Self-Portrait as a Poem

Adesiyan Oluwapelumi

I am sitting in my study, the words of Anne Carson’s book, Autobiography of Red, before me. My reading lamp sits illumined: my way of euphemizing that I’m merely reading a book and not divulging into the life of a seclusive persona.

As I read, I am overwhelmed by a myriad of emotions; happiness and sadness, death and life into a perfect mish-mash. I reason Carson could not have experienced this. How could she? She was a mortal with an elastic endurance!

The pages, as white as fleece, bleed the tears of a woman in agony and I can smell so clearly the putrid stench of crimson oozing.

Sometimes, I wonder if she was as honest as this – an open book. Did she want to publish this book or was her life just the right “fiction” readers wanted to feast their cinematic eyes upon?

All I know for sure is before me lies a woman supposed to be cremated, the pages her skin and the words her innards.

I am dissecting her, looking for something undefined. How could I find a story in a woman when she was the story?

I dig into her like an archeologist in search of buried secrets. I do not apologize for my discourteous infringement.

As I read, I imagine, if in a conversation, would she be as intimate and open as this.

But isn’t this where it bridges, the poem defying to be just a poem.

Poetry to me is more or less a confession, a metaphorical bloodletting. It defiles revealing the poet’s blood only and instead seeks to bleed

Adesiyan Oluwapelumi,TPC XI, is an African writer whose works particularly present a social commentary on the intersectionality between memory, language, identity, religion and selfhood.