If someone said to me:
'what will you do to accommodate your grief?'
I would say:
'I will begin by likening my grief to silence,
my silence to directionless footprints,
my footprints to annihilating freedom.'
Then I will put on my placard smiles,
toothpaste my sighs and sorrows,
show how grief does not live inside my body,
show how grief is destitute, unrest,
a burning house smoldering without flames.
I will call out the name of my grief from a long list
of perpetual sadness including a smirk on my lips.
We will wave like strangers, talk like guests,
muscle sweet memories into sweet indifference,
crumple pages of both the past and the future.
We believe we have a common enemy in the self.
We believe even the self does not reside in itself.
We believe sadness is an imposing armageddon
in need of a body that does not stamp out its cigarettes,
or drown out its brewery guts.
Then I will ask grief what it thinks of my body
and its response will crawl out in wounded voice.
I will feel an emptiness in my vein,
emptiness in my chest,
an emptiness running inside my flesh.
I will feel my body disjointed from what I’m used to,
and by this affirmation, I know I must have bidden grief
a better home; the wreck of my body.
Death by The Roadside
the girl run over by wheels, i do not know
the girl slept dreamlessly by technology
i met the gapes like flushed arrows upon her carcass
and i followed the procession with toothpaste sighs
like everyone else with plastic sympathies
i found no reason to ask why she had chosen
the busy sidewalk to sleep on or why she looked so much a refugee
her tattered dress serving as a shroud
what would she say if I had asked anyway?
that she is now a gush of wind
emptiness hovering above a body in a grim glass
watching me gape, watching us gape in the attention
the living pay the dead in the form of condolences
what trouble i bring the dead again
she died a refugee and should sleep and dream
of all the border-less skies
what distinguishes the girl from me
is more than a stone-breath and the lamentations of dawn
the dead roll back their shadows when leaving
like shutting a shop closed
say goodbye to the apprenticeship of grief
say goodbye to the pretense of technology
her symbol could be vague but her identity
was made certain by the fact that
the girl was dead. and that was her new name
and that was my way of knowing her
when i gaped upon her carcass.
How your mother died in Lagos
When your mother came to Lagos
she borrowed a fortune from five women
down-street until she couldn't pay back...
We had her obituary posted on every wall.
Her guarantor said being dead
is better than being alive to shame.
She ran barefooted to her hometown,
breathing dust, dashing on burning feet.
She wore an item of thin-rag clothing,
clutched her blouse, two children, and motherly breasts.
The three-man statue of Lagos waved their hands in pity of no return.
The debtors came around that night
and at the mention of your mother's name
we let loose well-rehearsed tears, established
her nonexistence. We cried until they left
unconvinced. When next again they came,
we had no more tears to play the Samaritan.
Your mother is in the Southeast across
the state, each time she tears at chicken laps,
she realizes she is dead somewhere.
About The Poet
Aremu Adams Adebisi is a Nigerian writer, a graduate of Economics, and a Best of the Net
Nominee. His works are influenced by both human and natural vastness in relation to
life's statements about his five older sisters. He's had recent poems in the Scriblerus,
Third Wednesday Magazine, RIGOROUS, Buddy a lit. zine, the Account Magazine,
among other journals.