Rumpus Original Poetry: Three Poems by Michael Akuchie





A Wound Streams Blood

Think of me as a flower
exercising a right to peek at the world
then succumbing to the hand of what plucks me.
Think of the universe as a beast that
bares its teeth, charges against
whatever appears to be unworthy of a challenge.
Think of a bird with its sides shot
& the idea of flying a coo of falsehood.
Think of a cry that lactates danger.
Think of my eyes as an ocean & each pupil
a boat paddling my dreams far away.
Think of a body’s descent over
a cliff, a thud the ground resounds.
A wound streams blood.


Alcohol in the Stomach, Sadness in the Heart

Chatter about the pale state
of my country ricochets
off the walls of the bar
at my street before
it slips into the night wind.
As my feet proceed beyond
a neon entrance, they find
a corner not entirely permeated
with the loudness of throats.
Halfway down a bottle of lager beer,
I commune with the bartender, avail
myself of the company
that is only a glimpse
into the suburbs of joy.
Immersed in the froth that climbs
down the glass, these ears record
a parade of hisses.
I speak of how terrifying it is to be seen
as a brand of nonachievement today.
My country dries one’s stream
of willpower known to coax the
body into a reason to survive.
A third of my country’s stares
is a frenzy of disgust, empathy
dressed in absence.



One half
of my head legislates
an improvement
of the room’s lighting—
morning raying against
the curtains, a profusion.
The other half tastes
the injury
a headache     presents
to a commune of thought.
Birdsong surges inside
& my ears stitch
new             meanings
from coo & trill.


Photograph of Michael Akuchie by Sopuruchukwu Ofoegbu.

Michael Akuchie is an Igbo-Esan poet. Wreck, a chapbook manuscript (winter 2020, The Hellebore Press) was selected by José Olivarez to win the 2019-2020 Hellebore Poetry Scholarship Award. He is a four-time nominee for Best of the Net and one-time nominee for The Orison Anthology respectively. Winner of the 2020 Roadrunner Poetry Prize, he tweets at @Michael_Akuchie and reads submissions for Frontier Poetry. He has poems forthcoming with Poet Lore, Cosmonauts Avenue, Ecotheo Review, Whale Road Review, Gordon Square Review, and Moon Child Magazine. More from this author →