Poetry

Poetic Pasteurization: Poems by C. Uche Onuora

image: Jon Sullivan

Sacerdotal Prelude

In the beginning…

And squeamish raindrops
Dodge thirsty acres, as
Mollified mules trudge, in
Brace of rifling ploughs…

Displaced Dibias chafe
Raise militant shoals, by
Sharing bushels of hate seeds
Sown deep in souls – words
Nurturing foul roles…

Forty raiders on
Crimson trail of lost
Grail; seize gloried acres
Fortified knouts in hand
In covenant to steal
Holy chest of Moses stones
Like forty rogues on Ali’s trail…

Mercadiers on payroll
Absconding with life seeds
Enzyme for latter day rains
Of recidivism, fuel for
Deposing saints; debauchery
Fruits on thresholds of chivalry…

Quick words assembled
True words for real goals
Latter days yield to
Brighter forays to redeem
Deferred dreams; raise
Interred dreams…

In the beginning
Hydra elements stretched
Into dark corners of the
Creation; when words
Sparked the deluge of
Our beginnings, to rescue
Worlds from vast grips of evil…

And words swam
With a pant – drawing a sigh
Across expanse; from dark
To light; seeking truth, to
Soothe falling down paradises
Lost but found…

In the beginning
Words were with us…

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Once Upon a Time…

New pilgrim on stilled horizon
Scours a virulent threshold through a prism
Wasted lands tell a sordid tale; a life of its own
With twists and turns – a fire-lit tail…

Invocations were death-throes galore
As baldies with hook beaks circled patiently
“One last time!” was the bellow yielding a sob
“For my fathers and my children’s children…”

Beyond the chants and the heaving pants
Beyond even the memories gone-by with recants
“We who walked with thunder and supped with gods!”
“We who bestrode colossally – wielders of fiery word swords!”

Bones of old pilgrims were littered in plain sight
They with plain beaks, dared to salivate intently
When Canines cracked canines encored in vain plight
Once upon a time, everyone knew their place…

We swill the caustic froth of fermented truths
We yield to the relentless pace of fleeting youth
Beyond the Crier’s bell clang – the dreary herald
Our dreams yield sharply to our reality’s pangs…

Wasted lands tell of wasted lives
As new old pilgrims retreat in peace
New Prodigal of soil returns with fleece

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Saturnine Monody

The cattle hide-keeper – he came, answering my call
To give me new nails for a while – in exchange – for
The old sullied nails darkened by venomous rile
New white nails to scratch out a living, for the child
Of my lineage – he came; the cattle whisperer came before

I rose; as the cock’s crow broke the furtive silence
Of alabaster whispers in darkness’ harness – the cadence
Of masked intents sprouting from harem of thorn bushes
On bush pathways hardened by cyclical treks of violence
Melodies hearken over and over to hearts grievance-hardened

And so flows the moist nourish – on and on, a varnish
To cloak roots and swaddle truths in flourish, hearts freeze
As the preying bird unsheathes its claws in midflight
At midnight; the prayers of heathens answered in respite
Sown seeds garnish a war tune, innocence is repealed

The pathfinder led a crooked life to stalk futures, rife
With labyrinth forays; drum bred a yearning for entrails
Its beat spoke over and over shielded by passion’s veil
Oh father of drums; here is kola – eat it!
Guardian of our tempest; now our drum – beat it!

Ancestral chalk on face – warlike, guardians of
Ancestral gates bathed in radiance, soaked in war fumes
Hooves of cavalry in brazen steps, a line-up stampedes
Up a winding incline to fiery peak of smothered visage
Signal plume heralds a brazen theft of souls and lineages

The cries of taut leather betray a mercurial sign
The war drum stokes thoroughfares of fiery souls
The cause of redemption withers on a rapacious vine
As consortiums of embers glide to heaven’s passageway
And desideratum is upturned – mortal dies a thousand deaths

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Ode to Earthen Breaths

A prayer of muted desperation

Song:
Muffled voices amidst dark foibles
Heated promises from frosty orifices

Bone creaks are rapid in olden prophecies
Beholden minds behold a progeny foretold

Tempos resurgent as kaolin presents outlines
On parchments – camwood lines run deep
As life’s nectar and yam and kola and spices
Splice strands; deep promise rooted in earthen wills

Dance:
Ani di nso, debe ya nso
Anyi a-muo nwoke n’udo-oo
Earth is sacred, keep her holy
Unto us a son comes in peace

Song:
Stale perspires – enraptured pair of lifted eyes
To mount an earthen mound – venerate her home

