manhattan, mistress by amu nnadi

Award winning Nigerian poet, amu nnadi, was recently in #NewYorkCity , as a guest of the Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York. In New York, amongst other engagements, he read at the Celebrate Africa event. The poem below is a meditation of his recent visit to The Big Apple. Parrésia published his third poetry collection through the window of a sandcastle (ANA Prize for Poetry 2013 winner), available on Amazon HERE.

IMG_2737-0.JPGamu nnadi with Bill diBlasio, Mayor of New York

manhattan, mistress
by
amu nnadi

you come back to me, vagrant mistress
with telltale signs of plunder
smudged lipstick, ruffled hair of summer
trees, and stale smell of faithless men
footprints shedding grains from many lands
planting strange trees as kisses upon your flesh

how hard it is to love you
how hard to call you mine, to hold
with my innocence your promises
for they burn like you with live coals
in you are the ripening fruits
of your wanton, wandering ways

how hard it is to encircle you, manhattan
with my naked poems, as garland of lilies
to find all your curves with their petals
rope you with midriff and memoir
paint you with their colours bright as sun
aflame in the fading ripples upon the hudson

i feel the stained crusts of many trysts
and trespasses, their piercing or branding
the weight of anchor breaking hymen at shore
though you do not travel, you do not move an inch
being stiff in your grounding and wild ways
lost in sin like the dust of dying days

manhattan, mistress, mistral
i can only hold you at arms length and live
hold you close but not too close, so i see you
but do not see all of you, not fall
for the softness of your bounteous bosom
or your sorcerer’s smell, so i do not forget to trace
in the gathering of dusk and fallen flowers
the long way home – and renewal

from here manhattan, crouched on a mound
of home, i watch the colours leave your face
of glass, one by one, moment by dying moment
all the lights leave, all hope die, every single
one, every petal of life; i watch them leave your eyes
and it is the absence of life; my presence accuses you
makes you small, blackhead, covers you in shadow

i think a smile appeared on your horizon, wooing
you, i think the wind sighed, giving up, fingers
running though my hair; i know i cringed, stiff too
teeth clenched in one final defiance, like this
not willing to be seduced once more by your mirrors
not ready to die with you, nor grow mad, covered
manhattan, in your sin and wayward ways

This poem is taken from hi upcoming collection titled, a field of echoes.

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