lab.yrinth II: beat & poem ft. ochuka

This is a rare project. lab.yrinth beat collection was brewed during my excursion in a chaotic environment where shelling of bombs and Antonov warplanes buzzed above my head as part of the Sudan Relief & Rehabilitation Agency (SRRA) team. On evenings and weekends, sitting by my home studio became a ritual. Each beat was anchored on how I felt at the moment. While I kept writing poems, sound also became a vent through which I could channel my thoughts and emotions.

In the meantime I kept in touch with Ochuka, a prolific poet who’s battling cancer and at times I felt like life didn’t make sense at all. Here I was, watching the killing of children in a war the world knows little about and one of my best friends, at 23, trying to live in a body that is in constant war with the itself.

Anyway, upon the release of lab.yrinth, Ochuka texted saying how the whole beat collection evoked his writing muse and vowed to write a poem after each beat. That was unheard of. Something so profound I didn’t know what to say. He e-mailed the collection within 24 hours!

So here’s the poetry collection. The download link to the beat collection and the PDF version of the poems is at the end of these poems.

Kindly remember to donate to Ochuka’s medical bill via M-PESA Pay Bill: 825155 to Acc. No. WYCLIF OMONDI OCHUKA; Co-Op Bank Acc.: 01108235521900; or directly to M-PESA No.: 0726649526/0727648853

Thanks & ENJOY!

 


 

lab.yrinth II: the poems by Omondi Ochuka

 

1. Abstraction
I
16-staples,
leaving the origin. The persona in a reshuffled
scaffold
Ram’s
whose destinies parole
between integers of dying stars and the rising sun

Fleshing
bones, straws of clay fora a life cycle

These mass rails
unchain, eternity in Chinese porcelains
dried in the sun. The binary tree, lifeless
drowns its roots in the vein

Undecided they plug roses in the juried hue
needle for rice
wooden ashes for a footnote’s refinement

II

We are thought’s
stoneheads. Carnal paint
on a sold out canopies
So the mind casts its indices
Snowing fraction’s rooftops
with slingshots of a wandering psalmist

Snapshots
expressed in callous ommissions. We emit
Appear
black-grey. White as red snow

skin-thick.
Valued for brittle transcripts

Here the womb breaks free!

 

2. Abyss

Let’s make pain//
Don’t return the scalpel out of the canyon
e-field//constellations
embalmed rifts//nocturne & black keys, piano//
Divine liturgies//
Scarf of platelets//
Locate the soul where the heart is loud//
A womb born in these caves//strokes of sequels//
bring forth the Pandora box let’s draw the crayons//

What happens,
after the abyss blinds//and the universe harness//
black beaks//
nestling inside a flower’s sweet sad soul//
And the ashes blacken//rising, dividing skies in the clouds//

These days I feel indescribable//
Reaching my inside windowed//
But my daughter’s widowed//
and reservoirs puncture to overflow//
Fire fades inside the crystals//
And Ra ploughs//
Night rivers//sould dwellers//
Meltdowns fill the infinite//
descending from the broken strand//
One foot in the grave//
the other, sunset for a final resting place//

Pay for the road//
duality, causes effects of degradation//
Mirage//
mileage//
both regress in nullified companion//

Still we split, palpable//
Half grief//
refined by futures we never know//
Forklifts//pitchforks//
radiates as the angry curtains plummet the roosters//
Cross over//floors shovel//heaven & earth in wild flowers

 

3. Audacity

Ochuka Talking:

“How can time heal, if time is wounded of itself? These clocks have gathered moss, look at their souls, aren’t we all all paradise lost? Feathers growing through stretchmarks of graves, reminded that to rise, to rise we must remain subtle in imagination but dare-odds stuck against the unruly hero moments of life? But what’s time separated of itself? I still, I still break a piece of my soul and throw the pellet into my bloodstream full of sharks, making even the dangers of derangement, the audacity to defy clarity, the thick posthumous satires of old forests rotting on the walls of home! I still walk to flower shops with a burial overdue. I still, love like God’s menses are in the morning dew. Eroded, peeled off wrinkled raisins and black-eyed pea. And with a backcross test, I still self-preserve, self-destruct, shelve these bars, gravy batch, I still drip… drops, moon-clots of a widow’s sorrow. There’s no tomorrow. Today is infinitesimal. Round the clover like a sad butterfly parking for its funeral. Yesterday is gone. Body of salt and a life wide of wounds. These questions. Each petal, pedals an arm of god. An army crawls, rebels turn these manifolds. Manifestos. Money, payroll. Unchain the Django. Totems & Guns, land and votes. Redeem your soul without the cadaver on the cross. But see I have been loud about the silent nights, lonely. Drowning, deep. Dying to have known. This is Mike written on woods. I am. Because I am.”

