JOHN CHIZOBA VINCENT IS A POET OR SOMETHING LIKE A FINE WINE
I have learnt how to die a long time ago but death is so boring. I have learnt how to deprave myself of many things to remain the kind of person heaven may be pleased with. I never knew salvation scream also learning from the ways the stars bleed. Sometimes I smell fears but I’m precious to the core longing for a home on the other side of the street where humans can empty themselves and still fetch the water of sanity among their dreams, a true man to Africanism. Here lies the testimony of a boy whose veneration of godliness remained unsheltered by the wages between the thighs of the day light. Not even the noon knows how to pattern emotions or feelings into life. This is what I made yesterday to be, holding hope and dreams. Holding what innate fate deposited in the covenant of who I am. I made myself a god, an honourable knight of worship. I made me a poem; I made me a pavement decorated by love and aspiration on the altar where love lines crossed path, I made me a sun of a half dream. I understand that all our lives are in danger, the storm comes and return back, the big fish eats the little fishes but I keep paddling amidst the storm. I’m an African who perfected the act of waging war between modernity and inherited traditional culture. They have not broken my spirit against what my ancestors built.
How do you kill a dead man? How do you burn his remains without breaking the cord of his troubled ghost? A very small man can cast very large shadows. Power resides where men believe it resides, a shadow on the wall, gutless men in power to conquer the Africanism and Africanists but we accept to conquer self, unless there is a change in the drive of the seasonal atmosphere, power still resides above all men; traditionally, let no man think himself brave. Shadows don’t live in the dark and Africa is light and her children are the light of the world.
However, the poetry part of me governs the principles through which the earth devoted its knowledge into me. The moon, the ideology of knowing
self cannot be overemphasis from the fact that the existence of me is the reason why many destinies live. I made me a part of godliness to overshadow beliefs and cultures of humanity, to champion the course of what the world could not give to many. And I felt the urge to say that man is holding back the essence of living to his capacity and abilities. The potentials, the portrait of me knowing myself as a man still over rule many other things. I may be the man of your dreams, I may be the demon in your nightmare, I may be the next man standing in between your depression and aspiration; I may not have you tell another about me but the knowledge tailored in the given evolution of our existence is channelled between knowing myself and what I stand to give to mankind. When the colour of our minds is designed to have rainbows of wildfire, the generation of men to come harbour lexical passion into unity, this is Africa.
John Vincent is a poet or something like a refined wine, an apple plucked for the future generation of creative minds. A man housed as a precious stone in the house of symbols. I don’t know how the praise singers table their song to the flowering image of a man but losing the temper of our journey can knit the sagging mind of tomorrow into a promising venture. I may love to tell you that the extent to which you think of achieving a designed goal can be a desired hope to which you can know you. It’ll pass. It’ll pass through my pains, through those things governing the way I live, I can’t be you, you can’t be me but we can actively build our tents together on the castle of time keep humanity going.
When the evening comes with hassle and fine tale of moon light to render telegraph of the kingdom in the bodies of the oceans, burnt men shall uphold a scene of enquiries. They would ask why their bodies were left to rot in the open place to play a game of sorrow. Such is life, and such are the secrets of life.
I was born into a shattered family, a family where everyone is a snake. You move on your own. You journey alone but mother once told us that what a wealthy man’s child can achieve, I can as well achieve them but it would only take time and hard work, she said having the mind of our own is the only gate way to retrieving our logic and policies. You may not understand how the afternoon wears a smile, you may not understand that redefining yourself is key to believing into the future. I’m refined wine, a fine wine waiting for a special kind of mouth that has not pronounced injustice on
the body of the voiceless. I’m a wine bottled in the heart of wealth. The African shrine made some of us the traditionalists. I inherited perfection from the core value of Africanism, the mythology of the African roots not forgetting the fraternity of brotherhood my forefathers left behind for us to follow. They had shrine in every clan in the land, they had ‘Chi” in every Obi and we followed them to learn how they worshipped and pouref libation to this Chi. We could not learn better than chewing the broken piece of kola nut on the floor beside the wooden gods.
Nkporo holds our memories as it started growing wings. We knew those memories did not start from knitting our heart together, they started from what our ancestors passed to our fathers and our fathers, to us, they started having shape of humans, they started hoping, they started having mind to guide us our ambitions, they started from that little shrine that father built to communicate a single word to his Chi because he said that men are not known by too much words but little words.
From those shrines to the barn to the masquerade caste to the house where the Ikoro is kept, he took us there to know how they are being done, to learn about the tradition. Back then, we learnt that the Ikoro does not sound in vain. We saw Ichie Maduka beating the Ikoro passionately. We hoped to do better than him but papa told us that beating the Ikoro was not our calling. We learnt the ways of the Masquerades, Nkporo Masquerades. Although we could not be initiated into the caste but we learnt their ways like the traces of lines on our palms. We learnt their names and their steps. We learnt their languages and their dancing steps under the half yellow moon. We masked our depressions and frustrations with weak smiles.
Meanwhile, the Barns of our fathers were not lacking tubers of yam. Their houses were not lacking good wives like our mothers. The wealthiest man in the clan was measured by the number of wives, Children and barns he has. Papa had many wives and children but his barn was lacking because he traded his life with the core value of sympathy and mercy. He had many indebted to him. He had many who never returned a favour he rendered to them. He had many who could not pass through the fence of his building before looked into his eyes and worked upon his weaknesses. His barn was lacking because Nkporo built a secured boundary between the lazy and the
hard working. But he taught us not to be like him. He said one wife is good for us to maintain. He said we shouldn’t measure our weakness with the strength of a woman. A word he said looking up to the sky.
I grew up learning that African societies need more of understanding between what they call leadership and followership, between the modern and contemporary beliefs. A pattern of life that stands as the remedy to my understanding is mutual to validate the consciousness of who I am, an Africanist or something like a fine wine from the horn of Africa.
©John Chizoba Vincent