BREAKING INTO WATER by Mesioye Affable Johnson

(The Chrysolite Poem of the Month)

I borrowed a garment from a burning river & tried fixing it
into mama’s nakedness but my face was a silent man too
walking alone in a wet street mothered by memories.
there is beauty in everything bitter:
lessons that your tongue stretches into a feet
reaching places tasting like the skin of thorns ,say grave, say Borno,
lessons that you only know home is a den of dreams caged
with flitting aroma from a woman’s lying body,
lessons that one’s mouth is a showroom of plague
where mothers trade in losses tagged on their sons as price for peace,
lessons that peace doesn’t less things that kill a dream
but leaves its bodies to wander in walls of nameless nation, lessons
that safety here only follows the dead & forsakes the living. My sister
was beautiful, no wonder she tastes like a pint of squashed bitter leaf.
bodies like this are light in a widow’s room of watery songs,
bodies like this show best ways to see light between tears of a maiden
whose husband got married to splitters after vow with sandy silences.

to be sweet , forget beauty. so some girls shaded my tears
making collages on my face that looks like their mother’s last sigh,
& there are boys under my chin becoming frames upon which
every bitter cheek is fitted in to build home for cobwebs, so
I wear ashes painted with watercolour from colours of water.

every noon is like forming a paper boat which consumes wreckage;
falling in fragments too heavy to journey the cries of a widowed land
into gallows of dryness. Tonight, we do not know how hungry
dawn will be but we do know dilution in songs is an appetizer
for all men going into the belly of dead things whose crunches
are lyrics wetting the breath of a city strangulated with nightmares.
here, even as an old man you form a boat, you load your children’s dreams
into it, forgetting how heavy in hunger they are & how they could become
a soil while tears, a seed growing on a nation’s chest where you planned
tearing the next noon for your creativity — wave where women wear
odd rhythms for their sons’ silences.

every man here is a singer, locate a microphone in their thighs, cos
yesterday, a man forced songs into another man’s boxer shorts
& I don’t know how to chew lyrics that follows a gun’s voice,
I don’t know the type of music this is &the more I try adding sweetness
to my mouth a bit, I dissolve like a cube of sugar
in hot things like the hell on my face. father was baptised in fire.

Posted by Indunil Madhusankha

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