ode to a-li-bi
borrowed with the eye she
reads like a transliteration lost
in transit: meanings shift grounds
after a second read like this grief
& words are birds winged or not.
our fathers took a big
white loan word in our name.
my tongue turns into a dead bird
in the cage of a mouth rigged with
metal you couldn't tell it's white
my words are feathers with no bird.
he gave us birds without
wings. & told us to fly
europe proudly like a kite in our
mouth. he swears by his holy
oxford (dictionary) this is the closest
to black aeronautics here.
do you say we were
part of what sifted at babel?
do you say nubians were part of
the first mistakes and not an
afterthought of biology: self
later fulfilling its own prophecy?
ode to a dead poem
i paint anew. the prompt is: be
fruitful. the antithesis, the gods are
not dead or then, never gods. it is
fucking poetic to bury you with a
poem. silence is a pyre for the stillborn
silence embalms my father's tongue
in the lounge, a bard tries to pry
God's heart open. do you swear a
poet is always safe? that his pen is
a parody for cutthroat—the sarcasm
is on Homer!
just as i was about
assembling a new world, the tab
goes off: a blind screen.
i am trying
to bear each unit of pain i tuck into
a poem, each laboured breath that
unfurls an empty paper into an
origami dancing around the world.
don't you think it's fucking poetic
to mourn a dead poem? don't you?
O-Jeremiah Agbaakin, a Nigerian poet, holds a law degree from the University of Ibadan. His poems recently appeared on The Brooklyn Review, Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora, Sierra Nevada Review, StepAway Magazine, Riddled With Arrows Journal, and elsewhere. He has received two Pushcart nominations and a Best of the Net nomination. He hopes to finally summon the courage to learn how to ride a bicycle.