Two Short Nights Collaborations: A Poem From Akulah Agbami

This year, Two Short Nights Film Festival has had the privilege of working with a number of creative collaborators, including Akulah Agbami. Akulah Agbami is a poet, playwright, producer, and creative wonder woman. She is the Artistic Director of Sheba Soul Ensemble and FLY! A festival of black women's film.

Akulah has created this poetic piece in response to the juxtapositions and murmurs between the films included in the Shorts #3: Happy Families screening. The poem has been illustrated by Exeter Phoenix's designer Darren Shaddick.

Gronde Marmaille

Rain, rain, go away

Clouds come and go
And a grandmother slumbers

Children dance on hilltops
Imploring rain
squabble                    draw lines
on hilltops leading to tents
dance in rain
arms outstretched
to merge with the land
to conjure the power
in nature

in you
slick shots
lens outstretched
to conjure the power
in nature

to conjure the power
in view

An illustration of two people dancing on a hilltop in the rain

scrum
a woman
stands
framed and there
is no escape
from  the pain
you watch them fall
try to stop them fall
they don't/can/t listen
at all
it was not this at the beginning

An illustration of two women locked in rugby scrum

you remember stroking another
woman's hair

remember all that balled up
love awaiting release

you will always be there
be fretting and watching

washing and wondering
rules of the game

and she knows where she stands
two tower blocks
standing

together

the granddaughter

reverently
wipes doors
finds things
rings
finds essences and mysteries

mamani

almost vanished into
air

the plants all shrouded

then the call comes

you take away the mask put
on a smile
and point out new buds
the miracle

of life
of constant unexpected
growing
even in the face of

death

Mairi
amusement arcades
are devoid
of fun

suggesting loneliness
emptiness
the dissatisfaction
in a plastic giant
ice cream

which never melts

naturally the
reunion
with one who has cast
you off
to fight her demons
just be thrust away

sea swirls
and swerves
and is

and all the wisdom
in the grandmother's summaries
of life which fails
to take account

of all you've lost and gained

a late night knock
a phone call recalling
the inevitability
of lock and key

a boxed up proof
of how you stand in love

it is a tide that never turns

the photo never lies

post partum
images
and sounds

the loss of all
control
the descent into
madness
and chaos
and loss and recovery

and the beauty

of the call

An illustration of a hand stroking a woman's hair

De Berde
let out
of hell to another hell
to an endless hell

to smudges and the seagull's
cackle

smudge away distance
smudge away echoes
smudge away searching

the birds fly in flocks
migrate
and then return

they have no need
of permission

illustration of a seagull

Winter Coat
is more than just a garment
more than just a remnant

it's a substitute
for days and nights
when there was no portal
for love no way in

a walk a pie a trip to
a charity shop

let me find a way
to keep you
warm

ma'am
we all pretend
wear masks
leaking
think about harming
ourselves
one way or another
call out for love
empty promises

male remonstrances
as if an archbishop
could understand

Illustation of an orange coat lined with stars

there is only so much
anyone can take
make no mistake

having to pose for
the world babe draped

the drugs the drink

it was no this at the
beginning

escape

A woman holds an orange mirrr and poss

All of the short films that inspired this creative writing are available to watch online from 18 - 26 Feb as part of Two Short Nights Shorts #3: Happy Families screening. Find out more at twoshortnights.com

Published Wed 17 Feb 2021