Crushing on a Poet – Wazi M. Kunene

Trying to fall out of love with a poet is as hard as teaching your heart to not abandon its home every time you see him step on stage. You have never known the sound your knees make when they forget to keep calm, neither have you known that your nipples could stand when you hear him speak, my gosh, he is the wind!


It was the month of the diamond stone, the daisy flower, yellow and innocence- April. I loved him the first time I saw him, of course I warned myself that this would be another painful journey. I knew I would be the only one in this relationship but I also could not help how his lips reminded me of boat rides to nowhere I had ever been. Close to the sky, drinking fire, dancing on clouds, touching the stars. I have spent hours sitting and thinking of how his lips would feel against mine. I smile and actually think it would be like sneezing. Do you know that when you sneeze you skip a heartbeat? I could just imagine having my heart stop beating for a while, knowing I am safe on his lips. His eyes too are to die for just like his brown skin. Quiet. I have wondered how it felt in the night, like flames on my tongue, burning just right, like candle wax running on my finger tips.
It is not easy to un-love a unicorn, to bury energy you have invested in turning basic texts in to love letters, I promised myself that I would keep my affectation a secret, but his name is a mouthful, there is no way my cheeks could resist the tickles of having his name in my mouth. I have to smile when saying his name. If I could sing I would write a song about him but I doubt I could get on any stage and sing while sneezing.
I have tried writing a poem about him but I am no poet and it’s more like describing how my skin deforms and looks like a river with no rocks to let the streams rest on, when it tries to stand against my bones. Nothing really makes sense and parts of me know that I will never get to taste his tongue but I love him, still. Like I was made for him as pen was for paper. My friend, Amanda who has loved a few says this heart ache will pass but honestly I don’t want it to, I don’t want to let go, not if he still wears his brain like he does. I tell Amanda that I haven’t run any razor on my skin since I have known him, my old cuts are also beginning to fade off, I still can’t draw the sun but I think I know how the kite feels when its owner lets go of the string. I tell Amanda that the concept of letting go comes easy to the mind but for the heart, I would have to find the floor of every wonder of this world to bury each letter of his name.
This love, this crush, I know I have to let go, it has been a year bathing in a dream, in love alone! As lonely as a life with no one to love is, after a year I decided to swallow my desires and conceal them in my futile uterus where nothing ever comes to life, anyway. I have miscarried so many dreams before, I have given birth to a blue child before, I loved too much and I don’t know how to stop, I want to keep on and I fear the sound of doors closing.

Amanda keeps saying this heart ache will pass and even though I really don’t want it to, I have to, it has been a year since I have been in love alone. So this past Monday after breakfast, I decided to make a list, like a recipe to kill, to kill my crush for a poet.
One, take a walk and lose yourself in a banana farm just like you would in his play with words and stories.
Two, make sure you are wearing a skirt, feel his metaphors climbing up your inner thighs, in this farm, trees walk. Feel the banana tree leaves sleep on your breasts.
Three, eat one thousand bananas and feel your heart struggle to breathe, like it lost its nose somewhere, under a thousand feet in a war, somewhere, like you do every time he says goodbye, like tomorrow lives in his heart and you could never reach it.
Four, accept you are a bird with no wings, this is a slow death, pinching out all the air out of your chest, like every time you remember that this is a crush on a poet who does not love you!
Five, now that you are dying, you can befriend him and continue dying slowly because aching hearts die as slowly as being buried alive, as torturous as being beaten by a dragon, like your throat is being strangled by breaths of I love you.
Now, I must gather courage and take my walk to the banana farm, or not

Photo: Hazel Fasaha Tobo

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