POET’S MOTHER by Adamu Usman Garko

POET’S MOTHER by Adamu Usman Garko

POET’S MOTHER

by Adam Usman Garko

The night sauntered in—

A black-haired angel moulded

Amid fire       a messenger sent

eye’s prey    her muse bleeds  

A voice echoes the length of abyss—

And desperation could be any angel

In this deep year            of eating prayer

living in past & in present trauma

then dust would signify       a body meant     

to die before the sun goes       so lonely   

At night the lion so strong        the death unholy

To hold the soul of a poet’s mother —

where are any of God’s hands? 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Adamu Usman Garko is a student of Gombe high school, in Gombe state. He is a poet and story writer. His work has previously appeared at Blueprint newspaper, The Arts-muse Fair, poetry planet, Praxis magazine online. He was a finalist for the 2018 International Cultural Exchange for Wole Soyinka, (WSICE). And he was the Artist of the Month “September” 2018, of Yasmin El-Rufai Foundation.
THE MELODY IN HER PAIN OPENED ME by Patron Henekou

THE MELODY IN HER PAIN OPENED ME by Patron Henekou

THE MELODY IN HER PAIN OPENED ME

by Patron Henekou

I was there in front of her
Listening as she spoke.
The words came out free,
Unobstructed
But not smooth:
There was a faint tremolo in there
To spring the prairie in her
Smile. I sat there to
Catch the words but
Only the melody in them opened
Me and whiffed through the skin
Of my blood, like the stalks of a genocide.
Face to face first, then face to profile
her words came
With the same gloss
Like a work of art seated on a
Tanned street in the middle of
Gunshots and laughter and tears
Mixed with passionate kisses of lovers
parted in dreams of dictators.
I could see her heart run walk-walk
Then walk run-run beneath her breasts
Recounting past memories and family pains
While reaching for a word to draw her
Hope
In a sky of white clouds and
A moon laced with names of foreign lands in graffiti.
– In her office, her lips could not say my name so
She wrapped it in the pages of a hibiscus
And placed it in a poetry book inside her eyes. Run
Her left palm on the cover as if to
Take the flame in my name.
I stood and she stood with me
Now she passed through me and
Said, her eyes almost closed: how is your son, Sitou? –
I was sitting there beside her, in the restaurant
Her words stood out free,
Coated in a faint tremolo to
Spice the sun in her face. The melody in them
Opened me.

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.
A STAR IS BORN by David Adejumo

A STAR IS BORN by David Adejumo

A STAR IS BORN

by David Adejumo

They say the stars 
rise at the East,
whilst the sun sets 
at the West
Oh I was a star
born in the North,
a melancholy
and an untamed breed
that appeared in the solstice
Mama used to say
“put my words
in your left hand,
and pocket it
everywhere you go,
not in your right hand
where you shall use it to eat 
and discard it”
O’ I wish 
I heeded her words…….
how time flies,
now I lay in regret
after missing
so much opportunities…..
Peter You should never
have fallen prey,
for in your prime,
you were killed 
by these bloodsucking demons
O’ how man can 
wrought the worst evils
all for money
these are indeed hard times,
Rest in Peace Brother……….
In my imperfections,
do not crucify my mistakes,
for there is only one judge
who is above
I was only born
to act this script………
This life is a jungle,
only the fittest can survive,
All man for himself
is the rule in this game
you had to be smart
to eat fat
the street taught me this……….
Though I am a Phlegmatic,
do not misjudge my silence
for I am running this race to obtain the crown…….
Every new day, 
I have no idea 
of what lie ahead
but I keep on striving
in the midst of these tempest,
I am on destiny’s lane,
I can never be tamed………
O’ Dad,
If I had heeded your words,
these story would never
have been told,
I am dancing with destiny,
this is heaven’s predestination…….
O’ Father and Mother!!!!!!!
I am a Poet
not a Diplomat,
preaching through my pen and paper,
I am a keeper of words
that will speak forever
I am an Old soldier,
an immortal whose words
will never die
Writing is my addiction
these are raw truths
spewing from my diction
Read these lines to the end,
the greatest verse in history
for A STAR IS BORN………………

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Adejumo is a gifted and talented poet, writer, essayist and man of words, He started writing since when he was very young as a hobby, but he took it to the next level in 2018 when he started his poetic journey. He has three collections of works, REDEMPTION, which is published on Amazon and Kindle store, LO/UST RACE and BEACON OF HOPE, which are both unpublished manuscripts. 
He was born and bred in Kaduna State, Northern Nigeria to God-fearing parents and a father who loved reading books. He picked that interest in writing and reading from him. He enrolled in Bowen University with a degree in History and International Studies, he hopes to touch lives, inspire many and preach through his pen and paper.
MY MOTHER’S DAUGHTER SPELLS HER NAME BACKWARD by Anthony Okpunor

