‘Mystery’ and other poems by Joseph Hope
By: Joseph Hope
The mystery of living takes a
Sharp jab at our wits
Loosly we hang all our lifes, trying to
Learn how to live
And at the end, like in the
Beginning we still don’t have a clue
A clue to whatsoever: who/how/when
Began or ended at any point
In time or why. Just like us
Nobody knows us. Save for something
Hidden in figures and
How many is one?
The big mystery shreds down into further mysteries.
There is this light as bright as the dark,
A voice as loud as silence,
That everyone tries to see & hear.
And we wake up every morning tossing,
Wandering where we’ve been—
Which planet or which realm
Had welcomed us while we sleep?
Or the difference between dream and hallucinations?
Which is true and false?
What they both means?
And the new day?
Just another thing waiting for us
To expire into.
Closer and farther.
Blows like air on our body—too vivid and unseen
And we laugh and play fireworks
To cover up the sky with colours
we can’t catch with our hands.
Too tired to begin at what seems like the beginning if there is a beginning.
Damn it, we tell ourselves— we know enough
Enough to go by
Enough of the unknown
All we have known about the unknown is this —
Sorrow strikes like an adder,
Her scent over everything. Bones start to decay
Sorrow walks down the street in a faded
Coat. In a limousine waving to the crowd: smaller crowd of sorrows
Holding a postcard for the bigger sorrow to see his fate
Sorrow walks on stage in a celebrity gown. Posing for the
Bite of the shuttle and the kiss of the light on her caked
Skin. Everyone is trying to touch the helm of gament of sorrow
Sorrow walks-in / in a white suit / placed his gloved hands on a
Paralyzed body. “I have a cure for that sorrow” — he raised a white tablet with a big
“S” inscribed on it.
Don’t bother about swallowing, my nurses will push it down your throat
Sorrow comes with a solution to sorrow. She can tell our grieves by
Smell and taste. A sin-eater with unconfessed sins.
Sorrow comes with a solution to sorrow
A LETTER TO LEONARD COHEN
I called at your place
7th of November
In your famous blue rain coat
Because it was raining: every heart was drenched.
Your son said you ain’t home, that you are gone
I didn’t ask where,
i suppose you had gone to the tower
—the tower of songs.
I asked if you had left any message for me
They said yeah!
—A ply-wood violen and
I collected your gifts and exclaimed “this can’t be me”
And as I walked away,I saw
“Joan of arc” in her wedding dress: flameciously beautiful
—never knew fire could be this beautiful
I gave her my letters I hope she delivers them to you
Are you well Cohen?
Do you still remember that little boy named
That got you everything you needed to cross your red sea of sorrow?
Do you still wear your favorite mask?
Have you avenged yourself of that beautiful crime?
—Twenty seven Angels tied you up!
So and so I had wrote in the letters
I hope you will be a “ladies man” and read them.
Last night I was speaking with the monkey—ah! he has got a golden voice
He asked if I could play him the
like his master does
I said I would try—i tried
He taught me some strange keys—some of your secret recipe
And i played them for one
Mrs “Heather”—she turned white from joy
She said she knew those chords—
she said she knew a man—A jewish Canadian that love to play them out in the snow
The rapture moment
How boring: the wait—yet breath taking. How unreal
The room becomes: walls disappearing. That moment
When all we wanted, so wanted is a perfect thought,
Or a line that will define the moment, and shield
Us from our favorite fears, wrapped
deep in a mess too deep
for shovels or spades to tip. It’s like a journey
Around the world in your room—every other place is non-existent
Or yet to be discovered by
Whoever discovered us in the first place. The ground
Shifts beneath us &
we see how deep &
narrow hell can be &
how connected &
How pure and Noble thoughts evolves from those
And we fall helmentless into the needle eye like
Window open only for a time as long
As a moment.
The lines that I offered
“Dear”— Hold it dear to your heart: these lines—they hold my
Blood, my soul and anything
Can ever offer to someone he loves. Inside lays a secret inside a wind like bag
holding a black soil
holding a seed
holding a rose stick I had plucked from Eden: now
You know why we lost the garden—it wasn’t a fruit
it’s was a flower
Guard it jealously
Inside is a banquet
Of goodly mysteries. I put the items
On the table for you to have a buffet
of pure ecstacy & thrill.
Only and only
The dead and unborn,
Can come close in explaining
How holy and Divine.
Guard it jealously.
Inside I built a chapel—a sanctuary
For your heart to run into when
The world outside becomes toxic
And too inhumane for a darling.
There is this bridge I built with golden petals. Follow the tunnel right under
The bridge to escape if the needs arises.
I’m the light standing at the other end.
Guard it jealously
Inside is a cave with a golden entrance. Inside the cave the tallest tree, don’t
Look for fruits: they only bear words. I planted all
I had & will ever say. That’s the spot I planted my heart
So tread carefully
Inside i hid a map to a place,
Where no man had been. On the map there’s this thing that
looks like a stone—it’s no stone, it’s a man’s soul,
Buried body deep
Inside a promise, he cannot
And will never break
Guard it jealously— jealously in love
Joseph Hope is from Enugu state in Nigeria, an aspiring writer. Few of his works has appeared in Nthanda magazine, SprinngNG, Spillwords, Ariel chart, Literary yard, forthcoming at Best New African Poets 2019 Anthology, Eskimopi & more. Professionally he’s a chemist,studying “Applied Chemistry” in the prestigious institution of USMANU DANFODIO University Sokoto.A lover of poetry.