Broken Back Men


The streets of London are littered with

Broken back men

Muscles and sharp brains structured to menial jobs

Like the valley of dry bones

Shall these ones rise again

Alas there will be no dead.

New York is littered with the blood of bold men

Eyes which must not gaze at the Policeman

Straight shoulders pulled and bent to the concrete

Can I be me without you being pale

Could we all be gold on the setting sun

On the twilight screen that brings the dead to life.

The majesty of the bronze stallion is now taken away

Saddled by the marauding officer but her bushy tail still sways

She is called great but not in the wilds and plains

Her mouth is muzzled and reigns over her head

Her huffs of hide is cased in iron shoes that cling and clang

Sniffing and keeping the decaying me from smelling.

For herself and yet against herself

They throttle the street and dark alleys of my trespassing desperation

On their trails are the eyes of sunken skulls

In the ghettos of Salamat The Niger Delta and The Bight of Biafra 

Crude and rusted rigs lay clogged in sea of coral reef

Alas there will be no dead.

Must the chains crank on the force of difference

The potentials on which these tectonic plates grind

Their dark clouds of sacrilege now tower like babel

Over the layers of the ozone they grin at their colourless rainbow

With no one language they said not Truth

Their smoke go not to heaven.

The sacrifice of Abel came to heaven

It was like a fragranced moist smoke

Pure like the morning dew

His heart was simple but his blood cried

Of Cain’s New York and Pilate’s London

His gains made on my people’s back.

The streets of London are littered with broken back men

New York is littered with the blood of bold men

Cornrows with deep furrows ploughed on my back

Please can I come back without making you pale

Can we all be gold on the setting sun

On the twilight screen that brings the dead back to life.


Listening and Creative Communications

Leonard Chintua-Chigbu

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15:57 Train to Southend

The train was crowded. He had boarded at Barking and found a vacant seat between two men, whose body language did not encourage any one to use the vacant seat in between them. 

On the same row, across the aisle four men sat in pairs opposite each other, dressed in suits like him. But they would have come from London, from some of those tall glassy skyscrapers with offices in the heavens and their clouds. They looked privileged, owned the journey, the train or the country in some way. Hopefully they would eventually get off at Shoeburyness, where the train terminates, after which there would be no land but the high sea. They lifted up their heads but soon adjusted to the welcome distraction of their newspapers, cellphones and kindle tablets. 

As he headed for the vacant seat, a fleeting but unwelcoming atmosphere weld up. In support of these men, it suggested that he should be sensitive, at least considerate of the decorum created by the earlier passengers before thinking of inserting himself. He would let his Light shine in all cases; steadying his feelings, not being prescriptive, but loving all in all people. But this has been another long day of exaggerated calmness and gratitude for all the hospitalities of living in this country.

In the facing row to where he intends to sit, there were three men. They wore similar shoes like those he would sit in-between. Strong booty shoes, splattered with dry chalky white marks; some old, some new, all on different boot-maker labels, worn by different pairs of legs. Their bodies were muscular. Their clothing were equally dusty, colourless and acceptably dirty-dry. He would make himself non intrusive, as soon as he is able to rest his hurting back on that seat, even invisible. 

“Excuse me sir, may l share… please?” They both knew he wasn’t asking for their consent, as such announced politeness was shaming and equally disarming. Not when he is within his rights to use the seat; having paid his fare, work and pay his taxes as well. The men caved, didn’t look up but reluctantly moved and he sat. Blanking him, and as loud as it were, they carried on talking in vernacular. Everyone who cared to listen, also understood that they were travelling to Tilbury Town.

His eyes were closed, his dispersed self eventually came together. Within the confines of his closed eyes, he could find himself. After all he was a human being; a spirit, a soul, who only lives in a body. At least he is now a British citizen; something of a luxury, considering that he is now also alive as well. His secrets, if any are hidden in plain sight; that he aspires to imItate Jesus, loves all people, himself, things, and in that, God. But would always be perceived first as Black, Nigerian before human.

His back had stopped aching. He had been sleeping. Once again he savoured the desirability and legitimacy of his aspirations. The couch was alive again, over the din came the electronic voice “we are now approaching Chafford Hundred, stop at this station for Lakeside Shopping Centre”. When the train came to a halt, he got off and walked home, as the setting summer sun cast its warm shadows over Mayflower Road.