MY MOTHER’S DAUGHTER SPELLS HER NAME BACKWARD by Anthony Okpunor

MY MOTHER’S DAUGHTER SPELLS HER NAME BACKWARD

by Anthony Okpunor

what is that in your mouth
your mock your father’s silence before it becomes
                                                            girls who do not spell the alphabets in your name correctly
                                   you say it’s bitter drinking from an ocean
but
                                                                                  you love the color of bitterness
what part of you isn’t crazy
madness is love sometimes
                                the truth is you once cared for your father
talk about your science teacher
               did he not say the earth revolves with you in it
it is vain to accept love without accepting sadness first
your name is different in every language
                                 no one knows what’s wrong with you
                                 your hand is a road map
                                 your dead lovers are road maps
                                 your bitten tongue is a road map
a road map is what is lost after naming a body of water
a road map is your skin beautiful with different boys calling it white
not-white       caucasian      olive-brown       jewish                         there are some words that fit into leaking tongues
  your skin is quick and brief—something bitten into black
boys yawn before biting at your flesh
biting into rocks with honey
it means you should cook before it’s late at night
                                                                             the world has it that bad dreams come with late
night foods
but your worries are different        aren’t they
in the morning you will notice that songs float in every bird’s tongue
so do not worry about what died on your face
what flew from your mother and burned your house down
your mother beats your younger brother’s mouth for cursing
   & those words always fall back into yours
you like the way your brother screams in pain
your mother is always blind from anger
again your worries are different
 
you know though
you dance your body into the depth of water and it stings your mother’s heart
you should teach young men who visit
                                    that a boat inside you do not sail with lovers

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anthony Okpunor is a Nigerian writer who discovered poetry and writing in general, as a better form of self-expression from his early school days. He lives and writes from Asaba in Delta State. He is a student of the University of Benin at the time. He splits his time between writing, reading, lectures, good epic music, and himself. His works have appeared in several online platforms including African Writers and Praxis Magazine.

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT on Nadine Gordimer

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT on Nadine Gordimer

Author Spotlight On Nadine Gordimer

A towering figure in the history of political activism, Nadine Gordimer remains one of the greatest legends to ever put pen to paper on the black continent. Throughout her career, she published works which did not just entertain but repeatedly questioned the inhumane racial superstructures of her society. She is remembered today as a voice which lives on, continually reminding us of the magnificent power of truth as a lasting virtue.

Early Days

Gordimer was born on November 20, 1923 in Guateng, a town just outside of Johannesburg.  Her father was a Jewish watchmaker from what is known today as Lithuania, while her mother was from London, England. While her father was very apolitical and unconcerned about the plight of black people in South Africa, her mother was the polar opposite. From her mother, who founded a crèche just for segregated black children, Gordimer learned activism.

Being rather precocious, her first published work “The Quest for Seen Gold” was released at age 15. She published her first work of adult fiction the following year.

In 1947, she gained admission to study at the University of Witwatersrand but only studied for a year before dropping out and moving to Johannesburg.

Nadine Gordimer

Photo accessed via Stockholm Shelf

Activism

Gordimer’s literary career cannot be divorced from her life as an activist. Her bibliography is full of themes of race, class, and politics in South Africa.

Though she had become involved in the anti-apartheid movement ever since she was an undergraduate at the university, meeting with other student-activists, she did not become fully involved until 1960. This was inspired by the arrest of her best friend, the radical activist Bettie du Toit and the Sharpeville massacre of black protesters on March 21, 1960.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, she was outspoken against racial injustice in her country, with focus on the apartheid system. Her works were deeply critical of the system. While her writing got her international renown during this time, it also made the government of South Africa very displeased with her. It began to censor her works. Her novel, “The Late Bourgeois World” was banned in 1976 for a whole decade. Another work of hers, A World of Strangers faced total censorship for 12 years.

She joined the rebel party, the African National Congress; fighting against discrimination of black South Africans. She was reported to have hated discrimination so much that she rejected a spot on 1998 shortlist for the Orange Prize because the award only recognizes female writers.

Over time, her international fame and recognition grew even larger and her works reached a global audience. This prominence of hers culminated in the 1991 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Nadine Gordimer

Photograph accessed via Channel 24

Gordimer’s literary career cannot be divorced from her life as an activist. Her bibliography is full of themes of race, class, and politics in South Africa.

Contemporaries

Exceptional storytelling coupled with a dogged belief in freedom from the shackles of apartheid placed Gordimer on a legendary pedestal when compared to her peers. However, during her reign of brilliance in the world of letters, there were some notable figures dishing out delicious literary meals to humanity. In her class, we have names such as Chinua Achebe, Derek Walcott, Gunter Grass, Doris Lessing, Wole Soyinka, Toni Morrison, and J.M. Coetzee. 

Death 

Gordimer died on July 13, 2014, at age 90, survived by at least two children.

Awards

A highly-decorated woman, Gordimer won a lot of awards during her career. Here are a few of them:

Nadine Gordimer

Photograph accessed via Achievement.org

Published Works

Below is a list of most of Gordimer’s published works:

Novels

Short Stories

Essays

In conclusion, Gordimer’s life is a testament to the product of a marriage between purpose and passion. Though she is no more, her works resonate through history as one of the voices that pierced the thickets of apartheid in South Africa. Her love for activism and superb writing are inseparable, and these two traits made her a glowing light that guides young stars to the home of honor.

Now, it’s your turn to share your thoughts. What is it that inspires you about Gordimer and her works? Let us know in the comments section below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kanyinsola Olorunnisola is a poet, essayist, and writer of fiction. He is the Managing Editor of Kreative Diadem. He writes from Ibadan, Nigeria. His writings border on the themes of unease, racism, colonialism, terror and all things familiar to the black folk. He describes his art as that specialized literary alchemy which aims to extract beauty from the frail commonplaceness of words.
His experimental works have appeared or are forthcoming on such platforms as Brittle Paper, Kalahari Review, Bombay Review, Lunaris Review, African Writer, Sprinng.org, Authorpedia, Kreative Diadem, Parousia Magazine, and Sampad International Journal. He was the 2016 recipient of the Albert Jungers Poetry Prize.

 

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