Posted in Poetry

No words spoken

By Noel Ihebuzor

before and beyond Babel
that silent voice bubbles on
bounding and bouncing
in bundles of beautiful
babble that unbundle, bare
and bond me
with no words spoken
not needing nor heeding
any spoken word

 

***I  just read a great poem by Susan L. Daniels and it immediately prompted this spontaneous response.

Find the link to Susan’s poem http://susandanielspoetry.com/2012/11/19/another-love-poem-without-the-word-in-it/#comment-15778

Posted in Poetry

Silent Conversations – A duet

By Susan L. Daniels and Noel A. Ihebuzor

 

S:
it echoes–
this pause before words
weighted breath

N:
It speaks loud
the empty spaces
between words

S:
those moments
minds falter before
sharing truth

N:
truth haltered
for so long, now free
freeing tears!

S:
and floating
on that salt river
soft releasing

N:
hidden fears
uncertainties now
flowing away

tumbling down
tongue now unleashed to
wonder why

 

*** A duet with my duet partner, poet and friend, Susan. I responded to her Haiku on silence, which then provoked her own response et ainsi de suite, this beautiful Haiku on silence and which says so much emerged. It is already published in Susan’s Blog under the title –

SILENCE..: –  as usual, it was fun to co-create with Susan

Posted in Poetry

Arms and Voices for Peace

By Susan L. Daniels and Noel A. Ihebuzor

there are arms we lay down
& others we hold open

there are tongues we must still
and others we loose;
the barbed tongue that howls like a howitzer
we have to leash and rein in
some arms raise to embrace.
others crest fists in tsunami rage, or balance hands
that shape silos tilted skyward, curved metal calculated 
and conducted to maximum strikesthe tongue that coos

softer than the dove,
sweeter as beautiful rays splashed
on the wide bosom of a waking beach
i would plot the curve of a cheek, rested
on my shoulder, lay down
what holds us at arm’s length
and instead open–
a gesture with a bell’s resonance
that tongue whose voice melodiously flutters
under a blue sky,
let her reign,
let her caress and conquer
the hardness of our guns and melt our swords 

these arms, these hands
could  pull needles from softened metal
that was swords
and use these tongues to tell it– 

let us close the gaping wounds
on the face of the earth
caused by the savage rage
of raw us clawing at things we never can ever own

let it begin, this stitching together
of something torn

 

***Susan(italicized) and I (regular type face) decided, on Susan’s prompting,  to blend our efforts for the Dverse prompt today, which involves truce or armistice.  As always, this was so much fun to craft with Susan–a wonderful, inspiring co-creator, poet and friend!

Noel @naitwt on Twitter

Posted in Poetry

Crying wants

By Noel Ihebuzor

 

Weeds of woes grow

 as wants groan and drone,

flourish when frail shallow deeds

 dance and dither puny,

piddle and idle, while

needling needs over-hang heavy,

in a darkling sad sky,

 

hunger hovers,

rages and glowers,

as hollow bellies rumble,

howling; needs shout

harsh, hoarse

hard to hide

 

begging vision with action

 to unbind the bound,

not flash bulb shallow flourish,

done to impress,

impotent sterile whimper

dripping like dribble,

trickling away

like treacle stored

in a beautiful raffia bag

Posted in Poetry

Haiku – Slum

By Noel Ihebuzor

 

Souls stuck in a cage,

seething with savage rage, as

hope drifts and minds roast

 

barren space,

yet lush in crime, grime

running wild

 

festering red sore

child of  need and greed

slowly choking life

Posted in Poetry

Seduction – A duet

By Noel Ihebuzor and Susan Daniels

seduction is best when done softly, slowly

and yes, subtly–
to lead entranced
an entrancing partner (not necessarily
all that innocentintent and consent in a closet slightly ajar, and ever opening)
to fascinate, to suggest, but all so quietly
to the point the seduced
owns it as their idea, not yours

when it seeps slowly into anxious fevered body,
when the pores, the ears, the eyes, the lips, all sip it,
inhaling its suggestive velvety boldness like ripe brandy

Armagnac, please;
or perhaps something scented
of late summer; like pear, apple,
blackberry, but intoxicating
and strong, sweetness with heat
swimming into mind and body both

exhaling and uncoiling
in recognition of joint and multiflavored complicity
saluting coyness and salivating and waiting

yes, art.  art spun by two.
a peacock has nothing on us, love,
fanning feathers to dazzle, but that’s all he has.
you bring and I welcome that drunkenness,
that reeling magic we stumble inside

and going with the flow, each new seduction
increasing flush, gush..and rush,
cascades beckoning and willing rowed to

seduction is best when done softly, slowly

*** Just back from a one month vacation where I visited family and friends in the UK and Nigeria. Back to base in Dar, it was fun to get to chat with my duet partner, Susan  and to exchange views on life, literature and living with her. This poem, a duet,  came up in a spontaneous manner during our chat this afternon on facebook, completely unplanned and we agreed to upload as is – hope you like it.  Susan is italicized, and my words are bolded.

