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Three Poems by Aremu Adams Adebisi

Updated: Sep 27, 2019


Procession of Grief


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.

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