For Those Boys Holding Rivers Beyond

June 28, 2018 Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

Francis Cardinal photo



John Chizoba Vincent



Sometimes I miss you and the only thing that can comfort me is tears in my secret room because I don’t want them to see me as a weak man. I find solace in those elegies I wrote in darkness for you and your descendants. I find spirited hope in those waters we watered on the crops behind our backs. Sometimes, it’s as if the world has broken into verses of dialogue of dirge in poetry. Sometimes, it’s as if the world has slated those magical moments of agony into my soul to let out a loud scream or sharp noise to tell them how I feel about you.


To be a man is to be a palace and to be a mourner is to find solace dropping flowers on graveyard. And sometimes, I don’t miss you because boys are not meant to miss each other, it is a weakness in our heart and the right the society has foisted on us would be tampered. I would always love to cry my eyes out, I would always love to be in solitude drafting those eulogies of peace in the world.


The world has nothing to offer but expired sorrow. Mind you, sometimes I want to see things from your perspective, to justify the reality of things. But I am always lost. Boys, you know we can’t burn down the bridge because we would still return to it. I have sung many lost notes and registered many lyrics in the sky hoping to line them up to look at them whenever I am down with your businesses.


Sometimes I just shrug you off in my archive and console myself with alternatively realistic versions of things I created for moments like this. In a moment like this we find stars in the holiday of breathing into the souls of humans. You know I won’t give up holding the rivers you held yesterday. I would always caress your beads and hold onto my tears. If I was stronger, I would have loved you longer than this. You shouldn’t have let me fall. I love you, Boys. I love you boys like the love the sky has for the sun.


I may not be perfect as father, an uncle or in-law but nature made us who we are. I am not being sagacious with this theme. I was never made to walk through the eyes of pain. Touch my pain and see how my soul burns. I am holding these rivers amidst laughter and tears. I am holding these rivers amidst laughter and agony. Do not ask me why the sun still shines in my soul. Do not be emotional if I erase your thoughts from my lurking heart.


Sometimes, I regret burning the first letters we drafted, one of my most lucid memories of you. The photograph of your smiles are boldly carved in my memories but I fight every night to keep it safe. I have never been a passenger to this course. Life is beautiful, you know. Like the elephant of the jungle whose shadows betray the statue of the illuminious iroko, its sunny side body holds histories of many generations. We sometimes miss our way into the abyss but these scars are the mark to our home. We’ll write this tale together when we see in the spirit where Acheba, Okigbo, Elechi and BUCHI Emecheta will welcome us as writers.


Sometimes I hug myself for taking such a bold step to call your names in the darkness. Sometimes, I dream of resurrecting you with praise. Sometimes I think of those tracks you left behind which are now covered by grasses. Sometimes, I wonder how life would have been with you if you were alive with us. You were the stars, Boys. Sometimes, I tell myself it would not have been different you staying here with us in the ghetto to see what Buhari has done to us. He closed all the pages that we wrote as our memories. He closed all the channels that bring water into our well. He chorused our footsteps to the coming of the beast of underground. Our ancestral homestead abandoned.


There is suffering and pain here. Maybe forgetfulness was created because of you, maybe forgetfulness made those women in labour laugh out again in between their pains. Maybe, we are here for the testimonies of our land which have been written in the face of the sky. We love the abbreviation of these tenses in the slightness of misfortune.


You know you created stars beforehand. Holding wet sun on the surface of the rivers. Holding rivers on the surface of fire. We burn differently, we burn separately pending our histories on the ground where skulls rolling from corner to corner. Sometimes I close my eyes to hear your laughter echo through my ears. Sometimes I wonder how life would have been without you and sometimes, I wonder how it would have been with you. Boys, you are symbols written or carved on the body of the sky.


I listened to another music this morning, like always. I saw you in the lyrics. I heard your footsteps in the notes. I watched you leave and return again with tears of loneliness. Sometimes, like tonight, I get emotional over your souls, every little thing about you. How come you have to leave at this moment?


Life is like a market, everyone coming to buy and some, going home. The truth of the matter is that some of your photos are carved in my mind, no physical one. The pictures of you laughing, the pictures of crying, the pictures of you holding your beads. These moments I want to create physical photos of you right from memory, a photo of you smiling and holding your hands together because when hands cross paths, a memory is created.


Let this candle keep burning into pieces of aspiration and inspiration. I wait here to locate another of you throwing your head backward to laugh like when we were younger telling ourselves stories that touch the heart.





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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