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Rhythms From The Heart: Poems by Emeka Azuine


Those who took us for what we are
will live to rejoice with us
what they never knew we were.
Those who rejected us for what we were
will live to tell their friends
what good it was they missed in us.
Those who despised our huts
will miss the world of fortune
attendant to kings that lived with us.
Those who derided the slippers we wore today
will announce to their friends
how well new shoes fit into our feet.
Those who refused our embrace of short arms
will live to tell their friends how much love
radiated from the short hugs we gave.
Those who believed only because they saw
will tell generations of near-misses
they achieved for striving to see contents before boxes.
For the wisdom of the ancients
always lay beneath the earth
and reality, beneath the world unseen.



We sing our songs, all day long
They’re lyrics of hope to despairing hearts
Hearts sitting forlorn in tattered clothes
Hearts arched by angels of vicissitudes
Songs to hearts that harbour verdigris
We sing these songs never shall we pause
They’re quick songs of love
Love to bodies charcoaled by hate
Hatred smouldering from dragons
With chests and hands iced with vile.
We sing our songs, hymns of deliverance
They’re solfas fettered on extended ropes
To the stomach of abyss, to hands dwarfed
By villains of frosted victims
From whom staccatos yield no taps.
We sing comfort to wailing totes
Suckling milkless breasts of lifeless mums
We sing songs of recollection
To refugees who’ve lost thoughts of home
In the rat race of new life in “newfoundland”.
We’ve sung like whirlwinds
Bloodguilt ears rebuff our rhythms
We’ve sung like typhoons
Rock harbingers walk about unscathed
Now we will sing like thunder
And rent their caves asunder!



I watch you roll
Roll from one side of the bed
To the other, and then still
The clock chimes once.
I watch you sit and hum
Hum unintelligible tones
As mountains of tobacco
Disappear into your nostrils.
I watch your eyes
Fill with jerking tears
And your ears positioned
Intermittently to the earth’s pillars
Trying to place distant voices.
I try to cage my curiosity
But your crawling hands tap my chest
Papa must I play this midnight encounter
To see the gods’ piercing eyes
And partake in this ancestral dialogue?



The other day
I stood valiant in-between two competitors
While the ‘star-spangled banner’ was sung
The star-spangled flag waved
And I was named a proud American
My shoulders held high up on the streets.
The other day
I beat four other folks from distant lands
While ‘God save the queen’ rent the air
The Union jack roamed hoisted in air
I was named a proud Briton
My face a regular on TV sets.
The other day
I tripped on a lady’s feet
While she dragged me before the jurors
Who handed me a 2-week community service
No longer was I British… American… or Westerner
Just a Nigerian-born…Indian born…Chinese-born, and …
The other day
Someone asked me:
Is the gospel of the west
Not a baptism of identity crisis
When the time comes?
The other day.


(c) Emeka Azuine

Emeka Azuine
Emeka Azuine
Emeka Azuine graduated with honours in Mass communications from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and won the university’s Alhaji Babatunde Jose award for excellence in writing.  He practised journalism and worked with international NGOs in Nigeria. Emeka currently resides in United Kingdom where he concluded graduate studies in International relations. His writings have been published in various media in Nigeria, United Kingdom, and United States of America. He is working on a poetry collection Rhythms of Agony.

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