Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 5,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 7.57.45 AM

It’s not like one can give what one does not have
Like playing a piano, or singing in the opera,
Like loving a woman (that they say takes a special kind of skill).
I remember well that evening
When you came back from your meeting
And packed your things and left.
The sun set with the sounds of your departing footsteps.
It has never risen again ever since.
And the hallways, they haunt me with memories.
I do not blame you. I know it was not your fault.
I have never been able to keep a relationship,
Not that I know how,
Not like I ever had a happy home
Or know what family is all about.
Father was absent by design
Mother broke her vows and departed.
We the children were caught upon the anvil,
And all I now know of life, I have learnt from trial and error.
There are certain things that can never be hidden
Like pregnancy, they show eventually
Exposing the child in the man.
I’m lost, trapped inside my own head.
I cannot speak and act in the decorum of my time,
Nor pause at the bar to sing and dance to the popular chime.
I walk the crowded streets, searching for a familiar face,
Searching for the reassuring comfort that is your embrace,
But it is not there. There is nothing here.
I can no longer sit comfortably among friends,
Break or brew bread or beer.
Chy said: “You do not know how to love.”
Edward said: “You take things too personal my friend.”
Nonye said: “You should have known this by now.”
And yes! There is so much that I ought to know,
Like when to make a toast, voice my view, or hold my peace.
Like how to manipulate time, go back to the past and make you stay.
There is so much that I wish I knew,
So much I wish I could say, and much more I wish to do
If only you were here to hold my hand,
To teach me how to fall, crawl and stand.
If only you were here to pat me on the back
And tell me it is okay to make mistakes.
For all that I now know of life
I have learnt by trial and error.


Post image by blkwomenart via africandigitalarts

About the Author:

Portrait - Okoye ChukwudiOkoye Chukwudi Charles Ezeamalukwuo 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 a founding member of Lyriversity Literary Group and Ink15 Creative Group. He is a blogger and a regular contributor at An omnivorous writer, whose works can be found on Sentinel Quarterly, Lyriversity,, Kalahari Review etc. He lives in Lagos and Onitsha.



Tags: , ,

Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

4 Responses to “All I Now Know of Life | By Chukwudi Okoye | A Lyrical Story” Subscribe

  1. Celestine Chimmummunefenwuanya July 3, 2015 at 12:23 pm #

    I nomenclate this Poet ‘An avatar of soul-starring lines’. Each line flows and mingles into another like dream. Making me to dream about ‘Hannah’ the parrot.

  2. Kiru Taye July 6, 2015 at 1:10 pm #

    Beautifully done.

  3. Ziazan July 7, 2015 at 1:20 pm #

    One word-BEAUTIFUL!!!!!


  1. ALL I NOW KNOW OF LIFE | ink fifteen - July 24, 2015

    […] (This poem was first published on Brittle paper) […]

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."


Oh, Blessed Bri’Land | Jedah Mayberry | Fiction

fiction brittle paper Jedah Mayberry

Bri’Land glistened at me, her brilliant display of pink sand shimmering in delight.  It would seem that I had finally, […]

Books That Go with Wine and Books That Don’t

literary lifestyle wine and books

The beverages most associated with reading are tea and coffee. But many readers love to cozy up in bed with […]

In This House | Inok Rosemary | Poetry

poetry brittle paper inok rosemary

  In this house, we sift our words, Never letting the walls hear what they shouldn’t. The fear of their […]

Statement: African Authors Sans Frontieres in Solidarity with African-Americans

Untitled design - 2020-06-02T091026.887

As African writers without borders who are connected beyond  geography with those who live in the United States of America […]

#SaveLambdaLiterary | Leading LGBTQ Literary Organization Needs Your Help

save lambda literary (1)

Lambda Literary is struggling under the devastating financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic. On April 17, the organization launched a […]

Innocent Chizaram Ilo Awarded 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Africa Region

Innocent Chizaram Ilo 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Nigeria’s Innocent Chizaram Ilo is the regional winner for Africa of the 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for their short […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.