Thursday, July 16, 2009

July July

Dear July,

If you were a person, I might find myself looking over my shoulder when I am with you. You were the very month in which the first shots of the Biafran war were fired, and I, an overstayer in Igirigi Ututu's womb, finally made it into the war-ravaged Biafra on the 12th day of you.

July, what a strange one you are! Can you even imagine how my mother felt holding a day-old me in a country at war?

It was also in you, July - on your 11th and 16th days some 9 and 4 years (not 94) before that my brothers Chike and Chidi were born respectively. I fell in love with you, July, even though Chidi went away, it was October that took him, not you. I loved you, July until you allowed my beloved sister, Ngozi - The Wind herself, to blow by on your 19th day in 2008.

See what I mean? What a weird month you are. Last weekend Chike and I celebrated our birthdays, today Chidi would have been celebrating his, and then in three days time, I would be asking Pastor Yemisi to pray for Ngozi.

Oh July July, redeem yourself. You and God must find a way to make you a happy month for me again - do something new and marvelous in my life this month.


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A Stillborn Oration

(What I would have said if I had attended the Michael Jackson memorial on July 7, 2009)


On the twenty-fifth day of June 2009
The man in the mirror sighed a great sigh;
the writing on the glass unequivocal:
I have never met Michael Jackson
And never can I in this incarnation.

I exhumed images from my boyhood years
when I collected chewing gum photo cards;
John Wayne, Roger Moore, Pele, and a cute
Afro-haired boy named Michael Jackson.
What he was and what he did were strong words;
Nothing is impossible - if you believe.

I remembered loud sing-songs on the
Nile House lawns at Government College Umuahia,
Blaming it on the boogie in dancehalls
From Isuikwuato,through Aba, and Lagos
To jamming in river parties on the Thames
In the season of Bad and Liberian Girl.


Today I come to praise Michael Jackson.
I come to say his name, not to bury him.
I cannot bury a man who has not died,
And Michael Jackson is not the type
At whose door death may dance in victory.

If Michael Jackson should die,
It would be supernova of a human kind.
But Michael Jackson is no ordinary man;
I see him dance every time I close my eyes.
I hear him sing with every passing wind.
I applaud him every time I look
in the mirror; every time I want to obey,
To make a change to the world,
Starting with myself.

Michael Jackson is sunshine to many souls
Thirsting for light in their dark nights.
Yet Michael Jackson
is a man more judged than judging,
a man more reviled than reviling.
Oh did he not have this procedure?
Oh did he not have that procedure?
Did he not peel his skin to become a white man?

Michael Jackson has never asked anyone
to change his face or change his colour.
Whatever he did, he did to himself, for himself,
perhaps to feel good about himself,
perhaps to feel worthy of our adoration and love.

I therefore choose not to weep for Michael Jackson
because I know he is alive and will live forever.
Because I know he had the courage to live life
and live it his own way.
Because he is one of the greatest men to walk
on the ground God gave us.

I say, live on Michael Jackson, enjoy your life.

- Nnorom Azuonye

©2009 Nnorom Azuonye. All rights reserved.