Poetry / Chisom Okafor
:: There are no synonyms for catharsis ::
on the thesaurus of hearts. Only fear, then nothing situated in-between You wonder what the moon in all of its opaque resplendence would become tonight without a beholder and with its lights of silver left hemorrhaging into this empty room while we drown ourselves within a lullaby you suddenly stop to ask. if my joy long lost has returned but I respond in the way of being curious in my unhappiness and curious in my joys and in my silence there is a force acting to cause a displacement within my body a force equal and opposite to the powerhouse of my body what does it mean to be a fruit tarrying undecided between ripening and decay? even a vain thing as indecision possess the power to change every man. Tonight I come to you a man in the face of his epiphany dear lover watch me sift into the heart of the night watch me echolocate watch me trip over a rock just as I prep my heart for disaster each of the human eye being god’s loneliest creation and hidden away each in its socket each without knowledge of the presence of an 'other' a few inches across the street of the nose and my body synonym for utopia rising from the Greek word utopus which is to say best place But which also means no place waterless if you defer to its original translation. Tonight I listen to my heart whisper double-faced promises in my hearing I’ll take you out it says which is to say dine with you which is also to say suffocate you.
From the writer
:: Account ::
In the heat of the Covid-19 pandemic, I was diagnosed of right ventricular dysfunction, which is a hypertensive heart disease. I was just 26, and the cardiac clinic where I had series of ECG and echo sessions, was filled with much older men and women, people in their seventies and eighties, who looked at me with so much pity and questions, that they forgot their own troubles. I had been engrossed with writing love poems before then, but after my diagnosis, my writing gravitated towards the confessional, a kind of testament to the physical and mental trauma I’ve been forced to go through, on my journey to healing. Unfortunately, my heart condition, according to the cardiologist, may never be fully corrected, and may lead to possible cardiac arrests or cerebro-vascular accidents in the near future. The poems I now write morph into repeated echoes down a deserted landscape, calls out to a kind of healing, one that may never arrive, but I keep calling, anyway. Also, I have spent about two years working as a clinical nutritionist during the day, and writing poetry at night. As a result, I often tend to think about bodies like mine, lingering at the intersections of death, departures and clinical vulnerabilities. This marriage between the two, is also what my poems attempt to interrogate. They come close to trauma and dwell in its poetic possibilities, playing with the meeting point between heart as metaphor, heart as deadly literal organ and the body, and by so doing, attempt to stretch the real limits of being.
Chisom Okafor, Nigerian poet and clinical nutritionist, has received nominations for the Brunel International African Poetry Prize, the Pushcart Prize, Gerald Kraak Prize, and the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets. He tweets @chisomokafor16.