Lamentations

By

Noel A. Ihebuzor

We are the broken ones

ones about to be broken

about to break again

soft wood stuck

between hammer and anvil

Debris like cloud dust

from fleeing time now

float in our semi-circular

canals, our tympanic membranes

tampered, in shreds and tatters

Swirling dusts of rage,

coloured by clan and clime

by breed and creed

cloud our vision

we see hazy in the enveloping mist

where truth lies supine

and lies triumph

Wise counsel struggles for hearing

but is ignored, the midwife of truth

has been sacked, a vicious grip

holds the throat of the sooth saying parrot

and trampled truth struggles still to rise

Let Him and Her that hath even one ear

listen and hear

let even the blind

see and read these prophecies

scripted hazily on these patchy papyrus

with ink drawn from the veins of the dying

Let Her, let Him

even the clumsy with a broken tongue,

a struggling stammer

sign sing these messages

to a deaf world

For in hearing,

and heeding

in reading, decoding and recoding

in listening and speaking

lies escape, recovery and renewal

and new beginnings

May the bond

of the heart bound in hatred

be broken, shattered

scattered in the dust

let scattered hopes regroup

to oppose doom and destitution

and broken hearts begin to mend,

rebuild, re-bond and rebound,

binding all bile and bitterness

casting them to funeral pyres

of unending infernos

***Feeeling blue on a Friday and worrying about my country!

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HerStory

By Noel A. Ihebuzor

(A response to this poem which pains and troubles me)

 

I veil my face

I fake, I affect a pace

I strike a pose to please

 

I part unveil my ware

to attract, to beckon, to appeal,

all to strike a better bargain

 

draining nights

on these dark streets,

mean, dim

where for a fare fair

I fair sell my flesh and frame,

me tame, soul lame, filled with shame

before rates of exchange

driven hard, harsh, heartless

unequal, the weak cannot bargain

 

I empty my soul,

as he emptyng inside me, also empties me

so much pain,

for so paltry a gain

all so that you, my child

will not be empty

when you rise

 

In the mornings, when you rise

clad in your innocence,

as you eat and fill up, I sing for you

but also to forget, my smiles fake, as guilt

and self-pity gnaw at my insides

 

And I sink, I sink and sing to forget.

A song on waiting

By Noel Ihebuzor

 

The evening limps on dragging feet

slowly, the enlarging darkness of night

overruns the day

urging the dying day to bed and rest

the lights die out

as silence enfolds the enveloping darkness

and she waits

 

 

Time crawls on millipede feet

seconds last long like sluggish minutes

sadness and worry rest heavy

heavy on her restless pacing feet

(occasionally stamping feet)

as a damp blanket

 

Between pacing, stamping and sitting,

she stays on, stays up, eyes heavy

soul heavier, spirit drooping

wrestling with the harsh hands

of hurt and reality

that now strangle her dreams

and choke her soul

 

she checks the hum of every passing car

ears straining and acute

hearing the silent footfalls of footless spirits

responding to the call of the night

as they glide to their nocturnal haunts

 

And she wishes she could go forth like them

but she cannot

worry has hollowed her eyes

self pity erodes her soul

creeping doubt slowly strangles her self confidence

but courage and hope prop her up

 

and she wonders which company keeps him today

what outside tall tales inspire his loud laughter

what colored claws and lips

trace well perfected caresses on his frame

and bring sparkles and glitter

to his otherwise dead eyes

 

and she wonders

where all that intensity has flown

where, how, why and when

all that “we go die together” died,

where it was buried….

and she wonders and worries

as her mind wanders, and waits and hopes

 

 

and she sits, stands, sits,

sighs and waits…

waiting for the car lights in the drive way

for the well feigned contrition, the well rehearsed tales,

the unreliable car, the low battery…..

dreading the smell of alcohol and strange perfumes

and just wondering how long…yes, just how long before!

“tion” words – emotion in action

By Noel Ihebuzor

 

Seduction,

words, glances, gestures

and signs all singing innocence,

guile innocently garbed in see-through lace, wonyosi,

seeds laced and laden with suggestion

of slow gentle adduction

consensual abduction,

mutual attraction, prehensile and  tensile,

O youth, shine your eyes,

read the small print

approach with caution, resist acceleration

to end points and end games

steeped in action, multiplication, addition,

and deception and substraction.

Extended Dinner, A Duet

By Boomie Bol and Noel Ihebuzor

Spoon fed by desire
Nourished by lust
Lavishly drunk on love

Satiation soon
Repeatedly reached
In phases

Joy brimming as
Fingers, fork, tongue, mouth, taste buds
feel, feed and sweet fill

Nourished to the brim
My essence is filled
Full lips wiped in happy delight

This poem was born from my response to Boomie Bol’s poem; Untitled: Dinner. The first and last verses are Boomie’s while the second and third (italicized) are mine. Such a pleasure to do the duet with Boomie who is a great poet with a very warm voice. Please visit her blog for a delicious treat in poetry! O se, Boomie..

