survive if you can, die if you must – A Poem by Ugwu Erochukwu Shedrach

survive if you can, die if you must

do not vitiate your name for a nameless god,
your vacuous songs still offer blindness to
          the stretch.
you are grappled, in a vista of withered daffodils, your eyes,
catches a blue by the tail, you exhale rustic air.
          your throat, sings a morbid madrigal, while strangers hear a doleful threnody.
your father cleans dust off your book shelf, & picks a note you wrote about your departure,
he takes it with him, & let the wetness in his eyes
          wash away the trifling writings.
you came from the origin of wild poems, that found meditation congenial in sugarcane farms.
you cannot change your name —
          you are no biological misfit.
others do not know who you are, even yourself,
you sap laughter from caffeine, while they laugh
at your burnt skin.
          you become a vagrant, carrying a switchblade about in your breast pocket.
even the wind calls you a certain name— dead man, red herring in an incog body.
          black man.
the world will run away from you, then return in despicable form, hide yourself, pray, or they’ll mistake death for dearth.

Ugwu Erochukwu Shedrach Ugwu Erochukwu Shedrach (@ShedrachUG) / Twitter is a young soil conservationist, farmer, poet & the author of Black Traveller, a poetry chapbook. He was shortlisted for the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Poetry Prize. His works have appeared in Praxis Magazine, African Writer, Swquak Back, Algebra of Owls and elsewhere.  He lives & write from Enugu, where he takes care of his maize farm.

Banner: Swirling Visage Forward, a digital image (c) Robert Frede Kenter

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