Poetry Showcase by Christian Jethro

A Happy Home

Dad doesn't make enough from the books he writes
But his smile is strength enough to tuck the kids in at night
His hands are dirty with ink
And many words are still imprinted in his eyes
A lot of them he said 
But there's still a lot more he holds inside;
A Pandora's box he keeps out of sight;
A chest pregnant with butterfly words, 
Eviction notices,
Screaming loads of unpaid bills
And a memory of their first kiss
All swimming softly within the chest
Like a calm school of fish,
Caressing past the waters without ever knowing the sea

His lips quiver
As he lands gentle kisses on the children's fattened cheeks as they lay asleep
He recites a prayer smoothly 
As though it is part of the many dead objects in the room
It lingers and stays
Hangs on the their clothes
And glows behind the moon
It becomes ambient 
And sleeps on their skin
Climbs up to their necks 
And rests where there's a heartbeat

As soon as everything is warm
And his silent tears have left his eyelids tender and soft
He clears his throat to make another silent wish
And longs for better hands that'll help him mould their dreams
His are poor
Adjoined to twig like fingers
That hate the feel of rough surfaces
And resent the taste of thick engine oil
But the curse is a tight rope
And has them lynched by rabid responsibilities
Until silence is what becomes of their voice

They jolt when their nostrils are carrolled by the acid scent of ink
The life in their eyes terraforms pages
And seasons a compound of stories on papers that were once blank as milk
And speak of worlds he wished his children's eyes could see;
Worlds that defeat the fortified pillars of "wants and needs"
And ruins the dichotomy of "kings and thieves"
While chewing on the legs of society's spineless lores
That sends many men to wars that are based on no truthful cause
And widows mothers that bear orphaned seeds
It always has to be blood and colorful explosions that are forced to declare victory

She waits for him in the kitchen
Plates are cleaned and there's but a bit of foam left in the sink
The sweat from her hair reaches her temples
She sighs and looks around
The house feels small 
And the framed memories
Replay themselves in her head
She smiles at how everything seems a long distance away
But how new the words that made her stay all these years still remain;

They're still bright eyed
And still tickle the insides of her heart
Their exuberance pounces and quiets the silence
Until she forgets about the holes on her cotton frock
And the missing numbers in the dusty old clock

Observing her reflection in the silver tablespoon
And time's handiwork that now decorates her skin
Her wrinkled smile reveals the corner of her teeth
He walks in 
Smiles at her
For he, once again, discovered those lights in her eyes;
Those intoxicating little lights
That makes him ignore the blinking stars
And forget the inventory of words he had when he walked through those doors
The same lights,
That humbled his proud knees
And built her tall in front of him
Until all that was left was to adorn this deity with a ring
And forgive his nerves for being so weak

They embrace
And dance

They can't afford a phonogram
So no music plays in the back
But they both know the one that's playing in their head

("If it's all gone the other way...And hell is above us;...Heaven forbid!")


Consider me a moment 
Consider me a passing second in your clock
Consider me as evanescent as the clouds
See that I can only carry you for a while;
From here to there,
And accept the colors I'll leave with you as soon as I depart
Know that it wasn't a decision I held in my heart,
Nor a choice I made within the belly of the dark;
I'm forever moving 
And I hoped you could see it from the start

But maybe I hadn't included it in the bind of words I sent to you,
Or wrote it so well the way you'd like me to,
For sometimes what I want said occurs only in my mind,
And out of my mouth,
Specs of dust find their way out,
But even they fail to say the words i want them to
So then, 
Consider me a monument;
Saying nothing but hoping you'd understand; 
Fleeting away from your sight knowing we might not meet again;
Evaporating to nothingness and hoping you'd like me 
like this than when I was whole instead 

Learn to love me as I am in fragments than when you could fully cloth me with your hands
Enjoy the lines we traced in the sands,
And the times that ended that which we thought could never end
I never wished to leave you with just memories,
And transparent pieces of me you can't cup with your palms,
Or afterimages of responsibilities I could've done,
As your rose, as your tree, and as your cloud
But unfortunately my presence is the one thing I cannot craft
And if I could, 
I'd mail each one of my limbs to you
Enough for you to build me up and allow me to spend these quiet nights with you

Phantasm seems to be my only art;
Planting a rose in your heart but never being there to watch it bloom;
Saying the words you want to hear but leaving it to my absence to watch them spark,
And I'm always without a pen when it comes to 
finishing these lines I start,
And always without fingers when it comes to fixing such parts
So I use my mouth and sometimes my heart
But how do I act for you when I have already forgotten my role?
And how do I live for you again when I barely understand this same heart's beating tone...
And the exact peaks it reached for you when it was only me and you alone?

I'm also afraid you won't derive much from my words
I doubt I'll be worth your sight,
Or even worth your stance as you look over my drying bones
Perhaps I'll be written off as a failure 
As your rose, as your tree, and as your cloud
I'll be dwindled in the confines of your heart 
As one who cherished words but spoke like a liar,
And mingled himself within your garden but was never a flower 
For truly I was nothing, 
And I am nothing still;
I was never anything 
Maybe it's your fault for seeing in me a fertile land,
And then deciding to bury your band of roots within its 
And maybe I am wrong for posing as such,
And dipping your face in such a belief; 
I may be nothing,
But what I could be is a thief

No more than I wanted you saved, 
I was bound to an addiction to leave
As your rose, as your tree, and as your cloud
But more of a compounded cloud from that trinity to you
For when the wind brushes past,
My bones shiver for I know it's my time to move

                  I HAVEN’T MOVED. IM HERE.

