Heaven Is A Metaphor — Samuel A. Adeyemi
Praxis Magazine Online is honoured to present our newest poetry chapbook, Heaven Is A Metaphor by Samuel A. Adeyemi.
The Germain poet Rainer Maria Rilke comes to mind when you read Samuel A. Adeyemi, who is perennially in confrontation with the universe; in both poets’ work is the artist’s arrival of his antagonism towards the orthodoxy of everything. Rilke:
I believe in all that has never yet been spoken
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for
may for once spring clear
without my contriving
If this is arrogant, God, forgive me . . .
“God, forgive me,” is the recurring voice-in-the-wilderness floating on the poems in Adeyemi’s chapbook Heaven Is A Metaphor, as he fears himself, like a prodigal, leaving his Father, “reminiscing the days/ the Psalms comforted me—He set my feet/ upon a rock.”
I became interested in Adeyemi’s poetry because I believe he possesses a dangerous voice, a voice of his age swelling with protestations against the hard ceilings of oppression from all corners. He makes God into this synecdoche of oppression on his generation and targets his agitations at Him. That the baggage of religious thought taken to its extreme where not only the dogmatic has been crowned, but stupidity celebrated in place of progress, must be unloaded. Importantly, however, his agitations are very personal. This anti- energy is, however, more confessional than militaristic in his poems: he pleas rather than confront. But it is a subtle legerdemain fashioned to stir even the meekest minds to criticise themselves, their thoughts and their ultimate participation to collective existence.
“I wonder why the insignificant also suffers,” he bemoans in “Pocket-sized Nihilism.” Who understands this torment? This is just an example of Adeyemi’s chaos, and the poems show a sense of his soul at the precipice of endurance. In “Against Introversion,” is yet another grievance:
So much of the world is violent.
At least, to my gentle soul. I go
outside and it is a furnace whirling;
I, an arrow aimed at its centre.
There is also grief in this chapbook, a subject almost staple among emergent voices today. There’s also the theme of family, which for the poet is a buffer to his grief; and a mother who seeks healing and refuge from all known and strange afflictions that burdens Adeyemi’s fragile heart. But shall he turn to heaven, which he calls a metaphor in this chapbook, for escape? It is a trick on him, on us. Our existence even is a metaphor.
For more on the Praxis Chapbook Series, please click here.
Samuel A. Adeyemi is a young writer from Nigeria. A Poetry Editor at Afro Literary Magazine, he is a Best of the Net Nominee and the winner of The Yellow House Library Prize for Creativity and Teex Prize for Performance 2021. His poems have appeared in Palette Poetry, Frontier Poetry, 580 Split, Afapinen, The Maine Review, Blue Marble Review, Brittle Paper, Jalada, and elsewhere. When he is not writing, he enjoys watching anime and listening to a variety of music. You may reach him on Twitter and Instagram @samuelpoetry
Carl Terver is a Nigerian poet, critic and essayist. He writes from Makurdi and is the author of the poetry chapbook For Girl at Rubicon. His forthcoming poetry collection is The Memory of Now.