JOG IN THE RAIN by Carl Terver

JOG IN THE RAIN by Carl Terver

JOG IN THE RAIN

by Carl Terver

She saw the new pair of trainers in the cupboard, fine white things wrapped in a transparent bag. Only, the size was smaller. She knew Dami jogged every morning because she had been waking up beside him these days.

Dami was a quiet guy, in a way any hermit would covet. He smiled gently and walked as if his heels avoided the ground. Nobody knew what he did save that he jogged every morning.

‘Maybe you should jog to Lagos one of these days,’ she said to him when he returned from one of his jogging adventures in the morning, while she gave him a glass of water. As he gulped the liquid his eyes fell on her belly whose bulge, which he expected to see, was not showing. ‘I would,’ he answered.

She kept a journal since she moved in with him because she knew her life had changed. She had fallen in love with him and now was out of school because of the baby. She had to write down the things noteworthy of this change, like the uncanniness of her lover whom she knew only a pinch of; the man she’d spend the rest of her life with, maybe.

There was little conversation that went on between the two of them. With someone like Dami, it was hard to start one. When she’d left her father’s house for his place, she’d expected to meet him very unsettled, but he wasn’t. He’d simply asked, ‘You’re pregnant?’ looking at the luggage she carried. ‘Yes,’ she had nodded.

‘How do you feel’ he asked.
‘Fine. Okay.’
He sat on the arm of a cushion, perspiration all over him. A collection of poetry was on the table. ‘You’re reading poetry?’ he asked.
‘Yes, I found it.’ She didn’t want him to take her up on it. Before now she’d only known poetry as a form of art, especially inspired by love.
‘You know, there’re some poems marked there. There’s this particular one.’

She met him at an art exhibition. She’d seen the flyer for the exhibition on Instagram. The venue was close to her house. She was more curious than interested; art had nothing on her. The only thing she knew closest to art was her little brother’s pencil drawings.
‘It’s called abstract painting,’ he had said to her when he noticed the painting’s magnetic effect on her.
‘I wouldn’t know,’ she had responded, turning to the voice that had interrupted her sudden affinity to colours on canvas. And something had buckled inside her. He was saying something about the painting, how the kind was done to make humans see beyond the ordinary …
‘It’s transcendent,’ she finally said.
They both shook hands and talked for a while. She had wanted the painting but couldn’t afford it. ‘You can have it,’ he’d said to her.
‘Thank you,’ she said, repeatedly, till the moment the painting was packaged and given to her. Even as she collected it, she curtsied still saying, ‘Thank you.’
The following days it was the word ‘transcendent’, and not her gratitude, that Dami remembered like the tune of a naughty song you kept humming because you woke up with it on your lips.

 ‘… ‘The Good Morrow’. Have you read it?’ he continued.
‘No,’ she said.
‘You should,’ he said, too.
She was quiet as she sat on another cushion. The conversation had yielded things to write down in her diary.
The room was big, deliberately so. It was both bedroom and living room without demarcation. There was a bed at the far end by the windows. There was the wardrobe. Everything in its place. Small stools, a study corner with a table lamp, a miniature shelf (he wasn’t a heavy reader), and other hardware.
‘It’s a big compound . . . Where is everybody?’ she asked.
He started joltingly, then recollected himself. She hadn’t seen it, he thought.
‘In Canada.’
It wasn’t enough. Her brows went up.
So, he continued. “My father used to, well, still works with this manufacturer. He had a big promotion. He took everybody…’
‘Except you,’ she finished.
‘I was in the Navy. I could have followed them then, but I had other plans.’
‘What plans?’ she asked.
‘Well, I calculated. After ten years I could resign from the Navy with a pension, and I would have the house. Just me. Alone.’
Then, she wondered if she had intruded on his aloneness. Her eyes were focused on a point on the wall. She followed his conversation, but his voice came to her from the point on the wall.
‘Did you see it?’ he asked.
‘The trainers?’ she thought, saying.

