Posted in POETRY

after this war (a poem) by su’eddie vershima agema

when the echo of the last bullet shot
fades and even spirits begin to rot
we will find evil grown
fertilised from the blood of our own

we shall sing an anthem:
arise, compatriots, our call obey
but you will never see them
and darkness will be your day

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Posted in LIFE

How to Receive News of Yet another Civil Bomb by Chuma Nwokolo

http://blackpast.org
http://blackpast.org

Civil war is anything but civil.

It  interrupts life rudely:  targets civilians on the way to school, to market, to worship.

The bombs are detonated by cowards in search of power, relevance,  notoriety.

We think we know grief well enough, but we don’t. We think because he has called many times before, he will treat us like an old customer, offer us a discount on pain, but he doesn’t work that way.

Grief is a new monster every time.

So be ready each time the grim news come: brace yourself, roll with the pain. A branch breaks off the iroko of nation. It rustles to the ground. Grief is the spade with which we bury our pain.

Yet, what about Despair, Depression? Hopelessness? Anarchy? Blind Hatred?

They are excluded. It is our light that extinguishes the darkness of the enemy. When we mourn our national pain as one people it will not break us. And we retain our ability to fly above the quicksand and the snares of  the evil in our midst. These negative emotions will fill our bones with lead. Those reactions enlist us in enemy’s forces. We reject them.

Do the  murderers kill people who would never have died? No.

Therefore they are as irrelevant as flash floods, mudslides, and man-eating hyenas to the irresistible progress of humanity. And here lies the insignificance of these quislings whose courage is a bomb, who live in darkness, who boast an all powerful God but have to fight his battles as if he were an invalid, who preach love but kidnap and murder children: they have no heritage, unless it is the heritage of termites, whose fate is to eat our dead. The cumulative history of the human race has no record of Death. Only of Life. We raise our tombstones to our Dead Beloved, not to Death. When we look back a thousand years, we will gloss over the flash floods and the mudslides and the cowardly curs who yap at the heels of our doers, our makers, our inventors, our lovers, our nurturers. Our memorials are to those who Live, not to those who kill. Not to the murderers that hurry our loved ones to graveyards that are the destination of all humanity anyway.

In a civil war, civilians are the inadvertent warriors.death

So, the best memorial for our warriors who have fallen is to win the war in whose cause they fell. That is why we cannot entertain Despair, Depression, Hopelessness, Anarchy or Blind Hatred in the aftermath of the news of yet another civil bomb. The innocent blood of the thousands who have been murdered stipulate our common justice on their killers and theirsave us cause. Our attitude must be  Resolution, not Despair. Engagement, not Indifference. We must wake up as from slumber. Here are the things we can and must do Immediately.

We must

  • Bridge our divisions with conversations rather than swords.
  • Support and protect those (especially other civilians) at the frontline of this war.  It may be their battle, but it is our war;  we must encourage and equip them.
  • Take the ‘war’ to the enemy and not live like battery hens eating and drinking, until their own day arrives.
  • Recognise that the murderers who set off the bombs are merely ‘arms’, and so look for the rest of their anatomy, their enablers, financiers, and sympathisers who live among us and bring them all to justice.
  • Connect the dots between our broken society and the break down of law and order it engenders, and grow the gumption to fix things.
  • Recognise the impact that Systemic Corruption has on the battle-readiness of our Arsenal, the mettle of our fighting forces, the education of our children, the morale of our youth, and address the IMPORTANT issues of systemic change while tackling the URGENT issues of civil defence.
  • Recognise that Generals who steal army budgets and cause frontier towns to fall from lack of equipment and citizens to be raped, killed and kidnapped, have as much blood on their hands as suicide bombers.
  • Recognise that Ministers who steal education budgets thereby condemning unmentored children to a hopeless future have as much blood on their hands as the suicide bombers recruited from the ranks of those children.
  • Recognise that as a ‘war’ within a body politic, the main weapons in this ‘civil war’ are not munitions, but the antibiotics of truth and justice, of transparency and the rule of law. What we defend is NOT our broken status quo, but our common humanity.
  • Support the Bribe Code as a strategic solution to our Systemic Crisis of existence as a nation.

