A River of Honey and Other Poems

A River Of Honey

This love is an Enugu themed
story of survival;
of weeds growing
through cracks in concrete pavements.
Its words are melodies
and its voice is a crushed
song.
For in bars
painted the silent colours
of cobalt blue,
it crouches in corners blowing smoke,
trying to quench fires.
This love is a river of
honey filled with thorns,
filled with picture frames of men
burning in a sea of rubber,
men embalmed in blood
from the marrow of their own bones;
those that held it in the dark
and twisted it till
their souls snapped
and ice poured from the
hollow sockets of their eyes.
This love is a man
filled with keyless symphonies,
engorged with the cheers of mobs
as they watch him burn
in front of his mother.
This love is a boy
crying on the bank of
a running river,
all his life.

Goodbye, Lover Boy

Then a boy’s lips
became a silent prayer,
a flower, blooming,
peeking at the sun.

I said, the sun burns flower boys.
Fold your petals, lover boy.
Don’t dance to the throbbing
of a man’s heart.

I see blood
in the eyes of the crowd.
Your broken bones are scattered
here, before men and gods.
And Jericho stands in silence.
The sun burns boys of flowery petals
and the rivers swallow their bones,
and yet you sang
with the voice of angels
and bled from ancient scars
before you ran.

Goodbye, lover boys,
lovers of the dark corners of the
sunbaked streets.
I see you mend your broken bones
with tears, soaring above
towns where men love dance
and mobs kick down doors.
This ode is for you
lover boys,
on whose beds men meet God.
This song is yours to
dance in the wind as you go.
This song is for boys who
love river songs,
those that dance naked
in the moonlight
and sing into the forests
covered only by smoke as they go.
This is for boys whose lips
are drowning pleas
whose bodies are bony graves
upon which men die and rise again.
This is for boys that bloom,

and blossom towards the sun.

For All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

For Andrew
before whom there was silence.
A fisherman, of old waterways,
of flowers that
bloom in the dirt;
with whom I first tasted heaven,
under whom I first saw hell,
in a world where shreds
of my heart littered the floor.

And Mike,
a man of big empty rooms
where words echoed themselves
and wild roses suffocated
men weary of Enugu’s streets.
For the man whose body
were walls tattooed with soft prayers,
whose palms oozed warm blood.

For Jeremiah
whose tears came in the
aftermath of love
For whom kisses were forgiven sins,
in whose tears I was twice reborn.
A man with a chest
of unhidden treasures.
A man with a heart that
beat to the wings of cherubims.

For Chima, dear Chima,
with eyes that bore through souls
and skin that erupted
into tyre curbed flames in
the markets of Onitsha.
For the man whose screams
are timeless nightmares,
whose eyes are jewels of pain.
whose story is that of an angry
crowd throwing stones.
For the man who lives on
in the darkness that is my heart.

For Andrew again
who held my broken bones
in love callused fingers;
who weaved my tears into
bedtime tales for fishes of the Niger
and said:
Run.
Run in the winds that are your dreams,
swim in the rivers that are your fears.

 

And for Dike,
whose song was an angel’s melody
for breaking glass panes.
Whose tenor were swans
that soared in yellow suns,
whose love was Lucifer himself
bowing to a man whose cords were pure magic.
For the man that sailed to the kingdoms
to live with the queen,
to live in a world where
no one’s hairs were all the fire left.

For the man
whose name I never heard.
Who fell into a sad kito
and wept as he saw his own death.
Whose eyes I held through
the crowd, and loved.
For him,
without whom this poem would be incomplete.

For all of you who strung my heart
and left a boy
in a mountain of pruned feathers.
This Requiem is yours.
These words are elegies of the
cracks in my cheek,
tears in the pages of my diary.
This is the dirge my heart sings
when it thinks of the warmth
of your bellies on mine.
Your memories are fresh springs
that never run dry.
Your fears are silent symphonies
that sing me to sleep
in the loneliness of my own skin.
This Ode is for you,
all of you,
whom I cradled in hollow arms.

Today I Dream of Colours

Today I dream of red,
the thickness and fullness the wind brings,
and the sweet smell of home.
I dream of cuts
from where they flow like rivers,
of wailing trees
and bleeding men,
faceless men, nameless men
one with the rustle of
breeze
kissing frangipanis.
I dream of graveyards
and the sunbaked dirt of the markets of Kano.

Today I dream of Orange,
the colour of love
and the routine of licking lime
off naked men
surrounded by doors, locked
-yes locked but draped with curtains.
I dream of Heaven
and of baking:
of kneading dough into perfect shapes.
I dream of sleeping, forever
in a King’s heart.

Today I dream of yellow
and the fear of open skies.
I dream of eyes in walls
waiting for me to cross the river;
waiting to hold me down
and let the rain beat—
beat- beat- me into the earth.
I dream of a skin that is not mine,
of a mother who is waiting
for me to come home.
I dream of hiding in trees.

Today I dream of new beginnings
and the colour green.
I dream of losing myself
in whisky
and rising in darkened rooms
to gather myself.
I dream. I dream and dream.
Of horses, of bars, of books
Of Men.
I dream of losing myself anew,
of singing fresh hymns
in tongues of fire.

I dream of the colour blue
and the tears that choke me
with each petal
of an ordained union.
Ordained!
I dream of killing that word,
and of screaming into
silent rooms,
where I go to eat my hair
where I go to paint with my blood.
Today I dream of what should be mine.

Today I dream of Indigo and Violet
both mirrors of each other,
Loneliness,
the emptiness of my own soul.
Aloneness,
the void that are my melodies.
I dream of echoes,
and of a boy searching,
searching, searching
for something that is smoke.
I dream of loving broken glass
on the silent terrain of seabeds
where no one can hear my voice

Today I dream of colours
All the colours of the rainbow,
all the shades
that are a man’s pride.
I dream of running in open fields,
of caressing daffodils,
and weeds. Weeds,
all of them that grow
in the danger of being cut off,
in the shadow of being burnt.
I dream of playing with broken glass,
creating mosaic perfections
to set upon the sky,
to ride to the other side of the rainbow
where there are pots of boiling gold
to transform me,
and give me skin that shines in night.
Today I dream of rainbow coloured streets.

About the Poet:

Ani Kayode Somtochukwu is a short story writer and poet. His work has appeared in magazines such as Tuck Magazine, Getrude and After The Pause. His flash fiction, ‘Dope Delivery’ was a finalist for the Dublin Brilliant Flash Fiction Contest and his poems were shortlisted for the 2017 Erbacce Poetry Prize. He is currently studying Applied Biology at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology.

 

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