Poetry / Poets / Writers / Writing

3 Poems by Robert Okaji

That it shudders through
and presages an untimely end,

that it transforms the night’s
body and leaves us

breathless and wanting,
petals strewn about,

messenger and message in one,
corporeal hosts entwined,

that it moves, that it blends,
that it withdraws and returns without

remorse, without forethought, that it
increases, expands, subtracts,

renders, imposes and releases
in one quick breath, saying

I cannot feel but I touch,
I cannot feel.

Nocturne with a Line from Porchia

Everything is nothing, but afterwards.
I rise and the moon disturbs the darkness,
revealing symbols, a few stolen words

on the bureau. Tomorrow I’ll express
my gratefulness by disappearing be-
fore I’m found, which is to say goodbye

before hello, a paradigm for the
prepossessed. Compton tells us to imply
what’s missing, like Van Gogh or Bill Monroe,
but why listen to the dead before they’ve

stopped speaking? Unfortunately we throw
out the bad with the good, only to save
the worst. I return to bed, and the floor
shifts. Nothing is everything, but before.

This figure of complexity
persuades a lingering

glance, the two-fold
inclination entwined,

horror expressed
in tandem, the sons’

limbs compressed
as the father struggles,

realizing true
sacrifice, the inward

grasp of storm and
wrath and serpent,

his face
echoing those yet

to come, breached
walls, a city in

flames, the cries
of warnings unheeded.


Robert Okaji’s s work has appeared in Prime Numbers Magazine, Otoliths, the Silver Birch Press Self-Portrait Series, Vayavya, Four Ties Lit Review, and Ditch, among others.


51 thoughts on “3 Poems by Robert Okaji

  1. Pingback: Three Poems in The Blue Hour Magazine | O at the Edges

  2. Excellent, Bob! The rhymes of the sonnet are so subtle that I didn’t even recognize it as the sonnet you mentioned until I read all three again, looking for the sonnet! Duh!


  3. Congratulations on having your poems included in the anthology. They’re absolutely stunning – I particularly liked Laocoon, but actually each one was beautiful in its simplicity and purity and profundity.

  4. Robert, as always, I love how you’ve seized on many an opportunity to make malleable the words, stretching what could be a ‘low’ pu, in lesser hands or minds, into a meaningful, highborn metaphor in each poem. On the individual word-level, “shudders” (perhaps because of all your “Shutters” poems I’ve read), “paradigm for the/prepossessed,” and “afterwards” (afterwords!) sing out to me. Sonnets are a tough nut to throw open, but here you’ve done it again. Bravo on the diction as ever.

  5. I love all three, Robert. I’m especially fond of the lines,
    “that it transforms the night’s
    body and leaves us

    breathless and wanting,
    petals strewn about,”

    So lovely and evocative.

    I’m making my way back from a week of being sickness, feeling deathly ill, though I guess that couldn’t have been true, since I’m still here, though not all the way back. Happy New Year!

  6. Pingback: Slipping through the cracks. | Live Love Laugh

  7. Thanks for the follow. And thank you fore the poetry here. I particularly enjoyed your sonnet: the contradictions of the conjectures in a creative tension with the formal structure of the sonnet form itself. It so happens that I have a book of sonnets myself–My Gargantuan Desire–which I present as prose poems. I first wrote formal Shakespearean sonnets, then dissolved the lines into their composite sentences.

    I look forward to reading more of you work.

  8. Thanks Robert! Your awesomes are very encouraging! I like your poems! I’m sort of new at blogging–been a siter until this year–so–I have a hard time keeping up with my followers but I do try to keep up with you! 🙂

  9. Pingback: Nocturne with a Line from Porchia | O at the Edges

  10. Pingback: Laocoön | O at the Edges

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