They walked past the area in front of the porch of the house. The front door to the house was locked. And she commented, ‘I was looking around. It’s like every other part of the house is locked.’
‘I think so,’ he replied.
The ground of the compound was filled with gravel, strands of grass shot up from the pores. The coat of paint on the walls nearer to the ground had turned to flakes, revealing cracks that resembled the boundaries on a map, some part of it, fallen off. Spirogyra fried by the sun coated the walls, too. They passed an overhead water tank, inhaling the rust on the metal architecture that supported the tank, their feet making crunching sounds against the gravel.
They were now at the backyard.
He produced a key and inserted into a lock to a door that was hidden in dried vines. It opened into a void. Blankness. They couldn’t see anything; just shafts of light from windows high up the walls of the interior that shaped into a hangar sort of. A sound was heard – the click of a light switch – and the space was flooded with fluorescent lights. She said nothing. She just stood and took in the sight.
On the night of that day, as she lay on the bed before slumber came to borrow her consciousness, her eyes were wet. There wasn’t much to know about her lover than she would know, but she knew he was the man God had sent to her.
‘I’m an artist. I paint, but I don’t like people knowing about it,’ he’d told her when they both stood at that door gazing into the plethora of easels and canvases and paintbrushes and colours and brightness.

It began drizzling in the early hours when Dami presented the new pair of trainers to her to try on. It was a bit funny to her, but she did.
‘I want us to jog today,’ he said.
‘Today? It’s raining, my pregnancy . . .’ she said.
‘You’ve never jogged in the rain before. It’s sweet. You’ll see.’
So, she went out with him, that morning, in the rain, initiated into his ritual. It was sweet as he had said. Tiny droplets of rain fell softly against her skin. The cold weather was kind, mildly so. They held each other’s hands as their trainers touched the earth and leapt making wet-soil noises. She felt the blood warm in her body even as her heart pulsed. And since that day, mornings when it rained inspired a feeling in her: Something transcendent.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carl Terver, b. July ’91, loves to listen to Bob Marley’s ‘Who The Cap Fits’, is a Nigerian writer and poet who have been published in Brittle Paper, Praxis magazine, Expound, and The Kalahari Review, and forthcoming in The Offing. He is working on a book of poetry criticism, Dead Images Don’t Walk. He is a comma disciple and fan of Adam Gopnik. His forthcoming poetry chapbook is For Girl at Rubicon. He is an in-house writer and the assistant digital Editor at Praxis magazine.

MARIA CRUSHES ON GABRIEL by Patron Henekou

MARIA CRUSHES ON GABRIEL by Patron Henekou

MARIA CRUSHES ON GABRIEL

by Patron Henekou

I dote on you so much

That

I want us to date

In the name of the scriptures.

 

Oh Maria, let your will be done

And we will restart the calendar.

 

But you know

I’m civilized now and don’t mind having

The Baby out of wedlock

Though people gossip too much these days!

 

Show me your virgin boobs

Oh no, no-no-no, not in their kerchief, Maria

Let’s see if they really stand with the dots straight on them.

You never believe me:

I dote on you. I dote on you.

Well you can think or believe whatever you want.

I don’t even say I am still a virgin with silicone attractions

Oh Maria, you-miss-understands-the-world, today.

It’s not a matter of “believe”. You’ve placed your doting

On the cross. Just nail the thing up:

Anything about how you feel

And please fill in the gasps with what you want from me now

Using simple punctuations and spiritual emoji!

 

Maria, people are waiting to re-write the scriptures.

It’s you I want:
Your lips, full, look divinely crispy and warm
I dream to wallow in your arms like ice cube in brown whisky
It’s you I want, Gabby, and not the script-mongers of holy crushes.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Patron Henekou writes poems and plays and co-organizes the Festival International des Lettres et des Arts (Festilarts) at Université de Lomé, Togo. He writes in French and English as well and translates. His poems have appeared in anthologies such as Palmes pour le Togo, Arbolarium, Antologia Poetica de Los Cinco Continentes, and The Best New African Poets Anthology 2017, and in poetry journals such as AFROpoésie, Revue des Citoyens des Lettres, Aquifer: The Florida Review Online, The Kalahari Review, and Better than Starbucks. His published books include a play in English, Dovlo, or A Worthless Sweat (2015) and two poetry books in French entitled Souffles d’outre-cœur (2017) and Souffles & faces (2018). Patron is the 2018 African American Fellow (now Langston Hughes Fellow) at the Palm Beach Poetry Festival in Delray, Florida.
LEARNING THE LANGUAGE OF ROSES by Ugochukwu Damian

