IT IS HOPE THAT KEEPS THE FLAME OF DREAMS DANCING by Balogun Abdulmueed

IT IS HOPE THAT KEEPS THE FLAME OF DREAMS DANCING by Balogun Abdulmueed

low angle view of spiral staircase against black background

IT IS HOPE THAT KEEPS THE FLAME OF DREAMS DANCING

by Abdulmueed Balogun

Winner of the 2021 Kreative Diadem Annual Creative Writing Contest (Poetry Category)

It is hope that keeps the flame of dreams dancing, even when the wind of forlorn 

throws at it a thousand blow. I have taken my heart to the silvery river, to remove 

 

all traces of greed, what turns futile a century’s strife, to wash away the sticky dusts 

of dissatisfaction, what steels people’s mind to the teachings and admonitions of patience, 

 

what makes them envision the blessings of God as crumbs, as nothing worthy of glorification. 

I see them now, smiling as they wine and dine, as they shroud their nakedness with stolen golds, 

 

though survival is the first rule of nature, and when home fails to be a heaven, it’s only natural 

but not justifiable to breathe by all means. Mother urges, with the clarity of a calm river, son, 

 

don’t hurry the procession of life, take every pace at your pace, that’s divine; don’t be beguiled 

by the fleeting pleasure of the world flashing to your eyes, into hacking the tree of hope in your 

 

mind in the name of survival. Father exhorts, with the voice of a resolute thunder rattling in the 

heart of the sky, when clouds wear darkness as cloak before the rise of dusk, beloved, the world 

 

is brief like a second, spend yours as a harbinger of smile to pallid cheeks, and to your 

neighbors— a bamly river be, soothe their pains, if you can, when they grief and if you can’t, 

 

mope their tears with words of compassion. Dear God, I have come to you as a country ravaged 

by war, as a bird with broken wings, the road of life is coated in riddles and thorns, and only 

those under the parasol of your grace can tread unscathed. Gaze upon me— a poet, 

a pilgrim and dust, with your merciful eyes, I do not want to brew my bliss like birds my

 

age who have murdered their conscience with knives of greed, from the core of what you 

ordained profane, I do not crave to oil my harmattan-bitten lips like my peers with my neighbors’ 

 

oil, while they go to bed with growling stomachs, with bleeding hearts. God, I erect the pillars 

of my dreams in your hands, insure my affairs in your heavenly vault, let your name be praised.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Abdulmueed Balogun is a Nigerian poet & an undergrad at the University of Ibadan. He is a 2021 HUES Foundation Scholar and a Poetry Editor at The Global Youth Review. He was longlisted for the 2021 Ebarcce Prize, Finalist: 2021 Wingless Dreamer Book of Black Poetry Contest, won Honorable mention: 2021 Whispering Crescent Poetry Prize, Shortlisted: BBPC Feb/March 2021 and an alumnus: 2021 SpringNg Writing fellowship. His works are forthcom(in)g: Avalon Literary Review, The Night Heron Barks Review, Salamander Ink, Bowery Gothic, Subnivean Magazine, Jmww Journal, The Remant Archive and anthologized in: Fevers of Mind (Poets of 2020) and 2021 Cathalbui Poetry Competition Selected Entries. He tweets from: AbdmueedA.

BITTER KOLA by Olalekan Hussein

BITTER KOLA by Olalekan Hussein

clear glass jars with assorted foods

BITTER KOLA

by Olalekan Hussein

Where are those beautiful days?

When children pluck their happiness at night

Listening to folklores under the mango tree

smiling at them like an aesthetic bud on a pristine flower?

 

Where are those beautiful days?

When bothers groove jauntily in our local village

Pleasuring with fresh fetched palm wine

From the elongated iroko tree 

& playing àyó to erase doldrums from their turbulent hearts?

 

Where are those beautiful days?

When sisters become cutlery of dance

Lacerating our moroseness with ballads and dances?

Those days we have sold in return for affliction

When Moon and sun would smile at us

With their glittering teeth capturing beautiful women’s hearts in their husband’s beds.

 

Those days have been exchanged with isolation 

& nightingale carries our ecstasies

To zephyr, blowing away our joy into ashes and smokes.

 

Our lives become a bitter kola placed on a baby’s mouth 

& become an awful wound in a baby’s heart.

 

When shall these days visit

Us in our abodes?

Because, this love is deteriorating

And these souls are melting like candles?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Olalekan Hussein is a Nigerian writer, born and raised in Lagos State, Nigeria. He develops much interest in Literature and delves into the writing of poetry, fiction, nonfiction and other genres. He’s an acquisitive reader and a lover of nature, and currently a student of a prestigious Arabic/Islamic institution in Lagos State (Darul Falahi).

