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Calamity: Three Poems

Raven on branch

By Melekwe Anthony

“Calamity: Three Poems” is part of a new series at Multiplicity focusing on writers and their craft. Each blog publication features original work followed by commentary from the writer on its genesis, giving us unusual insight into both the work itself and the process of artistic creation. 


CALAMITY

RUM RUM the grounds shake
Not a quake, not a dream. The riders are coming.
Listen. Listen to the drumming of stables racing 
Through cuttings of drizzle and storm. Closer 
And faster, they come for Father. The devil who
Accused kings of deeds unsaid. The careless one who
Sired me and pointed the ravens this way. A feast of 
Bones and ash they will meet. No flesh escapes Alexander.
So run I run testing fate. Run I run leaving the devil to his scribble.
Run I run till the sun finds me wet, soiled and fugitive.
The smoke of home is speck in the dew. 
Home is no more.

Nightmare

Black, the shadow that sings. 
Dizzy and dreamy, I wake up six minutes past midnight
To a crackling at my window. Shapeless figures hovering
In the moonlight, humming Birds of Winter Crawl. I pull the 
Blanket to my freezing abouts. This is not a dream.
I know that song. My dead grandmother’s voice. Careful taps at the glass 
And I haste for the night light. Out of power. 
The shadows are floating closer and becoming manlike. Ears, neck and what
Looks like a sharpened pencil of a head. I try calling Daddy! But nothing sounds. 
No word from my mouth despite my screaming. They are
Touching my window now. I can hear them. I must be seeing them too
Because an arm slowly manifests from the dark shapes. Wrinkles and freckles, 
It stretches for my bed. For me. 
This is not Grandma.

The Chase

Father and Mum went swimming
In beautiful pea-green swimsuits,
They called themselves honey and said 
They were enjoying their money,
Our money. But left me ashore to watch
Ashore. Safe ashore, squinting to see them swimming farther 
Afar, away. Maybe they were doing that thing again. 
That thing they don’t talk about when I’m near. 
I shake my head, laughing at how little they think me.
A flying bird breezes over my head and I look.
Only one of them is on the water now. I wait. I wait.
A pounding in my chest. Water in my eyes when I hear splashing.
It’s Daddy coming back without mummy. I can’t swim.
Why won’t he dive in to bring her out? My mummy.
Something behind him. It’s faster than mummy. 
Following Daddy. Oh no. Run Daddy run.
No, don’t run. Swim. I can’t look.

Writer’s Commentary

It is hard being a boy of six and worse to admire a painful man you should call Father. When being different is weakness and being right with yourself is punished. How does a boy grow up to love a man who has caused him many tears? Shamed “naked” before his juniors and laughed at by his peers. Does this boy not wish crocodiles and tragedy on this being? Has he not dreamt many times of calamity? But what pushed me to write these three poems was expression, the need to tell my paper the truth behind all the smiles and respectful silence. Each of these poems was deliberately written with each word crafted to explain, fit the true expression. Edgar Allen Poe was a great help in their crafting. Like all writers, I hope readers can relate, rethink, and react to parental upbringing and the horrors of silence.


Melekwe Anthony was born in Lagos, Nigeria. He is currently studying journalism at University of Nigeria, where he is also a student union executive. In 2018, Anthony began his writing career and joined “The Writers Community,” a community of poets and journalists at the university. In 2019, Melekwe was named Associate Editor for The Warriors Bulletin and has gone on to publish his poetry in numerous magazines in Nigeria and elsewhere.

Photo by Amarnath Tade