There are no synonyms for catharsis

Poetry / Chisom Okafor

:: There are no synonyms for catharsis ::

on the thesaurus of hearts. Only fear, then nothing       situated  
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 Ive 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.