The new rapacity of death should give us a radical propensity to live, and to live more courageously. At last, our backs have found the wall. We must push back. Or die.

War heroes

– Chuma Nwokolo

How to Receive News of Yet another Civil Bomb is a post from: Chuma

Posted in FICTION

The Roman’s Strength (A short story) by Hymar David

EASTER STORY.

They stood outside the tomb, hugging themselves tightly against the biting cold. Their weapons hanging idly by their sides, their backs against the tomb’s wall.

The darkness was thick. They could barely see the shapes of each other. One or two cursed in low tones.

” Raca!”

Jemiah was the youngest of the soldiers, the most zealous and outspoken. His companions held him in disdain. He was too keen to impress, he was always doing more than the job called for, working longer hours, volunteering for the harder tasks. What does the little beardless fool want to prove, they asked among themselves.

Jemiah pretended he didn’t hear the whispers. He pretended he didn’t see the furious glowers as the leader of their band heaped praises on him after leading the successful capture of that delusional crackpot Rabbi called Jesus.

Now, he stood ramrod straight and alert, his spear gripped firmly in his hands, his eyes straining to peek through the veil of darkness. They had told him to be on the lookout for a band of deluded followers of the dead rabbi who might try to steal the body and claim he rose from the dead.

” Bring them alive,” was the order.

Jemiah and his cohorts had been waiting for a few hours now. But the only sounds they had heard so far was the wind whispering into the ears of the grass, the murmur of night ghosts and spiritwalkers that his widow mother had told him about when he was a little child.

The only thing they saw was the unreadable face of darkness. The face of blank nothingness. Voids.

They hadn’t brought lamps. They hadn’t wanted to scare the would be grave robbers away. Jemiah could hear the heavy snoring of some of the soldiers. He tsked in disdain. The era when Roman soldiers were rugged, no-nonsense and very brutal custodians of the laws of the lands were numbered.

Gbrrrrmmmmm.

What’s that? His eyes flew wide. His grip on his spear tightened and he turned sharply.

He saw nothing but he knew what he had heard. No, he didn’t know what he heard. He only knew he heard something. He just had no idea what it was and where it had came from.

” Wake up, dogs.” he yelled.

Jemiah was also despised because of his utter lack of regard for rank or age. He was half-Jewish. Roman only on his father’s side. He had been involved in training ground shouting and slanging matches with his superiors several times. Tall and built like an ox. He had the demeanour of a possessed bull when angry and his voice split eardrums when he yelled. Men thought five times before trifling with him.

The other men jerked awake. Someone, the leader of the expedition cursed. Jemiah responded in a mixture of Hebrew and Greek which he learned at school as a boy.

The sound came before Jemiah finished venting. The others must have heard it for the air was suddenly stirred with the sounds of boots stamping hard on the earth as the men came awake, spears making a swish sound as they were pulled from the earth.

” What is that?” someone asked.

As if to reply him, the air was suddenly shattered with a roar that knocked five men senseless on the ground, the others dropped their spears and stuck fingers into their ears. The ground shook beneath them and they removed their hands, flailing to keep their balance.

Jemiah cursed again as he fell, groping for his spear, feeling the earth beneath him vibrate like a demoniac under the possession of the whole hosts of hell.

The tremor stopped as suddenly as it had began. Jemiah got up quickly, still groping for his weapon. He collided with someone who was doing exactly the same thing, the man was mumbling something about the devil in a voice so filled with fear it infected Jemiah. His heart began to beat drumbeats of dread.

His hand came upon the cold metal. But feeling it did not give him even a misguided sense of courage. It was as if whatever it was that had just happened had ransacked his mind and heart and shook the last dregs of courage out of him. All he felt as he stood in the darkness was a deep sense of cluelessness and indecision. His feet trembled, itching to flee into the darkness. But Jemiah had never ran from anything. Not even when he got lost in a forest expedition one day and stumbled on a pride of lions having a nap under the shade of tall grasses. He had gripped his spear tightly and waited for them to attack. Lucky for him, the lions had just finished a heavy lunch and showed no interest in the human trembling before them.

Jemiah looked round, towards the mouth of the tomb. And his heart almost stopped.

