Chimezie Umeoka


The thing about gods is that 

Their stories are written in ever constant variables.

Like a series mirroring the life of a confused boy

Everything becomes mismatched, truth hues into a rainbow   

& lost in the beauty of its colours, one forgets that 

Truth does not come in variables 

 In our mothers’ voice there is 

Chi-ukwu or Chukwu—the God that supersedes all 

The God of the white man dressed in a white soutane 

The leader of a less-recognized trinity

Then there is Chi-na-eke— the God that creates 

But do not be led astray—

Chi-na-eke is a name for many gods

 How so? 

I find it so in those hazy moments when the 

Mid-day sun would scorch my father’s bald head till it gleamed like metal

Burning his thinking and making him curse mother

Moments in which mother would say—

“Oburo ofu Chi-na-eke”     meaning:

It is not one God that creates—

In the sense that her god is stronger 

Wiser-  greater-  bigger-   than my father’s

My first prayer to God 

Wishes for people to recognize how much 

Their words can confuse a boy 


 Sitting out a sunny day 

On a fence overlooking the church 

A boy wonders which god envelops the earth and makes it one

For there is a god closer to a him,

He feels it strong, he sees him strong 

But is this God the same with other gods?

Is he Chiukwu or Chinaeke?

And how so is Chinaeke one but different gods— 

 The boy finds this poetic language too assuming

He hates assumptions but assumes 

That the latter— a god constantly caught in motion 

And the former— the higher god— are one

But the boy cares so much to give the two Gods their separate reverences:

Chiukwu— The great god & Chi-na-eke— The god who creates 

Chi & Eke— the words that part this ritual of reverence 

 You will come to learn that a thing about gods is that they bask in

Senseless intoxication as they become drunk on the blood of men 

Who headlessly battle over them 

& this makes a boy think about them all the time

Brooding— as he gets lost wandering the path littered 

Wih the words— “each man to his own god”

But the boy will glower with joy when he finds a way home in his mother’s words

“Oburo ofu Chi-na-eke” for truly—

It is not one god that creates

 & the boy will come to be at peace with

Feeling his own god too close to him—

Be it breaths away in dark nights and astray days

Or by depths of drowning in seas and in tunnels of breaking thoughts

He feels his own god caressing his numbness 

Pushing him closer to good fate

Love / joy 

Filled with the after taste of sun-tanned epiphany 

The boy climbs down the fence

& away from the hungry eyes of the sun 

He settles to trust the god that he has become.

Chimezie Umeoka is a young poet, writer, and a first-year student majoring in English and Literary Studies at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. His works have been featured in Brittle Paper. Notably, his poem “Sex-less,” which explores the intricacies of sexual identity, was included in the international anthology of world poetry titled “Love is a Divine Fragrance,” published in India. Mezie, as he is fondly called, is a Bollywood lover and is inexpressibly thankful for the gift of humans, especially beautiful women, for rocking the shape of his life.