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Paul Chibuike Emenike | Idanre


Woman you are sad!
‘Tis the same with me.
—Ralph Armattoe.

My dearest Idanre,
Of the most blessed hope, most chaste—
Mettled of the finest guts.
My morning sun that fondles this virgin dew,
Spewing down my chest like driblets
Of thickened puddy at breakfast
Your rounded caramel eyes at dawn
Like gleeful grape fruits, awaiting the sickle blade
Before harvest, those blooming eyes, daring like
Glints of stars plugged into your ebony face, glowing
As fireflies in May, keeps melting away
Untrampled peace, anytime it bumps into my memory.

Yes, I still can recall, even in two ample years
Ripped apart from you, there were a frenzy
Past bites a staggering future.
I have learnt intrusively that time is indeed a
Wretched drunk, it still haunts my saneness—
The miracles of seasons, winged with haste.

My dearest Idanre, sorry I only wrote you this once.
The core of my guilt keeps rattling
Anytime I touch a pen, I’m drowned in
Open-souled condemnation.
Idanre, an erstwhile conversation three years upon
Time kept paying me a visit today—
Can you remember when Awele your baby sis,
Said me one Sunday noon of how that maybe,
Just maybe, damaged people are bereft of
Loving each other? — well its apt truth!

Today my eyes are scarlet red like
Embers of coals fanned to burn, steeped
In rippling regrets like unwashed linen in water.
I’ve lately stared at the soot-eaten remnants
Of our valentine’s picture tossed to snort in the
Soothens of my thread bare pocket, wide-jutting
And I can only ween the swollen grimace on your face
Like an avocado without its bulging seed
And the sombre hollow bored into your soul
And the diamond-tipped pain you wear every hour
On your neck like beads of coral.

My uncanny gait left home sometime in November
For Lagos, ‘A no man’s land’ where seedlings
Are sowed alongside floating wealth—
City of the free, pregnant with ever green pastures.
Idanre, I had bargained our home for unsullied
Paths, where our flowery souls would blossom amidst
Tithers and flatters.

Only now, my mottled fate is stunt
And I’m dispirited from sanity like the frantic
Cheer of a madman. I’m cemented behind
Bars and rage, where I only taste sunbreak
Once a fortnight.
I had wept and cursed that holy Palm Sunday,
Flooding the altar to my shattered chest.
I must have beckoned long in a sensual soft call
To appease the omnipotent creator. With
A soft hymn, hymn too immaculate as angel’s kiss,
Mellowed from a sackless Madonna.
A solemn call that surely pierced the heavenlies
Yet, left me undone in my kneeling chivalry
Starched in undulating silence—
Drizzles of unforeseen answers.

Idanre, ever pondered where unanswered prayers
Go, hide? Does it spin a nest of its kind at heaven’s gate?
I dare you, Idanre, on that despondent Sunday
Maybe, mine was just too idle for a miraculous
Flight— say too heavy at best.

The rains had barely fallen that August break
And a colorless rainbow swayed between
Bleeding clouds. I was beside myself head-strong by
Leaking emotions as restless gas in a balloon, that mirrored my gaze blurry
With hate and rage simultaneously.
Squirting emotions like clogged yellow pus
Oozing from an over ripened sore
Idanre, I’m not so certain if I had struck him frozen,
There was nothing unseemingly there. If I recall
The last thing I could grasp was a grinding halt,
A melting bullet and a wayward trigger
Like the dark side of hell, a dense muted red mist,
A tensed spewing siren, and then a condensed
Clamped Koro-Koro— Maximum Prison.

Idanre, an ugly fat dreaded armed-warden,
Said me in a vile dismissal
Snorting restlessly like a broken whistle;
‘Where brutes of your calibre,
Come to solicit salvation— scallywag!’
His breathe sterile like tear gas, heaped with
Palls of rotten egusi stench and dry gin
His winkled bloated belly jutting out like
Wide twigs on Aunty Simi’s fence.
My dearest Idanre, the air here cracks with hostility
Kegged in a pit fused with fear and odors of
Diarrhea of squashed men with unwashed anus,
And out stretched rib cages split agape by
Kwashiokor like a lone grenade in a loose cannon.

