Headlining the News Again is the Death of an Immigrant
My mouth hangs the songbird’s
orange years with a noose
on its throat.
I want to escape all the walls
shrinking me with the musty smell
of an immigrant’s cinders.
There is blood in emptiness
I put my arms around:
blood in their hips, the sun of their smiles,
blood in their curdling waves
I breathe in. A pantomime for grief.
I tell my body to abstain from mirrors,
to be a boat that swallows its own sails,
to be a caravan of winds bending
the grass into fonts.
I tell my body to speak to itself,
say goodbye to doors,
say goodbye to windows,
say goodbye to blood and brine and skins
that resemble the universe—
a Kashoggi bone-saw, a Russian nerve
agent, a Donald Trump.
Aremu Adams Adebisi is a Northern Nigerian poet + economist + religionist, author of works inspired by natural vastness, published in Rockvale Review, Thimblelitmag, Barren Magazine, Turnpikezine, Terse Journal, POETICA, Brittlepaper, and elsewhere. He curates ARTmosterrific and serves as an Associate Editor for Elartinia Magazine. He has appeared in Best 'New' African Poets Anthology and 20.35 Africa's Anthology of Contemporary Poetry. He is a recipient of the Green Authors Prize by WRR and tweets @aremudamsbisi. His writings explore concepts of liberation, empowerment and existentialism.
"As a writer, a black writer at that, news about immigrants and refugees tend to move us than they actually do to the Europeans. There is always this communal recognition in them, this oneness in grief and rejection and abandonment. While I may have not travelled outside the borders of my country once, I feel these pains, I see them everyday first in my family, then in my neighborhood and the void in the people around me.
Dissemination of news has never been more emphatic and life-determining as it has been in recent days to an average African. We consume almost everything and are forced to click almost everything that pops up as notification. We are consumed by them, inundated by them, overwhelmed by them. On our phones, the social media, even in our various relaxation places. We are forged into fonts by every activity the developed world do— even if they sneeze.
Now imagine hearing the news of refugees every time, and soon hear about a neighbour's son who has stopped calling home from the abroad. Imagine that neighbour losing her habitual smiles the next day you greeted her. Everything grief, blood and emptiness. We cuddle emptiness, we hug and kiss emptiness. You want to pray your body to stop seeking greener pastures, to evade all the supremacist taxes, but soon you realise there is no escape in a kashoggi bone-saw, in a Russian nerve agent, in a Donald trump. All these symbols however are nothing but some of the countries a black person can never do without."