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Home » City & Inheritance | Nwaoha Chibuzor Anthony

City & Inheritance | Nwaoha Chibuzor Anthony

Showing you round a city

There is a road, red with dreams, that carries

the strangeness of your blood and names and truth.

Perhaps what holds beauty to us when the last drop of blood

of our veins lacks wings to fly us back to back to our feet

is the yearning of our hearts; yearning for the wombs

and tunnels and seeds and blood that have locked us up

in the tone that sounds like the melodies of happier days.

Here is language, here is a body, here is memory: souvenir

of long buried names.

My body is a city of scars and dust; a wall of soot and cracks;

a name which homeless natives are called. Let’s take a walk.

Look: there is this kind of silence that moves, with appendages

within me, with the upheaval of an overfilled lantern through

my bones, mutes every audible mouth and a dumb world is gained.

What is hunger in a dumb world, if not the collapsed wall in the

eyes of a man shouting “fire”, whose grief is the continuation

of an endless sea?

The thing is: life may not be the aqueduct that conveys one to

a destination, but a sea that keeps drowning one till he amasses

enough breath for another and another and another beginning–

that is to say, healing is a careful song on replay, as well as

wounds, as well as grief.

Here is a man of sour wonders; a sore in the throat of history.

Here is his son: a leaf detached from its hold, singing at the doorstep

of the earth, at the door of his lost mother’s heart; forcing

happiness through his oesophagus.

This is yearning: when we are lost in desires, we make home

names and memory, and burn faces into fancies.

See: the teenage girl across the field is a museum of which only artifact

is a burning fear, a perception that her world could break off

midway to attaining a dream, and that the girl she was made of

might be washed away by the voyages that encircle her everyday.

This is her prayer: after staring at the ruins in her laps, she mumbled,

Oh God, make me a spring that never runs still, keep me alive

to perfect all wrongs.

Sometimes, the words of our mouths are the pills needed to gain healing.

We are just the water to drive them to the right place.

Bareness as inheritance

After Safia Elhillo

what  can be used to cover our nakedness when

our garments are like mirages being moved

closer to  how many times should we pray  should

prayers hide or erase the shame of being bare

from birth  by heritage   the fathers of

our nests are forgotten ancient mythology   the names

of heroes of our history are the names of aliens

who stripped our ancestors of their tongues & skin 

who whispered into their ears the language of nakedness  

there is no bareness without weakness there is

no true history carved from the history of

past colonizers    nakedness is the thirst for the taste of

cultures which are foreign & the offspring of these bare mothers

with the burnt jaws of history carry in them

the inventions of false origin & the signs of

a wrong nation


Nwaoha Chibuzor Anthony is an Igbo-born poet whose poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Stockholm review, 20.35 Africa anthology Vol III, Praxis magazine, Jalada Africa, Sub-Saharan magazine and elsewhere. He lives in Nsukka, Southeastern Nigeria. His microchap, If You Would Hear Me, is forthcoming from Giallo lit.