Two Poems – by Aremu Adams Adebisi

The Wind Knows the Origin of the Universe

The wind knows the origin of the universe,
wrinkles in her depth, her dust-filled eyes
hold tales and memories of ruins and abandon.

The wind knows the boat left in the middle
of the sea, and that which found its way home,
waterlogged. We say ‘winder’ when you have

enough breath in your throat, and say you look
like windflowers when divided, lacking
in petals. The wind is infinite, yet there are

men who tried to capture it, say the windbags
or the colonisers. They have a little too much
and err a little too many. Humans, we all are

made from wind, not mud, not water,
and she forges us into different windways,
carved in birds of contrasting wings.

No one leaves a breath unless the wind over
there is better than being alive. No one wishes
to speak in borrowed wind, sing strangely

to his own ears. A cramped family in a weak
boat does not wish to run at the windy shore
but for that the wind is limited and some are

having a little too much. We are ruled by them –
oarsmen who once struggled in the perishing
storm of the wind until they broke through,

knowing well the wind does not discriminate.
The wind is God, and humans breathing in puffs
are the replicates. We say pray to the wind when

people struggle to hold their breaths still,
coated in soot in Port-Harcourt, or smudged
to die in installments in Lagos pollution.

Young boys in Maiduguri often test how
the wind works by blowing themselves to pieces.
But no one leaves a breath unless the wind over

there is said to be better than being alive. Wind
holds water and flames, silence and voices,
and all humans are nothing but windows of life.

Photographer’s Note: Such a new way of writing about. Just when you thought every wind poem has been written.

etymology of bombs

in an arabic school // at as-sugao // we learnt how to fold our breaths // just to feign death //
because laughter // does not reflect the essence of living // we learnt we can pun arabic letters //
make wao (و) take a nap after-noon (ن) // & all that requires of us for baghdad // is a bag // a
giving dad // & a daughter // we learnt we can easily substitute // words for letters // letters for
words // as one arabic letter // can fittingly make // a statement // take أ (i live) for example //
we learnt all these things // while we cramped ourselves // in a single room // made of
hierarchy // & importunities // my room was the third in a storey // & one whose room leader
oft slept // with a burnt offering under his bed // we grew up saying bismillah // when about to
clap a drink // for water is said to consist // of two jinns // the hydrojinn // & the oxyjinn // no
one trusted the english // no one trusted a tribe who competes // with the arabs // on having
the most populous // religionists on earth // & so we are besieged by nations // to whom we
appear black lands // of no history // in my fourth year of studying // one of our seniors // had
self-studied greatly // & deemed us infidels // because we had no beards // & our trousers //
were not cut too low // people said // he has over-worn the arab clothes // & soon would find
them // loosened on him // in pieces // with a bomb

Photographer’s Note: This was a tough poem to match with a photograph. The poem is a tough poem. I don’t think I do it justice. But I tried.

Aremu Adams Adebisi is a Nigerian writer who explores the locally uncharted themes of gender equality, modern black liberation, womanism, boyhood, and existentialism. He has works on Kalahari Review, The Misty Mountain Review, Africanwriters, and a host of others. He likes to call himself the Jos-plateau Indigobird which is endemic to Nigeria.