning
bitter in the mouth of a shadow lost in love & torment 
sweet on any skin caressed by sunlight. every human is a solidified water
that liquidizes under the heat of hurt. 


my mother says she feels
a heavily loaded trailer running
in the symmetric street in her back,
sometimes it drives down to her waist 
and parks there, 
each time her eyes gallop far into her skull 
and her torso takes the look of a broomstick. 
ten years ago I remember
a medic jerks out her blood and says it's not dirty. go home she will be fine. she walked home only to sit on the jaws of pain that teeth her into hopeless shadow. 
we recoup a cold water 
to suppress the fire on her waist 
as every night she becomes screams 
and sighs 
wishing for everything dark to swallow her
we make fire some days when she becomes snow wishing for sunlight
we sit near her eyebrows
cheering her eyes up
so there won't be rainfall. sometimes it seems her tread of life is about kissing 
the lips of scissors/
fear becomes soldiers marching into our body/ we burn ourselves in prayer 
psalm after psalm
until this trailer drives away to visit again 
the coming year. it's again the time 
my mother says she is hearing 
a horn somewhere in her body 
everything she holds is falling apart
I recoil into my bones 
praying that it won't be the trailer. someone tell me please,
how can my mother block this road?
if the pain is a living thing, when'll it die?
This annual visitor wants to go home 
with my mother. Never.

living behind walls

mother says there is no way
to Jerusalem for the shadows
that cannot reflect,
darkness means—to hit your 
head on the floor/run your hands
around your beads,
or to give kola nut to the sun, seek
life from the torso of yesterdays.
I grew up in my mother's reflection,
my room is built in the pages 
of bibles. the only road I know is from genesis to revelation,
mother always tell me
this is where I will find my allies. 
say psalm is a friend to be trusted in times of thunder, 
John is the only key that unlocks the 
body of God.
I grew up carrying walls to places,
Chioma who lives next door has tried to climb the wall
but my mother said there is a devil in her mini skirt.
Okon was devasted waiting for a day 
I will fly across for us to join the city butterflies. 
Aisha tested grief in my mother's words 
when she tried to share her tongue with me.
I grew up knowing how to run away
from voices,
how to hide from the conversation
of streets,
or crawl into a shell of silence when there are noises 
of mosque or mausoleum.
I grew up knowing 
how to walk into my mother's body 
and lock the door behind shadows with opaque,
I never cross the wall to know the world.

Philip Chijioke Abonyi was born at Nsukka in the igbo country of the east state of Nigeria. He was educated at Government College(Css) Ada Obollo Etiti and Anambra state polytechnic. He has lived an active literary life uplifting modern African Literature. His poetry is noted for its artistry, descriptive power and the way in which he draws on his locality for imagery and ideas. He was shortlisted for Eriata Oribhabor Poetry Prize, 2018. His work has appeared in African writer's magazines, AceWorld, Eve magazine, qwenu, Allpoetry, Tushstories, spriNG, Praxis magazine, Eboquill, Nantygreens, and elsewhere.  

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