Posted in Poetry

A song for Kibera

By Noel Ihebuzor

From their anthills and lairs, nests, cages and hovels
They crawl out of their holes, their dark damp cramped cages
At the first suggestion of light
on a new day
on empty bellies and in unwashed bodies,
on cracked tired broken shoes
they stream forth like angry ants in search of little change and
praying for the big change
In this existence denied of meaning, devalued and wasting

As they scurry to places to sell their hands and feet
They leave behind temporarily a jungle maze
full of the living and the heaving
most empty denied living hollowed souls
sucked into the hole of hell by want and still in want

Late in the evening, they crawl back insatiate to their dark damp cramped holes
To rest fatigued souls and aching soles
Every day repeats this same ritual of pain with no gain
This same cycle and the circle remain unbroken, imprisoning,
crushing and slowly closing in

A vegetating existence has slowly cooked and numbed the soul
Emptying it of meaning and thinning it as the soles of the tired shoes they wear
As poverty flourishes and hope declines, tired souls and worn out soles

Men and women, teens and adults, drifters and hopefuls
They trooped here from now dimly remembered villages,
Their minds and feet seduced by the lure of glory
The haste for gain
Now their souls sad and weary weighed down and confused
Reduced by pain, held by down as if by weights of lead and waste

The rains of regret have erased all,
washed away all rainbows from these emptying spirits
regret rears strong, sears and cuts deep like a shearer’s knife
the mud filled streams of poverty wash down and away
clearing and carrying away the struggling and clambering feet and limbs and lives
the slopes are steep and slippery and false
on this faulted journey to the portals of plenty and affluence
the streams become torrents, and the torrents rage and
drag down and away

the storms of ruin gather and billow
dirt, dust, rust and rot mingle
dearth and the death of living
the dance of the death in place of life
like the stagger of the club footed , ungainly, clumsy, ugly and pitiful

help comes on millipede feet, fortune just as fast and hope dies just as slow
poverty walks and stalks in tatters and foul rags
time is also a millipede, hope a stunting dwarf
despair blooms and flourishes widely like wild untamed poisonous mushrooms
announces her presence loudly in the echoing rumbles of empty stomachs
fading hopes, festering wastes, dirty deaths, dirt and garbage

priests and pastors, imams, preachers and prophets
conduct their rich rituals as they dispatch the departed
and console the living with tall tales

Life in the crowded spaces of the living is full of rage, red in the tooth,
Raw, rough, tough
Human waste runs open, in open drains, scattered
Pipes and pumps yawn empty, cheap card board and brown zinc habitations
Sprawl and lean dangerously before habitants who have since stopped to care

The smell of alcohol mixes with the stench of poverty,
mixes with the smell
Of airless spaces with exposed excreta, vomit and waste
In noisy cheap bars, cheap perfumes on easy prostitutes
male and female
Hang heavy suffocating with the damp clammy odour of fear that sits heavily on this place of violence that violates
Scantily clad child mothers parade their wares unheeding before
Progressively inebriated future clients, with dimming eyes and failing judgments
As the venom of booze slowly creeps all over, dulling senses and stirring lust
The flesh trade is fast and flourishes, a lot more than flesh is sold in those short exchanges
Poorly clad children issues of many a trade sit around abandoned,
Strong glue has fried their brains and slowly freezes their lungs
They observe, hear, see, soak in and absorb all the rituals of pain, shame, want, cruelty and neglect

The streams of life that waters the living flow away and distant
rough and raging torrents of mud dredges rush openly and scar this place of want
rich in misery, eroding living and corroding the soul

And the place goes on
one big dance of opposites
full but empty
alive but dying
urban yet a jungle
more animals and less human
all ready to pounce

They trooped here in droves in search of hope
hopelessness and dope now bind many
in their rage the gun and knife now become a few
and for many the rope calls and ultimately unbinds……

let the sky open like my eyes and see
may the sky unblock her ears to the cries of pain and shame
heaven, reach out and wipe away their sighs, their pain
as they hover stunned by the lies of smooth tongues
sky loosen their bonds
bind those who tie up others with their inaction and truthful lies
heaven, unbind these bound tongues, bind those of the binders and wasters

heaven, open a window for these trapped souls
so that sun may shine
sky, open your sides and send showers of calm, of hope
of renewal, to reborn, recreate
let your waters of life wash away the gloom and doom, loosen their grips and unbind
the victims, wash away greed, remove need
let the seeds of hope flourish, hope and possibilities as twins and triplets
let new habitations spring up, homes for humans and hearths for hearts
women and children will be fine
and songs and dances may explode in every throat richly
and tired feet may again dance in nimble and rediscovered elegance of souls filled and fired by fine wine

