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Bayo Aderoju: Catharsis or Purgation of Lust


Grief was the celebration of love, those who could feel real grief were lucky to have loved.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Today, we leave the shore for its waters;
++++++++++++++++++ the crest for valley
we go fishing in the sea of tears.

The impetus is the hope/ that we would net Proteus/ the elusive chord of attachments/ snapping to spite/ at each fickle stretch/ & squeezing eyeballs for drips/

like tender skins of onions;
like an imp who dines grief like oxygen
& wines tear to stupor.

The impetus is the hope
++++++++++++++++++ that cat-fish would slip no more
++++++++++++++ that we would net love
undulating with the cold hot tide of emotions.

Your memory of Anne & you undressing/ cramming into a duvet/ & purging yourselves of restlessness/ tastes like date in your mouth & you prefer that shade/ love like eating honey with no knowledge of bee’s venom/

In another shade, the Lord wept.
That night, when you thought the robber’s gun
had no bullets, your father’s star fell to ransom your life.
& your mother called it a kind of love
you’re too young to feel

like the melancholy that wears his shadow/ like your daily bread/ which is her flesh/ barbecued by the embers that roast the corns she sells on the boulevard of Poverty Avenue/ She lets you drink her sticky sweats after your meals/


Before you said: Sonnet Eighteen was a full moon
showing in daylight++++++ like Neruda’s Eleven
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++ your bestie
had had Anne/ You had ejected your heart for appendectomy or removal of the ventricle that made it throb/ You had had to forgive Anne/ The blacksmith had forged your pulse into a bullet of silence/ which was your question to her answer/ when after you took her flower she shied: you now think I’m cheap?/

Catharsis or purgation of lust
is a portrait of love as the placid estuary
that receives the heated flow from River Infatuation.

In this poem, Erato is a blood of Melpomene.
++++++++++++++++++& you came in, remember, as a tourist
++++++++++++riding a black stallion
++++++to an altar of pathos
where Venus solemnly weds Dionysus.



++++++++++++No one
save amnesia
++++++++++++collects artefacts of blood;

writes the poetry bubbled/ as its flows across the coast/ like the conjugal handshakes/

like what’s bellied by
wild grins that escorted them.

++++++++++++There’s exodus
of terror register
++++++++++++from the Bank of Words;
& displacement of dirge
++++++++++++when austerity lured bird-souls away
from the castle of feathers;

when fear sieged mouths/ & rendered tongues brittle/ like hay/ like fingers kneading pain from womb/

Roses are slaughtered in this poem:
f o l k h o r r o r
or blinding reflections of sun on wings
of daggers soaring in our heavens.

++++++++++++Your father’s blood oozed to propitiate
++++++++++++the delicate goddess of a fragile unity++++Your mother said:
he withered like rose
++++++++++++that’s to say++++he slouched
& shed his head to wind.

Your mother’s lost her appetite for grief/ She’s turned to you/ calls you your father/ her husband/ her love++++rekindled / But what you see is too tense to be love/ rapacious/ & too distant from sanity/ But you have no mouth to tell your tale/ & you want to evaporate/ & you rather would ensconce in quilt++++of atmosphere/

Wear his caligea or gladiator sandal++++when day climaxes
& trek the mile to synagogue++++to burn calories of fear

++++++++++++Then visit memory –
through a pub –
++++++++++++to exhume skeletons of your father’s dreams
to cremate them without incense
++++++++++++to smell yourself++++raw++++& wear his ashes like an angel’s robe.

To let north wind blow you away
like monochrome wings of a withered rose.
Poetry © Bayo Aderoju
Image by Cdd20 from Pixabay (modified)

Bayo Aderoju
Bayo Aderoju
Bayo Aderoju is a poet, dramatist, essayist, fiction and non-fiction writer from Nigeria. His latest fiction work has been selected for inclusion in the forthcoming United Nations Economic Commission for Africa's Decade of Action Short Stories Anthology. His works appear/forthcoming on Agbowo (Chaos, 2021 Issue), Brittle Paper, Stellium, African Writer, The Shallow Tales Review and elsewhere. He tweets @bayo_aderoju.

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