IN The Dark

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In the dark I saw light. After the explosion, shrapnel tore the air and the ball of fire traveled heaven ward. Darkness settled, cries, shrieked calls and torch lights invaded the air. Like fire flies, high visibility jackets of all colours blossomed in the heavy winds of fast moving blades of luminescence. Everywhere was charged by the fluorescence of the first ‘responders’; ordinary people, fire fighters, the ambulance, the police, also the red crosses and crystals of White Crescent…

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Art and Creative Communications
Leonard Chintua-Chigbu

He called me Barack

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Even in winter, he would not fit into that common image for migrant workers, as we see them, walking down the road; that image their children have now grown to see. Those Africans who are only allowed to do odd jobs; Nigerians or Ghanaian. He did not wear thick black head warmers nor layers of jumpers and sweaters. His trousers were not necessarily thick, his shoes not heavy nor had they any additional safety caps, only leather and a good semblance of brogue design.
Their pay was more sizable than his. Some of them even did additional jobs after school runs, after nights spent at the warehouses, picking goods or stacking shelves at supermarkets, or even doing safe security jobs.
It was these men who sometimes dropped off their children in the morning. Little children, some who greeted him with sparking white teeth and umber brown gums; squeaky clean in their lovely ebony tones running happily into a more vast beauty of other happy children playing.
Dike had brought his three little children to the UK when the recent global recession was well on its way. Many Nigerians who had been made redundant from big London city banks and law firms were moving back home.
On the playground each day, he came with a different colour of suit, complete with matching ties. They were affordable and machine washable. He would drop-by the value or sales sections of Marks and Spenser for them. He was handsome in them, calm and carefully nonchalant. When he talked, it was in his scholarly Nigerian english language, now spoken in British accent and not this vernacular.
His now accepted ordinariness did not do a good job of hiding his classy sense of the way things should be. Of many rewards, this afternoon at the playground, a ten year old black boy came running towards him. Behind him was a group of other children; friends in a boisterous group. He stopped at him, and in his hilarious-smile lit face, he searched my eyes, seemingly saying ‘I now know you. It now makes sense. I have cracked the code’ Then he said to me “You are Barack Obama” I was transfixed, but then I smiled.
They all ran off, they felt victorious; all of them in the group; White, Black, Asian. They were jubilant as they ran off.
Still transfixed but not now teary eyed, I felt both rewarded and blessed. It was one of many angelic visits.
For whatever Barack Obama means to our children.., Yes I am Barack.
Listening and Creative Communication
Leonard Chintua-Chigbu
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Everybody can Go to Heaven

Perversely every human being, culture or race LOVE. In all cultures; modern or primitive we find love in His various levels. From efforts and attitudes which define human feelings of kindness, or gratitude to expressions or receptions of acts of kindness and devotion to the common Good.

Everybody can Love. However the irritation and persistence of daily anxieties leave our cultures and humanity to the services and altars of lesser god’s of thunder, anger, greed, human sacrifice, fear, hatred, racism and intolerance. The separation of state and faith has over time tamed crusades, jihads, and religion as a fuel for wars, which had effectively narrowed our outlook and wrongly defined our collective spirituality. We needn’t kill for God.

In olden times, hallowed places and altars have been dedicated to “The Unknown God”, and before our knowledge of the Christian Bible or Koran, names have been formed in descriptive sentences and reserved to “Chineke” or “Obangiji”. Cultural ethos have always been expressed in terms of what is humanly or spiritually impossible, but hoped; a prayer the gospel was to be good-news and not a judge.

Before religious arrogance and later intolerance, people have always found a heart to Love unconditionally. Often, traditional titles have revealed expressions of this lofty ambition and some have lived with this grace and gifting. It was and is no weakness to act and to see all things through the eyes of LOVE. It is a response to the call of God.

We can Love everybody. What people do or who they are, should not make them unlovable, but should make our loving larger. LOVE is accessible, affordable and inclusive. HE believes all things and Forgiveness is something to do with His nature.

Love is the Door to Heaven. Jesus said “No man can come to the Father except through ME”; not Christianity, not religion but LOVE. John 14:6. This way people from all religions and backgrounds will find a persuasion and claim to the way to heaven. LOVE.

