Pandemonium by Inua Ellams

All is quiet. My room is a white canvas freshly drawn on, the grass – just pencil sketches and her words are forty shades of green. Her metaphors are emerald, similes are neon adjectives are kaleidoscopes of mostly monotone imaginings, I kneel on pillows that in her presence become tree stumps, the bedroom is all farmland, I am top sheep dog.

[private]I cock my leg and pee on tree stumps, my poetry meets root. Tree stumps begin to blossom, I yelp like a puppy bitten by possums, run behind the headboard and watch things unfold. She, lying on the bed, is never whole. She is dissipated – a thousand blades of tall grass. She is a million leaves, a handful of hibiscus petals; she is oak bark and acorn seeds. I bark, my breath becomes breeze twisting in she, petals shifting, a small storm cloud appears out of nowhere, I switch the light on and off enticing the thunder
strikes! Followed by rain, she reacts to the weather, I am the weather vane.

I am this metal melting. I am a ghetto boy made bashful beholding a beauty unfolding. She is an Iliad of bromeliads and boughs, the concave of her belly is the Amazon’s river bowl. Her arms are savannahs and white plains. I nosedive from them into the deep soft between her grand canyon. She trembles, she starts; high, in her troposphere, a snowstorm starts. She sees this room will not contain us, moves the desert of her foot towards the door. I am the skier in the blizzard on her back. We avalanche down the flight of stairs together, her shoulder bones are mountain ranges, her spine is a glacier.

She bursts out the front door teaming with crazy flora, vines and wild beasts, leaving spinning on the top step, in a crystal glass, a mixture of refined molasses, beetle berry and Australian amaryllis marinaded in new rain and I am certain, as a truth seeker having burned the book of lies I am certain, as I toast after her, certain, that everything will change:

– From now on,
pineapples will grow from street lamps,
that light filtered through fruits,
start a new trend
in nutrients.

– From now on,
phone boxes will be green
houses; in them, lilies will blossom
every time a loved one is called.

– From now on,
power lines will be replaced by vines
that cities run on photosynthesis,
traffic cones be tree stumps,
pavements be streams.

– From now on,
cluster bombs will be filled with seeds
that the falling sound of one
simply signify the oncoming
of a future harvest’s feed.

I am joyous, caught in this instance of reeds, growth through crazy paving and rippling puddles of mead. Then sky darkens, grass recedes, I see a bold mist in the distance: a pandemonious haze of jade hues rustling. The carbon smog gets bigger. I dive across the front porch as it blasts through the front door, landslides up the stairs. I climb this crumbling gradient of an inner leg but forests fire me. Attempt to hurry across her thigh, but caned senseless, I am tidal waved to her now barren belly, tornado twisted to melting snowcaps and thawing spine.

I turn her over. Returned, deformed, she is held together by withering vines, her arms are sun-baked, pupils are oil spills. She cries black tears that poison lakes, I am the swan swimming in it; I’ll pawn my wings for my friend’s sake. She is fading around me, her shivers are earthquakes, the bedroom is graveyard, her words are forty shades of grey.

All is quiet once again save this rising noise: the sound of passing emeralds, the havoc of hurricanes and she, a fading friend.[/private]

Inua Ellams’ critically acclaimed first pamphlet, The 13 Fairy Negro Tales, was published by Flipped Eye in 2005, and his first play, The 14th Tale, is currently running at the National Theatre. He is a poet, performer and writer.

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