It’s funny how the world could not
Hold anything perfect
And we keep forcing the future
Into our hands—
Stitching our arms with loom bands
Made of ancient pain—
Their colours not the same
That tells a lot about our sins.
It’s funny how the world becomes
The land of the dead
Yet the breeze keeps telling us
How alive we are,
Even though our veins run water—
Hearts beating backwards
And minds crisscrossed
In a lame-end unorthodox.
We outwore our hands on to putting strings
On this small, fragile—half-broken—, inaudible violin
Our feet laid into nothingness
As we walk across the skin
Of the universe.
We sing the songs sung by our ancestors,
Our chaotic voices pieced together—
Whirling and whirling around the corners
Of the sea, we stand ashore.
This world cannot fit—furl—
Into a poem.
We—the people of wroth—
Share a piece of breath among ourselves,
For this world cannot
Burn the fury of our lungs.
Fear and dubiety, like a pack of wild dogs,
Hunt us out of our haven—
Running toward us with receding
Thine eyes filled with emptiness;
Look through mine and see the void—
Same as yours and theirs,
For I can see the sound in your mind,
And can hear the stillness
Of your soul.
What brings to me, muse tonight?
This night—birthed of a darkling owl—
Speaks of silence:
Piercing through the unweighted, grey sky.
I could bid you farewell a hundred times of life,
Do not take one of those into your belly—
Do not let one reach the tip of your throat.
If you find me ripped out of my body—
Torn out of flesh and bones and grey blood;
Take a piece of me to the museum, where my ancestors were put forth
And bury the rest of me deep down your skin and hair.
Meanwhile a family of four—of a single
Mother—works hand-in-hand to plant
The seed of false hope in their skin.
“The world…” says the smallest child
“…looks like a rotten, unbroken egg
In the nest of a dying bird—
Its shape’s like a raindrop, and reeks
Of father’s memory.”
They run into hiding places when it gets
Dark— run down the skin of the earth,
Leaving their footprints of grief pattern
A child whose father once told “you were made
Of tulip’s skin” —was left with hot ashes
On her tongue—
Walks upon her mother’s shadow.
“The world is beautiful and brutal”;
All the wild greenness
The soil, sharpen, cut
The roads and paths and ravines
Off their feet—
“The world is beautiful but misunderstood”;
The third child vocalises his pain—
Although the world
Is not an element of his symphonic poem
“The world is twisted in our palms/fingers”
Says the mother:
“So we can sweep our lives off
The lame-end unorthodox”
About the author
Najeeb Yusuf Ubandiya is a poet from Niger, Nigeria—who finds peace and freedom in writing poetry. He’s written a hundred poems, but “UNORTHODOX” is his first poem to have appeared in a publication.