In Guise of NightA crescent moon hangs here, hope a rope
Swinging left and wrong in the wind of uncertainties,
Fireflies ascending and ascending
Lamps leaking a lullaby of litanies,
Yet the skies never shoot a star,
The night holds a guitar with broken strings.
In still rivers, my eyes are the finger
That drums against the symphonies of nocturnals
But it’s too dark to see the shapes of grief
Making homes out of my body.
My girlfriend once tried exoneration in a vigil of candles
I passed out before she could undress.
In the dreams where I run towards sunrise
There’s this half-burnt palm tree, its branches weeping
Into the feet of a brown owl, its silhouette
Gleaming in a moonglade of a gutter water
Reflecting me in bad light; wearied nosemasks,
Body placarding rusted bullets & penury,
Soul in the tired colour of unscarred wounds,
And I kept muttering,
This is not me this is not me like I’m trying to believe it.
Like I’m trying to dream new dreams in bad ones.
A Discourse On MemoriaI saw a falling star in my sleep. That night the skies were two clot thick from missiles raining downtown. The memory did not leave me. It became a leech sucking me into the twinkling of a star, its winging, ten doses of blooming & plunging. Now I am replaying all the plunges in my head. The gleam of the vent bears me witness, if my eyes become smoke bombs for everything I hold dear, I will not care. I must search the depth of this… I swear I have been here before. This crossroads, same red city darkening with the crepuscule, same wild bush of lilies eaten into the colour of dust and rust. What if, this place is a jailhouse? I mean fanatics regard it differently —It is my body. my country. my memory. my this. my that. It is mine— & how such possession is a two-way bondage, a tango of wrists and sharp edges, is of inviolable concerns. In the same trance I saw the falling star again. The degree of the arc. The flight from the standpoint of radiance. The twinkling through the brilliant diving into darkness. The burning to the full embrace of nothingness. The burnout lurking in a wonder. The memory in question is a fading ember. If I escape this jailhouse, will it leave me? I mean nothing haunts wandering souls more than the memories of where/what they called homes, lost in windy definitions of home, the atmosphere of foreignness and a throttling shell of exile, a faux belongingness to grief and the grief alone. I reckon that it is worth asking after all, If i repent of history, do my memories lose the legality to twinkle? to haunt? and what is grief if not memories preserving?
Olumide Manuel is a Nigerian poet, an environmentalist and a biology teacher. His poetry have been featured on Agbowó Magazine, Gigantic Sequins, Muse Pie Press, ARTmosterrific Magazine, Sandstorm Journal, Twyckenham Notes, Feral Poetry, Frontier Poetry, Sublunary Review and elsewhere. He enjoys varieties of books, movies and music. You may reach him on Twitter: @Olu_MideManuel
Banner: Constellation/Star, a VISPO by Robert Frede Kenter (c) 2021. Twitter: @frede_kenter