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Existential Romantica: Poems by Hamzat Kassim


sermon joe
ballast sam
furnace sally
and music man
fallacious memories
of fading days
no longer mine to recall alone

idle feuds
monochrome dreams
cosmic battles
in well lit yards
innocent fragments
of a simpler time
no longer mine to reinvent

no regrets
the ultimate goal
no game
no foul
no glory
no need to tell a story
no expectation
no disappointment?


Life is much too selfish.



Life wore her
like a dirty rag
in her secret place
too long.
Twirled her emotions
in the air
with dust and debris
to find rest where they may
till men brush them off.
Time smothered her dreams
with unforeseen circumstances
so they festered
grew old and died quietly
underneath her intricate wrappers.

Trials toyed with her desires
broke her resolve
danced the cakewalk all over her heart
then made jokes of her stories
lies of her tribulations
and nothing of her fighting spirit.

Her time made her a wife
to a man she did not hate,
mother to children
she lived to care for,
woman in her place
but she walked everyday
with the queenly gait of abiamo
through the soft and muddy patches
of her ordinary days.

Now, the phoenix in her depths
longs for reawakening.
A second chance at a life well lived
according to the plaque
the children paid too much for.
It scratches frantically at the silk lining
of a space now much too small
to hold one entire life.

As soil is replaced
and the worms begin to congregate
a wish is issued from far within
that she gave a little less
and lived more.



Silence crawls with tepid motions
into our lively conversations
slowly constructing a temple of worn excuses
as we watch slyly, sensitively from without ourselves
never subsiding ourselves in conflict.
The morning is our remedial exposer of naked veracity.
Its flaming presence
storms our feigned peacefulness,
pushes our heads in the proper direction
where our disbelieving, uncooperative eyes observe
for the first time
the unfolding demise
of an untold fairy tale
no longer fit for words.

And as we journey with dying feet
away from our common being and feelings,
we wonder without lamentation
about those promising savannahs
and evergreen terraces boldly imagined in unison
upon which love ruled with tender fists.

We wonder without expectation
what became of sweet surrenders
and whispered alliances
spoken in soft, secret tongues
decipherable only in the ultimate state
of loving and ecstatic shuddering.

Romance flees our doomed union
like moths would a fire’s heat
and in its place another man’s lie,
he?s scent, words and world
that we inhabit with strained faces,
forced reactions
and painful compliances.
I propose to us a final resort.
Let’s leave now
Before destruction becomes our permanent lot.


TO A FATHER (So This is Life For You)

You must be a hard man
living the way you do.
So completely without need,
to be wanted or given to.

Ever ready to bear arms and fight
because everything is a war.

Did life find you here?

You must be a tired man
fighting the way you do.
In a battle no one wins
because no others share your will.

Not to maim your fallen ego

nor make soot of love and truth.

Did life leave you here?

You must be a sad man
dying the way you are.
Too far from grace and abyss

to feel anything but human fear.
To fade so quickly

and forget so soon
because no one remembers you.

Did life fail you here?



I am being chased by Hemingway
down a crowded hall with moose head paintings
singing the dirges of now forgotten souls.
The air is different here,
richer, thicker,
choking with every breath
so I may not forget breathing.
He clenches his fist around my collar
breathes down my defiant neck
with profound motions armed to speak.
But not the words of celestial meaning
nor prose in angel tongue,
not the poem that wrote him a poem
nor the foul meaning of honest life.
escapes his ancient orifices.
He smells like death
and slurrs to me a speech
too rich for simple ears.

Virginia smiles from a distance
as the fleeing sun radiates
through her golden verses.
She seems subdued here,
in no capacity to instill fear,
in her observers
nor herself.
The quill rests now upon her life-worn sheets
no ink stained tip to mourn
no demon inspired verses to instantiate.

Achebe stands upon a towering mountain
taunting me.
His hands shake but his voice is steady
as he calls for regeneration.
Mouth agape and palms outstretched
I wait for my share of greatness.
Decide to run, to fight for it
but the curtains close
and ordinary sheets do I behold,
too soon.


Copyright Hamzat Kassim

Hamzat Kassim
Hamzat Kassim
Hamzat Kassim is currently studying Electrical Engineering at Morgan State University. He began his writing career with poetry but has since then moved on to short stories, plays and musicals. His work has been featured in The Sable Quill and will soon be appearing in The Mithril Lode, an Anthology by the Writer's Association. Besides writing, he enjoys studying, reading for pleasure, sports and attending cultural events.


  1. “To a father & Grandmother on interment” basically sum up the ephemerality of life , no matter the struggles, it ends some day & lover ones are left wih mempires as this 😊..and did you stop writing?

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