i begin this poem with a cough. a mole
will find pathways in the spaces of my head
and survive. i’ll dry my skin with fire and name
it “a new style of smiling”. in this type of poem,
a bird is broken in the wing and bruised.
history says there are worms in the bird’s cage that do not
bring it joy.
i narrate my autobiography with dark songs.
like the bird with the broken wing, i am a pendant on the neck
of a madman, dangling towards perdition, towards
a salvation that does not satiate.
this is how i hold my tongue for the miracle of
writhing. my head aches each time a boy calls
me ‘leper’. i give my body a new name and
a new grave. i teach myself how to smile,
although crying is what we worship, a ritual for the gods, here.
i am a banana peel. wastewater. i am not always the
fulfillment of my mother’s sweet wishes. this poem is where
confession pours like rain.
i am a cloth dangled on a shark’s teeth. i am the cold
of a gentle night. mind me not. this is what our body
becomes when we are served the meal of a wizard.
i am a castaway in my fatherland. a regurgitation, a
slippery river. this is a poem where God will pour himself
from heaven and tell me to write more poems, boy. you do not
know which will heal you.
Once Upon A Time.
Every name has a scar in my country.
Little things fall, in drops, and
They grow into forests of blood. I bless my
Mouth with a poem and pull the beard on my chin.
There are tiny things in my chest,
I pick at them like wounds
That fester and enflame.
My mother cries while giving birth to a new child, her
Fifteenth labour. She is my father’s second daily bread.
My father, with the stench of
Liquor all over him is always home.
My mother used to cry behind closed doors with him, and we,
The children, would carry thick phlegm on our noses, sucking
Our thumbs seventy-two times till they came out.
My family is a recycling bin. I want to dispose the
Litters in it and pour them into the mouth
Of my country. My country, a mother of a useless son – my
Family, and there’s always a harvest for every sowing.
Or what use is a mother breaking promises to her son?
Just yesterday, a boy’s brain welcomed a bullet with an
Open arm because he’s decent. Because he holds a laptop,
Something he uses for graphic design!
I am tired of a mother that does not know how to sprinkle joy
On her son’s chest, a mother who doesn’t have time
To quench her son’s thirst.
I am tired of a mother
That does not know how to say, Smile, son. You’re the beauty
Of the star, you’re the light of the moon.
A Love Letter
Number 27, Hibiscus Street,
A Garden of Flower Road,
- O. Box 1718,
8th February 2035.
To you, T,
Love is like a seed buried into the earth’s soft soil. Like my heart, it sprouts and becomes more beautiful.T, I want to celebrate this day with your cake. You fed me a cake, and I ate it with cold juice. I want to mark my attendance at the opening of your heart with a kiss. I want to warm my body within the star of your teeth. I want to sway into the rhythms of your hips.
T, I’ve fallen into that hole you dug. That hole you mentioned in your conversation with your mum, that a man who falls into it falls under your palm. T, I’m in this ocean where you’ve swum with the goddess. I await your embrace, I await your starlight, your is fragrance so strong.
I want to say I love you, but I’m scared. I’m scared because love nowadays is a thing of the lips. It’s a myth of the Tortoise and the hot pottage. I want to travel into your smiles, your tiny teeth, the whiteness of cowry. I want to dance into your cold arm, so that this summer would not break me down like dry leaves.
Allow us to hold hands by the riverside, our laughter like light sparkling from above. The way I would run after you, and you would say, “Stop now!”, and I wouldn’t stop and when I would catch you, I would recite poetry into your ears and make you blush.
T, do not say this particular offering is a refuse dump; do not say my mouth stinks. I’m not the loquacious parrot of the Oba, I have come in peace. I have come with words so pure that dirt does not have the audacity to perch on them. Please, do not say no. I’d be glad if you said yes.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours in Love,
Your Poet Crush
Shitta Faruq Adémólá, Frontier XIV, is a 2021 SpringNG Writing Workshop alumni, a young Muslim Poet, budding French linguist, Phone Photographer and Fiction Writer From Nigeria. He is the author of a microchap “All I Know Is I Am Going To Be Beautiful One Day” (Ghost City Press, 2021), and Night Club With Dogs (INKspired) 2022.