Call me Marica

in Poetry

Esame Okwoche is a Nigerian writer with a keen interest in religion and philosophy. Her work has been published in Saraba and Eclectica magazines. She is currently completing a Master’s program at the University of Oxford. Esame lives in London with her husband and children.

 

Call me Marica

 

I

You call me Ms.
Mrs. Miss.
You miss the moment
I whisper my name in lights.

You send postcards to Kaduna.
Address: 5 Blue Cotton Road~
You Sign it: xoxoxo, x.
You forget to sign it.

You delete my DP.
You scrub me off Facebook.
You shred me in grams.
You dawdle on the driveway.
The engine is running,
the driver is cussing.
We jaunt down Zongo,
I hide my eyes in Gucci.
The sun is orangey.
Tawny.
We don coloured hats
and let the wind merge our faces.

 

II

We were lovers then; hiding in the cloak of dusk.
We were lovers then; carousing in browned-out taverns.
We were lovers then; dreaming on blank shadows.
We were children then; scrawling on broken walls,
our fuss displayed in white chalk.

Outside, life throbs.
A mother chases an irascible child;
She is ducking through bodies, ware-mongers,
Whoremongers.
The open door of a saloon car disrobes her.
A woman whines doleful tunes from a nearby radio;
of songs from a time once joyfully inhabited,
of that time when we walked barefoot
along a sluggish bayou.
Our shoes gaped from long walks,
our necks unfolding like Tales by Moonlight.

 

III

I have seen that shoe on the road to Zongo.
I have seen it leaning on sidewalks.
I have seen a man light a fire with his teeth.
Like Elijah, he called down fire from above.
I have seen a man with no religion
preening on the streets in Calabar.
I have seen him dancing in the sun;
through the yellowing lights, he’d shed a tear.
I have pondered this irreligion,
I have questioned these devotions through many meanderings.
The art of finding is itself a journey.

What, then, is me, is life?
Am I then just an accumulation?
Of ejaculations that arrived too early.
Of Doggy and Dogg,
and all the Doggs on Death Row.
I collect these signs in prose
to arrange them in meaningful metaphors.

In vain I toiled on these oddities.
Like a torn cloth or a threaded bubu
ripped of its embroidery.
I feel extraneous, like an intrusion,
an addition irrelevant in an equation.
In a moment of sudden gust,

I shriek…

Spell out my name in consonants.
Make it long.
Make it short.
Frame my name in neon lights.
Let it glow across your soul.
Plough the vowels like a lunatic.
Let it burst inside your chords.
Let it…, jus, let it…

Call me Marica.