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    Last night as we circled the streets of Abuja,

     

    Last night as we circled the streets of Abuja,

    Don and I, scavenging the many bounties of our youth

    I felt my inner child being lowered slowly from a hearse

    Into a very dark place.

    I struggled to pull myself from the edge

    but then I heard you say,

    “Charles relax; this world is a one-time affair.”

     

    I inhaled deeply the cold harmattan air

    And let slip from my hand the last straw of control

    And all the morals of a good upbringing

    Into the asphalt road of those yellow-lighted streets.

    Streets that have got long memories,

     

    Street that knew many histories,

    Yet bore no hope for the people plying upon it

    – the child beggar suffering from polio and poverty

    The policeman seeking for bread and bribe to feed his family

    The taxi men, the club bouncers, the suya-men that came

    And went with their shadows on their head.

    I looked at my watch and saw wrapped around my wrist

    The treacherous hands of time. I said;

    “Tomorrow is pregnant, I think I better take my leave.”

    But you replied, “Charles relax; this world is a one-time affair.”

     

    We circled the streets, looking for parties and prostitutes.

    Plundered the night – smelling of cigarettes and alcohol.

    Our drunken laughter rang loudly around us

    As we picked up a prostitute from the roadside.

    Who said, “A naira for a night, we are the best the city has to offer.

    A naira for a night, love cannot be any cheaper.”

    She set herself on the pavement of an open street

    And bared all her fruits.

    She placed herself in my arm, and I kissed her full on the lips,

    And I felt the moon bury her face in our hands,

    And the stars hide their lustre from the sky,

    But before my inner child breathed its last

    I heard you say, “Charles relax; this world is a one-time affair.”

     

     

     

    ***

    Do You see the Harmonious Congress of the Palm Trees

     

    Do you see the harmonious congress of the palm trees

    Arranged in columns of green

    That stand on the shore of a now regressed sea,

    And wave at a nameless being –

    Who speaks not, yet teases and leaves no clue.

    Listen! You may catch the evening news

    Hidden deeply in the weather.

    Now or later, woman it doesn’t matter when you do

    Halt or haste, it doesn’t matter which you choose,

    For time hurries us forever.

    Look! Here once stood Anthony and Cleopatra,

    Romeo and Juliet, Poor Jack and Rose

    Lovers who once swayed the world.

    Today; none survived except these palm trees,

    Except rain and regrets, duty and decay,

    History, seasons coming and going,

    The dust, the wind, the harmattan

    That picks and drops flowers at my feet.

    The butterflies; they flip their wings, the bees buzz,

    The birds churn songs from their lungs

    But these like water upon stones though beautiful

    I know will stay but for a moment.

    I sit patiently waiting for you to stir

    I wait for the sound of your footsteps

    To approach me,

    Soft like cat paw, gentle like breeze

    I reach across the skies, in search of you

    I feel your face, the brush of your lips against mine

    The caress of your touch

    Alas! Like these palm trees; you are here,

    But like those lovers ; you are far removed from me.

     

    About The Author

    Okoye 1

    Chukwudi Ezeamalukwuo Okoye

    Chukwudi Ezeamalukwuo Okoye is the editor of Ink15 and co-founder of Lyriversity. His blog is http://ink15.wordpress.com/. Mr. Okoye’s poems have been published in several print and online publications, including Bahati Books, Brittle Paper, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, African Writer, Kalahari Review and several other entities.