The Peninsula of Poets

Umar Sidi’s chapbook, where this poem is extracted from, is free for download on this site. He is a helicopter pilot with the Nigerian Navy. His debut collection of poems Striking the Strings is coming out with Origami (Parresia) soon. He lives in Lagos.

 

MARTIN Espada welcomed me with a slap

On my left cheek, he pulled my ear

& tossed me into the ‘Academy of Poetry’ where Gogol

An ancient ape, the Peninsula’s poet Laureate

Sat me up and taught me:

Hukku yyakku huhhu huk

The ABC of poetry & the 7 articles of a poet’s faith

 

ADONIS handed me the key to

The Peninsula’s treasury.

He spoke through many voices:

The voice of Mihyar of Damascus

The voice of sand and salt

The voice of the blood of Adonis

The voice of the interrupting sky:

 

It lies inside You, within You, about You, outside You

It is a dense fog of darkness, It is the meaningless(ness) of life

 

DARWISH led me through the absence of presence

 

SIMIC bestowed me with love

A girly roach, my queen, the coquette

I sing lyrics for every other night

 

I took her out on a date last evening

She wore lipstick and high heels

On her seven sexy legs

 

While I consumed hot chocolate and chips

She sniffed the inside of a breast,

She even ran down, ran up to the next table

For a reason I quite do not know,

 

The table was home, a dark corner,

The shadow of a tree, a thick flowerbed,

A roomy wardrobe for two septuagenarian lovers

Whose thighs & tongues were interlocked & hands

Busy dipping into each other’s underwear

 

BILLY Collins was the very last I met

He tied me to a chair and tortured

A confession out of me:

What is P?

When is P seen as P?

Who made P P?

Why is P considered to be P?

 

When I was leaving, he consoled me with a gift

An apple that astonishes: Good Poetry, he said, is a chick

A voluptuous curvy, sexy chick, with protruding breasts

Heavy backside, an enormous clit

And a never ending quest to go more and more

 

Her dude is a lanky thing

Equally endowed with a small tiny thing

 

Some call him a mad man drunk with lust

Some call him a little tipsy thing

Some call him a (teop) please, do not read backwards

 

You may find him at the beach lying naked

In the sand & lost in a conversation with a dog

A bitch actually,

That has just been xxxed by 7 huge, well fed hounds

 

You may find him, sometimes, in shorts smoking a pipe

& scavenging through rubbish dumps

 

RUMI: I didn’t see him, I only saw something of him.

A silhouette, a transparent gel, a shiny crystal,

Probably a holy ghost. He gave me a very heavy

Simple thing, a ring of words

Wear this always on your heart, he said:

A poet is nothing but a universal ambassador of love

 

SIMIC issued a statement to all budding poets:

Creative insomnia should be a poet’s only shirt

 

I saw GINSBERG perched on a tree high on dope

Chanting:    Holy Holy Holy Holy Holy

I asked him who is a poet & he said:

Holy Holy Holy Holy Holy

A poet is a holy fool

 

 

 

  • adepeju

    Brilliant

Saraba is a literary magazine focused on the work of new writers in Nigeria and other parts of the African continent. Since 2009, we have published several issues of a magazine, editions of poetry chapbooks, and online-only work.
Our ongoing Manuscript Project supports the publication of long-form fiction and nonfiction by ten new Nigerian writers.
Registered as a non-profit in Nigeria, we depend on the support of readers like you to publish new writing. Please donate.