Chielozona Eze

© Divya Adusumilli 2013

© Divya Adusumilli 2013

Raising the Dead

If I didn’t tell you, you wouldn’t know.
Place your thumb on my heart – a scar.
Press a little harder – a grave.
In it repose the memories of war children
pretzeled by hunger,
children whose stomachs were globes.
I know them.
I was one of them.
I died my own death
when my mama groaned aloud for God to hear:
Please stop this war.

I am an undertaker.
Flowers no longer move my heart.
But where do I pour this handful of tears of the woman
calling on her soldier husband in the casket?

I am an undertaker.
But I am scared.
My eyes are now trained
on the many comatose, who hold on to the hope
that we would reach them a helping hand,
lift them from the graveyard of grit without gains,
the never-ending war of us against the weak.

In Search of my Father’s Dreams

The other day in the town’s arena,
a friend asked why I carried a placard
against wars, and hate; against the rape of girls.
Why did I shout like a noisy punk?

Of war and peace, friend, I’ve got this say:
My father died with half a dream in his eyes.
Years on we still tap in the dark for the other half.
He once told us in a tone of defeat:
If only I had gone to school I wouldn’t be this poor.
But God knows why he was poor.
We came back from the refugee camps.
And he woke up mornings with tears.
And he whispered: never again, never again.

I have been through the school of pain, dear friend.
I’m not the one that speaks when I speak;
Thousand tongues meld in my mouth.
For them I demand an answer.

My eyes search every corner for the other half
of my father’s dream. I’ll know it when I see it.
I’m sure it will know me.
Conceived in the dark night of fear,
it will find me in the open arena of daylight
where children dream with wide eyes.

Chielozona Eze PictureChielozona Eze was born and raised in Nigeria. He earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Joseph’s Major Seminary, Ikot Ekpene, Nigeria, MFA (Fiction), PhD in Philosophy and Literature from Purdue University, Wet Lafayette, USA. He is currently Associate Professor of Postcolonial and Anglophone African Literature at Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago. He considers himself a poet and philosopher.


Filed under Poetry

2 responses to “MEMORIES OF WAR

  1. onyeka dike

    lovely poems. a new friend and follower; poet and literary critic.

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