Isaac Akanmu


silly me — i think we’re celebrating. the misperceptions of summer. gunshots spurt. people disperse. sunrise and sunset over the wild west. i am 24. almost 25. hobbies: basketball, fashion, staying alive. favorite tagline: “it’s not that serious.” current aspirations: barbeque chicken, a cheeseburger, anti-perspiration. it’s a cookout after all. a big one at that. how many people do you know? same. i know you. and yankee-fitted-cap looks familiar. (over your left shoulder.) why are they arguing? (over your right shoulder.) looks intense. you ready to go? i’ve seen this film before — it’s a western. the scrape of nike air force ones on concrete. like the rattle of stomping boot spurs. pistols drawn quickly. dramatic scattering. extras screaming. (we’re extras here.) stray plastic — the new tumbleweed. they never shoot the target. still, they never miss.

row by row pews shriek
then the wood quiets to hear
his flyer whisper


death is a white light, they say. a static gleam near the tunnel’s end. red glare, blue glare, then red glare again — that’s motion. it is proof through the night of death’s tardiness. he must be stuck in traffic. he must be occupied with others. or outside with the commotion. red glare, blue glare, then red glare again. the blue glare was cut from this nation’s anthem. how does it go — “and the rocket’s red glare”? those rockets are no match for cop cars. for ambulances. for fire trucks. “red glare, blue glare, then red glare” again is a more fitting lyric to an anthem. perhaps it is already the anthem of another galaxy. the lights do indeed reach far and wide. far enough and wide enough to traverse space and disrupt time. and intrude the drape-less bedroom of a teenage alien who searches for rest in a tired song. perhaps red glare, blue glare, then red glare again is proof through the night that he too still lives.

picturesque take-off:
hot flame, vivid skies, jaws dropped,
plus burnt soil and grass


with the first pick, the kingpin selects…the crooked cop. tip-off. corner boy drops dimes. second unit. burglar with sticky fingers. halftime. hitman snatches bodies. crunchtime. pyromaniac on fire. end regulation. another game of basketball in pelican bay. fouls include shanks, strangling, poking, punching. none today. overtime. uncle sam has them under duress. clamped. shackled. locked up. the defensive player of the year. unanimous. four hundred years running.

few feathers float free
while three tree branches entrap
the pelican’s wings

Isaac Akanmu is a Nigerian American from Staten Island, NY. His poetry appears in Rejection Letters, cool rock repository, OROTONE Journal, and more. He lives in Charlotte, NC. Find Isaac on Instagram and Twitter.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.