Idanre, I’m drowning in a blood river
Yet, my thirsty throat hungers for water
How I wish my wailing guts could touch water
Without tasting the stench of a decaying corpse
Last night, I heard an inmate perished—
Martyred for his sheer want of a decent meal,
Some descent medicines and maybe a fair trial,
I heard his metal cell bars, screamed before his fall
In earshot horridness, a voice thundered—
Power-packed, ‘Here is one man, one wahala
You are not so special, shege yaro— dan Iska!’
His wailing cell bars, could no longer hold
His flowing blood forced open with an iron baton
To his skull by a ruthless warden,
He stood still beside the lifeless rubble unscathed.
Spits on the battered body, eyes frozen wide
And wipes his face with our funeral songs.

Idanre, I finally understand what it
Means to walk the earth without a body, without a will to
Live— to be born with a graveyard.
Only today another friend died.
After floating on grace for weeks with a balloon-belly
The cold had eaten his skin raw, and it could no
Longer carry his bulging entrails begging for mercy,
For the rubbles of a graveyard— somebody’s grandfather. . .
Only the roof of a widow
Leaks during the rains.

Idanre my love, I’ve lately peered through my only
Window pane. I can feel this maiden moon, full
And leaking milk, stroking my pale cheeks in self-baptism,
I had patched things up with God
The month before and now like the Bible man Moses, we talk
Face to face. Sometimes more often than usual.
Idanre, I even now speak in tongues, funny right?
Well pregnant testaments for another letter.

Idanre my sweetheart, I’m dissolving
The last songs I can hewn, matching memories to
Blooming dreams and I smell the bass in heartbeats.
Tonight, I want to love you with no brakes, no airbags, just faith.
Tonight, I’m waiting by my willowing sheets—
Waiting to unearth the untapped layer of
Lingering prophecy— ‘that will one day, walk again
A free man.’
But until my dandy future berth,
My dearie, though my heart be torn from its
Casements in yours
And my swelling feet has ceased to mingle with earth.
I’ll still recite your name, every now, and even in
A tomorrow I may never own like the beads of
Holy penance. your name Idanre, is the power,
Power to sever my age-ridden shackles.
I’ll paint you a smile like sunflowers
And when I stroke the earth, yours will enflame
My sighing lantern, before this last fall
Always and forever.

—Your Love,


Poem: Paul Chibuike Emenike
Image: MS Co-Pilot modified

Paul Chibuike Emenike
Paul Chibuike Emenike
Paul Chibuike Emenike is a Nigerian artist, poet and short story writer. He writes about literature, arts and politics. His works have appeared in Brittle paper and The Illumination Magazine and are forthcoming from Lunaris Review, Agbowo Magazine. He works and resides in Jos.


  1. Your words are a symphony of emotions, weaving a tapestry of feelings that resonates deep within the soul. Each verse is a brushstroke of genius, painting a masterpiece of great qualities.
    Your poetry is a testament to the power of human expression, a reminder that our thoughts and feelings are valid.
    You’re a voice🤍

  2. Luscious. Echoes, resonance of sadness and longing. Words wound together like pearls on a string. Emenike is the name in future African poetry

  3. Your words dance like sunlight on a quiet stream, each line a melody that touches the heart. Your poem is a masterpiece, a testament to the depth of your soul and the beauty of your spirit. I am in awe of your talent and the way you effortlessly weave emotions into verse. Keep writing, dear brother, for the world needs your light.

  4. Your poetry is a journey I never want to end
    You are a true master of language and emotion,
    Your poetry is a work of art breathtaking!

  5. Everything Paul writes is like a breath of fresh air. It doesn’t matter if it’s a melancholic poem or a joyous one. He has a way with words that beautifully mirrors his heart. Idanre is one of such works.

  6. You prove, once again, that love is a beautiful thing. A powerful thing. Your use of imagery and African elements sets a paradoxical tone— some sort of Joyful sadness that leaves the reader longing for a taste of this thing called love. You are are artiste. Yes, always painting images with your words. Idanre would be pleased.

  7. Wow.
    This is a masterpiece!
    Your words sit perfectly well. You make out a work of art out of your poetry.
    As always,you paint a perfect image and bring out the emotions through your words.
    Weldone Paul. This is a nice work my dear friend.
    Lingering prophecy— ‘that will one day, walk again
    A free man.’

  8. Heart felt indeed. You words mirrors a sense of sincereness tainted with longing and inner hurt. A beautiful piece indubitably.
    I felt it.

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