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Bloodbath: Poems by Eric Atie

Image: Torley via Flickr


For each thought of you
That crosses my mind
I will make a scar
On this body

One scar for your face
A mask upon every shadow
That dances by

Two scars for your voice:
A constant melody –
Never reaching that final note

Three for our first kiss:
Sloppy, tasteless…
But damn, we got better over time

Four for the hurt

Five for the raised hope
Shattered over and over

For every thought a scar
And by God, I pray I make it to morning



Once, I saw a madman
I saw him lost and without shame
Like he had just been purged out of his mother’s womb
He was no one
Just another madman, passing,
Only different from the other by the length of his phallus
And the size of his sagging nuts;
By the clothing of dust and dirt that failed to mask his shame

Once, I saw a madman and I looked the other way
Afraid to share in his nakedness
For in his shame I saw a reflection of mine
But mine was covered and his was not
So I turned to look again to see if truly I saw me
Underneath the cover of my sanity,
To see if I could ever become him
But his eyes caught mine and I turned away
Haunted by the blankness of his eyes from where his soul had escaped.
And in that brief moment when our eyes met,
I was him and he was me.

Once, I saw a madman sitting by my dustbin
And I called him by his name: “Shoo! Shoo away from here madman!
Take your business someplace else” I said to him.
But he shunned me and went about his business
Of garbage cans and rotten meals
I called at him again with a rock in my hand
And his laughter echoed within me even before
I saw the crack of caked jaws
He laughed at me though he was mad and I was not,
A long mirthless laugh that shook my bones and watered my eyes
He laughed at me though I held the rock and he did not
And in a place buried within their echoes,
Once again, I was him and he was me.

Once, I saw a madman who tried to steal my soul
With his shallow eyes and a mirthless laughter


You take me in your arms
And you break me in half

Then you take those halves
And you break them into
Tiny little pieces more
Until I become dust
Crumbling off your hands

But each time, over and over again,
I gather my tiny little pieces
A brick upon each brick
Each time, over and over again,
I return to you,



I am the dark that creaks
From those little embers of light
Fierce, fringed, but free
I am darkness, defined again:
Pure and brute

I am the dark that makes the light shine bright
Bound by nuptials of raging fury
And cowardly service
Only by my side does the sun stand proud

Plagued by the withering leash
I stand untamed…
Gazing at the corners of the moon’s eyes
A ragged silhouette
Breaching light’s salient watch

I am the dark that lurks before the shadow of the sun:
I am the forerunner.

Poems: © Eric Atie
Image: Torley via Flickr

Eric Atie
Eric Atie
Eric Atie is a graduate of the University of Lagos, Nigeria. He is a creative photographer and a short story writer who is passionate about African Literature. He is currently working on his debut short story collection.


  1. I think myself a talent in this field but you’re just one fine ink!
    Eric, you write beautifully, after every full stop, I just said ‘wow!’.
    Well done, well done.

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