Cheki

Jodeci
Trivia, the candlelight vigil
fierce in the heart of raging winds
Unplug the cables
“What are you afraid of?”
Question
“Bondage.”
Answers self, afraid of itself
The spotlight is hollow
not charming as the influence of subversion
So we 9-millimetre
Burst brains afraid of the crying picture
In valleys
of unstoppable doubting
Mind is my instrumentalist
I dare, gods for their sick humours
I am. Rare.
Sublime pair of abyss. Breathing dragonfly, fire. Comatose, and I re-fuse to give up.

 

4. Black Keys

Dry wrinkles//
Wet clothes wipe death from the counter//
Before the soul burns into gold pickles//
And the dance floor rocks undoing its own riffle//
Let’s everlast,
hold the crust, blur the fingers soaked in puddles//

Let’s hide the door key beneath the flowerpot//
Sidewalk, the amber in the city’s vein//
Bound by unspoken pain//
Howling
bleeding like a sick wolf leading the way//

Strangely
feeling like the body left, coroner crafting the resting place//

 

5. Broken Bambaata

Vinyl cutters
Ghetto, solitude. These blacker blues & symphonies spray uzi,
wonders from the gutter
Mathematics
Elemental, flowing Nilote from Nyabondo to Brooklyn

Nchi black ni//
ufuo wa nuru, licha za mashirika kunajisi rangi asili//
Risasi ndio malighafi//
Utumwa ni uhuru wa fikra haki//
Sawa//
Mkeka wafu unalazwa na picha za hayati//
Silaha//
Tubatumika ka’ sila’//
Mweusi kijasusi anatenda mauaji ya kimbari//
Kisa?//
Kukandamiza//
Lugha sio yote picha//
Ikiwa kabila ni sura, kasumba ndio wino kwa insha//
Kaburi, mawazo bila//
Taswira zisizofiwa//
Elimu pasipo nia//
Ya kuongoza duara//bunge kuadhibu haki jogoo ikiwika//

 

6. Guilty Feet

Pluck,
suicide, all. Ideations
A bottle of insomnia
Some die before they’re dead. Crossmarks
City of lost souls. Die again in the afterlife

Eleven 9’s
Blackbox debris
choke carbon, neoplasms, neo-puzzle
TV sets. The mind’s retribution
Parallel bigotry
I am upsetting the harmonies
Your chords of absolution
Flash these marks, tulips and valid gravity

Precursor
Life’s a stranger
Dust & decay
These pencils are the decoy
We make what we destroy
Treadmills
looking for faith, for pain, pro-pen, empty capsules full of procaine
Your god, invisible.
Lumberjacks
peel obituaries off dying forests
We bleed, unmatchable
Strike heads full of radio-
active
elements blow wordless instruments

This is my pain.
Ticket,
for they
watch gladiators sportify death
Stream these stats,
traffic, greenlights
pass away


7. Look How They Treat US

White blood,
straightjacket
We’ve unfolded into, wormwood dry like inflated marketplace
Revolting nostalgia for before the exchange
Sticker notes yellow crime scenes,
digging arms for the IV to find a worthy crate
Craters in our pockets
Asthmatics
Winter in the mind, while life is our agent pollen
Cross wounds
Allege proof, dead stars witness
The rebirth of horoscopes
Molotov
And calibres mixed with prolonged death

Stray in the blackness
Lay in the quietness
The heavy yoke
Trivialise the limbs of hope
But as the lips flee
Separated by fate rather than destiny

 

8. Mellow Grass

Thick onyx,
seal the blades of the mellow grass
Peni-tential nest
gather heavy on the dawning hearse

Brown
Tramples are clown
Ghost, town
Lowered
the graveyard’s hook

No blues
Just grey.

