When Ever Young

By Mukete Samuel Oreh

John, you are not ever young, counting
Thirty, you block your father’s room and
Hit the street with sneakers

Where there are tall buildings and many
Cars, the young call it the fertile jungle,
A place of fine fiancée, mansion and kids
In the house.
Behind their father relax, smile and puffing
Like puff adder cos they have shoes and jackets
From their sons

I’m ever young, you were saying, but inside
Your heart bundle, strength twisted and
Stomach deepen to the spine. and father
Saying where there are many roads and
Lights; young fellow go and bring shoes
And jackets for their fathers, but you say
I’m ever young

Contenting yourself with half bread instead
Of the full spurred you to this great loss

Now suffering describe your face as you climb
The hill your father climbed. now you have
No power to express your thought cos it is arid
On this side

But far off the horizon, the lone bride calling,
The invisible child calling pre-father

But together you lie on your father’s bed,
Shame did not conquer you but snoring and
Shaking of his tired bones.
Now his tears and agony can tell he is calling
For the one that takes men to paradise, that
Finally grant his wish and offer him the ticket of his
Last breath

But now shame has come, as the ghost of your
Father can tell the vicious mistake of keeping
One room, that finally chase you to the fertile
Jungle

A jungle where he cannot receive shoes and
Jacket from his son, cos you were saying
I’m ever young

Publication of this poem was made possible by a donation from Anita Hunt. (Thanks, Anita!) To find out more about our funding model, or donate to the magazine, see the Support Us page.

Mukete writes: I am a Cameroonian born on 16 March 1990. I grew up in a suburb village in Cameroon called Munyenge, in Muyuka Subdivision, Fako Division of the Southwest Region, where I did my primary school. I finished secondary school in Limbe, in the same region. I now reside in Douala, the economic capital of Cameroon. I fell in love with poems because I was inspired from the inside to make a change that will be invaluable for some now, but for all at later times—though I find the task to write what I love very difficult and challenging, bringing that big voice out.

Comments

I'm still unpacking this one. Fascinating. The podcast reading made me want to read it again, and now I see that I'll have to read it a few more times. That's the sign of a good poem in my book.

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