**** I visited Kibera, Nairobi for the first time in 2004 and returned there on a number of occasions. The intense poverty there never ceased to shock me…and this song of despair and hope, written in 2004 was one of my responses to the strong emotions Kibera stirred up in me.

Posted in Poetry

Conoco

By Noel Ihebuzor

 

The small aircraft drifted down the scantily clad almost naked desert skies

The noise of engines banging at our aching eyes

It bumped as the hot desert winds punched and pushed its under belly

And then a thud and furious rush as we hit the stone and dust infested dirt strip of a run way

Stones and rocks and pebbles and dust rose and flew

 as if in protest behind us as we taxied

 and then the aircraft came to rest on this harsh, hard and sullen sterile desert

located in the middle of nowhere

 

Six four wheel drives stood at odds with the desert terrain….

and soon we commenced the drive to nearest town from Conoco, Garowe

 

Driving into town in an assorted and mixed convoy of aid workers, armed guards and security personnel

We passed malnourished shrubs

valiantly brandishing their thorny bristles

 and sharp ends and keeping away sheep, goats and camel predators

in this intriguing fight for life in this arid,

thirsty, empty and sterile place where much life has flown

 

We passed a young shepherd boy angrily checking and herding his stubborn flock

brandishing a stick and controlling sheep, camels and restless goats.

 

We drove along a dirt road carved on the dry desert land

A road framed in a sterile, yawning and gaping desperate desert

We drove on a flat terrain cooked and roasted slowly by a heartless  sun

Past waterless heaps of sand and stones, and dunes

In this place that screamed want and waste.

 

Soon we came across a fallen camel in its final sleep

its huge carcass still as it lay where it had fallen in its last and lost struggle

for life in this place of death

Its still and silent form still sang its last heroic but futile fight for life

As its parched throat, empty stomach and weakened body eventually emptied her body

 and it yielded up its soul to the empty desert sky.

 

Even from the distance of time and space, I felt I sensed her last tear of pain and shame

as the harsh dry desert slowly and inexorably desiccated her body, spirit and soul.

 

The sun with the passage of time had roasted her flesh,

the harsh storms, the night winds, the eternally shifting sharp sands, stones,

the smaller inhabitants of this stony place,

all of these had stripped her flesh almost bare

baring her huge bones and her huge rib cage

leaving her white bones standing there,

exposed, whitened and bleached by the sun, by the stars

 

Two hundred metres further down the road as we hurried to Garowe,

we passed yet another whitened and whitening carcass,

still in death, arresting and strident by its presence and size….

and yet another, a kilometer further

 

Who will shed a tear for these fallen camels, who but their bereaved owners?

who will weep for the fallen ships of the desert,

drowned in heaps of hot and harsh desert sands?

Will any one remember them as they sleep in this empty space,

as they lie still and stilled in this place of want and waste?

Who will wail for these lost souls

when the ears of men and women have become deaf and numb

by the din of greed, stunted by the seduction of ambition

their consciences stiffened by the creed of greed, grab and material incontinence?

 

Who will bury these white bones whose presence troubles me so?

who will remove them from the eyes of my heart?

who will bury these huge white bones and many other white bones of waste and want that lie scattered in empty spaces and places?

 

The carcasses of waste and destruction sleep cheap in this place as in many others

where the creed is greed, greed the creed and thus fecund in death, stones and sterility.

 

The silenced souls and the fixed white bones speak loudly to me

bring moisture to my tired eyes

their awkward and precocious eternal sleeps gnaw

 raw and savagely at the edges of my fragile conscience

and thaw tears frozen in the back of my skull.

 

They remind me of the dimming and dimmed voices of the weak

The hardly heard and often drowned voices of the frail and feeble

And the eternally ignored gestures of children and women struggling for life and air and some place in the light of life.

