Sometimes a Man Tries to Hang Himself on a Wooden Cross and Other Poems

Sometimes a Man Tries to Hang Himself on a Wooden Cross

But sometimes a man tries with his hands
to trace the shape of the rope they tried to hang him with
or the size of his prison.

This big. This wide. This empty, he stands where the things left behind are standing,
or crumbling or begging to be loved,

lets his body touch the earth where
sunlight arranges itself in the shape of a cross.
He only wants to exhume his heart if he can find it here
in front of a blue door.

On all the other days he drives a bike beyond sunset
down, down into the village where he was born.
Here, they say memories of the old wars will heal him,
a little of the love still burning in his chest,
a little of the places inside him where his bones have been bent,
broken.

 

 

Postscript: Four Boys Are Murdered one Morning in Aluu        

Four boys die young. Cause of death – Jungle Justice.
Their bodies, the throbbing parts of the earth, do not become sinkholes.

But I am telling you there is a fierceness to these things:
A body letting itself be penetrated by all these forms of love at once.

Women in a church beyond the fence begin their early morning solemn singing.
Their voices fitting like fists, exactly the shape of throats, exactly memory.

I am telling you there is a fierceness to these things:
A body letting itself be penetrated by all these forms of love at once.

Dawn becoming darkness. Rain hitting an old drum where the water has gathered for years no different from dead souls receiving love. Forlorn in a room where the darkness is never enough to hide you.

I am telling you there is a fierceness to these things:
A body letting itself be penetrated by all these forms of love at once.

The shadows, never enough to fill the spaces between us. So, in the beginning, we try to hold palms over our faces but the world rushes in.

I am telling you there is a fierceness to these things:
A body letting itself be penetrated by all these forms of love at once.

He, touching my flesh. Rubbing the dark rumpled surface over my nipples. Inside I feel the empty beneath flesh.

A body letting itself be penetrated by all the forms of love at once.

And streets in aftermath do not become ballads
in our throats.

It Comes in Waves                                                                          

Backyard
Home, the rubbish heap flourishing
more rubbish, lush grass
compost monument.
Here, we used to dream of swimming in
chlorine-blue water, sipping Sangrias,
the dreams forever outside of ourselves
made of fragments of other countries happy on television.

1996
For three weeks you love him,
your bodies hanging like fruits too ripe from the wrong trees,
and then you never see him again.

12:30am, 26th of April, 2014
Google search history: has Jonathan Cheban found love?
And then you type in the search words for him, for longing. You do not get
a 404 Bad Request – Check your spelling for the requested URL.
You do not find him.

You fall asleep to this and the walls of your bedroom throbbing with the prayers
of a church on your street.

Upon discovering what an autobahn is
If the world breaks here, where will the cracks begin?
How long before it reaches us if walls are made of flesh?

It comes in waves
You are lying face up on a river.
Floating. You have never been on water like this.
Underneath, the world is sand and the nibble of small fish.
If you died this way,
crashing against the abutment of a bridge in Ofufe Nza,
who will know that this was not a memory of happiness?

Drowning
Drowning so far away from home
who will see how your memories have lived on your body?

God & Hinges                                                                                         

(Gallery notes after Stark)

Nobody is dead or dying today.

My eyes are shadowed in something

glittery to show I’m ready

for an evening

in May. We are laughing in a room full of our pain

painted or moulded or made into interesting forms.

Pterodactyl skeletons

lie there like wire mesh creations of God.

The song of the man who wore his saxophone like a cross on fire filling the room.

We find a soldier’s helmet sitting, artful on a ledge –
recessed lighting does not exactly reveal the age of trauma.

Above, the fan’s turning is slow: weak capacitor + maybe we need to establish a rhythm

for all the sorrows we cannot name.

 

In the semi-dark, all our shadows bend against the wall.

Maybe we need to talk about this a little longer.

So, we bend towards the picture of a crater        and I say: tell me everything you find.

You tell me instead about a boy

                                                     still waiting for God & hinges

after the world he knows explodes again,

years after we reimagine love as the nailing of a body to a cross.

About the Poet:

Kechi Nomu is a 2017 Brunel International African Poetry Prize shortlisted poet. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Bangalore Review, Saraba Magazine and elsewhere. Her Chapbook “Acts of Crucifixion” will be published as part of the New-Generation African Poets series by Akashic Books and APBF in Spring 2018. She lives in Lagos, Nigeria, and serves as Managing Editor for the poetry press, Konya Shamsrumi.

12/02/2018: “It comes in Waves” first appeared on interrupture.com

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