‘TO THOSE WHO STEAL GRIEF’, ‘PERDITA’ & ‘FORGETTING TO REMEMBER’ (three poems by Kukogho Iruesiri Samson)

Photo by Mikhail Nilov
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you who stole grief 

& milked bereaved eyes
to water your wasteland

what shall you tell them
when they ask of you:
"is this your grief?"

can you say you lost
what was never yours?
should you harvest tears
where you sowed no smile?


will we ever be truly happy
     not condensing a handful of tears
     for one granule of happiness
     or cracking macadamian sorrow
     for one mouthful of joy
     that goes with a swallow

will we ever truly live
     not breathing through our mouths
     and swallowing through our eyes
     not eating to stay alive
     and staying alive to eat

will we ever truly be seen
     not like salt: ignored among 
     the condiments it sweetens
     because it is colourless

will we ever truly win
     not fighting interminable battles
     against the enemy of self

will we ever truly die 
     not lying with the moon to rise with sun

tell me: will we


There's Happiness in Forgetting & Remembering 
but we often never find it in our wanderings:
for we Forget what we should Remember 
& Remember what we should Forget… 

We travel into cobwebbed memories
to recycle our long-binned pains
into brand new Unhappiness.

Kukogho Iruesiri Samson is a Nigerian writer, communications professional, and publishing entrepreneur. Kukgoho has authored four poetry books: What Can Words Do (2013); I Said These Words (2015); Words of Eros (2017); We Who Sowed Hurt & Beaded Pains (2017, 2019); and a novel, Devil’s Pawn (2020). He is the recipient of the 2018 GT Bank Dusty Manuscript Prize, the 2017 ANA Prize for Fiction (first runner-up), the 2016 Nigerian Writers Award (NWA) for Best Poet in Nigeria, and the 2012 Orange Crush Poetry Prize. Aside from managing the assisted-authorship firm, Authorpedia Publishers, he is the editor-in-chief of CỌ́N-SCÌÒ Magazine, a quarterly literary publication. He is known for his efforts to promote Nigerian writing and for working with young Nigerian writers.