Category Archives: Poetry

Weals from the Rain “What ear to our sobbing hearts?” -Birago Diop. We lost them– our brothers that darted outside to set the drums to the catchment & never returned. Yesterday night, we longed for rain on our roofs. & it rained–it rained cats and dogs. This morning, Our verandah was lost in the flood of blood. “Blood is libations that cleanse your roofs, & appease the gods of golden waters.” said the village priest. Alas, for our brothers who now live only in our dreams, no grain of wheat to hold our hopes, nor there a rain to water our mouths– their deaths on our bodies are weals from the rain. Tonight, we dread longing for another rain, but again, the sky is ready to strike us with her cold, long & tiny hands. “What ear to our sobbing hearts?” Yesterday macerated our hopes. Tomorrow’s deeds are lurking in the…

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IF ALL THE SCARS IN MY HEART WERE LADIES, THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN GROWN ENOUGH TO BE WEARING BRAS After Zainab Kuyizhi The walls of my heart has grown into a bonfire I wear these scars like old habits. once, a girl searched through my heart & ended up not finding flowery sinews or veins, but skulls of my adversaries. & ain’t we all glued to this madness like icicles during winter? once, I threw some banquet of roses & it landed on the same garden where my older brother threw His. the war of love began & it ended when we became the ashes to its flames. I, too, attempted to tug love inside of me like a second skin but failed & still failed. what does it mean to not see a side of love in God’s many faces? the last time I thought of love, I almost became a…

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Shapes of no more Victor Uwaifo said: you buy shirt     shirt tears if God creates soul     soul will go back to its owner the body that we use minimally would turn sands     so i could not tell you to stay & if i break    cascades down goodbye,     goodbye handful of body-sands thrown to the teeth of a starving abyss i won’t cry     for I know i could not hold back your slipping away not that this washes away any pain so many things i want to say      to you just yesterday,     Papa & i writing the biography of you you again felt the weight of those three tubers of yam on your head as you put the soles of your feet on the footprints of your father trekking miles away to the object of desire again you in your childhood backyard when the darkness of noon came with a 1947…

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Anxiety is a way of life Filter Like a sieve, I am drained Of every dewdrop of happiness Through the mesh of my hollow body. And I– dust in the fireworks of light Escape the drizzling storms of darkness. I– billowed tusk of winterbourne Streaming down into a gorge Of landscaped realities Acculturate the mimesis of shame. Here, fear is a fleece wool Unfurling in the cotton eyes Of a cowardly man.  And every prayer is the blossoming Of nightmares, before they ripen In the garden of dreams. Residue The cremains of dead memories Haunt us alike. In fragments, we break into our death. Say every light born of darkness Must return in a wave-tide motion to its origin. Say the mind is a haunted gallows And we wheel thoughts along Like cringing vehicles enduring The bruising art of locomotion. Say to move is to steer the gears of the…

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Pashing a Roadmap of Gloom [5:20 am]: I woke up with all my woes written boldly in my heart, I woke up with all the silence of yesteryears reigning in my body. My rosary is a strangled neck aiming to carry its burden with ease. The night before, a girl tried to carry my third leg with her tender arms, it’s the ritual here, for a girl to proffer pleasure to the boy she thought looks seductive, the music in it is played and the pants could only listen to its lyrics It’s hard to control the song, it’s hard, it’s hard, and I won’t survive any humiliation if the lyrics echo into her hands, I submerged my body into the darkness of the night [5:5:30 am]: I’m still left strangling the sticks in my rosary, with repeated litanies making their way into my mouth, mother said life will be…

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No One Wants to Write an Elegy The disposition of the gravelike an openmouth.Cut is the stalkthat might have grown fullystraight. We trampledew-wet grasses finely latticed with day-oldspider webs. No onewants to write an elegy.The cruelty of sweet-smellingearth, the wet thump as it splashesoff the shovels. And already there is nothing left to see. As evening comes birds go quietlyinto the dark. Relatives fill upthe gaping rooms. We sitaround the hearth, watchingthe flames lick up mounds ofdry sugarcane pulp. And the old womencover the silence with their weeping. Contributor’s Bio Ridwan Badamasi is a Nigerian. He writes from the ancient city of Kano. A Biochemistry undergrad at Bayero University, his works have appeared in Praxis Magazine, Kalahari Review, Salamander Ink Magazine, and elsewhere. You can find him on Instagram: @pluetarch. Also, via email at [email protected].

19 LINES FROM FRAGMENTS OF MY LOVE She carries the gods in her palm, and her painting, on the brittle glass, some grey-ash primroses, hummingbirds and some rose flowers lurking in her toes too. I wrote her name on my palm—her home. I feel how enthralling it is to have someone I love on the walls of my hands, I rewrite it, and a smile is engraved on my cheek. Her hair flutters, shuttering at the conundrums on the streets of Ikeja, which murdered her sweet smiles, and resurrecting it into a canto, filled with butterflies and sprouted petals. She glows the verses on the thin lines from the inklings written on the timber barks, then her iris, made the darkened room a burst of sunshine. Take! A cup from the afterlife, all things visible, half of a moon, in the skins of a bruised tooth and some tattered breadfruits—…

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i redeem their emptiness with food i. God indoctrinated me a lesson in the afternoon:             solve, b + h – w =?               that is, boy + hunger… – water =? interpretation:             a bridge; underneath, the sleeping boy    unlearned the colour             of his skin     or hometown & slept       winter’s blanket a faucet: solution:              ab + h – w =?    that is, [a boy + hunger… – water =?]             = ab + h – w = q + t             that is, [a boy + hunger – water = quivering + thirstiness]         = ab + h – w = q + t ≠ s         that is, [a boy + hunger – water = quivering + thirstiness ≠ survival]             ∴ = quietus.  interpretation: if no drop of water has danced on the boy’s tongue &    a scalpel hunger   forgot to collect the cuts on…

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Lifestyle How wicked a space is to a body is notable in the way  a bird puts a stop to its song of hope, while I am still  drawing strength from its lyrics, while in the wood. I have been here on most days of my life, a place I share  with lonely little things. There is an earthworm burrowing  into the earth and I am reminded how grief screws into my body. In another interpretation, I am searching for a space to call home. The earth is not running perhaps because it has no home elsewhere.  Tell me where is large enough to welcome its vastness, its history of motherhood, the forlorn creatures hidden beneath its wings? In the way it orbits the sun, I think it pleases the earth to relocate.  Little me welcomes little things. Isn’t this the way of life: the pelting of plagues like algae…

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Riddles of a Lost Boy I am something— wandering  is my native heirloom. my ancestors,               shifting lands &  shape-shifting tongues.    all oduduwa’s milk & honey not sufficing to quench their thirst                                                                                                         for new land.       the result:       a minor(ity) problem.  a leaf has fallen                                                                      too far from its tree.     a people in Kogi                                                      torn apart from their heritage by the thin lines that shape states.                                                    wandering is a family heirloom. I wandered                                                  from my culture as a seed  in my father’s balls                                  in search of greener pastures         to plant me.  which is to say                                                            I was a nomad before I was born. drifting through cities: Abuja, Lagos, Ibadan, and Kaduna. two…

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