February 9, 2024
Two Poems - “Aubade” and “Joy was Duty”
By Olaitan Humble
first a girl becomes a quantum particle doing
jumping jacks in Balmer series/ then we say
the girl is invisible because a rivulet
of benediction flows in her umbworld
she tries fitting herself into a model of utopia
mornings pour into the day like molten gold
suckled from the sun/ like klein bottles
denuded from their disorientation
she is driven/ driven by her therapist's
addiction to alprazolam & times
she plant a boll of torment
in her own garden
driven/ driven by her friend's ability
to swim while she drowns
drowning in tears of yesteryear
& the gas that fills the air
when her mother cuts onions
now she is stuck/ stuck in a limbo
& an endless perambulation
of penrose stairs/ like vectors
in hilbert space she is trapped as
a placeholder/ driven by the days of yore
a staccato of sonic booms forces the girl
out of utopia then we say amen to living
in seclusion/ we say: dear lord if we are
to die let it be on our birthday
& should our body be cut to pieces
open a breach & thrust us into afterlife
as if to save Alfonsina Storni from drowning
or to say: fender-bender cannot kill doppelgangers
Joy was Duty
Ghosts plague this house
& tonight, it's time to party.
Calisthenics on the penthouse,
birds perch over the rooftop
as the sun sinks
below the horizon.
Birds as ghosts.
Ghosts with avocado
hand, & joy was duty.
he breaks a nut
open, then chants
He mounts a bird
on the back of a cauldron—
shedding its skin
feather by feather.
He catches the moon
in a stainless steel spoon
& dips it in his mouth.
Once, he peeped the world
from a skyscraper
& the only sane scene
was from a cumulonimbus
into his mouth
& on his tongue
jumping in & out
of an electromagnetic field,
& joy was duty. When
he weekends far away
from home, he stays true
to this house's insignia.
Once, he caught the sun
in a ladle, then dipped it
in a furnace before carrying it
in his pocket, & joy was duty.
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