Rigorous
Volume Three, Issue 2



in the beginning was the word and the word was with god
and the word was god — john 1:1

Aremu Adams Adebisi


they were first [sojourners] [travellers] [explorers] [wayfarers] [snowbirds] [sunseekers] [fill in with your word] before they claimed to be [tourists] [road romanticists] [guests] [visitors] [lovers of people (barbaric)] [fill in with your word] which they did when they returned after a brief spell of [departure] [sampling] [lust] [observation] [lips-smacking] [everything-is-naked-and-golden-here] [fill in with your word]. no doubts, they returned with all their [feelings] [worries] [circumstances] and [beliefs] with all their [properties] [goods] and [bundles] their [smacking mattresses] [smashing mistresses] [knocking metals] all of their [animals] all of their [blitz] [fusillade] and [bombardments] [fill in with your word]— all the while claiming to be [tourists—and all of the above and your word].


my ancestors must have wondered what tourist visits hefting his [house] and [neighbourhood] carrying [guns] and [rifles] marching in [battalions] [desecrating] the [gods] and [deities] with all of [his expected benefits] his [mistresses' benefits] his future [wife’s benefits] his unborn [child's benefits] his [mayor’s] his [pastor’s] his [monarch’s]— all locked inside his [peace] sealed from [prying eyes]— except there was the [desire] to [stay] [plunder] and [never return] to their [homeland]. soon they were [colonists] [ruddy slave-masters] [land-holders] [neocolonists] [imperialists] [fill in with your word] and would fight tooth and nail to never be addressed [plunderers] [purloiners] [exploiters] [everything thievery and your word].


they own [the word] and might decide to call themselves [anything] they feel like and might decide to call us upon whom has been forced [the word] [anything] they feel like. so [i fight] over [the word] to [learn] to [survive] to [forge] myself into a [weapon] to [put] meals on my table, on my [mother’s table] and to [pray] to the [foreign god] [fiercely], [adopting] his [conquests] over the [black deities]. so [i learn] the [patterns] and [components] of [the word] of the [plunderers] the [hypocrites] to [stay upright] and [ideal] and [responsible] and [honest] and [loyal] and full of [integrity]. so [i learn] the [intricacies] of [the word] its [etymologies] [bruising meanings] [subtle supremacies] to [unlearn] [my black tongue] [my blank tongue] [my inkblot tongue] [my hoar- covered tongue] [my ruined-temple tongue] and [adopt] the language of the white [to be saved from him]. so [i write] with [the word] as [unnatural], as [feigning-white] as i can and [i am a retard] in a black school ruled by [english flags] in a country where [every black accent snows] and [i write] like a 7yo english girl who is yet to learn [the word] [thoroughly], except that she was born into it.


Aremu Adams Adebisi: "I am a Northern Nigerian writer, author of works inspired by natural vastness, published/forthcoming in Lucent Dreaming, Thimblelitmag, Third Wednesday Magazine, The Account Magazine, Cathexis Northwest Press, Terse Journal, and elsewhere. I curate ARTmosterrific and serve as an Associate Editor for Elartinia Magazine. I have appeared in Best 'New' African Poets Anthology and 20.35 Africa's Anthology of Contemporary Poetry. I tweet @aremudamsbisi."




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