LEARNING THE LANGUAGE OF ROSES by Ugochukwu Damian

LEARNING THE LANGUAGE OF ROSES

by Ugochukwu Damian

tonight you’ll pick roses / off your lover’s tongue / and you will ponder / and ask why it took so long / not for the roses you hold / nor for the many times / you’ve looked for warmth / in his mouth / but for the times / you’ve subtly planted a rose bed on his tongue / tonight also you’ll turn the shower on / you’ll mask your tears as he climaxes / then you’ll listen to the quiet of the night / and you’ll also learn that love / like tears comes from within / you’ll find roses on your tongue / you’ll mutter  words to your lover tonight / and you’ll go / in search of the girl whom you once built this bed of roses with / also tonight / you’ll plant roses on her tongue / tonight you will build a rainbow with her / and you’ll say to her / that this love has come to stay / you’ll cry also / and the tears will leave traces on your tongue / to water the roses / you’ll never lack a reason / to grow a rose bed on my tongue / she will say tonight / you’ll bury your tongue in her home / and ask if you could grow a  bed of rose there / and you’ll watch her speak the language of roses / and you’ll remember that love comes from within.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ugochukwu Damian Okpara is a poet and a medical student based in Nigeria. He began writing poetry in 2017 and his major theme explores depression, loneliness, and feminism. His goal is to inspire those who have been hurt, making them realise that the light at the end of the tunnel is not an illusion. He was one of the 21 mentees in the second cohort of the SLM Mentorship programme. His poems have appeared in Woven Words, African writer and elsewhere. When he is not writing or reading, he spends time listening to songs by Simi, James Blunt or Ed Sheeran. 
POLITICS by Taofeek Ogunperi

POLITICS by Taofeek Ogunperi

POLITICS

by Taofeek Ogunperi

is a river that drowns
even at its bank

is a jungle where squirrels
become alpha lions

is a microphone that gives
a clear voice to the dumb

is an echo that penetrates
the walls in the deaf’s ears

is a wheel, standby for all
that can, that cannot drive

is a road that shifts
size, shape, surface, stretch

is a game: rules definitively undefined
players uncensored, unlimited

is a perigee, an apogee
to good, bad governance

is dirty, clean
because it is you and I.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author of a book of poems, Twisted Tongues, Taofeek Olalekan Ogunperi was born and brought up in Ikirun,  Osun State, Nigeria. His poems have appeared in print and online media such as Muse for World Peace, Armistice, WriCon Quarterly Journal, Atelewo Pelebe, I am Not a Silent Poet, The Talented and elsewhere. He is a member of the Ultimate Club of Ikirun – an assemblage of youths promoting education in Ikirun and its environment; a member of Muse for Peace Foundation – a group of youths committed to community development and propagating peace. He blogs at namelessexpress.wordpress.com.

HOW TO SPELL THE WORD ‘WOMAN’ by Emmanuel Chukwu

HOW TO SPELL THE WORD ‘WOMAN’ by Emmanuel Chukwu

HOW TO SPELL THE WORD ‘WOMAN’ 

by Emmanuel Chukwu

A black boy next door asks me to name
Whom I call the only woman in my life. I run to
My father and he sits me next to the kitchen.
He says, Everyday, He would sit his self on this spot
And call his woman his god. I do not know
Why he chooses to name my mother this name,
so I sit and watch him stay still
And slowly unfold her from his mind. And body.

 

And in another place not in our rooms.
What my brother calls mother is a bible. He opens her
Every morning and reads
From her genesis down to revelation. He says
Mother holds memories that starts from father’s ribs.
And a greater one in a place not in our chest.

 

 

A boy does not know what it means to call
his mother a woman. He points to our house and
We place his mother in our home. I do not
Know how it feels to hold home as a woman. Heavy and
Whole. Like those things that always stays wet and weighty.
There is a way we write about Home. Let’s say;
It is when you fetch four mothers from four different kitchens.

 

And hold them in your home
And allow us paint them from
your memories into these words.
& what we spell their skins is
What takes after your color black.
Like that of charcoals which you’d hold whole in your closed palms.
And sometimes broken when you open it. And sometimes something formed again.
And unformed again into something you do not know.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I’m Chukwu Emmanuel C. A Nigerian writer and poet who loves to use his muse to delve into himself and explore what it takes to be human. His works have been featured in Praxis magazine, Ngigareviews, and numerous blogs.

Pin It on Pinterest