Smoke in My Lungs
I never knew what it was until I saw it in my father’s hand;
then I was just a lad curious about the world. And the way
my dad held this tiny tube between his fingers made me
believe it was safe. From its end, as it glowed red, stream
of smoke goes up to the heavens, like a burnt sacrifice.
And my father, wiping his hand across his mouth, coughed
nervously; and behold, from his eyes, which he sees with
one, runs tears calling for pity. But he didn’t stop, and I watched
him do this often. Don’t blame me please, when I say that I one day
wanted to know how this thin tube of paper taste. Is smoke sweet?
Does it make one wiser? Yes, I took a puff at this shit. What!
I, too, coughed. Terrible cough. My eyes misted with tears, but I
felt pity for father. This thin tube punishes men. I felt the pain in
my lungs, and my kidneys hurts. It was just thirteen years ago,
and I’m not trying that again. Until men learn to do the same,
the power of smoke will always imprison them, and the history
of smoking will continue to glorify the smokables.
Love of Life
I’m gonna sing
Not that fight song but blues but reggae
but soul but jazz.
Have you forgotten so soon?
Last December was when we all came here;
And we sat huddled under this udala tree
The harmattan wasn’t friendly
My skin is still dry from its evil work,
Like a dry leaf, and roasted meat.
It was all coming from the west
Don’t forget what happened last
When we danced
Our legs trembled
Our soles missed
Our pants ripped
It was the way we boogied
It was the way we jive
Let go and dance this dance
I’m not dancing on the dance floor;
What about the rain – we’re children
It is beautiful dancing wet
My hair – your waterfall hairstyle;
And the hip pop with steady beat
Eureka! We will dance boogie-woogie!
There’s no need to play fight song;
We can all gather around this fire
And whisper love
Lo, it’s a beautiful starry night!
Put on your dance shoes –
Turn on the stereo; volume please
Turn the knob; more but more
Let the stereo speak love
And let us dance rhythmically;
And let our hips sway to the music.
Surely, a birth child comes forth
From a red womb that bringeth joy.
What a bliss and jocund day;
When all men gather under the moonlight,
Their glasses filled with whisky and vodka,
And they toasted the young child born;
How simple was it to drink everything in one gulp,
Shining brown rotting teeth at the end!
What shall a boy do when growing?
Picture a big world and impregnate his future,
But the world is with an enemy.
In the shadow an enormous lion lay in ambush,
Crouching time after time;
Waiting patiently to pounce on her target,
All those who their tomorrow is pregnant with good-life.
There’s no night without darkness!
It is the beast that gashed my destiny;
The same that aborted all dreams.
But a contemporary hero gripped his fate,
Fluttering into the world where peace is given;
But the scars of every struggle remain forever,
Those which true warriors boast of in their story.
There is an inevitable thing given to all;
When the wind will cease to blow,
And we shall not fail to stand tall;
When the stream will cease to flow,
But there’s a life that doesn’t fall;
When the scars try to put one low,
The voice that is heard is one that call.
Blessing C. Onyekachi is a novelist, poet, and short-story writer. He hails from Ahiazu Mbaise, Imo State, Nigeria and is currently studying for his Higher National Diploma in Microbiology. He loves anything art, and his work has appeared in River Bird Magazine and elsewhere. Find him on social media: Twitter: @BlessingCOnyek1, Instagram:@blessingc.onyekachi