If Olalekan is not perusing the holy Quran and other Islamic-related books or scholars’ books, he’s definitely scribbling his pen to catalyze beautiful writings for his readers.

OEDIPUS TRAVAIL by Bayo Aderoju

OEDIPUS TRAVAIL by Bayo Aderoju

lake

OEDIPUS TRAVAIL

by Bayo Aderoju

I

 

Yesterday, the village rainmaker held rain.

This morning, wind mimicked rooster, 

woke a storm,

blew rainclouds’ eclipsing garb into the supple face of God.

 

No amount of sniffle can drain a runny nose,

Mother remarked, coughed –

phlegm in her mouth –

spat & averred:

asunkunsi n fi ikun pamo ni*.

 

II

 

Darkness unfurled after the sea has swallowed

the amber sun

like an overripe orange.

I lay – in my bed – upon my back,

& let my eyes caress the white ceiling

projecting my thoughts

because my mind wouldn’t let me sleep,

because my heart felt like Thebes

where Oedipus gouged his own eyes.

 

 

Doesn’t sleep, however, wield the same charm as death?

A charade encroached my dreamland:

a snake slithered, crept hard

upon a rock in order to etch itself.

Denouement was twilight & soft rays

& gentle breeze fanning the wounds.

So the audience ran when the protagonist ran mad.

 

“You don’t know what you do.”

That’s what night says when it calls

to claim willpower & drop aches.

That’s the atmosphere before father left

to obtain horns for his horse.

 

 

*Sniffle only delays mucous.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bayo Aderoju is a multi-genre writer from Nigeria. His latest fiction has been selected for inclusion in the forthcoming United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s Decade of Action Short Stories Anthology. His works appear/forthcoming on Brittle Paper, Stellium, Agbowo, Platform Review, African Writer, Praxis, Spillwords, Kalahari Review, The Shallow Tales Review and elsewhere. He tweets @bayo_aderoju.

NNEOMA IKE-NJOKU’S NOTE ON CRAFT

NNEOMA IKE-NJOKU’S NOTE ON CRAFT

close up photo of gray typewriter

Nneoma Ike-Njoku’s Note on Craft

As part of the Notes On Craft series, I (Olakunle Ologunro) reached out to a number of writers and asked them to share a piece of work that is most significant to them, and what they think other writers can learn from it.

Here’s Nneoma Ike-Njoku’s pick: Atonement by Ian McEwan.

Atonement by Ian McEwan is one piece of writing that has greatly influenced me. The book does so many things so well, like weaving the bildungsroman structure with a war narrative and having a protagonist with a strong, distinctive voice. I first read it at around thirteen or fourteen and remember being deeply moved. At its heart, it’s a story about a writer, which perhaps is a cliché for a writer, but it’s also a story that gets to why many writers do what we do in the first place. We write to understand ourselves, our lives, our pasts, and our world. For what writers can take away, McEwan’s attention to language and sensory detail make this novel an easy one to immerse oneself in.

You can read an excerpt here.

workplace with laptop and opened diary

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nneoma Ike-Njoku was born and grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. Her short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Transition Magazine, The Winter Tangerine Review, The Kalahari Review, and NANO Fiction. In 2016, she won a Miles Morland Writing Scholarship.

MEMORIES by Abdulmueed Balogun

MEMORIES by Abdulmueed Balogun

collection of old instant photos with trips

MEMORIES

by Abdulmueed Balogun

A young man walks through 

a hunted street and his phobia 

resurrected from its tomb 

 

Yet he walks, but with his eyes closed, 

conjuring and using his mother’s pristine smile as a jab

to knock predatory thoughts off balance 

 

He shuts his ears, 

to preempt eerie voices from 

creeping into his heart through its windows

 

by receding and whirring 

from the chambers of his heart, 

 

fear-snaring lullabies that

breathed through his mother’s voice

 

A young man managed to walk

through his fears, 

 

in the absence of his mother, 

may her soul in bliss rest

but with the presence of her memories. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Abdulmueed Balogun is a Nigerian Poet and an undergraduate at the University of Ibadan. He is a 2021 HUES Foundation Scholar and a Poetry Editor at The Global Youth Review. He won Honorable Mention in the 2021 Whispering Cresent Poetry Prize, was the runner-up in the Reform Naija Writing Contest- “FREEWILL” in November 2020, longlisted for the 2021 Ebarcee-Prize and shortlisted for the Brigitte Poirson Poetry Contest (BBPC) February/March 2021. He’s a recipient of the 2021 SpringNg writing fellowship. His poems have been published/are forthcoming in Avalon Literary Review, JMWW Journal, Ligeia Magazine, Subnivean Magazine, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, The Incandescent Review, The Remnant Archive and elsewhere. He tweets from AbdmueedA

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