Blazing Hot with Sartre’s Last Note

Blazing Hot with Sartre’s Last Note

A prisoner isn’t a man
yawning with teeth painted
by decayed food eaten to live;
a prisoner isn’t a man
seeking the eye of the sun
through age-eaten brick walls;
a prisoner is a man condemned
to the fate of shapes.

No wonder you missed out
on the long talk about what
shape you would want for a head,
what colour you would want for a skin;
no wonder you weren’t part
of the chat on what sound you
would want for a voice;
no wonder you weren’t told when
your silhouette would kiss daylight,
no wonder you were a corbie messenger
eating snacks in the land of nods
while your nose was discussed.

This is how the earth grows
vast with prisoners,
this is how it becomes less alive,
less legal with shapes
moulded with no consent.

In Uyo, I saw a couple
chasing air for a 6-year-old
who had been rushed into daylight
with arrhythmic breathing,
her chest sings and she
had been condemned to chase
air before daylight.

In Lagos, a man’s legs
have been twisted to form
the shape of a god.
He had been rushed
into daylight to live
on borrowed ankles.

In Port Harcourt,
a man falls in love with ropes
and swings in the swirl of grey air;
coming out, he becomes a spirit
and walks on the edges of his feet,
or does he fly?
He rues the day he
had been rushed into daylight
with no sandwich
between his thighs.
And hormone is an invention,
a makeshift craft of prisoners
in search of questions to answers.

In Calabar, a man runs
into a bar seeking to be a recluse
in the belly of a bottle.
His face is a prison,
his tongue bears
the colour of despair.
The space smells of prisoners,
it grows less legal as men
are moulded like shapes.

At the woods

Three days after
we twirled on fire,
two days
after you rushed forward
in the swirl of grey smoke,
I ran out
in a cape to seek solitude beyond the woods.
I saw a petite blonde
with foreign lips and eyes
coloured like the poplar in your documentary.
She bit a chunk of our stories:
how the glass étagère in our room
and how the pine in our yard
oscillates with the wind, shedding
leaves at intervals.
Her lips were invasive
and I kissed the woods
with my back heel.
No recluse would love lips
clustered with stories of clay
moulded to form a small god
and how living in a parlour
would set you on fire
at the blast of a full-grown trumpet.

Lukpata Lomba Joseph lives in Nigeria. His work has appeared in Poetry North Ireland’s FourXFour Journal, Squawk Back Journal, Still Point Magazine, South Florida Poetry Journal, Caustic Frolic Literary Journal, and elsewhere. He is the co-founder of U-Rights Magazine. Lukpata is a regular contributor for Joshua’s Truth Magazine where he writes mostly opinion pieces. Recently, he has fallen in love with satirical writing with a deliberate focus on morality. He likes reading Aesop’s fables. You can find him on Facebook

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