Leonard Chintua-Chigbu

The Evening Standard

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It was the rush hour homeward. He has managed to occupy two seats at the muted chagrin of other exhausted commuters.

At the train station, he was insisting on getting a discount. The station assistant had repeated for the umpteen time that there were no ‘promos’ going on at the moment.

The air of self importance was palpable and you could imagine that he had traveled ‘business class’ at the tax payers expense until now.

I was crushed like the most passengers who stood through their journey, lucky to make the train and eager to make the jump off.

He sat cross legged. Tilted his head, accustom, reading The free Evening Standard Newspaper, through his bifocal.

Listening and Creative Communication
Leonard Chintua-Chigbu

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The Waters of Our Rivers

Maroko is completely parceled from Heaven; a gift against the unlubricated heart of the iron city, Lagos. The waters flow just good enough; to deny the mosquitoes, a replacement egg. And not good enough to pull Chimnanu’s refuge apart.

She wakes again to the mosquito sound of speed boats, that steal from the demurrage vessels, but soon drifts away again in thought.

These acts are still wrong. It is wrong to take another person’s thing. 

But someone has asked, “What if these people took it, just as Sandfill; The Monarch with Babangida is taking Maroko away from us?” 

Others say, they took our dignity and made us thieves when they took the money that would have created us jobs. 

But these things are still wrong, though the merchants have taken insurance and get what is taken taken from us”

Chimnanu turns and stretches but pushes had on the stick that poles her polystyrene house.

Many things fell apart. Now floating on the water with other shacks, further away from coming together. In it ripples of muted light also glimmered. 

On her raft she stretched again and somehow she finds a stray will to live yet another day.

Leonard Chintua-Chigbu

Listening and Creative Communications

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,000 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 17 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

DADDY I don’t believe in God

“It’s still beautiful though.” finally agreeing with my son. Many years have now passed, when as a young catholic boy, I had shocked my mother with the news of being born-again. I was persecuted to say the least. But that’s not the point. Here was what I have come to understand. My boy is being honest, and that is beautiful. His views and feelings are authentic, plausible and sincere. I saw beyond that sharp pain in my heart, and the mockery that I had lost to the devil, only as true as my limited self was capable of understanding at the time. Then, latter, I was happy and I became more confident of his future… If God is not True, why shouldn’t my boy come to know?

In my art class, I learned how the blue box wasn’t blue, yet it was blue. It had six sides. The side that faced the light was a lighter blue than the two sides I could see. The lighter side had fleeting properties of green, resulting from the ‘yellowy’ sun ray and the ‘bluey’ hue on the box. When I moved my drawing board to another position, I was able to see only one side, and this was easier to draw and paint. This side had almost one colour of blue, but at the end, it was more of a rectangle, a flat shape than a box. I painted in the shadows and the surrounding background, and was happy with my artwork. So was my teacher. We all saw the box with six sides in my ‘artwork’ with only one side.

Our imagination is an important gift and a space of ‘zero’ gravity. It is akin to that grocery supermarket, that is totally different from the kitchen where the food is eventually cooked.

In my art class, I saw how true it is that ‘we’ see in partial dimensions; in familiar shapes and colours, mostly flat. The closer the object, the more our dimensions of thought and perception improve, and our understanding is sorted in perspectives; with either a dominant vanishing point or multiple ones, within a common and shared space. The free ‘will’ or the audacity to imagine is not a rebellion from the absolute Truth, but a bidden of it, occasioned by His dignified non intrusiveness.

But in His ferocious strength Truth snatched the Harlot, the thief, the corrupt public servant, the numbed rich and the poor fishers.

Absolute Truth stands dignified at an inspiring space, in a reassured confidence that through our subjective perception of what is Truth, through sincere and honest curiosities, seasoned by our tempting interactions with the corruptions around our evolving selves, we will become. Truth by imagination frees our heart to question and own our answer.

My son’s dissent, could point to my language, and yet every day, he embodies and preaches the story of God; a language my generation has lost to speak.

Let’s cheer up.

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Leonard Chintua-Chigbu
Listening and Creative Communication Artist
BA Fine Art (Painting) University of Benin 1986

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