Nnorom Azuonye, born on the 12th of July 1967 at Enugu, Nigeria. He is a native of Isuikwuato, Abia State of Nigeria. He trained as a dramatist at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, graduating in 1990. Azuonye is currently the Managing Director, Blue Point Associates Ltd - a mobile communications company in London, England. Some of his poems have been given public readings, adapted for and performed on stage, and published in UK and Nigerian publications. Azuonye's first volume of poems Almost A Life is due out in Autumn 2002.

Poems by Nnorom Azuonye

Brotherhood

Nnorom AzuonyeI want to know precisely what I mean
When I call you brother.
Are we merely wayfaring companions,
Or is there more to us? Something deeper?

I know that we are seeds of the same fruit,
Travelling along a mysterious road of love.
It horrifies me how much this love is tested
Day after day, to the very edge of reason.

What exactly is expected of us?
Night after night I think about what we are
Praying that someday I shall understand it
And perhaps compose a pledge of brotherhood.

I think that brotherhood is a force field
Raised around true friends.
It is about understanding at the end
Of the day, that we are free spirits,
With distinctive emotional fingerprints
In each eye of our individual minds
The world wears a unique mask.
We walk hand in hand most of the time
But we really follow our own hearts,
And this in itself masquerades
As the spirit of disunity - which it is not.
If only we can understand this
We will re-write alphabets of forgiveness,
And live in peace forever.

To me, brothers are wayfaring companions
On a journey begun at the same point,
At different times, who meet along the way,
In the wild diner off the motorway of life
Where they nurture their unique connection.

True brotherhood amazes and uplifts
Like wind beneath wings of an eagle:
It is about fears and tears fairly shared,
It is about hopes and laughter fondly enjoyed.
It is about hands mutually holding on tight,
Whether cruel storms rage
Or dark unknowns haunt.
Through calm dawns and warm sunrises
Or the injuries of tragedy,
The circle stays rock-solid.
Nothing matters much for too long
Except love.

Good Morning

The eye of beauty: fiery depths
of the warmest tingling lure.
The voice of beauty: divine music
in a dialect of frightening silence.
The colour of beauty: golden hue
of rousing east-forth rays.

Isuikwuato

This village is mine
Where in the thick earth
The trailing cord
From my navel was interred.
This village is mine, and
I wish to build a house
Between the hills,
That I may be awakened in the mornings
By the rays of the sun
Split by irokos and palms.
Kom, kom, kom, kom:
The town crier's gong
I hear it even in my dreams.
O blessed memory live;
Night fire and roasting yams,
Moonlighting and moonlight tales,
Beast songs and hunting games
And the palms? O the wine -
Where is my tapper?
Let me sip nature's brew
Even as I sit watching
Men and women
With hoes and with machetes
Marching to their farms.
This village is mine
Where like an uncaged bird
I can sing in the sunshine
Without fear or pain.

Exit Song

I

Stay unwritten awhile,
My best dreams are yet to fruit.
I hear the earth is wide and full
Of wonderful sights and beautiful people.
Wait until I have walked its breadth.

Stay unwritten awhile,
My biggest battles are yet unfought.
What heroic deeds shall your lyrics bear?
I hear many unforgettable men
Were nobodies like me who dared
Mighty things and won.
Wait until I have worn their shoes.

II

Be written, be beautiful, be loud,
Be made of enchanting notes,
And heard through a thousand years.
Tell the story of how I raised my voice
Against evil, gave from the little I owned
Until smiles shone through where grief
Had camped. When I had nothing to give,
I simply loved. Say with pride that no one
Shall find my name in a roster of debtors.

Be written then, you beauty, I have heard
The laughter of my grandchildren.
I have seen the sad become joyous.
I think I have seen the face of God.
Be sung. Send me on my way now.

1996 II: Remember Icarus

This is a mad year for air travel
Unhappy skies grumble and roar
From Long Island through Lagos
A father here, a mother here,
A child there, roast in the sky
Trapped in bellies of birds we built.

Giant On A Tightrope

chicken caught in the claws of a hawk
screams as loud as he can.
not that his captor might free him,
but that the world hears his voice.

The man who absent-mindedly drinks a milkshake
And thinks this adage aloud is a Nigerian exile
Waking to English mornings after red-hot dreams
Discoloured by pictures of soldiers boots
Glinting in the sun, heels hard on helpless groins.

He recalls grumbling silences at village squares
After fingers raised to choose a people's voice
Were broken by a headhunter lusting to rule and loot,
When drummers hid their drums in small bushes,
Petrified women and their humbled husbands
Herded barefoot children into disrepaired huts.
A grey time of numbing terror, when the sky darkened,
Dimmed by liberated fears, tears and confusion.
When men, yet men, gathered in small groups to talk.

Within three years diverse tongues rise
From every corner; calm, furious, and insouciant,
In meekness, sycophancy, and insurrection.
Fractured, their future mocked by oversized berets
Whose nooses and bullets have in a decade
Of brazen bloodletting, so silenced finer hunters
And poets, that they who were once men,
Can only smile passive kolanut smiles in fatality.
Those people, they see a laughable civilisation rise:
Free agency entombed. Simple needs staked too high
That crime and self trade flourish,
Pillars of ivory towers export their best brains
And fists schooled to kill raid banking vaults.

Now there is a denouement in serious crisis.
While shameless politicians, visionless, and honourless
Prepare a table for the despot headhunter,
He chose an underground palace with earth
Between his lips. Hard on this heel, the voice
Disallowed also bites the dust.
Our man thinks those who yet see the sun understand
This new chance must not be betrayed to annoy God.
But why does his stomach tighten with foreboding,
And he worries that the magnanimity of the new hunter
At the rock fortress may yet prove a sugar-coated pill?


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