ChildMother and Wife

By Noel A. Ihebuzor

the child as mother

smothers childhood

the murdered mind weeps

when torture is garbed as culture,

a deadening deaf culture

deaf to pleas and protests

pleas of despair

the despair of the innocent,

thrashing like fish  

trapped in a net,

whimpering and weeping

the lonely lament of a lamb,

her neck gripped in the jaws

of a predator, depraved,

blood spurting from ruptured aperture,

victim’s pain and slow death

contrasting with victor’s rapture

the shivering of the struggling lamb

before the slaughterer’s blade,

as dreaded night falls,

in vain searching the dark world

closing in on her for some light

to brighten her bleak plight and

and lift her soul,

finding none

 

heiress of pain,

fragile limbs grabbed, groped and gripped

by coarse grasping hands,

the repeated shattering pain  as tender

flesh is gashed by hard hot flesh,

the happy husband

invades soft developing chambers

savours with selfish relish tender flesh,

matters little

this maturing and developing frame

now numb

matters little childhood

now broken

Matters least innocence stolen

forever lost

as forced intrusions, crude invasions,

desecrate unfolding sacred spaces

the empty victor’s gain,

the victim’s pain, our collective shame

 

Now she carries a new life in her, her child,

herself a child, drenched in confusion,

12, 13 seasons ago,

she was like this life just beginning to form,

now daughter of pain,

tied down by the glue cobwebs of tradition, vice-like

 

 

Is this meet the sacrifice of the innocent?

Is it meet that marriage mars childhood

mangling a girl child’s today and her tomorrow

destroying her innocence

in the season of her youth

making a mother of one

in need of mothering

smothering her hopes, happiness and health,

freezing rich potentials

limiting possibilities from unfolding

all because fevered callous hands,  

propped by culture selfishly reach out in greed

to harvest and appropriate fruits,

tender fruits plucked in their bud

to feed coarse souls

in collusion with parents

in search of quick gain

on such emptying and wasting plain

deaf to the cries of pain

of childhood smothered,

of dreams denied

** raw…will refine later – the subject is a delicate and very painful one**

Love

Noel A. Ihebuzor

 

Love with that

love that gives

as it lives

 

Love with that

love that forgives

and reprieves

 

Love with that

love that conceives

of goodness in fullness

 

Love with love

that deceives not

but overflows with truth

 

Love with that

love that believes

breathes and lives

 

Love with that

love that heaves and

freezes lavas of hate

 

Love with a love

that dwells in the present

freed from the prison of the past

 

Love with a love

that flowers our today gaily

and seeds our tomorrow

with fresh dreams

 

love with a love so full

that it fills our today with songs,

links our present and our past

hollows the past of bitterness

filling the morrow with positivity and possibilities

 

love with a smile and smile

@naitwt

Urban Jungle Blues – A Duet

By Noel A. Ihebuzor and Susan L. Daniels

Another wandering day finds worn out minds
worrying on a wavering road wound tightly around anxious
feet lost and soles tired, tiring,
endless stomping, souls emptying, core eroding
trapped penniless in hard bone want
rides and crosses opulence heaving full breasted
never meeting anywhere or nowhere, desert islands, different
indifference, whether in narrow winding slums spawning hovels, grime, crime and anomie or in suffocating metallic structures that pierce the sky
seated on wide arteries on gridlocked checker boards
where automobiles choke the lungs with fumes of affluence,

Here, this city no longer smells of steel galvanizing
but oats baking into cereal O’s, and the main street
pedestrian mall frames four tracks for trains that do nothing
but run from the banks to the university
in a 30-year straight line, all the stores closed
except pharmacies, pawn shops, Chinese take-out,
stores that sell bright synthetic shoes for drag queens and prostitutes
or lottery tickets, cigarettes, and beer

The city sprawls, growls, as grim faces with automated smiles
and ATM voices greet and grit set teeth
co-travellers on the subway, rush without seeing, not feeling
and when seeing move on before sunshine thaws well frozen
protector shields of indifference and anonymity
to open a space now dreaded in this place where we pace
in a metal jungle of tubular bars, well rehearsed smiles,
a maze that breathes fear
behind stale glass windows or airless hovels
that color eyes and imprison minds
and minds stagnate in the stupor of sterile promises
that become hazier as mind become heavier, and stubborn dreams
slowly tip to cheap end points, needles, skins, threads and ropes

This is my downtown, my city of brown and black faces
strangled by surrounding white arms, where all the jobs grow
past the bus lines and reverse commutes from suburb to suburb;
but still in this heart blocked by abandoned factories
rises an energy.  Students fill the coffeehouses and jazz clubs,
wrapped in black, borrowed sophistication after a night
in the theatre district or gallery parties, and warehouses shift to lofts
and still more galleries, pop-up shows mushrooming between the cracks of sidewalks

like brilliant intoxicating fungi
as street festivals paint the air
with basil and cinnamon, mixing with those oats

urban centres call
sell hopes that reach for a sky
darkened by hard hearts

those sidewalks

littered landscaping
of trash cans never emptied
dreams full of promise

so emptying

***Susan and I explore the challenges of urban life in this duet. Though our backgrounds are different, our duet brings out some of the universal features of life  in an urban setting  – hence, the title, Urban Jungle Blues. As always, this was fun!  Susan’s voice is in italics, Mine is in regular type. Kindly let us know what you think of the duet!

Heed my need and hide your truth

by Noel Ihebuzor

 

Hold me strong

So that I vibrate

Hard non-stop

You the same,

but sad I watch your eyes speak

thoughts of another

 

The facts your

eyes sing differ from mine

the smooth truths

tumbling from

your lips are covers that hide

the truths in your soul

 

Facts and truths

exist, truths unfurl

change with time

children of

perspectives, emotions and

needs seeking strong stoke

 

Trying to experiment with Shadorma as a form  – but this is a disaster! Critics, the singer and not the song, or should it be the other way round?

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.