For Those Boys Bearing Nkporo On Their Lips

July 27, 2018 Nigeria , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , OTHER

Julien Harneis photo



John Chizoba Vincent



Our ancestral home will not forget your perfection. On this ground we shall plant your names for those who are to come. We will gather firewood, we will gather soothsayers, we will gather seekers of fate to reach into you; life is meant to be spent in joy.


Having Nkporo on your lips is a grace not an illusion. That ancient city carries expectations and treasures which shall be yours when tomorrow comes. We are mailed into extinction, like glossy Victorian postage stamps abandoned in the house of symbols. Though it is a warm, bright glimmer to hold water together into a firm shadow housing weeping spiritual boys over loved ones.


So no child will come outside to play to his glory. So no child will be blinded by the light of the dying lamps. And no child shall be by the gutters where imperfections are completely blocked, by broken hopes, shards of flesh and transgressions. If you stand to move this morning into the hand of mortals, our ancestral legs will shout halleluiah made in open space.


Last night, thousands of souls crossed the shores of our minds to a place where finding rivers is itself a shadow. When morning came they crossed again to a place where Nkporo was written with a green ink. To find your way home is to find another wailing shadow in the doorpost. To find another family is like holding an innocent baby boy to arms and direct him to a place he can burn his skin to ashes and to teach him that he never saw the past pointing an accusing fingers at him.


The mourners are home again, but this time not on the surface of Nkporo because our parents were speechless when the first mourners came. They were quiet when the thrills and waves of the rivers turned into sobs and mourns. Tonight, we will bury out souls into tenses and valued perfections. We will announce Nkporo to the world without guilt that penetrates into skins. We will make Nkporo your names and numbers and letters holding the foundation of the world.


The Eagles played against the voiceless duck before the moon peeped through the eyes of the boys in the night. Tomorrow, we will allow the goats to go the forest to find the lions. We forget our chaos too easily. We forget our way too much. We don’t try to build this fence over the camp of the enemies because dead bodies are now constants on our eyeshadow.


Gory here, sorrow carved preciously, they are the figurine and the flames that stream down from heaven into our souls. No one understands the pain, how it started and how it will end. Sometimes, we need to forget each other to know how important we were to one another when we reconnect. Sometimes, we leave to live again and other times, we file like piles of clothes to trace the beginnings of our misfortunes.


I will not talk of the decline in population and the failure of our economy to treat us right because my strong father is no more. He died having the thought that our roads would be constructed so that he could tell his father, but they weren’t.


I will not even speak evil of this land because of my unborn children. This is their land. Although famished this time they will know how to harvest their own tomorrow. Our old men accepted a lucky strike, and kicked the bucket just last month. The survivors are still at home nursing their leprosy. Try to know yourself before you leave your tongue wagging of goodness.


Down in the edge of my soul, I descended into very thin silver and a lining of gold, my heart the shore of many offspring of Nkporo. For this the barbarian lurking within would just disappear and reshape himself to make us laugh again. The only smile we have left is in our childhood bundled between our chins, stocked inside a photo from the very first day we were born, for we have lost all that made us happy when the sun was always sunny and blazing warm, for it was always midnight in our searching eyes.


Hold onto your bearing. Be the best you can be with this letter. It always the same beginning in the same way, the earth trembled to the motion of our forefathers having our last smile. And then, a silent scream echoed from parts lost to fear, fury, anger and anxieties into faraway cities and those nearby the only tongue of rain in our palms.


Don’t cry more for what happened in Benue, Plateau, Kogi and Enugu. Don’t cry more than your eyes can carry but hold yourself in unity to guide this land where the music of love comes from these energies; you must reserve for a time shall come when you will need them. Resentment or something else may be our fear but then we follow the wind for protection till the cock crows again.


In spite of everything in your hands clean yourselves and make a meal of your dark side for holding on is the passport to be who you are meant to be. I am trying and begging to be me. I am working to love more than I have loved before. I am learning to create a new me but boys, I will make these new clothes for you to wear and protect yourselves.


Sometimes, forget each other to reconnect in a better way. And in that moment bullets and axes and machetes will be laid afar because the bind would be thicker than it was before. As families journey to dimensions unknown, not alone but unaccompanied by our forbearers, we will have boys gathered in their own honour.


Tomorrow, the news will spread around the world on every screen and faces that love are seen among you boys. Wait here for I will write more to encourage you to keep keeping on till this land forgets to remember how to kill each other.





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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