Crowding-out Effect

Poetry / Aremu Adams Adebisi

:: Crowding-out Effect ::

the crowd mopped my tears with phatic decimation.
the crowd scraped the olive oil on my skin with a strigil.

the crowd contended that flames are infectious
and suggested we both apprentice them, me

with a subject body, they with their predicate tongues.
the crowd engineer my mind, my brain, my thought

-process, everywhere thinking is they converge
to galvanize me into them. i am afraid the crowd

may turn mob pretty soon, so i sheathe my strangeness
like a ship's bottom protected from barnacles.

only the dead are unruffled by loudness, as the living
pay the price of breath heaving to breathe again.

the crowd are those i share an affinity with, yet they
abound in differences that call for spades and graves.

we will rather see us dead than share in human diversity.
belief is a worrying affect, sticking like leeches to the skin.

you say “come to me, come to me, i will wrap you in my robe,
put the flames off.” but you are the crowd without a sanctuary.


From the writer

:: Account ::

As an eco­nom­ics under­grad­u­ate, once a lec­tur­er came into class and was talk­ing about the crowd­ing-out effect. It means the gov­ern­ment infring­ing on ven­tures that would have been left to the mar­ket. But the moment this lec­tur­er was say­ing this, I got a whole new per­spec­tive to it, a whole new dimen­sion. Crowd­ing-out here, there­fore, should be seen as the pres­sure of the pub­lic on the indi­vid­u­als, the sub­jec­tive per­cep­tions that every­one are to live by, incon­sid­er­ate of indi­vid­ual unique­ness. The poem affirms the need for indi­vid­ual under­stand­ing toward tol­er­ance, which unfor­tu­nate­ly is lack­ing, even in the most trust­wor­thy among us.


Are­mu Adams Ade­bisi is a black poet + econ­o­mist + reli­gion­ist. He authors works inspired by nat­ur­al vast­ness, some of which have appeared or are forth­com­ing in Rock­vale Review, Brit­tlepa­per, Bar­ren Mag­a­zine, Lau­rel Mag­a­zine, Terse Jour­nal, Third­wednes­day Mag­a­zine, Peek­ing Cat Poet­ry, and else­where. He seeks to find depth, peace, and tran­quil­i­ty in poet­ry, explor­ing the con­cepts of lib­er­a­tion, empow­er­ment, and exis­ten­tial­ism. He recent­ly made the cut for the Best “New” African Poets Anthol­o­gy 2018 Anthol­o­gy (Mwana­ka Media, 2018) and 20.35 Africa: An Anthol­o­gy of Con­tem­po­rary Poet­ry (Brit­tle Paper, 2018). He can be reached on Twit­ter @aremudamsbisi