Escaping the Fists of the Sea: Nightmares – Wazi M. Kunene

I sleep with the lights on. I believe ghosts don’t know the difference between the sun and light bulbs. I believe ghosts fear the light. When there is light gravity is awake and the bottom is real, ghosts hate the ground, they hate the floor, their home. They want to play hide and seek on your body and mind.

Today you burn a mirror, your teeth have uprooted, you see sketches of your grandmother on your neck, burn the pocket mirror too, today it’s your arms that shout mother fucked you up and everyday it’s your breasts that remind you that death is nowhere near for you, you will live to see houses changing shape, houses aging, paint peeling, you will see the true colours of your granny, brown and rust, like the colour of your menstrual blood on the fourth day. You will grow pus around the rings of your nipples before any man whistles at you, you will envy all your girl friend’s breasts, fat boy’s breasts too, like how come their chests don’t haunt them.
You will write about breasts like you hate your own, trying to confront ghosts. Why do the ghost’s breasts sag? You know her name but her face is a rope knot. Today is Friday; I am a tongue that slipped down the throat. I am a door in a forest, my thighs are a black cloud in Nigeria, my thighs are a funeral’s last song before the after tears party, I sing it alone, his eyes are tightly closed. I must sleep! I can’t sleep this poem needs a name. It’s not a poem yet. Today is Friday, don’t ghosts rest? Maybe the next poem should be called Paper people growing feet.
Today is Friday; I want to speak to my ghost, bare chest, maybe it will leave with my breasts or maybe it will think I am a mirror. Did I burn all the mirrors? Today is Friday; I will turn the lights out and sleep under my bed, I will tell the ghost the truth. I am a ghost, I guzzled my tongue, they forgot to bury me, I am a ghost, I walk on air during the day and nobody sees me. Teach me how to look like the curtain, are you the window? Do you like windows? Do you come in through the window? There is a devil, are you the devil?
Today is Friday; I’m scared, this poem doesn’t have a head, just limbs, palms with fire. This poem is a killer, I will die writing it, Today is Friday and I cannot stop thinking. The monster is a she, she is coming. She will see this poem, it’s about her, it’s not a poem yet, maybe it should be called Teaching my father to kiss. Today is Friday, it makes no difference, the ghost will sit its back on my face, I will struggle to breathe, I will shout God and breath will come back from my feet, I will feel like I escaped the fists of the sea. I will wake up and cry, paging through the air, she was here I know it! I will reach out to my phone, I will type a poem and maybe this one will be called Poets are ghost magnets. Stop thinking! I cannot stop thinking! Maybe I need to starch my curtains.
In my before bed panic, I also wonder what normal people do before they sleep. While I try to make think of ways of being bigger then my nightmares but live them out soon after! There is a woman that comes to my room every night, she has breasts that beg to sleep on her knees. I fear her! When she comes to my room I can fit into my grade two school track suit. I tell people I have nightmares, some have said I need to slaughter a white goat and some have said stop thinking too much and very few ask what happens in the dream. Often nothing happens in the dream, she just needs to be in the dream and I am a weak child. My lights are still on, paging through yesterday’s diary entry, I am convinced there is no difference between on and off lights.
Today is Thursday. Dear Diary,
Today I realised a shadow is formed when a dark object is blocking the light. I am always blocking the light. Ghosts don’t fear me!
I then I flip back to a black new page.
Today is Friday. Dear Diary,


Photo: Hazel Fasaha Tobo


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