Project 1: Night to fly
is the first of a generation
of movies that showcase
the plight, the trials and
tribulations of Africans
that reside in America. The
central theme of this first
movie is...
Read on

A place among vultures

I should find me a place among vultures
Those bald-headed creatures of a strange culture
To live and play among the feathered scavengers
To scurry for dead carcass with the sharp-eyed rangers
At least their ways will be clear to me
Their ugly silhouettes will be plain to me
I will know to watch my back
I will know to anticipate betrayal
I will not be surprised by treachery
For vultures do not strive to put on masks of purity
To cover up their iniquity
Like human

Crafted October 2001 by Nnaemeka Andrew Madueke

 

Adamma

Mu na gi ga ebi Adamma
You and I will live together
And I’ll tether the goat to its post
I will thatch the roof securely to prevent the rain
In the morning I will let the hen out of the pen

And so you will never hunger
Our barn will have surplus yam
So you will never thirst
Our pots will brim with water

Bear a kind heart towards me Adamma
If I stray please forgive me
Let your anger run a course
But not past sunset
Love me back just a little Adamma
Or better, let your tenderness loose
Upon this unloved soul of mine
Let it loose like the sudden rain in dry season
Over a rough, rugged, terrain

Mu na gi ga ebi Adamma
You and I will live together
You, beautiful girl that I love so much
You and I will sup of yam porridge and rice and stew
Fried plantain, Okra and pepper soup
You and I and our children will share fables in the moonlit night
And will be steadfast in this ritual
Until the moonlight, the night’s lantern burns out
Until we are both old and faint
And when dawn’s cool wind brings in the cold
I will gladly be your warmth, your coat
And I’ll tether the goat to its post
Adamma…

Crafted August 2007 by Nnaemeka Andrew Madueke
Inspired by Mmefie Adiro Mgbaghalu Ama Di (If there’s no sin, there’s
no forgiveness), a song by the great Celestine Ukwu

 

The place of my father

Agbariji, Inyi, the place of my father is my final destination
Wherever I might be when death seeks me out
I pray my remains be returned there
As a child I drank from Achiyi, its stream
And poured its water on my play dirt-parched skin
And that water became the blood that flows in my veins
The blood that fills my sight with vision
The fear of God, wisdom
Humility like that of Iheme, my father
The blood that flows to my nostrils and makes me breath
The fierce breath of courage when slinging at Goliath

Return my flesh and bones to Agbariji, Inyi, the place of my father
Place me by him whose seed came forth and made me
Whose lips and heart and soul were froth with songs of joy at my birth
So I might walk hand in hand with him as spirit
As an ancestral spirit watching over my bloodline still journeying earth…

Crafted September 2007 by Nnaemeka Andrew Madueke

 

A soldier’s Prayer

Should today unfold with death and devastation
And I come face to face with the enemy's mortar
May it be swift and beautiful
May my remains not be a meal
For vultures and maggots
May my comrades find it in their hearts
To bury me a hero
Or at least tell a lie to my love
Tell her I was a hero
May I carry to my resting place
Her beautiful face
May the seeds we sowed stay watered on her mind forever
So forever she will attest to me being the best

I see people falling
Yet they do not really know why they fall
The ones who instigate war
The leaders . . .
The educated
Where are their guns
They wield no guns
They cannot even pull triggers
I am their gun
I am the peace that they failed to negotiate
I am the truce that their intellectual minds could not call
Beasts in human skin
They hold fast to civilization
Yet cannot reach a simple accord without shedding blood

So now it is left to me to make peace with my gun
But what kind of peace lies at the end of the gun
Beasts in human skin
In my next life
May my fate not lie in the hands of such imbeciles
In eternity may my soul not dwell with their wretched souls
Lest they cause me consternation for an endless time

Should today come forth with death and devastation
May I be assured that there was no other solution
May my mother's grief laden heart mourn me
But not for long . . .
So her strength and prayers may follow
My brothers still at war

Crafted November 2000 by Nnaemeka Andrew Madueke

 

Waiting Girl

I hoped to love a girl
For she sat alone and sad
So I pledged her my heart
And a union that would last
But slowly she shook her head
And so my hopes waned
She was waiting for a lover
Who had gone to the east
Your lover must be steel, I said
To be away for long
A girl like you, I said
Must wait for no man
But again she shook her head
And so I went away
To pine and cry at night
For a beauty wasting away
I saw her years later
Her lover was still away
But there she sat as before
Hoping and looking east

Crafted May 1995 by Nnaemeka Andrew Madueke

 

If my words could find a way

If my words could find a way to heaven's ears
I'd laud that seats be secured
Berths next to the elite
Next to the chosen ones
For all who on 9/11 met death
All who like lambs were slaughtered
When the towers were tottered

Now many of us left behind are shattered
Fearful of terror yet to be born
But the spirits of those innocents walk among us
Embellishing us to strut on
And anticipate the peaceful bloom of roses in springs to come
My heroes; save me a place for when I'm finished here
Save me a seat in eternity's peace
For this life here is only a lease
One day we will all taste death's kiss

If my words could find a way to God's ears
I'd agitate that he holds at bay death's threat
I do not want to lay another wreath
Not another callow casket
Not another shot from death's musket
Where is mirth to nullify my grief
Comedy to douse this tragedy
The sweetest melody to joust my malady
If my words could find a way...

Crafted September 2001 by Nnaemeka Andrew Madueke
A wreath to those who died on 9/11

 

Infiltrate

Today I infiltrate the birds
I hide by the trees and spy on them
I crawl slowly towards a nest
I prance quietly in my quest
An uninvited guest
Excitement builds in my chest
For soon I will learn their secret
Why they are so blest
How they manage to garner God's best
Why his favor is so much with them
They are not the ones made in his image
I am the one made in his image
Yet often I wander aimlessly
Often I labor fruitlessly
Often I sow and do not reap
Unlike those winged creatures in the nests
So today I infiltrate the birds

Crafted February 2002 by Nnaemeka Andrew Madueke

 

I hope I do not die a violent death

I hope I do not die a violent death
That no gun or grudge causes my exit from this earth
That no knife makes life drain from my chest
I hope when I’m brought to my place of rest
I’m not laid a sorrowful wreath
Those who loved me must not fret
But see in my passing a fresh birth
So their songs will be joyful rents
That will carry me beyond earth’s breadth

I hope my head will be upon her breast
She who completed this soldier’s quest
I hope I take with me her warmth
She who nullified loneliness’ threat
The day I take my final breath
I hope I see her beautiful face last

Here’s to leaving at the right sunset
To a time well spent on this earth
My seed there to lay me in the dirt
None wearing a mourning vest
Here’s to leaving at the right sunset
I hope I do not die a violent death

Crafted November 2007 by Nnaemeka Andrew Madueke

 

Rivers Rush

They said our two rivers were strangers
That the waters never crossed paths
I watched the rivers rush across the acres
Acre after acre, splash upon splash
I watched them rush with the northern breeze
Over our rocks to a gentle place
Where with a joyous noise, they made a confluence

They said the sun and the moon, like two strangers
Never rose together, never mingled rays
Never in one million years
I watched the sun rise and brighten up a dull August day
I watched it rise with the moon up to the sky
Where both conceived a shadow that hovered over earth
As briefly, in oneness, they made an eclipse

Now they say I cannot love her
A stranger from a strange place, how callous
My roots forbid me to shed my linen of prejudice
And stroll naked with her under the rapid rain
Which falls boundless in both our hearts
Rain in which we dwell inside
And they outside. . . .

Crafted August 1999 by Nnaemeka Andrew Madueke