Two Poems by Tares Oburumu

first music – a note full of water

the boats i rowed the slow child i was, to what i have become      are shaped like memories,
or acoustic guitars                                                                                        mooring the music
of how we live in a field of water living on grass.       the day of my light, like any day spent
in the dream, that i will become
starburst,     moonshine,                                           is this aureola i find in the live photograph
of baby-mother & child drowning by oil vessels;      hands full of water, holding on to the net
                                                                                                             catching six years of fishing.
above us float the national anthem – 1967s, future tenses, the luxury
                                                                                                                       in letting go –

nigeria is calling
& these syntax of hairs doping in & out of asphyxiation,                            now, make me
see clearly a plot of fatherland – the horizon.                 i swan the vast love between mother
& child, skimming God – the religion of foreshadows.                 O littoral love,
i believe in you, survival.    i believe in breathing more than as i do inhale my faith in you, death.
O grief, O intervention,       have i not been vaticinated?               we will not die now,

in spite of the cemetery, in spite of the nations dying in us.               we make it to the shore,
                                                                                                                    committing existence.
today, i hold that history striated in this poem     this painting               to you,
because i have met my mother               many times       in the colors       we lay in sand
echoing the sunlight.              what you say,            you didn’t see what we have swam into? –
the time that’s to come           the written shore               read by the waters in us.
i butterfly my mercy               the rose in her hands         incensing this prayer  any prayer,

bless me, father, for i have sinned.              which is to say, she is just a girl         who
doesn’t know how to die yet.

first water – a boat drowns in the waves of a book read many times after a dream

we sit on what survives, only – on the ledge, talking about my father
whose heart is in heaven.                                                                                                    the sea listens
from a lake behind the pub where Christ was born,   i listen from the streams in me
                                                                                                                           reaching out for the shelf.
hail marys are in descents; prayers, the gradations in step with the hope
she has created with the fishscales on her own hands,                                                the biblical drug.
hands turning blue when i give them to the waters under the waves,     the miracle applauds
                                                                                      the amphetamine that shapes me into bird,
sublimity, a bottle filled with the length of River Ramos, orbit, capstone of…          ascension.
seafaring at nights.
i have been offered this hallucination – a mix –       wine + wine + wine + wine + faith + wings, drink of the chalice your own doctrine            they say i am an angel. walk by your mother to church
& learn how to fly,
says simon, the psalm 121 is a rose in her hands, lifting his eyes above the liquid hills.
i love the white albatross       clear, even in a storm.    i love human behavior so much,
                                                                                                            it makes me drunk.
nothing is prophecy unless it has a future, & my mother is always in the offing,   always in the ocean
of her fishing nets & the new testament.    where i see the hurricane on the beaufort scale table
                                                                                                                                      of water,
she sings the hallelujah.    God breaks his boat in two.     father!,  she calls me by my earthly name,
                                                                                                                          hold the boat with all your life.
i pray to my books,        do not let my mother drown.   i put my life around her like arms      wide
as love after death.     i swim. i dream. i slave.   i violate, carrying my mother across her grave.
                                                                                                                                      i open the waters in me,
a howling seine, screaming at the deep,                                                    take me.

Tares Oburumu is a lover of God and his daughter, Sasha. He writes from a hole miles away from Warri. His works have appeared on Expound Bluepepper Agbowo Praxis Afpinen Connotation Press and elsewhere.

Banner: “The Valley”, A Visual Poem by Robert Frede Kenter (c) 2021. Twitter: @frede_kenter

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