Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Poetry

Lovers

Lovers 

My lover is my friend
My friend is my lover
that’s the way it was.

Time passed by whilst love grew nurtured
by pleasures and strengthened by sadness from outside.

Lovers and friends we held on.
We had laughter and sometimes tears.
Stories were told in the dark early mornings
in between which we searched our bodies building giant flaming fires.
We rested knowing we were lovers and friends.

Time passed by, we travelled to the place we called home.
Still lovers and friends but even more nurtured by pleasures
and strengthened by sadness from outside.
Our mothers were there,
our fathers, sisters and brothers.

Talking and laughing endlessly through day and night. 
The sun and the stars filled the sky
and the earth was red and hot.
We were home, down in the valley

Tears began as the fires burnt too strong and the outsiders demanded
some out of love some out of spite and hate. 
All had to share time and space.

Time passed, my lover is my friend
my friend is my lover but the sharing began to slide.
Moving forward in our lives.
New energies fighting to change, creating, writing.
These were new times.

Is my lover still my friend?
Is my friend still my lover?
How do I know who I am
How do I know who she is.

The laughter has died and no more stories are told.
Dried lips  replace kisses which were once sweet,
So sweet the taste and warmth of lips fighting and caressing
Kisses that grew as large and hungry as whole bodies
Sweating in rhythm

That same trembling burning body
Those same motions, rejected now.
No longer seen and felt as expressions of love
but of negative vibes jumping and pinching in those dark early mornings.

It is not you, it is I
I am told.
Scorched lips, eyes burning with
pain, sharing nothing
no longer my friend
or is it no longer my lover

What is there to understand
Where is my lover who is my friend
my friend who is my lover
Knives cut between my friend and I
Vibes slice between my lover and I.

Now she travels in a space and
time far from my mind.
Yet she comes to me from time to time,
As a lover or a friend?

In the dark early morning
Covered with the smell of the cold
wet night mixed with dry brandy, whisky
talk of past nightmares and future dreams
with other comforters who know the new secrets of my friend
who was my lover and my lover who was my friend.

She comes like a dream, a shadow responding to the warmth of half sleep
of hot buttocks crying out to the night.
For a moment she is almost my lover of the days, of laughter and tears
But there are others now and no more stories are told
No words are spoken.
Love is a momentary dream in the dark late night
Lovers cannot take the place of friends.

My friend was my lover
My lover was my friend
A caress and a kiss welcome
Outsiders we love
Outsiders we don’t
My friend you could be my lover
My lover you could be my friend

owukori, 1996

3 Comments

  1. theresa

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful poem with us. it was a bit of a surprise to find a poem on your blog as you usually discuss such serious issues. But love is also serious and to find a lover and a friend in one human being quite an achievement. Keep writing and sharing.

  2. clarius Ugwuoha

    YOU MUST STAND UP!
    (for africa and for all else who are asleep!)

    Why?
    Why d’you lie crouched
    Others up and about
    Your eyes yet to attune
    To the fevered approach of dawn?

    Get up! rise up!
    Wipe your eyes clear
    Of this poisonous sleep
    The aging day throbs
    With the scattered enfilade of drums!

    Why
    Why d’you have to lie like a log
    Numb to the bone while others sweat
    The harvest field is bare
    And the barn stacked full with yams
    While the fireside dimly gleams
    With the dying embers of the hearth

    Getup! it’s not too late
    Get up it’s yet another day
    Brother you must get up before the earliest cock
    You must not lie down dead
    To the fevered approach of dawn!

  3. clarius Ugwuoha

    YOU MUST STAND UP!
    (for africa and for all else who are asleep!)

    Why?
    Why d’you lie crouched
    Others up and about
    Your eyes yet to attune
    To the fevered approach of dawn?

    Get up! rise up!
    Wipe your eyes clear
    Of this poisonous sleep
    The aging day throbs
    With the scattered enfilade of drums!

    Why
    Why d’you have to lie like a log
    Numb to the bone while others sweat
    The harvest field is bare
    And the barn stacked full with yams
    While the fireside dimly gleams
    With the dying embers of the hearth

    Getup! it’s not too late
    Get up it’s yet another day
    Brother you must get up before the earliest cock
    You must not lie down dead
    To the fevered approach of dawn!