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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.



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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.

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) […]

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