Joseph Hope: Four Poems

Image by Matthias Böckel from Pixabay

STAIN ON COTTONFound a new habit today on the floor. It’s fits just fine—I wear it on my face, especially when I don’t want anybody to notice anything about anything: a missing finger, a red eye, maybe a badly connected reflex. I always tip toe with my butter shoes into a little room I built inside my father’s mind—there is this doll inside the room, nobody knows it’s name. It doesn’t have a name.Found a new habit today in my backyard. It’s raining, so I turned my skin to an umbrella and my heart into a bag that I can  keep anything that doesn’t have a home. Now there is a store full of things and items you can’t lose or find— I go there every evening, it’s right under my skin: my skin is inches thick— inches and enough to accommodate everything that doesn’t make it to a grocery list.Found a new habit today at the bottom of the pool, head first, I dived into the clear waters, stroking decisively and fast, until I reached the shining little pearl at the bottom of the the pool. Hypnotized by the radiance of the shiny object and it’s watery domicile. I almost forgot I was drowning.


The stranger sitting beside me grows more stranger & beautiful as the moon light pales. Brown silks wears transmogrifies to silver and back to brown as light beams ricochet off them. Our motions matches up with that’s of the trees, trees runs backward—I don’t know why. It’s Eleven O clock; An hour to another world’s end. Everything becomes too slow when you want speed. Passively we listen to the gentle hum the bus makes  as it’s breaks through the cold &  silent night. Too stressed out to listen to ourselves talk, We listen to our heart beats as it continues to beat regardless. I stare at the stranger, that had become more stranger for reasons I don’t understand. Under the pale light & the wind, nothing is more stranger—than me trying to write a poem,  when everyone is trying to catch a sleep & forget about time. I don’t know what the best wish is. But for this very moment, we all have one wish: let this journey come to an end.


What’s it you fear? A combo. A streak. A fine thin un-dotted line. Perfection: smooth glaring armour reflecting my face A shout like shot inside a locked room. Things without wings frightens me, when they try to take flight. And going by the book humans are the worst. What’s it you fear? A thought—ripples: thousands of them coming for my feet like butchers’ smile When they bring the blades down. Things without life frightens me. When they try to breathe. They swell & swell trying so hard, only to fall back still. Dead still. What’s it you fear? A face like this: boneless & slimy—earthworms eating on a table, inside a bowl full of years spent counting the sand grains trapped beneath my shoes. Things without voice scare me. Like when I have words,  but not enough alphabets. I have un-named  ghosts floating around my tongue.


Can psychologists actually do what they said they could do? Shoot their gaze like a bullet, point blank at someone’s face, tell them which part of the brain ache most: over-macheted by experience, slaked from salting & numb from repetition? Was Abraham Lincoln a psychologist, when he said  “All my life, I have tried to pluck a thistle, and plant a flower wherever the flower would grow in thought and mind”? Did he mean the mind is fertile enough to breed shrubs—flowers—thorns. Thorns! when the flowers shrink from grody diets, and every other things that can poison a man’s mind? I see contention. A mirror image of words: The left hemisphere of the brain controls the right part of the body—that means we always mean the  opposite. Yes! —  means NO! —when you stare from  the NO’s  Angle of view.  I DON’T KNOW—WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST? Biology suggests that we’re animals, beasts, just lucky enough to stand upright & carve stones into shapes. Our minds makes us different(evolutionists would say) Telepathically, I yelled your name from a reasonable distance. Does that make me a psychologist too?

Joseph Hope is writing from Nigeria. A student of Usman danfodio University. He has been published in PRAXIS MAGAZINE, SPILLWORDS, SprinngNG, WRITERS SPACE AFRICA, NTHANDA MAGAZINES, ARIEL CHART, BEST NEW AFRICAN POETS 2019 ANTHOLOGY, and many more. A lover of poetry.

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