 

In their grotesque sleep of life and death, I see also the early sleep of children,

the pains and tears of harmless children who are harmed by the harshness of the strong

the agonies and empty deaths of all children who fall to the whims of the wicked

And the wicked who stand on the graves of the fallen

 

The sleeping camels conjure in my mind

future spectacles of soon to be enacted sleeps of the innocent

who will lie still in this place and other places of sand and stone,

Their souls parched, their spirits broken, their weak limbs crushed,

their paltry belongings looted as they scamper and scatter

and stoop and cower in polythene and card board hovels on the first stage of their journey to eternal

but early sleep 

as silenced, they return to their silent creator

their frail frames framed in shallow and unmarked graves

 

****Written in Garowe in 2005 when I did humanitarain work in Puntland, Somalia

Posted in Poetry

Fizzy feelings and Fuzzy physics: # 9 Friction

By Noel A. Ihebuzor and Susan L. Daniels

In every straight and curving path of life
the interaction of opposites flows, friction,

its opposition
a delicate assurance of traction,
resistance and grip, always present
allows us to stand and move

same resistance slows and stops us
allowing motion, yet retarding it

the rasp of surface against surface,
smooth against rough,  rough to rough,
smooth to smooth; each raises heat,
awakens a force
moved into being by edge scraping  edge

the gliding plane
our movement through air as friction

the soaring heart,
the pounding heart, ventricle and atrium
pumping, pulsating and pushing life blood,
in never stopping motion,
constantly overcoming friction and resistance,

harp strings tremble, plucked and stroked by knowing
fingers
, the wailing saxophone,
the streaking trumpet,
the tickling tinkling piano strokes,
slides, glides, and breaks its chords
all raising hammers to strings
and frictioned strings to sound

the whispered violin

all engineered friction fusing with air,
music born of friction, peaks and troughs of sound
throb in our ears

the ship slicing through waves,
opening and parting them in bowed surge
the wetted measured friction
has the waters parting, gushing, rushing round
singing in joyous roars that fill, fulfill, and enflame
basking mermaids slithering and lulling in the waves
of plunging passion

our fingertips, too, on skin, are friction
we call pleasure, touches we arch under
the language of groans and sighs also moaned friction
of heated air rasping vibrating cords
in the throat, just so

and then tensing to yes.

the pleasure of the plough plunging deep,
digging deep into gripping soil
gratefully opening up to tilling, for seeds of life
to be planted, so that in season, a rich harvest would birth

and how our voices rejoice, secret yielded as fruit
the shared complicity in
friction and pulling,
plowing, plunging and planting

the stone grinder, the blunt edge,
engage in perfect frictional resistance,
sharpening, short lived stars shooting and flying dazzle,
heat rising to combustion points,
sparks flying with each roll, the spinning grind

the resistance of the pool
the waiting surface tension
the perfect contours of its ribbed surface
 pierced by the perfect dive,
the ripples and return heave of frictional resistance
the suckling suctioning into parted spaces, bubbling,
warming and enfolding heat, in the cool dive defeating friction, thawing,

how resistance melts down
into dissolving softness,
like a warm bread knife,
pressed deep into yielding butter,
soon bathed in golden cream….

the touch as fingers run through skin tense,
the kissing caress
, lips slowly rubbing singing skin
bodies locking, unlocking, interlocking,
passions painted in colors of friendly wrestlers
locked in a tussle of mutual entanglement and enlargement,

grasping, clutching, gripping
skins toned, glistening, unchaining and liberating
expanding voices, accelerating motions of
perpetual ebbs and flows, surges and suctions
hurrying to a waiting harbor, destroying energy in liberating bliss

and incomprehensible scribbles
on the resisting vibrating surface of the bewitched air

all need your collaboration
demanding energy to overcome
though energy would be felt,
drowned in flowing pleasures

without friction there can be no pleasure
stuttered, stalled, sullen and static
journeys without boundaries

life a languid limp limbo
resistance and restrainer
you increase work and heat
liberating positive energy in seasons of amity
but when time and pride corrode the good
and anomie sets in
and thorn weeds sprout and spike in polluted hearts
painful friction, spawn and install in stubborn hearts
spout-spawning spiraling masses of negative energy,
spurning joy, acerbic simmer, toxic swelters, choking
as corrosive friction multiplies and you deepen your roots
the good begins to dissolve, the ugly enlarges

our edges dry and wear down;
stripped tongues heavy and cracked like warped wood,
hearts unmoved,
and our communications collapse

as enlarging frictions fetters and freezes the feet of amity
to resist and retard the swelling of heart
and bodies that once vibrated and throbbed as one 

***And here we are, at our last piece in the fizzy feelings/fuzzy physics series and Susan and I close it here with a flourish.  The theme friction is one that lends itself to diverse explorations and exploitations and we have not stinted in any way here in these :) and we hope you will like what we have tried to make of it!

Thanks again to Susan, my partner in poetry and co-creator, for challenge, co-inspiration and for such gorgeous use of the language!