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ENDLESS SKY Winner - Michael Imossan

by Matthew Magill

"Those who are lost at the sea of a country crumbling under the weight of bad governance."

The second poetry competition, Endless Sky, has come to an end with the winning piece: Michael Imossan's Lost at sea. From all the wonderful submissions we received, we loved the layering of Lost at sea and its take on the competition prompt as the endless void of the sea, horizon, and our own memories. Addressing themes of national identity and violence, Lost at sea moves from gothic pastoral to an emotive piece on family and loss. Below is the full version of Lost at sea:

on the boat, the boatsman kept dipping his paddle

in and out of water like fingers in the art of teasing

& each time, i watched as the sea crack its lips into

a giggle —goosebumps growing on its back a

ritual of ripples. in the near, the sun edged behind

fishermen who strung prayers to the tip of their hooks

as baits sunk into the bottom of the sea

only to haul back a school of emptiness. the emptiness

grew into songs. the sun, caught in the calmness of

water danced to its rhythm. there's always a correlation

between light and sound; how they both struggle

for speed. in the far, i saw the sea kiss the sky, their lips

thinning into oblivion horizon. what sits back in our

eyes as beauty? what loneliness walks out of here?

night sidled up to us from the east. i watched

the sun drowning. aren't some songs suffocating?

the moon blossomed over the sea. we waded closer

to shore & the seaweeds, green as fatherland reminded

me of home, of a tiny portrait: mum & dad & i sitting at the

dinner table. beside me, a chair is empty. in the faintness of

night, i grope the emptiness to know who should be

there. i feel my brother wrapped in country's cloth. in

the absence of light, the hands become a window to the eyes.

i stretch farther into remembrance to find a hole on his

forehead blackening like a wilting rose. his body solid,

cold as a bullet's heart. i pull closer to him, as if to hug him,

as if to remake him into liquid, into warm water,

into little tenderness. someone is singing the national

anthem, please beg him to stop. some songs are suffocating.

my food sours. father calls to me. the boatsman yells my

name. anchored to memory, i have forgotten what the living

want from me. what crawls under my vein when the sun is

not looking?

For this competition, we were searching for pieces that explored the feeling of expanse, space, and distance. I spoke with Michael about his own writing journey and feelings on the piece:

What first drew you to creative writing or poetry?

Well, I can’t really say exactly what drew me to creative/poetry writing except that I was groomed in it. My mother was a lover of literature and used to read me books, especially Shakespeare’s, and my dad encouraged reading of literature as well. So I ventured into studying arts and falling in love with the beauty of language.


Related: Some other Radical Art Review shit


What was the inspiration behind Lost at sea?

Most of my recent poems are inspired by the situation of my “fatherland”; the constant killing of her citizens without little or no effort from the government to stop it.