My Favorite Poet

Written by: Onyebuchi Okonkwo

Doth it not thrill thee, Poet,
Dead and dust though thy art,
To feel how I press thy singing
Close to my heart?

As though they were dried palm leaves
In Indian catalogue, your works
I would press so close
To my chest like man's third-leg
Snuggling to the thigh. I count
The beats straineously of the melody,
The vibrations of your works strike
Me to rhapsody. Who am I then?
A little child by the stream
Waiting for your sensual song, bird
To bide me somnolent
In a reveberating cacophony
Redolent of the train swiftly buzzing by,
The train that was you.

I would often sit at the threshold and wait
Till the moon grow to become sickle-thin
And the monstrouos night has sucked away
All the oil in my clay lamp. I still stay on
Like a good sentry, my eyes rummage hungrily
Through the pockets of a page,
Where the blood of your ink was shed-
For your sojourner I have become.

We will go together
In peregrination into the labyrinth
Of all those pages from the cream,
That was your brain.
I will be the mute acolyte,
Benignly I will wend,
Stepping into the trail you left like
Smoke unconcerned about direction,
Its flow turbulent, not the lamina vein
Of subtlety. Sometimes I feel cold,
My garb, goose bumps,
At the stark, sometimes shocking
Reality of your judgements.

You were and still is a victim of truth,
And I gloat at your judgements jealously,
Almost perfect. When not correct, you were
Honest, at least.

I would often dream
Of you smoking your pipe;
Your small, dainty frame silhouette nailed
To the wall by the pyrexed testis
Of electric bulb as Jesus to the cross.
Then your pipe bleed forth smoke
Like blood from fresh wound, seeping out
Ceaselessly, ideas sream forth from your brain
Like liquid from a boiling pot
Frothing over.

So I will proudly say I have
Some portion of your blood in me
To inspire my dazed memory
On those dark gloomy days.

for my uncle and late Nigerian Poet, Chris Okigbo.
(c) Onyebuchi, 2011.