Urgent limbs tug at futures and Spectral
With pursed lips premise an infant suckling

Deadened stares reawakened, as fibers
Of resplendent desires, rule eager hearts; pliant hands
Smoothen unruly wizened hairs and soothe eager ears
Dry running tears – breaths capture airs of mystical myths

Dance:
Ani zoba m, Ani nwe mmadu niine
Anyi a-muo nwoke n’udo-oo
Earth save me, we all are earthen
Unto us a son comes in peace

Song:
Mystagogue sources ancient liniment and
With myrobalan, balms a wounded womb to form
A kick excites, a beat entices, a heart of promises
Gestated eurhythmics stoke a silent choir to uproar…

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From the Crypt: A Spastic Anecdote

For the harvest – bountiful or not

They came, bearing gifts
Ossuaries – earthen; worn
Conveyors of lookers on sidelines
Offered assuages of a common cause
A revolving plot rifles passion breeze

Wandering souls, leftovers
From earthenware gift urns; sworn
Purveyors of bedlam; de-mastered minions
Roving ronin of a murdered cause – livid
As dissolving innocence stifles passion’s glee

And out of the tempest, a banquet
Valiant calls a vigilant army of conquest

Blaze of forest’s undergrowth
On heels of forage rage under sun
Cowries in a tabernacle; stipends for
God-keepers, sinner’s rent for solitude
Refuge; but thunder warns a garrulous portend

They prayed, mouthing pleas
Swearing eager oaths – not to yield
On pain of wages of sinners swimming, in
Impunity impurities – wallowing, in memories
Of memories, yoga-stretched to infinity

And the crucible glows in heat
Forging fate-ores and lost souls in turn

Cheering droves, Janus waves
From shifty hands – conscripted; deceit laced
Paces of twisted tongues – up-down, helter-skelter
In search of sky-raised chalice dripping life’s nectar
Milked in vain from shriveled veins; noble crosier wanes

They surged, clearing paths
For steered wraths – brazen; swarm
Of hangmen on hang-duty, sweltering in heat
To reverse wrongs of usurped rites, but no nooses
Marked breast – a soul, a crimson blade, a heated stone bed

And after the banquet, an inquest
Inquisitors demand a premium bounty

Retreating columns; armies of regret
Back-stabbed in face of odds – unsurpassed
Low born, she rose from cauldron of calcium ash
Brought forth by a fiery escort; illuminates a path
To Canaan by Golgotha’s way, a last stand for a lost
Cause – lost no longer, an ideal reborn in hate’s crucible

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Windtalkers, Windstalkers

For the Restless Ones – Dust in the Wind

Whispers riffle though space
Speaking easy; words pass
At a gate, on a trail; trace a
Grail as Braille tongues race
To taste words; watchmen brace
For murmurs buoyed by haste
Legends fall like rain…

Long words; winded on roads less travelled – steep inclines
Lost roads decline; echoes of whispers mellowed by past times

Words float from air-flutes – Uja
Eager clasp of creeds release, lips
Sync in rhythms, steeds sashaying
As legion lutes line route, of
Victory lap in luxury’s laps; and
Regales of airy maiden-fest follow
Legions bellow in vain…

That which belongs to earth, must return to earth
That which is coveted by lust, must dissolve to dust

Whispers caress ears sonorously
Fleeting promises of sensual trysts
Notes in eager ears, devoured Ovid-ly
As waltz up misty stairways
Stirs philandering harmonic echoes
And hormones, stalking grey matters – murmurs
Summoned by sweet pain…

The wind’s trail is a grail to recover dust trapped in time
The wind trails time in passages over turquoise middles

Energies buffeted; whispers
Hurtle on broken wings, we
Invoke a silent ring of revoked
Curses; chants heaped on heads, for
Causes un-reaped, caucuses unreached
Confines of empty vessels bring word
Fights and word flights, in wind lanes…

Secret winds trade for time, to repose souls of dust interrupted in passages
Whispers – Ikuku breathes a prayer, windward invocations on a crimson trail

Wind words, wards of a stolen gyre
Whirl on broken wings and
Secret language of old – a code
To parley fighters for causes and
Freedom; when word fighters bestrode –
Word kings, below Gulf Stream tails
Janus words ring hollow…

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Ablution: Of Orphans and Voices, Searching for Freedom

See me standing here full of remorse. Then on bended knee, with heavy-laden chest, and browbeaten crest; overburdened by thoughts. Now close your eyes as I relieve stress, and pour out burdens into your receptive ear. And capture a picturesque rendering of mine soul. Expressive missives rushing over rustling sheaves, vivid images searing through muddled palettes, sparkling verse soaring in wind-swept chariots, a symphony of articulation, let out into the gallery, poco a poco, little by little. I feel stimulated already.

