I LOVE YOUR POEM!: Rob Geisen on Olatundji Akpo-Sani’s “Momus and Moria”

This is part of the “I LOVE YOUR POEM!” series, in which people submit on behalf of local poets whose work they admire and write about why they do. The idea is not only to highlight great work, especially from those who may not submit the work themselves, but also to create a big gushy lovefest in the community. If you’re interested in submitting on behalf of a local poet you love you can check out the submission guidelines here

Reading an anthology of Boulder Poetry Scene poets without a Tundji poem in it would be like trying to listen to a Yardbirds album without a record player. It can be done, if you’re on Gilligan’s Island maybe, and you talk the Professor into rigging something up, but trust me, it’s gonna sound like coconuts.

He may not physically be around anymore (because he’s presently off being physically over-there in Australia), but when he was here goddamn it, he was HERE! 

Olatundji Akpo-Sani is an original poet, a soul-healing mechanic with words on both paper and stage, a dedicated defender of truth, justice, and what now? the as-of-not-so-recently Australian way! 

Maybe. I’m not so sure about that last bit. I know pretty much nothing about Australia, but I do know Tundji, so whatever injustice they’ve got poking around on that big chunk of land that lies one long $1000 plane ticket away on the other side of all those seas, he’s got his notebook sharpened for a fight and is poking back, with flair! 

His Boulder Poetry Scene street-cred accolades include; once upon a time co-host of the weekly poetry open mics that used to live at Album’s Bistro, The Burnt Toast, and The No Name Bar on The Hill, founder of Baobob Tree Press (a Boulder chapbook press dedicated to publishing Boulder Poets back in those Burnt Toast days), and event organizing/birthday eggplant parmesan making/community forging guru. 

I could’ve easily picked any poem he’s ever written, but the poem that I ended up picking was Momus & Moria.

I’m not going to waste any word count pointing out what makes this poem especially better or not better than any of the other stuff I count myself lucky enough to have been around to hear Tundji read on stage back in his Boulder days. It’s a poem. When you read it yourself, you’ll like what you like about it. One thing I will say about Momus & Moria, in my best Han Solo cameo/role-reprising The Force Awakens tone of voice; “It’s true. All of it. The Force/Cool Cal. The Jedi/Un-copulating Couple. All of it.”

I was there when he wrote this one, sitting in our old booth at a little place, in a galaxy that some nights feels too far away, once called The Catacombs, a time before The Empire rolled in and replaced all the bartenders with mixologists. Back when you could still get a gin in tonic in this town for $1.50, prepared by a bartender who’d actually read your new book.

We wrote together there all the time, Tundji and me, where the humbuggery and bushwacking abound. When I read “Momus & Moria” it feels like I’m sitting beside him again. Maybe that’s why I picked this one. Maybe not. It’s 2 o’clock in the morning and I’m out of Poker Face episodes to plow through. I should’ve paced things better than this. 

What the fuck do I know? 

Rob Geisen, aka “Get in the Car Helen,” is the author of Paper Thin, Beautiful Graveyards, and The Aftermath etc… He was co-editor of Baobob Tree Press and co-host of the Album’s Bistro, Burnt Toast, and NoName readings in Boulder.