Four Original Poems - Vagabond, Transformation, Overhaul, and Lemongrass

By Abdulrazaq Salihu



My home is not a place to breathe

It’s this contrived murder against the purple bandoliers of men

And the places they have known.

The wilderness in the eyes of the roads,

As in between your thigh      Us trespassing on the water’s face

Wired in one—a connection of mutual understanding of grief.

Daring to drown by the sands, we know many ways to burn a home,

Us ourselves, our prayers and love. Us, kicking back the broken days

With these people, these scattered  people

That are my family. On wishing our home is a place we did not

Abandon in the middle of the blooming of a wild flower because

We knew nothing of carrying a home in the chest, We were carrying

Our bodies to everyplace to breathe, as the president would.

A home is the headquarters of a school of fish curling the waters.

In Sarkin Pawa, crows are most times mistaken for gunshots

And its passionate ability to wipe out a home.

But we all go round    We break the tunes of the silent night and nothing is holy

Passing the stumps of our grief to the broken war-men

Because where there’s people   The plural form of survivors; victors

Fully aware; the only thing they won, is surviving the last attack.

Roads and insecurity have many things in common: the way they

Bend the heels of people searching for places to call home.

Man is the piece of light that survived the downpour of bullets

Man is the petal of holy, slowly loosing their mind

Homes and bullets have many things in common,

If it’s the color of Vagabond-gene in me,

Then praises to all the lost breath       Glory be to harbor in roads.





A lot of times my body transforms before god and

A two floor dormitory has swallowed 18 young girls with fire.


What I carry in my mouth, like roses barricading the city of smoke

Ignites and a mirror is my father,going through a phase


Today I take God’s name down my throat and sag my body

For coloured boys defying gravity and falling back to their roots


And wanting, wanting to fold their paper lips into kisses

And carry wilderness In their blue Scottish eyes


Because water stands a chance to heal faster than blood—

My uncle breaks his family and everyone began to count


Their descendants by the number of scars on children’s chin—

My father waters his boat and sails us across the seventh tale of


Self discovery evaluating transformation in machines and species.

He predicts the fall with his fingers aligned with the sun and swears


The apocalypse is only a mile away,I carry all the wounds in my

chest and rest them in my sister’s bulleted forehead


Because a scar is best remembered on the face of the things we love,

Because I command her to heal with the energy of a grief stricken poem


I command her to rise and erase the wound and recite the mantras

Of winter nights and Summer flakes transforming into dust.


I remind my sick father his brother’s name is Abdulsalam

And he slowly twisted the tip of his tongue twice in saying peace is salam—


Because this is the reality of a new revolution

And in capturing cladded dusty shoes and naming the rainbow a collection


Of the amount of pressure a boy has to carry from age zero to nine

He’s made to believe a word is heavier than a bullet,


Fantasy is poured into his throat and he is left to measure the sanity

And stress involved in correctly pronouncing faith and fate.


A boy my age told me of the freedom in the letter B for bullet

Traversing all the little cities with peace in my chest


And the letter W for all the words I have used to start the war.

Everyday, a scarlet falls into the colour of blood and my 4 year old


Brother is saying Baba and it sounds like the shattering of glass

By a UFO the size Of my home on the day the transformation began.






Groping before the sands for the carcasses, I fear death. We do,

Just deeper than the way you would see. I came here


To carry the body but missed a heartbeat. Is there

A better way to grief the dead that you couldn’t save.


The mind is able to hold a broken snapshot over here,

Unless your carry the night in fire.This is how it works:


The mirror is opaque and devoid of color. I only wish

To see the face of that which doesn’t die.I’m yearning


To heal and restore my image but this is not the place.

I’m envious of the dog, who can lick the wound so easily.


All we see are scars and faces in the bustling town.

On some nights we can swallow the head-fights,


If the moon is full.  I was born on the day the moon was full,

By the edge of the clouds, rearranging the stars and colors


And being body-god. Time is a patterned recollection of pain.

Death is  a careful recollection of snapshots. The broken clay pots


Are grave-signs. I’m a piece of fire, polishing the skin of

The people that sought to know little about restoration.







Bots and android cannot measure the depth of poems

Because Aya left them no clue

Because Aya is a piece of a wild flower

Say, the thing about the future is it’s unending wallpapers

Covering the last piece of your imagination,


I survived the past and I was there naming that present

A forgotten past, yet, lemongrass stuffs its face into the soil

And colour water into a lemonade.

I will   If I would  tell you that here, the bot era is nothing of strength —

A man would come to weigh three-hundred and sixty pounds and

Paris is failing to see its fall, failing to count its destroyers

You would come through the western sands and pink petals

Of grief is stuffed into your pocket as a sign, a symbol, a piece

Of information that your parent would survive the apocalypse

That people born in the sands know as much about drowning

As people born in the front of the shores.

Because when Aya used to record voice notes and classify

Them based on pitch   Pitch blend I was certain she knew little

And nothing of what the plutonium did to her brother —

That is to say, Aya grew in a land that deserved nobody’s honesty

That is to say your mother is an outlet of broken things, say

Your mother is the wind departing a lover’s lip

And most times in August, when the rain is as much as the clouds

Terracing all the places with odd names, evaluating all the places

With masked men filling the dead-holes with perfumed voices

Say, when I see how vast the universe has become

I feel lonely as graveyards with broken clay plates by the sides

Fill a cemetery and catching a glimpse of the glimmering shadows

Of light, of time, of anything less than a cloak.

I know a lot about a coral hit on the surface of the Mediterranean

Because few hours before we launched my brother into space;

A bureau of magical things that hangs the coal by the chin and

Walks without smoke into a wounded part of the day left uncovered.

All the while, journey to Busan in a ship that let it heels walk the face

Of the waters through a part of the sea without love for the humane,

We put our skins together into one skin and let the sweats be our warmth…

A day before the garden I used to own in Congo knew light, the devil spit

A morsel of pale galactose and never let the walls slim-fit their selves

Into a snapdragon.

Because the city Is blue, distanced stripe of a broken home, the first goat

We saw held the prayers to the sky and spoke about how all the twines

In the place knew something or the other on tendrils.

The president left a note in his chest pocket and Melinda had only one job—

Discard his clothes and do not let the cologne hit the tip of your nostril,

Because a sensation smelled is an emotion to the mind yet she placed her

Eyes and took from the note it’s meaning on inks, she caused the northern

Rift and today the future is not a poem every poet wishes to write,

Because our mothers were never the unpacked petals of roses

Because this is not just a survivor tale… the end is anytime soon for

For   All   Of    Us

Yet, I still find the bending of reality quite a cliché.