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Abdulkareem Abdulkareem: Elegy for Mane

Elegy for Mane

For Mane Ara

& again, I hear your voice — a reverberation into my labyrinth like a serenade, blending the hymn in my mouth into a threnody. Here, I sit on a pew relearning the song we sang together last winter when the cold hugged us, I down the grief of your death daily with dated songs like a bottle of vodka & my senses renew the pain every day. I logged into Facebook yesterday, your posts— I saw them, they still carry your charisma, the jokes & they heaved out of my phone to piercing my body like arrows, to awaking the pains that pierced me like the thorns of a cactus the day you died, & I still wonder, Why does death love heaving tender plants out of their grounds? I’d sing this epitaph etched on your grave stone & inside my mind & I’d invoke you as a living while your name dances on my mouth with tears that stream down my face like a brook, like a rivulet while I mouth this song, I’d imagine you beside me juggling each letter in your mouth like a circus play, like the candle that lit this room before I begin this elegy, you are now melted like its wax.


After the night on WhatsApp

I have come to learn a new art,
to wait & keep waiting, my ears
not obliging to your flips. You
sent your words— like an
annunciation, a fire which burned me.
I did burn, but here, I’m remaking a new
skin to take another walk towards this barricade
I trotted through the crossroad, & my sapphire
melted into something gutting.
I’m still searching for a door in a barrage of your walls,
I won’t stop fishing from your ocean, maybe sometimes,
I’ll catch the blue marlin, someday, in your mouth,
I hope to pull out the sun & illuminate this gloomy laughter.


Aubade for a country

Send me a mail
that won’t take me to a churchyard,
I fear the parcel of this firmament, say,
it holds the road to heaven. Dele
exhibited to the summit— a hem
of their agbádá covered with grime &
in return, he was swallowed by a mail.
I project this country under a tree diagram
& It came out as an empty category
under the x-bar of peace, a country,
a blemish on the face of its citizen,
what is the elegy of our songs, if not
losing our vowels at the crescendo.
When a citizen pitches a microphone to
his her voice, he she would find bullets
seeking path to his her shack. I’m learning
to un-see this grievous thing, how a
mother was dragged into melancholy,
say, his first son has become a bandolier,
how the air fragmented into bullets,
the atmosphere— seeped into the pores
of their skin like broken glasses,
a peaceful protest, a too much thing,
too extreme, this country blesses us
into a coffin, say, in my country, a protest
is another metaphor for a massacre.

Poetry © Abdulkareem Abdulkareem
Image by monkeywrench67 from Pixabay



Abdulkareem Abdulkareem
Abdulkareem Abdulkareem
Abdulkareem Abdulkareem (Pānini) (he/him), Frontier III, is a Nigerian writer; he studies Linguistics at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria. His poetry was shortlisted for the Nigerian Students Poetry Prize in 2021 & the Brigitte Poirson Poetry Contest, 2021. His work appears or is forthcoming on Poetry Column-NND, Brittle Paper, Ice Floe Press, Claw and Blossom, FERAL, Rigorous, Second Chance lit, Olney, Sledgehammer lit, Words & Whispers, Afro literary magazine, LUNARIS Review, Kissing Dynamite, Asterlit & elsewhere.

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