He saw a man in shimmering white clothing. The man was tall, taller than Rufus who was six foot eight. And he had shoulders so broad they blocked the entrance into the tomb. Jemiah wasn’t surprised to see the stone rolled away from the tomb. The man standing before him had a body that suggested he benchpressed mountains for fun.

” Who are you?” Jemiah asked, hating how his voice trembled.

” My name is Gabriel.”

For a man so huge, he had a very soft voice. Each word seemed to have some kind of ethereal beauty wrapped around them. It was almost like a song.

” You came to steal the body of Jesus.” Jemiah accused, lifting his voice a couple of notches higher, trying to summon courage.

The man did not answer him. Jemiah gripped his spear and steadied himself, not knowing what he was doing but hating the feeling of helplessness that had wrapped itself round him like a widow’s black shawl.

He launched himself at the man.

Two wings protruded suddenly from behind the man. They shot out like lightning, one sweeping in a horizontal arc to knock the spear from his hand, the other slamming hard into his left side, sending him spinning into the air and crashing heavily on the ground, stunned.

The sound of frenzied footsteps told him his colleagues who had survived the tremor were running away.

” Dogs,” he mouthed, gripping his sides in pain.

The man, no, the angel moved from the tomb and seemed to float four feet in the air. Jemiah saw a strange glow emanating from the tomb.

Another angel came out and joined the first one. They seemed to converse briefly then they stared at him. Their eyes shone, branding fear into his soul.

From nowhere a voice that sounded like the roar of water from a burst dam exploded from above them.

” LET THERE BE LIGHT!”

Before Jemiah’s eyes, the darkness gave way. Lightning flashed across the sky in forked streaks. Midnight suddenly became noon. A sunless noon. He saw clearly the outline of his colleagues sprawled on the ground. Dead? Unconscious? He saw the angels as they hovered over the tomb, their wings spread apart. He saw the hill suddenly take on a strange shimmering radiance, he saw the flowering shrubs seem to grow a bit taller, brighter, the sky became bluer, the grass greener. The world more alive than he had ever known it.

He saw the dead man as he walked out of the tomb.

He knew it was Jesus because he came out staring at his hands. Pierced hands. Crushed hands.

A halo surrounded him, blazing brighter than any light he had ever seen. For some reason, Jemiah’s heart became calm, his fear vanished, his hatred for this man he had whipped and spat at a few days ago dissolved.

Jesus turned his head and stared at Jemiah. Jemiah saw two balls of bright flame shining in his eyes. He felt faint, a sudden wave of nausea enveloped him. At the same time, he felt happiness showering on him. Like water.

Just before he passed out into a darkness so long and deep, Jemiah had the time to reflect on the light he saw in the eyes of Jesus. He thought that the light was good.

E.H. David.

Posted in NAIJA POETRY, POETRY

LULLABY OF WAR (A Poem) by Gooseberry

(From Naija Stories - WAR and DESTRUCTION)

Misunderstandings of unlike minds
Hits climax
And violence awakens

The sun gets jealous
Of the beauty of the blazing fire
Rising to the sky
Like a painting in motion
Consuming the earth like a hungry scavenger
And roasting creatures like helpless barbecue
Of what song do we sing?

Sounds of terror
Blasts through the ears like thunder
Puncturing the eardrums and shaking the earth
Causing gravity to perform in command
Screams piercing and cries reverberating
Letting fear roam the earth in stealth.
Of what song do we sing?

Women and children
Adorned in tattered rags and coated in dust
Wander in terror with sunken eyes and protruding abdomen
Terrified as scattered limbs
Cause them to limp
Of what song do we sing?

Men
Oh men!!
Our sweet sweet men
Perish for no just cause
Allowing guns to spit dangerous metals enclosed with heat
Who will be our companion if you go?
Of what song do we sing?

We sing the song of savage
The song that embraces gory
Where we eat human flesh and drink blood
But never get satisfied

If I could sing a song
I’ll sing this violent baby a lullaby
And send him to sleep
While we leave
And let the world live

Then slowly
He’ll flicker his lids
Tilt his head backwards
And drift away
To a land called peace.

©Gooseberry 2012

Gooseberry is a creative writer and one of the top poets of http://naijashortstories.com . Naija Stories is a great literary network boasting most of Nigeria’s hottest young talents at the moment. It is run by Myne Whitman and a team of great administrators.