Listening and Creative Communications Leonard Chintua-Chigbu

All in a Mind’s Day

Mysteries packed and love with distance flow

White swan fence on the morning ray

Float in black mini wheel on Si2STB

Smiles at me and wave a silvery plume

Countryman am fly and chance she likes me

Could it be my suits and matching ties

Strong back and straightened shoulder

Good gait and lifted chin or swag and stumping strides

Random flirting fleeting fabs 

Chances toss and fancies gasp

I’ve got a job but not employed

Today was once my day ahead, an answer once i prayed

Lunch was good and prayer not enough

So, I felt I’d send God a text

An SMS to say ‘Thank you for launch’

I got an email yesterday from one employer

He says he was considering my deploy

It got me happy and through the day 

In stance I am and not am not

Randoms flirting fleeting fabs

Chances toss and fancies gasp

On Dagenham’s Gale Street’s Parsloes Park

A day is more than just a gift

Anons to miss and all to note

Peace’s the heart that always sees

Randoms flirting fleeting fabs

Happiness happens but joy is kept

I was happy in the class today

We found a rung for a new special needs child

Where she could start on her ladder 

For personal development and progress

I went to lunch fulfilled seeing ‘some’ thing made possible.

I got an email saying he is sorry

He would another employ

I was sad but happy am moving on

In stance am more

Than an employer’s smile

Randoms flirting fleeting fabs

Happiness happens but joy is kept

The ripened apple on a still life pose

Parsloes park lay nude on summer’s day

Brush and hue on canvas skin

Ease of light to dark and complex plain 

Through the lens of common eye

The painters mind take nature’s beck

Randoms flirting fleeting fabs

Chances toss and fancies gasp

Happiness happens but joy is kept

Leonard Chintua-Chigbu

Listening and Creative Communications

COFFEE ! Black.

I raised my voice today
It was reasonably, yet I felt vulnerable 

What came out was nice and formal, but without reporting the whole incident in its proper context, which this colleagues may be inclined to, some to damage could be done. For instance, if it’s casually said to the headteacher “he raised his voice at a child today, you know, but it was nothing, given that that child is a challenge” even as a gossip, let alone, a course of concern report, this would be damaging.

Nipping it at the bud, I turned myself in; I said to one of them, “I am sorry for raising my voice”
“We will address her stubbornness latter” Then she said, “I know how you feel. Don’t worry, it’s alright, it’s alright”.

Surprising fairness, and highly surprising. What do you call that feeling, when you are at someone’s mercy and you feel that that was undeserving of them or feel it could have been avoided? Pride? Ego? Human? Definitely humanising.

I have made so much progress in getting used to not being treated fairly, that I have become proper to the unnerving of my alter ego. 

I had lost my cool momentarily. All the same I was disheveled, chafed never quite as confident all day.
I blamed it on the coffee.

Listening and Creative Communications 

Leonard Chintua-Chigbu

Tombstones of Saint Peter and Paul

The bird flew with one wing and flew in small circles.

The bird’s eye view was the best world view 

When both wings flapped their bests

When she soared much higher in the open skies

When heaven was not the earth 

When it fell, the plumage littered

They worked together

I saw them every morning on my way to work

One was urbane and neatly dressed, 

He was open and had inclusive Jesus inscription 

Partly covered by his ‘huddie’.

The other was the opposite, 

Rough and hard, both in demeanour and choice of clothes, 

Yet young, with cigarette lit and clipped 

between his pale left fingers.

They worked well together; same factory, perhaps.

I walked to catch the 6:47 train to London, 

They would walk home off the 6:38 train to London.

I never get to Grays for that earlier train to London

But we will always meet on the footpath 

Along the tombstones 

of St Peter and Paul Church. 

They ignored me

And it was difficult getting used to it

Not being greeted

Or not greeting others 

At a lonely and narrow path. 

Today He walks alone

I see him every morning on my walk alone

No longer with any urbane and neatly dressed bloke,

No friend with inclusive Jesus inscription

Neither covered in black ‘huddie’.

The bird flew with both wings and soared up the skies.

The bird’s eye view was the best world view 

When both wings flapped their bests

Heaven came to earth when both wings flapped

When colours filled our open minds skies

When love was the colour of life

The bird flew with one wing and flew in small circles.

The bird’s eye view was the best world view 

When both wings flapped their bests

When she soared much higher in the open skies

Listening and Creative Communications 

Leonard Chintua-Chigbu

Morning after Victory


I am not righteous nor do I dictate to others to be so. Forgive me O Lord of my sins. I ask for mercy because am fallen and wish that you would never forget your mercies and grace towards me and all my cries for help

I do not ask to be held to the highest standards. But do ask that your hand will hold me through the path of your righteousness. For I love how you soothe my soul and teach me to love

Help me to comport myself amongst those you have humbled. Forgive Lorraine for the things she’s gotten herself into. Help her to find your hands and place hers in them. Let your light shine through in the midst of this darkness

Have mercy O Lord. Amen

Listening and Creative Communications 

Leonard Chintua-Chigbu