Mother Lazarus – A Poem by Stanley Princewill McDaniels w/ an image by Vera Schmittberger

Mother Lazarus

It begins with the sound of a guitar.
Then the piano keys enter like the joining
of two bodies.
A double door opens. Then the music
starts.
It fills me up to the brim until I am
convinced I can fly.
The sky is wide & clear like my mother.
She is August,
& I can fly.
I want to be
a bird about to experience its true self
for the very first time: prepares
its tail flaps, spreads its wings
over the world,
& becomes a burden liquefied & exhaled
as a breath
to make me a free man. This
is my illusion, mother.
I am stranded every night because
I do not know
the direction of my life.
I look inside my self & find
a hotel, empty.
This is where I drink & cry.
The air is stuffy with dust & petrichor
of broken Things & broken promises
of all the women
that never came true.
I fold them neatly into a bag.
They are heavy like the alcohol in my cerebellum.
How does one find loyalty
among broken Things: like a child &
a razor blade, like a broken man &
a bar…
I will pretend the golden foam-head
of this beer
are tiny little suns, so that
when I drink it,
it trickles down & settles at the bottom
of my body.
This is how
I become sun light,
& my mother a butterfly.
She carries her wound so well they
are her wings.
At night she is
a hurricane, &
there is no Christ
to still her &
soothe her &
mend her broken wings &
heal her wounds &
make her walk on water.
I am no expert at dying.
It is a process, a road.
It demands a skilled driver
to navigate all its checkpoints, if
it must be
a smooth passage.
Of this I am Level Three.
Soon I’ll be Level Four.
This is my illusion.
I can’t fly, mother.
I can’t fly.
Not tonight.
There’s an airplane falling
from the sky.
It will never hit a surface.
The black box is a notepad.
Take it. Publish me.
This is good whiskey. This is
Really good whiskey.
I’m high enough.
The ground has turned to wine.
The Angels are waiting for me to jump.

Stanley Princewill McDaniels is a Nigerian poet & 2015 Ebedi International Writers’Residency fellow whose poems have appeared or are forthcoming on 20.35 Anthology of Contemporary African Poetry (vol 3), African Writer, Praxis Magazine, Bakwa Magazine, LIBRETTO, The SHORE poetry, Kalahari Review, Sentinel Quarterly, Tuck Magazine, Bombay Review, amongst others.He is a Correspondent for Praxis. Twitter: Satin Black (@Princewill1900) / Twitter

Vera Schmittberger is a photo artist and occupational therapist. She grew up in Germany adjacent borders with Luxembourg, Belgium and France, in an area of forests, hills and mountains.  Her photography emerges out of spontaneous journeys and collaborations with poetry. She finds inspiration in Oscar Wilde’s poem “The Pleasure that Abideth for a Moment” and is a member of a Barcelona-based international photography group whose members create photo art exploring reflective surfaces and shadowy images.

Banner Image: Untitled by Vera Schmittberger 

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