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Blank Spaces: Poetry by Chukwuemeka Akachi


We all have excuses for wearing bags of flesh
but we are nothing but kolanuts in the hands of the gods
Once, my father said that if he were a poet
he would write his first stanza on a madman’s forehead
and paint his favourite line in-between his mother’s legs
hoping it would be the destiny of the next soul to claw its way through
Somewhere in Kano
the harmattan sun will melt the thunder into dust
a girl will dilute her father’s ashes in salt water and feed it to her son
We all have excuses for wearing bags of flesh
I met an artist who paints his face on the moon
when the gods aren’t looking
But I’m guilty too
I wrote my first poem with ink from my brother’s slashed wrist
He was the only fish in the pool of blood
When we curse our gods in languages we have not yet learned how to speak
and build temples to our shadows
we forget that the gods are confused that they dot the sky with full stops
but leave emptiness in-between
So, we live our whole lives trying to fill the blank spaces.


I die two times a day
but not when I sleep
I stop my heart to save it from dying
I teach my skin to appreciate scars
they make us beautiful

I live inside a tsunami
It is safe inside my room
but my walls burn flesh outside

When I die tomorrow
Don’t bury me
burn me and spread my ashes on the sea
It will be the sacrament of my immortality

Tomorrow at my door
I will find an angel with a broken wing
and a bleeding tongue begging for a little music
Then I will close my eyes
This is how we have learnt to love
Our voices are not enough to carry our pain
So, we send messages to the wind
And draw maps on our palms
Hoping to find that tiny city called happiness
This is how we have learnt to love.
Poems © Chukwuemeka Akachi
Image: Lenka Sluneckova on Unsplash

Chukwuemeka Akachi
Chukwuemeka Akachi
Chukwuemeka Akachi is a poetry editor for The Muse, a journal of creative and critical writing of the Department of English and Literary Studies, UNN. He was longlisted in the Okike Prize for poetry competition and was also in the honourable mentions. He writes and lives in Nsukka. He is a dreamer and a poet.


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