Chuma Nwokolo, Jr.


A Shirt’s Life


Shirts don’t last forever.

Use them thirty, forty, times and

They so lose their lustre, go threadbare,

And have the corners of their collars curled.

Go on and use them eighty, ninety times

And see the end of the hot washes

And the cold rinses

Of the wash cycles

In a shirt’s seasons.

And this is life:

A shirt whose grime will so infuse its seams,

As laughter seams the familiar lines on Granny’s face;

A shirt whose cotton soaks emotion in,

From the starch of arrogance to the sweat of fear,

And makes them one -

And this is life:

A shirt that almost becomes second skin.

It will have lost its lustre, gone threadbare,

But new, it bore the wedding day’s bowtie.

Old, it caught the angry spatter of soup

From the last row -

And this is life:

The hand that throws it out will linger,

Reluctant, over the rubbish chute;

For Life is a creasing cotton shirt, and it is

Hard to stick a Use-By date on used-up friends.




The man most to be feared in all the world  
wants one thing and one thing only.  
he will not turn aside for great bargains.  
the lusciousness of apples leave him cold. 
the ire of men does not ignite on him. 
he is a carnivore upon green prairies, 
he is an herbivore amidst the deer.  
he goes, like baited fish reeled in, he
after the triumph of his heart.


He wants one thing - and his one desire 
never goes into or out of fashion.  
it won't be jaded by the fluxing years,  
or devalued by a failing stock exchange.  
he wants one thing. And one need only see 
that man most to be feared in all the world  
at journey's end, to fear his heart's Desire,  
that burned like flaming wick, and melted all  
the guttering wax of the world away.



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Sentinel Poetry (Online) #41

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF POETRY & GRAPHICS...Since 2002     ISSN 1479-425X     April 2006

Editor: Amatoristero Ede

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