 

9. Misspell

Outward, perpetrator
Inside, symbols no churchyards
Portraits slash Dorian Gray
Earn your pay
Ceasar’s Rubicon scissors knife through the flesh

Life’s shadows? Death
Teleport
Lord of broken rings. Fingers of a metaphoet
The soul is the socket
Dual carriage, and one omnibus
Thesaurus
Wake up from the tombs re-wounded like Lazarus
Angels negotiate my telomeres?
Dispose me off midnight
CHIral symmetries
Live fossils, but still walking through untapped fields!

 

10. Pawetri

Na’acha mizogangu ndani ya dungeon
Kitu sure?
Nurture Michelangelo huku chisel ime-sculpture stone walls shinda gabion
Mji umezama fahamu, wahusika misumari kwa jeneza ya mwisho, mfumo

Juhudi za
Kujiuzulu toka chovya za fikra
Mageuzi kwa matokeo
Ilani za wino
Kibali cha shoka kali kuwinda ndimi kwa mrindimo
Mkombozi wa hisia, hali
Tata, pazia pacha
Wembe unashuka ukamba wa uzazi
Mashairi yanabeba hatua za taharuki, fahari, mapenzi na taanzia!

 

11. Precarious

Pre-cursor

Before
mind-blows & red ribbons,
Matter is part of mind
We are void
Edges marked by tender razors
For faith & narratives
We had to grow flowers on our sleeves
Confide in grief
Strap RF’s
Through the wire we stored our soul
Apostle to uncertainties
Deflowered dreams
Broken compass show no compassion

Cancer

Replace the ironies
Although the cells fight me, I think about the mystical skills
Possessed by the soul
From within I rise
Set my bones on fire and watch the body levitate
Gravitate
Stanzas paint fiddles of the violin
Healogy
When I die, strangle my ashes in the blowing winds
Mindstate: from grey pictures on the scan
Penitent: pink dusted heaven
Amazon warriors bleeding souls on the breastplate
And even though
Trauma depraved, we still look at our scars as refinement
That’s why we battle & self-accept
Dust & Rain
Fold my sorrows into an piece of clay!

 

12. Still Ponds

Skies inside out, outwardly staring into itself
Like a pond pelted with hyacinth
Black swans absolve, diviner odds of grief
vividly
The ripples detach their soul
Blackens the clouds flung high
Toothless
Their hearts rise. Absurd as a returned seed embraces

What in earth reflects,
heaven

 

13. Take Me Home

Japo fikra za nyumbani, migodi za kaburi
Natafsiria,
ujio pasipo mwisho njia
Kovu, medali
Huu mwili ni mkate
na machungu ayahisivyo ni fungate
Jua likizibua kidonda kujadili picha ya miale
Maisha sio kifo
Na kifo, sio ncha.
Ncha za kuikomboa nafsi, hasa
amani ya haki ipo ndani. Ya kila titi
Kila dimbwi moyo huzamia, wazo la mziki

Kwa hivyo
Kila hatua huotesha mwamko mpya,
Mwanzo mpya na kila hitima
Pana ujio wa uzazi

Take me home: where endless deaths are endless births
And restful
Life belongs, to an eternal eclipse in my soul

 

14. Telekinetic

Thoughts luminesce
Growing armoured//dicey froze

This soul blooms for the universe//
glows dark//pebbles persecute in dark verse//

glory//sorrow//
grounded mind//and pens are growing gravity//

 

15. Youtopia

Self absorbed
Self abhorred. When tumours meta-
star-size. Archetypal
where life starts, it comes to it departs

I put the staples on every agony I taste
Metaphors mentor. I’m coliseum, put the wounds out dry on the page

Surplus. They profit off pain
And wither labours of violent taints
Minds barred by deaths.

Beyond graves,
we fall heavy, deep as we navigate
Through exploding suns

And barbed blackjacks
We spread the stars like darts
The alpha breath, become creator of life’s harmonious pack

 


Download the PDF version here: lab-yrinth


cover

Click on the album cover to download the beat collection.

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