Ode to Araromi & other Poems || Karibo Goodnews

Image Credit: Dante

Ode to Araromi & other Poems

by Goodnews Karibo

All the Warm Flowers of Christmas

                    for Sr. Martina Mmagu

it would not come to me any different,

the slow, epic sound of Christmas.

I have always found a way to give off

the feeling, the bittersweet surrender

of its topaz fever. I think of home from

hinterland. only trees cold with white tissues

and reptiles crossing the sun. I suck at a 

warm bone, eat cereals in their numbers

I make calls across to the South to family,

many rivers and dusty roads from Lagos

my face-cloth drapes a hazel; say less about

the feet incarcerated in black caravan

meanwhile, nuns scurry into the Convent,

packs of meal fly in from Domino Pizza

the sudden prank; sisters on the run—the

papers landmarking the position of the

grotto—the tender feet of Christ.

I heave to Flora's Secrets. fireworks

in my bones. memory bound by the departure

of Faith. small storm eaten by waves of longing

why does the body complete its cycle in grief?

a spectrum crammed to the tapering finger of

a narrow peninsula. it would not come to me

any different. this slow, epic sound of Christmas.

Riding the Wave of Bedlam

to write about my father,

I must first open through

many seasons for an ideal vista.

 the years of lack have to give way.

 in my mind, no scripture, like a reptile,

 must run across board. the vision must 

scale beyond the twigs of stability,

 but must take a breather in music,

 a smoking gun for the birds riding

 the wave of bedlam. I must come to

 the evocative whiff of colorings and

 thrust my nose in; I must flick the

 years out of their cocoon, each year,

 a canvas strewn with broken days.

 each year, an odyssey engorged with

 the heat of escape. religion must be

 lifted out of its place, a mirrored

 weapon noosed around the neck.

 I must start a fire with all the woods 

of anxiety, and listen hard for the

 rattling combustion of chaos.

 a bouquet of sun-smeared cornflower

 must not dangle beneath the porch of

 our house. no light must flourish, at least

 not to a palpable measure. and the

 mongrels must double down on their 

sensational growling, and drop a tear

 beneath the byline of names crushing out,

 beneath the streamlined entrance of darkness.

Ode to Araromi

 I gape at the fluorescent lights

 with a diagonal cut across my shoulder bone.

       with an empty armour I edge 

toward the fields ahead of me. one leg held 


        in a storm, the other fondling

 brown, alienated thrushes. there is something 

        about the past that erupts like

 a smoked-out mouse. if you listen enough, you will 


         feel the earth oscillating through

 my skin, drowning the inner muffling echoes. 

          I could not catch the birds of

 silence in my dream; a reptile aiming at a moth

         across the landscape. the leaves

 fold into the tumbling wind, a fire slouching on

          and on as though in protest

 against the absence of places to gut.

Goodnews Karibo is a Port Harcourt poet who travels the earth in search of stories to tell Kaleela. His poems have appeared in Shallow Tales Review, African Writer, Brittle Paper, etc. He is a Best of the Net Nominee. He tweets via @slendergrass


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