BALLAD IN THE 23RD STREET MORTUARY

7 lines, 10 stanzas, 70 feet beneath earth’s surface.

image
Photo courtesy: google images

i.

let me sing you a song
about a couple i used to know:

how he holds her chin to his,
and with no more than a kiss,
she knew he was in love with her.

let me sing you a song
about a couple i used to know.

ii.

listen to the rhythm of
how they stood strong
through tough times
without fear or despair;

loss, betrayals, misery,
and yet, they stood strong,
as they’d vowed to do.

iii.

let me sing you a song
about a couple i used to know:

he has her juju
– the potent medicine –
in his mouth and loins;

for with a kiss and a thrust, the clouds
would take their place in her eyes.

iv.

each day,
she would wake
to the same songs on her lips.

songs bearing lyrics
composed in his name.

songs bearing love
composed with his words.

v.

‘my baby loves me
just the way that i am’

‘my baby loves me
like the snail loves its shell’

‘my baby loves me
with all his heart
and beyond’

vi.

but the day the clouds would part,
the wind raised her skirt, and
as though she sensed a storm, she
itched and was healed. then, he
whispered to her:

‘baby, i’m in love with you no more.
it’s me, not you.’

image
Photo courtesy: google images

vii.

oh, let me sing you
this beautiful sad song
of a couple i used to know.

she screamed for him
to kiss her again
with the juju from his lips,
but he wouldn’t.

viii.

each day,
she would wake
to the same songs on her lips.

songs calling him to hold her again
songs calling him to kiss her again
songs calling him to love her again

songs calling him to die and be buried

image
Photo courtesy: google images

ix.

the clouds have parted,
babel has collapsed,
and now, tongues differ.

let me sing you an elegy
of a love that once lived.

listen to the rhythm,
and let it guide your tears.

x.

listen to this sad symphony
of two hearts
that were once one.

listen to his death,
how he fell,
and never rose again.

listen to this sad song of mine.

Edited by Prince Adewale Oreshade

Aidee

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