For the boys who returned home as ‘breaking news’

June 21, 2018 Africa , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

AFP photo



John Chizoba Vincent



We broke those kola nuts on the family shrines, shattered elegies here and there in templates of agony. We may be a plight on the body of this river, but we must reserve your gracious imagination of thoughts in the morning of this ancestry of ancient memories.


Broken tenses tended to write terror in our souls when the rain came forcefully upon us. Our tears flew across the oceans. The wind carried our voices to an unknown place where men are the slaves of their own selves. Life could be echoed through the celestial regiments of the souls that visited our mirror before the moon belched out hope. We palmed our relationship between you and your kind. A sized bed which betrayed us in the fold of grey skimpy slurs, the same which we made you sleep on.


The news came through the window as the wind came buzzing around like flies gathering on a casket. We lost ourselves holding our breath in suspense. How was it you left without even a goodbye? How was it you mirrored your heart’s desire into the blank dumb of a bar of emptiness? We compromised with the water of life, we compromised the immunity between our family bond. You are bounded to our souls like the bind between Obi and his mother. Not in this letter did Ikemefuna see his death before he fell asleep in the hands of a gutless machete. We’ll pleasure these shadows in the despair of shame.


Deeper from this angle, dirges have been planted to streamline the chaos within. Morning shall bear the force in the armour of sighted calamities, with the echoes of our forefathers dropping in the impression that last night’s have been emerging perceptions in the eyes of portraits. You are not forgotten or forbidden in the fruit of the land, you are not a stone that was rejected in the corner of darkness.


I have known and seen weather in the palms of boys learning how to backup their dreams in the hands of the sky. Dear boys, have your mind fixed in the dead arms around your waist. You are closer to the streamlines of hope. We are not sure of how hell would look, we are not even sure of how heaven would look but we’ll likely not allow your shadows to roam in the vacuum where emptiness rules; emptiness stumbled upon the ocean of thoughts.


Boys, your breeze of thoughts were the first thing we saw opening our doors. Your blood spoke first, then, your shadows roamed into our eyes through the harshness of the herdsmens’ daggers. We were shocked when the wind brought the tales to our ears of how you were slaughtered, body separated, arms and legs tied around like a goat ready to be killed. Your ghost agitated, protesting against the callousness of the noon in their hands.


It may be a single sin or a multitude of sins if we do not learn to make our mouths drums to tell of this crime seered on our forehead. We have printed sorrow on the pages of blank papers, we have knitted sweat and blood together then allowed our inconsistency to introduce hunger of lost ones into our life. We have failed you and the stories went through like pieces of forgotten land in a lagoon.


We created a country that only seeks the interest of it own. We created a lootful land where blood speaks louder than water. We created this and that, bargaining our lives into what it was not made to be. Yesterday, we told you to hold your beads and beary. We taught you how we made this land to protect you in rain and sun. We taught you that having a father and mother brought pain mixed with laughter is not a sin. We said we may not live to see you die but our perspective was wrong because those things we created are coming back to kill you. Karma is a metaphor, a personified simile describing the sun and unmasking the world.


Do not smile for us through the crack of the day. Do not smile for us even if water and fire becomes a friend in the palm of oil.  We lost you in the valley of sickness and fear. We killed you looking for what killed you. Do not smile for us even in the grave. We lost your names in the desert of death, we lost your soul in the streets of prostitutes, we lost your sisters in the shallow of gangsters.


Figure out how we felt in our eyes when the night is a little dimmer, how we smiled with our tears, how we breathed with our eyeballs searching your names among the dust; how we told stories that never existed, how we pulled down the fragments of your dust. Can you see clearly or does it reflect the other side of life?


We drank from our tears like water, tears of troubled years we bottled up in the desert. Years of countless death trying to pass the border of Libya to Italy. Death of lonely dirge of your glories we could not retrieve from the hood. Dirge of the unforgettable warriors of our time, warriors that fought the battle of poverty that struck households into a turmoil of brokenness. We have turmoil that dressed in black in you but we kept silent. Do not say we do not notice that boys were going into extinction. Do not say we do not deny you of your privacy. Do not say everything is seen in the palace of smile.


We laid us down in a beautifully endowed coffin, a coffin that sits comfortably in a well dug pit; a pit of peaceful journey to an unknown land to a journey of no return.


Tell us why we shouldn’t cry with our teeth closed? Tell us why we shouldn’t reject going to your graveyard because of shame? We are still struggling how to harvest those bullets in our head, the head that geared and fought wars of the spirit realms of cultists.


Yes, we have failed ourselves from creating you to losing your name to get nothing. Do not sing to us a lullaby when you get home. Do not sing songs of joy and praise either for we will be going to clear this shame in libation to our ancestors living where the wind connects heaven to the earth. Learn to speak and listen to the wind, you shall hear our voice through its mouth as it whirls by.





john chizoba vincent

John Chizoba Vincent

John Chizoba Vincent is a poet, actor, Novelist and D.O.P. He is the Author Of Hard times, Good Mama and letter from Home.

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