Chaotic Gymnasium

the morning after the bus plunged into the river, 32 made it to the water base, bus-wrecked.

& we took threnody to the shoreline. at least to remind waters that

a madman shares with the household when his dead body decomposes near

the pavement. 32 teeth i have, bear the
victims of the wreck, each. & somewhere,

a man tattoos the wall lines & names them 32 polyphyletic sons of bloody waters.

that's how adults draw the dead to their breastbones. to know this more,

put crickets in the brimmed basin—
an experiment of chaos & chaos.

only then you know tragedy has less euphemism. only then you know at the

lurking of tragedy, everyone becomes
selfish, reckless & helpless.

because right now, a mother battles to save her body, leaving her child backed

down the chasm in the water floor.
i empty tears here not on the water,

because even this river mourns reddish
than our eyes can carry. such displeasure

differentiating s from d—
which by the conflicting initials,

swimming —a brief excursion until your
          mother calls home.               &

drowning —a chaotic gymnasium
        at the ruthlessness of waters.

About this poem

The poem, “Chaotic Gymnasium” is an elegy to the victims who drowned in the water while their vehicle lost control of the gear. They were submerged at night, and nobody came to their rescue. It’s when the news is aired on the radio that some photojournalists went alongside the drone to lift them out of the water, but before then, they have already given up the ghost. Only the bus is lifted using the drone. The title of the poem clears the air enough to bury every line in the mind. At first, some little children think they are swimming, not knowing they are drowning. On the second thought, they think such could be “Chaotic Gymnasium”; the first of its kind. As part of cultural practices, their relatives took their dead bodies and buried them. To keep remembering the ugly incident, they make sure their dead don't go out of memory. Some marks on the wall. Some sculpted their images in the front of their houses. Some keep the enlargement of their portraits in their offices or work p 

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Submitted by benokechukwu13 on July 29, 2022

Modified on March 08, 2023

1:06 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic hexameter
Characters 1,154
Words 219
Stanzas 15
Stanza Lengths 1, 1, 1, 2, 1, 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2

Nweke Benard Okechukwu

Nweke Benard Okechukwu is a Nigerian poet. A cosmetician. He writes from the metropolitan city of Onitsha. Some kilometres away from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka in Anambra State where he's an undergraduate in Mass Communication. His works have appeared/are forthcoming in New Yorker, West Trade Review, Mudroom magazine, Brittle paper, Poetry Foundation, & elsewhere. Reach him on Twitter & Instagram at @romeobenokechukwu. more…

All Nweke Benard Okechukwu poems | Nweke Benard Okechukwu Books

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