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Abdulrazaq Salihu, TPC I, is a Nigerian poet and member of the Hilltop Creative Arts Foundation. He won the Splendours of Dawn poetry contest, BPKW poetry contest, Poetry Archive poetry contest, Masks literary magazine poetry award, Nigerian prize for teen authors (poetry), Hilltop creative writing award, and other awards. His works are published or forthcoming in Bracken, Poetry Quarter(ly), Rogue, B*k, Jupiter review, black moon magazine, Angime, Grub Street Literary Magazine and elsewhere. He’s the author of Constellations (poetry) and hiccups (Prose), and tweets @Arazaqsalihu. You can also find him on Instagram @Abdulrazaq._salihu


My father believed in the gene transformations

So we left the chromosomal alterations to the climate

Nobody had seen a boy with three eyes which means

Boys born into the 21st century only read of the dajjal

And this is not a proper way to say I’m bald

After the explosion in Nagasaki, my uncle said all

The children born near the city had special features

That accompanied their bodies A way to say some children didn’t have strong limbs

A way to say some children had no limbs A better way to say other children wanted

To speak but lacked the stimulus responsible for speaking A lot of things are strange in usual ways

My uncle would allow boys without fingers to mark the territory during our camping

Mother was a white chalk on the face of water Father never believed the rum had much to its name

Mother was a good cook and she wore her apron right Father was never a drunk and believed so much in karma

Mother used to weed the farm of snails Father was an artifact collector in the middle of the Nile

Mother was not much of science woman My brother loved to experiment on genetics

Mother was a Muslim She was not the type of woman that mutation would affect

Father was a beautiful calm butterfly His wings carried the death and spread the joy

Yesterday Brother became the Hulk Mother was the first to name him a monster

Father was second I ran from home through the clouds

A more formal way to say the apocalypse ate from my DNA too


The insecurities made me move to Scotland Into the quiet

town of Glasgow Famous for bagpipes and plaids and kilts

I moved this certain gbagyi worship song Into the

My favorites files Not for this cold nor for the loneliness It was

The natural course of beauty It reinstalled my accent

But left the memories of home

Loneliness is anywhere that is not home

The snow fell, It turned

My car into an ice sculpture

Many roads broke Many vehicles survived

Even after the big snowfall

All the boys in college had special clothes They wore on Tuesdays,

Cattle-skin and the warmth of fur on sagging bodies

Still, loneliness is anywhere that is not home

We heard of a ceratopsian

That terrorized the maps of North America and Mongolia

All the residents there ran into the airport and flew in bulk

And all the residents in Nigeria were banned From traveling

To certain beauties of the world I look

Nothing like my father yet I’m the only person

Fit enough to grow into his clothes A lot of things were lost to the

Wild wind that started from the wilderness

Still Loneliness is anywhere that is not home


Death is a wormhole And lost is only the beginning of every astral travel

& The nakedness of time is as rough As The skin of the cleopatras in 1678

Rolling our bodies into the light speed Is how we build slow worlds

And Through the speed of light Surpass them I cannot live in a world that feels I’m slow

Because I’m [10 x 6.02x 10^2] times faster than the spaceship

& I’m not too good with keeping to time/ keeping time

After the journey, in the year somewhere between 4560 & 4570 I’m met by faith and have had to ask:

Did we discover the safe time travel or did we start existing after the discovery

In the year 2022, did people still think water was a colorless & tasteless liquid?

Are we still bothered of the apocalypse or have we survive already ?

Is it safe that we were in the past, pass the present and now, somewhere between the galaxies disrupting normal lab-life?

Is it a coincidence that the strange horizons look so much like the seventh astral dimension?

Is this screen-arm technology or genetics?

Where is our next exploration set to go?

Are those paper planes you’re throwing into the moonfall or spaceships?

Today, I wake into the rosiness of Aya,

We might survive pass this time for all the January children in trance

& restructure our lives, again, for the seven thousandth time

Any time we have to hit the sky

Anytime we need to let things lose

This is not our home & And Aya Tell me Are we somewhere in the future?


1. Love is everything except the insecurities in your home

2. All the insecurities are what makes the chest a heavy sacrament

3. Love is water, here, heal me. Love is water, here, drown me

4. Love is the only time our bodies became a confluence of beautiful colors

5. Love is your soft-petal-lip caressing the tone of language

6. If a bullet equals death and nothing is blue, then a garden is a graveyard for flowers

7. Here, be engulfed by love, be colorful again

8. Though it might cut you, you’re protected

9. Cosec love = one divided by sin of 60 in trance

10. We all love the triangle; we seek the dust

11. A thousand stardust fell, mother, call us light again

12. Love raised by the power of -2 > grief and its variable x-gene

13. Love equals trust and we’re fallen angels and love equals truth equals Ve Ri Tas equals peace, at least, of mind

14. Your body is not love here sing Glory

15. I carry the cross, this time, for our rose to bridge the distance

16. Destiny, with its misfortunes, eludes my grasp

17. The day that God ignites a lover-boy, then fear my glow

18. Love is no equation of motion traversing all the little places without peace

19. Say, this is glory. Say this is warmth

20. Love is water, here, wash me clean Love is water, dear bot, stay away from love.


To be in total command is to start this

Ode with As-Salam: the source of peace

& safety. With the exceedingly merciful:

Ar-rahim. It’s to start with Salam, that peace

Be upon all the people I love, all the people they

Love and all the people our prayers couldn’t keep

Us with. The day begins with a crack, my brother

Is somewhere in the bathroom performing ghusl

To cleanse all that may alter his ibadah.

There’s a neighbor already in the masjid, call him

An early bird, those who open the early doors

Are like those that have sacrificed, by Allah, a camel.

I’m somewhere in ecstasy, perfuming myself, bless

The aura, bless the sunnah. If the long walk to the masjid,

Like the circular pilgrimage of worship would cause stain

To my garment then bless the stain and bless my leg’s

Strength. I’m counting my rosary and someone in the masjid

Is praying as many salat as possible and I feel left behind,

Like a bird in flight, angry that it can soar higher.

I’m left outside the masjid with the serenity that accompanies

A successful jummah, my nails know the drill, so does my cutter.

Siwaak in my mouth, yah rabb, cleanse my mouth of morsels

Of sins I may chew upon. I’m craving the Cave, 110 steps away

From consciousness. Alhamdu lillahil lazee anzala ala abdihil

Kitaba wa lam yaj’a lahoo iwaja; bless the book and bless the

Absence of deviance therein. I’m reciting khaf, at the end of

The Surah I’m reminded of shirk, that I never associate partners

With my lord. I’m sending blessings upon the messenger of Allah,

Allah is sending blessings upon me, the cycle goes on, the cycle

Goes on, the day is slowly fading into a Saturday, I’m still at the edge

Of the khaf; the cave, that this day has come, and may we live to

Witness its next arrival—salam be upon all the things we love.

Salam be upon us.


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