Two Poems by Philip Chijioke Abonyi

Chemistry of a Dark Room and Radiation

silence has an upper hand over my head. over radiation. inside my room, a dark curtain is drawn
open to the rotten flowers
and the bleeding past holding the feet of my presence from moving forward. everything that has
a blade grows out of a dark room
and forces their way into my body.

page by page the future opens in the skeleton of a bird with broken feathers
under the vigil of hawks with carnivorous orisons
to pluck every breakthrough away. i want to listen to owls call my name till i’m lost in the voice
of gongs at this moment or clothe my body with the night so I won’t be found tomorrow.

i think my woman knows that my body is a demon following me around—and that it is inviting
me to a sea for baptism where the holy ghost
will perch on my shoulder like a vulture
waiting to devour my dream. that’s why she said i should promise her—that I will sterilize
darkness in my mind
till she stops seeing a boy craving for a tomb in my voice.
          i bandage my mind from bleeding darkness. i try to unlock the door of my body for birds to
fly in and chirp light. i want to carve a butterfly in the wind and watch it flow into my throat. i
want life to urinate beauty into my diary.  this is what my woman wants to love.   something that
radiates.

We are Chameleons

on the wardrobe of our minds hang
colors,    each time my brother opens his mouth
a bird flies out into the sky and becomes a star
time like this he is light blue
because that is the color of our dreams
at our back, he breaks the feathers of the bird
and wear a dark color to mourn it

we paint our teeth with butterflies
and grow guns in our fingers
to caress the future of a country till she lies
dead on the bed of colorful economy

we break the bridge that crossed to the future
and tell those at the other side that it’s by grace
you just have to bend down with your candles

we have many colors of clothes
and like a chameleon we wear the one that suits
our occasions
we are the chameleons of this generation deceiving one another.


Philip Chijioke Abonyi was born at Nsukka in the eastern state of Nigeria. He was educated at Government College(Css) Ada Obollo Etiti and Anambra state polytechnic. He has lived an active literary life uplifting modern African Literature. His poetry is noted for its artistry, descriptive power and the way in which he draws on his locality for imagery and ideas. He was shortlisted for Eriata Oribhabor Poetry Prize, 2018. His works have appeared in African writer’s magazines, Agape Review, Eve Magazine, Better than Starbucks Magazine, qwenu, spriNG, Praxis Magazine, Eboquill, Nantygreens, and elsewhere.  Twitter: @Philipchijioke6.

Art: “Lucid Dream” a visual poem by Robert Frede Kenter (c) 2022. @frede_kenter.

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