Dead prisoners are free

Dead prisoners are free,

Shoulders are the best makeshift stretchers,

Have you ever buried a child?

Do you know pain so sharp it cuts you in half?

How do people live without light?

Eyes get accustomed to darkness,

feet to stumbling,

hands to groping,

I am trying to write a poem about pain,

and a love growing like a rose between cracked walls,

parched petals holding on to life,

about prayers that sound like a dry throat and a tongue rasping against the roof of the mouth,

about life lived like a strange dance between pill time and sleep time,

A poem about dying out in the open, on a field devoid of tree,

Just sand,

Just dust,

Just dry,

Just dead.

The human face is a chameleon.

Eyes are like canvas,

there is something especially beautiful about the ones that have seen everything.

We are all fighting a battle,

Clinging to sanity like a raft,

Many have lost, many have lost far more.

– Chika Jones, July 2017


PS: The first line in this poem came from the film: Blood and Henna by Kenneth Gyang and the film itself inspired this poem. In fact, i wrote this, seated at the screening of the film at the first Kaduna Book and Arts Festival (KABAFEST).

Thanks Kenneth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *