Marial Awendit: The Song of Leaks and Calabashes

Image: (c) Sola Osofisan


I leak away in words
I cannot hold inside God.
I leak away in the promises
I am not enough to keep.

The hole under this calabash emptying it
Was made by a needle meant to repair a crack,
And most people I love to boat away
In me keep drilling holes for decor.

My space is where other voices parked silence,
And I cannot knit the peace to birth words
Hard enough to erect volcanic mountains.

I can remember things large as the globe
But I forget to clean my mind
Swimming through the mud of the world.

I leak away, my mind still unfenced
Like a bomb blast armored by air.



with           this existence,
sometimes the ocean          is still enough to drown in,
though it is mainly filled with salt &        the color of the sky.

            the body only wears the silence
of the earth            when dead.

maybe mother        earth when left alone
            cannot weep
&              this raindrop falling
            from me
is             partly
            not of the earth

maybe the mind unlike              the ocean
            can clean itself.



The silence in the attic
Is a contribution from all things
Capable of silence, like God.

Perhaps colorless words get leached
Into a vacuum in walls. Laughter too.
Glee is rumored to come in any color
And size,
Given lack of color is also color.

I have not lived here,
But I know the walls:
May accept any color I give them;
Will not hang my scream up
Like this portrait of a mouth
Already bunged up with dust
To tell whether the body wears
Past bloodless pains as a decoration
Of ostrich feathers on its head
Or that the mouth hides wailing
To invite in laughter.
Or that the Earth moves on, painless
As a fossil of a dinosaur’s burnt bone.


Is that my faith somersaulting
Through the eye of a needle?
I have been full of all parts mine
But empty of the universe.

My flaws are as submissive
As a corpse:
They’d accept the world
Like a baby taking
A stranger’s nipple.

Their tails are wrapping
My arms.With only Your apple stolen from You,
I shall run to You whenever deprived,
Only until all my flaws are stolen.

I am bleeding in words.

These rocks have pink stripes.
Petals are crushed on the floor.

An egg falls and
Generations of feathers
Are yellow on the floor.
Is the earth globing lava or water?
What if a river is pushed against its will?
What’s your take on breaking
A march of ants with a giant granite barricade?

My silence is decomposing the leaves.

…to be given something I cannot use,
Lamarck says my hands will disappear
If I do nothing for even just a thousand years.

Will I postpone my breath?

Some baboons eat half a fruit,
Some know which is almost poisoned.

Is there a cost for everything I carry?
The universe in my head?
God watching a dandelion wilt in my hand?

The flowers, wet at the core are still waving.
I am still crossing the river
I am made of.

The town priest built a wall capped
With broken glasses, around his house.
Is that not one hint of doubt in your power to guard?

This path must start where the first one ends.
This path starts in me to end somewhere in the world.

Has my body been traveled by feet not mine?

Sometimes, I wake up to footfalls of emptiness.

Did you agree the bodies You make
Vow to things and people?

Walls are decaying with waiting.
Flowers are returning.
My horn is still louder than I blow.
My grandmother says, ‘hide a peanut
Paste in your hand behind your back
And it will leak away’

Poems (c) Marial Awendit
Image: (c) Sola Osofisan

About the author

Marial Awendit

Marial Awendit is a South Sudanese poet and essayist. His poems have been published in Brittle Paper, Kalahari Review, African Writer, Praxis Magazine Online, Best New African Poets 2016 Anthology and elsewhere lit. He won the 2016 South Sudan Talent Youth Awards for the category of Best Poet and the 2018 Babishai-Niwe Poetry Award.


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