Nnamdi demonstrates in this poem that life does not deal a fair hand, blowing hot and cold, imprisoning people in their own hearts with fear, intimidating them by breaking down their dreams. In a moment of almost yielding to life's constriction, he recognises his human limitations in "Deadlines Meet a Feathery Knight": …gravity nears an obstacle/…it is not strength, but will I lack, imagine a knight trapped in a pawn/because I soak too long till wrinkled/my feathers' weight makes not for flight. The picture of life is terrifying - a daunting adversary against whom anyone who would have a chance must be the one who travels light - the one mentally and emotionally free. This is eloquently shown in the affirmative "Fear": Someone once said "fear is defeat"/ but fear is only human nature/nevertheless I can't and won't be beat/because a rebel is fighting within/I SHALL challenge the great colossus!
For Nnamdi Azuonye a man's personal aspirations should not be capped or funnelled into any form of compartment. The important thing being that he was able to do what he wanted unrestricted, uncensored unchallenged. It was not even important to know or anticipate the end, all he wanted was the means - wings that could fly and a mind open and broad enough to interpret the world he encounters in his flight as he shows in "I Wish I Could Fly High":
It's a fantasy of tremendous heights
with unreal and colossal feelings
rushing through like a steadfast freight
ecstasy rushing through pores of my arteries
as I soar the high winds of heaven
With sky's blue mattress beneath me
and sky's puffy blanket so cloudy
I soar and where to is unknown to me
And flying high speed velocity
who cares what path I take,
they're all the same.
In examining the relentless quest for freedom spiritual and physical, Nnamdi turns to his mind and his thoughts. In the poem "Living in Both Worlds" he writes: To close my eyes and imagine/is to open my mind to thought/to close my eyes from the world/is to find another way out. He retreats to a place where nothing can hedge him in, not walls, not gates, not even words, and in this perfect freedom all he does is create the perfect world in his mind - a Paradigm City:
to escape reality
i enter the paradigm city of virtual reality
everything follows my pace
it's a place where exists-not the word mayhem
and the color blue receives much applause
but it's not without flaws
it's a place where thought alone can breach
where a few words can solve a page's question
need i mention its appellation?
it's a place where even the homeless
are sheltered with an endearing caress
of buildings so fascinating and uncanny
in my mind's the blue print of a perfect city
that's imperturbable by problems of reality
I call it the paradigm city.
Beyond such idealistic imaginations, Nnamdi also sets himself a code of conduct in the physical plain. In "The Sight I Will Never See" he creates a personal pledge that the young people caught in the web of behavioural, drugs, crime and or deviant retrogressions may well make into a plaque and read first thing before leaving home everyday: a great many stripes of see-through glass/and freezer cold degrees in a hollow nest/metal pans like cans to flush/more intimidating when inmates clash//it is that place infested with rats/bombarded with hunger/from the older and the younger/the sight never to see/where freedom will never be/a single cell/as dark as hell. With a pledge like this, Nnamdi sets about his life mindful of the pitfalls that might cost him his freedom and avoids them.
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