The Sierra Leone Web

Suricia Yatiana Conteh, in February 1996, was a final year student at Fourah Bay College reading English Literature, and a passionate reader and writer. She describes her poems as non-traditional because they almost always defy the rules and regulations of traditional poems.  


Instructions on Survival

Arms outstretched so far it
embraces the Sahara desert,
not minding the scorching heat
as it tortures her like a thief.
Cutting deep into her flesh,
but not as deep as the knife
That is now a permanent
resident of her withered heart.
Pain will never be discussed.
Though roses bloom and flourish
yet grieves in the silent whispers
of her wails. Memories she carries
on her back wide, like Atlantic Ocean
surprises her with each sound that roars,
tumbles out of her sub conscious.
Reality then a rainbow, threatens
with thunderstorms and lightening.
After the sun sets and the wind gently
whispers, her long outstretched hands,
and fluttering heart on this desert,
never understood the pain
of losing someone you love.


The Body

I sing my mind
and all its little
who cares about a body that will rot?

I do not sing my body but my mind
because this glorious ripe body withers,
shrivels up into dried prominent bones,
not too far from now. But my mind
my minefield, my treasure chest
the very essence of life will live on.

Mark my words in this empty space.
My ashy bold body understands, observes
the persistent will of the mind to live.
It is evident in the actions of my body,
so come closer, lean more towards it
for I cannot sing my body loud enough
to fill the void of silence. My mind
has become the steady throbbing hum.

With each labored breath or light twitch
or sound kick or heavy thrust,
the mule will not leave. Clustered
into a tiny space it demands for room
to stretch its depth and spread its roots
because it has but one song stuck in its mouth
a song about himself and not my golden body.

A song about these scraggy, oily, unmentionable
luscious mouth, curved lips, and deep eyes the prototype
of beauty will sound just how it looks….superficial.
My mind is aware it looks too radical and deep,
so the rain is its one true friend. Deep conversations
that illustrates its strange faith in the hypothetical.
It waters the mind profusely whilst whistling,
a song about my mind and how it will grow.

I cannot sing the body properly
I should not sing the body ever
I have no will or reason to do so
because I have been hugged so tight
death smiled at my pains,
I cannot sing the body but the mind.


What If I Wake Up Tomorrow in the Grave?

Deep and dark and suffocating.
What will I have to say to brave
The loss and the deep tightening
Of my chest? Nothing but horror,
Nothing but pure and true madness.
For if I leave this world as it is or
I am brutally forced to make amends
With the trembling voices lodged
In the corners and recesses of my heart.
I cannot for the life of me dodge
Any stray bullet that will start
The unfinished journey of life.


Evidence of Her Heart

Two people different, just as my
treasured marbles under the sunshine

changes its color but it doesn't
mean when I need comfort it won't come.

So I am with Silver, and ever since from
the beginning it was a mutual respect the

helpless barking pup crawled from the skies
and dumped into my life. The first days it

Only saw the difference between which comes
from unbelief. Soon he became the Silver from

which he was named. Boundaries became the
indicator to go farther to show his true love

for this soul who walks on two legs and in-
sists, that I fetch the damn ball to get my

daily rub and treats. This isn't the dog's
life where we live, but it is in my eyes.