BITTER KOLA by Olalekan Hussein

BITTER KOLA by Olalekan Hussein

clear glass jars with assorted foods


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?


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.





by Bayo Aderoju



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*.




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.



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.

MEMORIES by Abdulmueed Balogun

MEMORIES by Abdulmueed Balogun

collection of old instant photos with trips


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. 


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

LIFE IS A PROPER FRACTION by Damilola Omotoyinbo

LIFE IS A PROPER FRACTION by Damilola Omotoyinbo

green wooden chair on white surface


by Damilola Omotoyinbo

i am neck-deep in a quagmire, my mind is a 

gallery holding the dire portraits of my life


on my flesh, pain has made scars and 

incisions that even time cannot heal


here my shadow keeps opening doors i 

have shut, my mind keeps playing a saudade


call my body a home ransacked by storm, abode

of a stranger birthed on the christening of death


i have tried to live under broken roofs, build 

my shelter in the heart of a homeless man 


i have tried to fold into myself, make

home out of the cleft of my mouth 


i took a trip from pain but was trailed by 

pain and its companion, grief 


is pain not the after-taste of pleasure 

when life itself is fighting to strike a balance 


a little dose of pain and a pint of happiness, life

is a  proper fraction, but i try to tweak the figures


today, i am the woman building a home 

with scars and stories, call me the seer 


tomorrow, i will build another 

with songs and the wings of butterflies


Damilola Omotoyinbo believes in the power of the pen and the positive difference it can make in our world. She has work/interview published at Afritondo, Kalahari Review, Konya Shamsrumi, Praxis, Hack writers, The Nigerian Tribune News Paper and elsewhere. Damilola is a fellow of the Ebedi International Writers’ Residency. 

She is Damilola Omotoyinbo on Facebook & Instagram, she blogs at



dried leaves on a concrete pavement


by Blessing Anaso

I was twelve when I first saw it,

Cells fat and pink, the colour of cancer,

I saw its fingers in Ma’s falling hair and in her brave smile.

Like the sharp scent of disinfectant—angry and relentless.


I smelled death on Pa’s clothes,

In his anti-depression pills and on his thinning hair.

Later, I smelled it in Pa’s study, hanging from the ceiling,

Fists clenched in rigor mortis—blind and bloated.


I heard it in Bebe’s blood pressure,

In the rheumatic pop of her aged knees,

I heard it in the tired sigh of a year too many,

It came in her sleep—ripe but sudden.


This thing called death, I feel it now,

In my husband’s tight grip and midnight sobs,

I see it in my left breast and in my daughter’s uncertain eyes,

I smell it in the rustle of hospital sheets,

And taste it in my bloody vomit.


Small but enough

Like the soft hiss at the end of a kiss.


Blessing Anaso is a student and creative writer living in Nigeria, occasionally known to dabble in dark poetry.

Her work ‘Halima’ was selected for the AU_CIEFFA’s girl-child education campaign, published on their website.

Her poem ‘The Demons You Name’ also placed fourth place in the Kito Diaries ‘#QueerLivesMatter’ competition.

She writes short stories in her spare time.



Soldiers on queue ready to board an airplane with a glistening sunset in the horizon


by Ajani Samuel

Shortlist (Top Seven) of the 2020 Kreative Diadem Annual Creative Writing Contest (Poetry Category)

Our land is Atacama desert for

The past two weeks

Yesterday, I met my brother praying

For rain under our stairs

So last night, it rained.

It rained bullets and gunpowder

On a swarm of youths who wore

The national anthem on their lips.


Death robed in the green of military men

It sat with a long fork in a toll

In the throats, lungs

And bowels of men and women who drew

Peace on their jaws.


My dinner was served on a plate of

Bloodbathed national flag

So I ate my tears with a sandwich of

Carnage on mat last night.

Thanks to God, Satan woke me

And others with the

Melody of guns at 5:30 am.


News at 10 is a song of the dead

Our Government is crashing cymbals

Of anarchy on the streets

The sun refused to glitter today

Perhaps it went to petition our

President to address the nation.



Ajani Samuel Victor is a creative writer, (performance) poet and political enthusiast. He was a Semi-finalist at the 2020 Jack Grapes Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for the 2020 Kreative Diadem Annual Writing contest. He is a writer at the Invincible Quill Magazine, his works are/forthcoming on FeralLit Journal, Ethelzine, Eboquills Mag, MadnessMuse Press, Praxis mag, The Hellebore lit mag, FEED litmag and everywhere else. Say hi to him on Twitter @solvic16

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