Guest Blog: New Poems by Benson Eluma
Returned home from the airport, not sure
Which was heavier, hand or door handle.
Do I repair to a bar and
Steal into the room only after dark?
Your absence must have organized some reception,
Dinner, salver laden with solitude, unchewable.
The clutter created by your packing, hasty, delayed
Till the last minute—delayed the way I hold back
My excitement, containing release until
You begin to think it’s all over, and then
I remove the finger plugging the dyke
And let loose Kainji—the chaos
Of your hasty packing was having an argument
With the mania of our books, strewn
All over the room: smithereens from a god’s disgorgement,
Gidigbo of intimate entanglements, everywhere
A scrum of lovers, orgy of clothes and books and shoes.
No Void, this, no solitude;
It was Cosmos struggling into form-being
After the Big Bang.
I threw back the window curtain—fiat lux.
In the congeries of our room and my emotions,
Caught sight of your picture taken on Lovers’ Day,
Red purse in hand, Queen of the mêlée of my heart.
Originary lack, smiled the French conjurer,
As he issued the certificate of presence, sipping
From empty flute redolent with immanence.
Mischief is to separate the trace from the always-already-there.
Your picture lay on an open page of Oates’ On Boxing.
Everything works for the lonely. Amen?
I, more pagan in my little finger than all
The hornèd devils of this underworld,
Retrieve the arrogated date and rites.
Old heart, finding godhead in what threatens ruin,
Turns to diurnal observance.
Numen you are in the paraphernalia left behind,
And I am flamen presiding
Over rust. To keep house against mildew,
I spume forth libations to the goddess of renewal,
Thankful to the careless carpenter
And the wet wood of the wardrobe,
Thankful to the nearby water body, grateful to damp.
The doors and shelves powder over, and
I strip down to scrub them pure.
Your unworn clothes get streaked and spotty,
(Look closely, make out Lake Michigan)
And I offer fabric entrails and detergent froth,
Oblation to the glorious sun. And thankful, indeed,
When I harvest from the line, to inhale
Freshness from washed clothes you didn’t wear,
Savouring absence in fragrances of being.
I read in the Britannica: ‘Fungi are essential
To any household; they yeast bread and beer
To sustain poetry.’ I sigh Amen.
The time has come for us to bury our fathers
I find that I have not turned the subsoil
My own time will come
And they may find me laggard for death
Contemplating the grub caught
On the lone tooth of my hoe
How it squirms with life, though broken
Floorshow in the damned vale of tears,
A cachinnating magician steps in.
Stage name? History. Plucks out of thin air
Ears of Pennisetum. Blasts the guests
With his anti-poetics. Not of words.
Not of silence. Halitosis.
Nobody leaves. The impresario cries for joy.
Who is Benson Eluma?