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Riak Marial Riak | Weird things becoming memories

Weird things becoming memories

i. i looked behind my shadow
and saw mother turning backward
to see how strong wind chased after us
me and my father who’s searching
for story of his children living through lampshades
when he opened first page
it talks about firing bullets to remember
on my window i can reuse soft tissues
to wipe mold becoming condensed
on a glass surface
and it can become watery, running and surging
forward, softly one is broken at night
the cooing of doves is a prayer time
is indomitable, can walk and never meet
when it departs
ii. my mother teases a black dog to learn
at night darkness serves its purpose
and people run into it to be cut in the throat
its long teeth grimly and quick
but is everyone safe, at night the dogs, lamps
and our shadows struggle to find ways to life
iii. when i was a child mother put
her hands on my face
to love every strange thing that walks
into me
i loved lights, wild dogs, fire and bullets
can years tame, destination is not going
home but finding within my body
where i belong, where the darkness can vanish
where the wild dogs can be at peace
in my eyes a boy is running away from his father
he’s made to follow thick shadows into moonlight
and never return
holding things meant to hurt his body, fire and bullets.


When the light cast on a dim altar

you’ll know that man is not only made
from mud
but from light lost in the water
see, behind the tunnel a dog barks out
its anger
who knows the things in darkness
keep body still and yearning for life
one of them is to hold the rope
in your hands and hang yourself
last night in one of the prison
a man tore his shirt trying to kill himself
who said men who took their lives
are afraid to live
i saw dogs refusing to carry fire
on their tales
they wanted to live as well
and started waving them to let us know
anything that keeps sadness in its eyes
can become happy when it learns
to let go of grievances
i am afraid, if the stars can move
why is this wall not luscious?
only the body made from water will not
now it will not drown
but will always be a river pulsating water
on stones
tonight it is full of people hiding their tears
of belonging
it is this night i realized a thousand men
are afraid to live
but not these ones who took their lives
some of them lack good lamps to burn
whatever made darkness persistent
are you afraid, you live out of things with light
the altar keeping dim passages.

Poems © Riak Marial Riak
Image: Hal Gatewood on Unsplash remixed

Riak Marial Riak
Riak Marial Riak
Riak Marial Riak is a South Sudanese poet and writer. His work featured on Brittle paper, Eunoia review, African Writer, Nthanda review, Ngiga review, Kalahari review, Songs of the Nile and Best New African Poets anthology 2017. He's a founding member of Kush Poetics South Sudan.

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