Felix Bongjoh

A Rising Tornado

(based on scene of torture in Cameroun)


Is this a broken tornado
fired into a sky's chest?
I hang from a cliff's blade,

another wind my only
song drifted to the edge
of a bamboo bridge

sinking into a flooded river
of wet wails and screams.

How does the fueled
and throttled tall pole
of a jumping wind
change course, curl into itself,

when space is narrowed
to the thin edge
of another stretched smirk,

winding slashes sketched
by scythe
and razor-edged blades
running from jawbone

to a somersaulting chin
not yet chopped off to hang
in red drips of air?

When a man's arrowed nose
strokes sky's forehead,
a scattered smile of death

slashes temples and cheeks
hanging like rising hills.


This croaking wind
of cracked whips
has sailed in, scorpions
in their grip,

a muscled zigzag
trimmed and clean,
these paced wriggles.

Angled and curved,
these cracking stoops
and gentle rises.

How does a wind
twist and bow and curl,

its joints unwrenched
to fold up knees
forward to touch its forehead?

The young man
whining under snaky vines
sings to the gods,

as he twists his broken ribs
into another kneel,
a flagellation pouring out

lions and panthers
from a torturer's inner bowl

dripping with more hemlock
for a kneeling
screaming lad to drink.


A bleating goat,
his only horns
thicker than a buffalo's.

Growing from
hands curved
to break
on his back and chained.

Legs folded back up
to the spine
and padlocked
with a banging click.

Such is the rising tornado
of a young man
aboard an aircraft
taking off for death.

Topic(s) of this poem: torture

Poem Submitted: Monday, September 7, 2020
Poem Edited: Monday, September 7, 2020

Form: Free Verse

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Comments about A Rising Tornado by Felix Bongjoh

  • Denis MairDenis Mair (9/8/2020 12:28:00 PM)

    You have peered into the twister's heart and brought its tempestuous dynamic to paper. Its off-kilter course creates drag that saps its vortex. Like any perturbation it runs itself down. In hindsight it becomes a FORCE MAJEURE, to be summarized as exculpatory evidence after one has brought an indictment against oneself.

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