HUNTING, HAUNTING AND HAUNTED – A REVIEW OF JERRY CHIEMEKE’S “THE COLOURS IN THESE LEAVES”
Ifeanyi Jerry Chiemeke is by no means a stranger to Nigeria’s literary space. At various times and in various places, he has littered various blogs, websites, and web pages with the fruits of his pen. On facebook, under the moniker Jerry Chi, he has peppered our news feeds (those who are his friends) with poems, stories, and brilliant non-fiction pieces. He has been controversial, and he has been popular. He has written several reviews of books, movies, and albums, for more sites than I can’t be bothered to name, and it is perhaps for those reviews, critical and incisive, that he is rated the highest. It is somewhat odd, then, that he should come up for review, but then, such is the way of the world.
In his debut offering, an e-book titled The Colours In These Leaves, Jerry boldly surfs the waters of loneliness, heartbreak, and depression, coming through with a fortrightness which can be mildly unsettling to a first time reader.
The book is divided into “Rooms”, which could as well stand for different epochs, if not in his life, in the creative process that spawned the book.
In Room One, he takes you on a journey in paragraphs, an unnerving walk along the corridors of his thought processes, through failed relationships, work induced depression, and the uncertainties of navigating life in a big city in the fledgling stages of post-academic adulthood.
Room Two is a tapestry in verse, told in a haunting, lonely voice, and much as a painting or tapestry on the wall is seen and not heard, we are let into a lot of bottled-up feeling, loneliness, sadness, and pain, that has hung like curtains on the windows of a human mind. Love, in a myriad of forms, buoyant, unrequited, scorned, and a deep, poignant sadness run through this room like paint on the walls.
Room Three is more spiritual than the others, a yelling at the idea of a god, a song of sorrow that even God seems not to care so much, what with all the problems the writer is facing.
I could go on and on, the rooms go on and on, a sad song that would be boring and monotonous if it wasn’t such beautiful writing. Jerry lets us into his world, shows us his heart, his soul, and how haunted he is.
To read this collection of poetry and musings is to know Jerry, perhaps more intimately than most of us are comfortable with. The book is like a pane of glass, now transparent, now again reflective, and in looking at Jerry through the glassy screens of our respective devices we are afforded brief, uncomfortable glimpses of what may be us, could be us, is us.
In this book, there is a lot of sadness, anger, and a feeling of being forsaken, but no one can accuse Jerry of being dishonest.
This book, more than any of Jerry Chiemeke’s works, will stand out to the truly introspective, not because of its beautiful graphics and cover art, but because of its depth, and the haunting, unabashed baring of his soul that can be found within the pages.