On the Phone, Her Voice --- The Sound of Violin

On the phone,
Her voice — the sound of violin —
Would play in melancholy
With every words she uttered
Until the night spread
Its wrapper across the moon
And brought tears to my eyes.

She said: “Charles, the problem with our
Is that we mistake sex for love.”

And I blinked my eyes then and wondered
If there was hope for one so ruined by
Too much learning,

She was different,
And just like me, she was a freethinker
Who saw the world
Through the thick lens of doubt.

On Sundays,
She would rather wear her hair
On her shoulder,
And sit on her desk
To read and write.

“If I die now.” she said,
“I know I won’t go to heaven.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because I doubt God, and I love sex,
And I lie a lot.”

I’ve often imagined what it feels like
To be female and freethinking
In this part of the world,
The countless relationships ruined
And the nights of drought
When neither sex nor alcohol
Would fill that emptiness of heart.

On the phone,
Her words — the sound of rain
In desert land —
Would fall softly on my ears
Until time froze and became cold,
And I sobbed and sighed.

She said: “Charles, I don’t know why,
But I feel so depressed.”

And I said: “Don’t you think you need Jesus
In your life, don’t you?

On the phone,
She laughed. I never heard her laugh so hard
“Maybe I need Jesus.” she said;
“But not tonight. Tonight
I would stay here with you and cry.”

And we sat there — two souls separated by space,
But united by our common loneliness —
And talked of life and death
And poetry,
And how writing made us sad,
And promised before we slept never to write again.

And now,
Whenever it rains at the midnight hour
And I’m still awake
I’m reminded of her.
And in that moment,
I hear clearly the music of the violin,
And every sound, every sight and
Every movement brings
Her to my desk.



About the Author:

Portrait - CharlesChukwudi Ezeamalukwuo Okoye is a graduate of Geology, Federal University of Technology, Owerri. He was born in 1990 in Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. He discovered his passion for writing, especially for Poetry while in the University. He is the editor of Ink15 Creative Group. He is a blogger and a regular contributor at Ink15.wordpress.com. An omnivorous writer, with a published poetry collection titled “The Words of my Mother.” He lives in Lagos and Onitsha.

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I'm finishing up a phd at Duke University where I study African novels, which I believe are some of the loveliest things ever written. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

7 Responses to “On the Phone, Her Voice — The Sound of Violin | by Chukwudi Okoye | African Poetry” Subscribe

  1. Farida 2016/07/18 at 7:21 am #

    Wow! Intense. Familiar. Beautiful.

  2. Gamaliel 2016/07/19 at 4:12 am #

    And how writing made us sad,
    And promised before we slept never to write again.

    I love this poem, particularly for its relatable nature and also for its emotional core
    Well written sir. Well written

  3. Oluwatoyin Adisa 2016/07/20 at 3:12 am #

    This is beautiful. I like.

  4. zinta 2016/07/20 at 5:27 am #

    I feel like I’m the person the poem is talking about.
    Nice work.

  5. Uche otolo 2016/07/20 at 8:07 pm #


  6. Ade 2016/07/25 at 12:52 pm #

    Hmmm, the relativity to the world of nature is thrilling. Good one.


  1. ON THE PHONE, HER VOICE — THE SOUND OF VIOLIN (Poetry) – ink fifteen - 2016/08/01

    […] First published on Brittle Paper […]

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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