        I haven't moved
I'm here
Still and sound
My blood has stopped flowing
And I'm knee deep into the ground

I search for your name in the sky
But everything seems obscured by the clouds

The wind has died next to me
And all the stars have lost their strength

The moon cannot make sense of the night anymore
She buries her head in dust 
And now and then forgets her place in heaven
Thus the vast tables of waters wallow and mourn
Without direction and clash into each other
The earth quivers and begs for their silence
All the birds remain in hiding
And the beasts are drowning and cannot escape the cadence

        Questions are without answers
Words are as clear as air
I cannot tell who I am anymore
I do not understand the weight of my fears
Nor your chastising hand that's looming above my head

You found me within the belly of death
Crouched inside my vices 
And being fed more lies by my own hands
At first glance I thought you were the enemy
Until you drew near and held open my rose colored eyes

You said life can also be found in this darkness
And I cannot reach for it if I held on to mine
So I begged to die;
I begged for death and relief from this plight
Because what's the use of breathing when these bones cannot contain life;
Like a cracked and broken bowl expected to hold water

So I began biting off my skin
And hurriedly chewing off my flesh

I wanted to get to you even though you stood right before me
I was prisoned by an epiphany that you could also be right inside me
Because as you spoke,
Another voice echoed from within me

You stopped me and held me against the wall
Your words were shaped like swords
But your voice carried the still of a rushing brook
I was losing blood 
But you said it's fine 
And that you already bled enough blood for me
And then I asked you, "what about life?"

Before I knew it,
I couldn't sustain my tears
I crumbled to the ground 
And huddled amidst my wasted flesh
I couldn't bear the despair nor the curse coded in my own name

What began to leave my mouth conjured flames 
And sundered everything thing in that place

I was only looking for words
But my crippled soul borne destruction
And had no hands to mould life or fashion fine existence

You wanted me to say something besides the chaos I thought were letters
It was somewhere within me, you said
So I kept uttering shambles of phrases
Nothing with well-structured bones of sense
And each time they left my mouth,
My own world would twist and badly break apart

Every flower began to lose their color
The wind in his mighty strides
Fell down like an upright pillar
And died right next to me

Before all was lost,
In my huddled stance I closed my mouth
The air reeked of decay and cooling ash
You remained amidst the mess 
You sat down cross legged right in front of me

Having found no words,
I lifted myself up and looked to the sky
The earth began to swallow me
It was true then that I had lost my fight
I could feel the bones in my legs turn to stone
My strength was wasted and I nearly destroyed my home
"I give up", I said to you
You smiled at me and that's when I died

I'm awake again

I haven't moved
I'm here
Still and sound
My blood has stopped flowing
And I'm knee deep into the ground

I thought you said you killed all my demons,
So why is my own blood on your sword?

                            (Sol’s Beginning)

You told me not to worry about tomorrow
You gave me this blank page 
And left me in the middle of a parched land
I forgot who I was 
But my soul is weighed by memories of home

You said ahead of me lies a country where I'll recieve a new name
And be given new garments after I feed these ones to the flame
But the hot earth has left blisters underneath my feet
And the sounds in the wind have a way of surrendering my knees to the ground
So what really did you mean when you said "this is a gift"?
And why do you hide your face in the clouds,
And hide your voice behind the noise of the seas

In this utter silence,
I should be able to hear your footsteps in the breeze
But why am I alarmed by the hoarse peals of yesterday's demise inflating about me;

Scratching like a beast on the walls of this reprieve
And burning its own lungs while screaming to be set free
And like a mad man I wander under the cooking heat
Repeating your name until the angry groans sleep 
And until my knees stop knocking against each other
So that I savor the little ounce of air you gave me 
And steal many more chances to remain still 
Waiting and longing for something my famished heart should feel

I never thought you'd come down and search for me 
My ears have heard a lot of voices
And my eyes bore witness to many ends
I've seen pale putrid bodies wrenched 
And forgotten on the still bossom of river banks
With weeds growing from within the coves of their open mouths
Then after the countless winds of days
I was buried by the rubbles of my fallen kingdom;
My timid spine couldn't stand upright when my demons began petitioning for a new king
They tore apart my throne and shared the pieces amongst themselves
They melted my crown and sundered my robe of red
All because I betrayed them by asking for a different 
                                                        life to live

Death was on his way after having learnt from them the whereabouts of the dying king
But before he wrapped my name in his tongue
You appeared above the burning city like a glorious reverie
Your speech troubled the tides
And sent every frolicking flame to die
Death swallowed my name and quickly fled the site
I was left nameless desiring the endless darkness
And like the other remaining flames,
I awaited my turn to die

But here I am 
Every epic of my mighty reign remains embedded in these scars
Encapsulated by memories that are only conjured when I choose to look behind me
And pretend to see chances of rebuilding what was erected from bitter foolishness
Even in the risk of losing what's precious but unknown, 
Kept and concealed in the windowless promise of tomorrow
And this future you speak of should be enough to 
strengthen my failing eyes
But there's not much in sight
And there isn't anything more to ask from this barren ground

Should I understand that I'm traversing past myself 
And all that's around me is what I'd behold if I opened up my chest;
I'm as arid as the baked surface of this place
I'm accented by cracks and ajar empty lines 
I too have to face the burning sun 
And miss the wind after not having felt her kiss for a while
I too am deemed purposeless by my own thoughts
And wish to know of what value I am behind your eyes

If this is what you wanted me to see and write down on this blank page,
Why didn't you also entrust me with a pen?

"Everything is already written down, Sol."

How unworthy am I to not see this "everything" you speak of?
Why can't you free me from looking at myself as some 
derelict artifact
That has been exiled to a greedy nothingness that begs for more of what I don't have

"Everything will be made known in time. For now, this is where 
you start."

Bio: C.J Leonard Kalondi (Christian Jethro) is a poet and freelance graphics designer based in South Africa in the city of Johanesburg. Contact: chrsjthr@gmail.com