We come to thee, with offerings of bounty
We come to thee, to profess our veneration
Oh mother of we, have mercy on our folly
We feed thee gifts, fruits of our journey

Hear me loud and clear, full of verbose, with defiant heaves, and rancid speech, seeds of belief planted by eerie moonlight. Now hold your ears while I observe prayers and eulogize words, amidst angelic cheer and sometimes, plutonic tears. Harvest crops of nurtured years. Statuesque rhythms interspersed with lively lyrics, apportioned over a smattering of prose, served up with a steamy portion of vibe, stuffed full with poignant quotes, basted over with ironic relish, and grilled to perfection in a cozy mind. A feast of ideas on a stormy sea, of starry skies and sinking light, wrapped up in smoldering passion. I feel stuffed already.

We twist and turn, in hopes of your sanction
We pray and fast, for dreams of salvation
Oh mother of we, have mercy on our folly
We feed thee gifts, fruits of our journey

Feel me stumble and veer full of disconcert, with fearful eyes, and harried deeds, clearly marked by hindsight. Yet, I come back to you. Hands outstretched, palms facing to the heavens, eyes lifted in supplication, stooping torso and genuflecting knee, harrowed experiences harassing my reminiscence. Years gone by; left behind on flight to safety and harmonious climes. There, where melody is in tune with nature and discourse is a prelude to festivities. Greet thy nervous spawn. I feel loved already.

We are thy children, fruits of your womb
We were suckled on your sweet bosom
Oh mother of we, have mercy on our folly
We feed thee gifts, fruits of our journey

I drip drop libations to mine ancestors before me, as the tick tock gives birth to new descendants after me. Drip drop in pittance, for my nectar is insufficient. And tick tock counts the souls gone yonder, and the souls born in the modern era. For up and down, before and after, my lineage is abundant. My loins boil over; I want to plant seed, before my soil grows weary, or my soul goes under. I want to spread thoughts and words and dreams and seeds, to supplant the dearth, and renounce the waste. Oh mother of, we, who are about to write, hail you. I feel inspired already.

Oh give us rest, oh give us holy
For respite is nonetheless, demanded by weary
Oh mother of we, have mercy on our folly
We feed thee gifts, fruits of our journey

In reaching up high to grasp for sinewy branches that stop us from sinking, recognize your status as anchor of our sensibilities. We proclaim thee as author of our story, to give us strength as augments to your glory.  As skirmishes debunk our harmony, and rescind our sacred equilibrium. Lift up proclamation and wave forth flags of loyalty. For on our side, we see thee as curator of our mental abilities, champion of our unlived expectations, sovereign of our hallowed consciousness. I feel safe already.

We come in cycles, like seasons, wanting and daring
Of orphans and voices, please give us free
Oh mother of we, have mercy on our folly
We feed thee gifts, fruits of our journey

Mermaid of our local river, oracle of our local shrine, high priestess of our local deity; please free us from the clutches of time. Let thoughts of prejudice and words of moodiness, be prisoners of the minor portions of our conscience. Let them never roam freely across landscape of our vivid dreams, and let them be banished to gloomy dungeons with hungry beasts. Fountain of our eternal quest, for knowledge and her quirky zest, please nourish our fantasies and nurture our intonation. As we seek ever more brilliantly to capture your imagination, please let us ride high. I feel ecstatic already.

Our chains of styles and limits of authorities
Bind and gag us, hassle and muscle us
Oh mother of we, have mercy on our folly
We feed thee gifts, fruits of our journey

Of chapters and passages, verses and cadencies, theater and parables, etcetera and etcetera; please give audience to our pleas for release. Free from the service of the restrictive dogma of the orthodox, an impassioned plea to release our “voice”, our “style”, our “message”, our “wit”. Be our guardian eye, but from a distance, that encourages us to fly and fly and fly. Be our critical ear, but from afar. The encouraging sage sends me on my way, with a loving embrace, whispered counsel, and an affectionate push. I move forward, confidence in my gait, and pride in my mien. I feel free already.

Kith and kin may give way to kill and kill
But o’er the voice of we, release thy reins
Oh mother of we, have mercy on our folly
We feed thee gifts, fruits of our journey

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© Copyright 2004-2008 C. Uche Onuora

Free image: Jon Sullivan

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