HYDROLOGY by Chiwenite Onyekwelu

HYDROLOGY by Chiwenite Onyekwelu

black woman

HYDROLOGY

by Chiwenite Onyekwelu

Hydrology – Winner of the 2020 Kreative Diadem Annual Creative Writing Contest (Poetry Category)

You were my first undoing. You 

       whom I met at the shorelines of my life.

In the sizzling of oatmeal too close 

      to ruins      the television bright eyed on 

Saturday nights     & the crisp chattering 

      of Ludo seeds, I took care to hold you at 

an aunty’s distance. How come you 

      blurred the lines & met me unguarded.

I wanted to be a child that very night: 

       soft & fragile & yet untouched.

But you held me in your mouth, 

       weightless as I was. You led me by the  

hand into your deeps. How the river 

      swallows an eel    & was I not the victim 

 

                    of a turbulence that 

         began with you alone? 

Now, all my childhood days stand 

       against me. This body bears witness to a 

borrowed tide. The wounds fresh as spring 

have immortalized you in all the wrong places. 

& yes,   I’ve been bleeding my whole life.

              I keep sinking halfway to the shore.

But healing is an expertise I’m willing

        to learn. In this way, I come out drenched,

yet alive, with enough breath to begin again.

Photo credit: Photo by Waldir Évora from Pexels

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

CHIWENITE ONYEKWELU’S works have been published or are forthcoming on America Media, Brittle Paper, Kreative Diadem, ZenPens and elsewhere. He was a runner up for the Foley Poetry Contest 2020, a finalist for Stephen A. Dibiase Poetry Contest 2020 and winner of the Christopher Okigbo Poetry Prize 2019 for his poem “The Origin of Wings”. He was also shortlisted for the Kreative Diadem Annual Writing Contest 2019 and was the 2nd prize winner of the Newman Writing Contest (NMWC) 2017. Chiwenite studies pharmacy at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria.

Winners of 2019 Kreative Diadem Creative Writing Contest

Winners of 2019 Kreative Diadem Creative Writing Contest

Winners of 2019 Kreative Diadem Creative Writing Contest

We are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2019 Kreative Diadem Creative Writing Contest. Now in its third year, the prize seeks to recognize the best writings by Nigerian writers aged 21 years and below.

This year we received 92 poems and 57 flash fiction pieces from which our guest judge, Kechi Nomu, selected three winners for the poetry category and the flash fiction was judged internally.

Here are are the winners with comments from the judges:

Poetry Category

Winner: “Ode to Our Body on Fire” by Anthony Okpunor

Okpunor’s voice is a revelation. He does what all poets struggle to do: make timeless language of the present, sentient moment. Picking any one of the three winners was hard because they all deserve to be on this list. But, Okpunor manages with almost every line of this poem to take risks with language without losing the reader. I look forward to reading more poems by this poet.

1st Runner-up: “Grief Will Remake” by Ernest Ogunyemi

Ogunyemi’s poem is unexpected and tender and not afraid to get lost in itself.  Without devaluing his subject matter, he offers readers many lighthearted moments. The language of this poem is beautiful and surprising always.

2nd Runner-up: “Falling Waters” by Lade Falobi  

The transitions of Lade Falobi’s poem were assured. The poem is trancelike, full of grace and the innocence we lose when we take on the hardness survival demands. I did not want it to end. 

Honourable mentions:

“What is Your Body” by Onyekwelu Chiwenite
“How Last Tuesday Became Black Tuesday”  by Praise Osawaru.
“Remember Us”  by Chibueze Obunadike.

Flash Fiction Category

Winner: “Ayomide” by Nneoma Mbalewe

Nneoma Mbalewe’s piece is a captivating portrayal of a small, intimate apocalypse; pulsating with a  delicate urgency.

1st Runner-up: “Born Again” by Tunji Akande

Akande’s story is deeply-imaginative, it has an engaging voice and impeccable diction.

Second Runner-up: “The Fallen Angel” by Ebeigbe Brian

Ebeigbe Brian tricked us into speculative fiction delivered in such liquid prose and vivid imagery it hardly requires suspension of disbelief. 

Honourable mentions:

“How Bodies Become Fluid” by Obasiota Ben Ibe.

“To Pull a Lion’s Tail” by Boloere Seibidor. 

“Shey Sugar Wey Enter Tea Dey Come Out” by Ife Olatona.

Congratulations to the winners!

We are grateful to our guest judge (Kechi Nomu) and everyone who sent in their work.

Interviews with the contest winners will be published at a later date.

The maiden edition which held in 2017 was judged by Sueddie Vershima Agema (Flash Fiction) and Okwudili Nebeolisa (Poetry).

 

Isolation

Our third issue ever, "Isolation" is out. We had thought-provoking conversations with Alexis Teyie and Tobi Nifesi. It's a collection of works from some of the finest minds out there -- poetry, short stories, interviews, and creative essays.

Do you love our published works?

You can add your literary work to an endless list of poems, short stories, flash fiction, and essays.

FALLING WATERS by Lade Falobi

FALLING WATERS by Lade Falobi

FALLING WATERS

by Lade Falobi

Falling Waters – Second Runner-up of the 2019 Kreative Diadem Annual Creative Writing Contest (Poetry Category)

My mother says when it rains and one needs to pee/one does not need to find a toilet.
I cry in the rain so she doesn’t see.
The rain pouring from my eyes is heavier than the one pouring from the sky.
I hardly ever feel the one from the sky
 
Think of water racing so fast through a hose that it bursts it open all over.
Think of the heavy slaps of water in a waterfall as it hits the floor.
Sometimes my tears are the storm.
I like storms.
 
Now think of water traveling down the window of a moving car, a child enthralled by the movement and tracing dreams in the mist behind the window.
Think of a tap that does not quite shut completely, tiny drops of water falling from its mouth.
Sometimes my tears are the quiet drizzle.
I do not like drizzles.

 

Imagine pointing the barrel of a gun at your head.

Imagine your shaky hands, too scared to die but too scared to live.

Imagine deciding to pull the trigger because it is easier to die than it is to live.

Imagine the dead silence after.

Not the quiet silence of death. The quiet silence of failing even in this.

An empty gun never fires

and you have been shooting blanks.

 

Today                    we live

GRIEF WILL REMAKE YOU by Ernest Ogunyemi

GRIEF WILL REMAKE YOU by Ernest Ogunyemi

GRIEF WILL REMAKE YOU

by Ernest Ogunyemi

Grief Will Remake You – First Runner-up of the 2019 Kreative Diadem Annual Creative Writing Contest (Poetry Category)

“Grief will probably/ redraft your whole/ anatomy”
—Caroline Ebeid

I have just begun my walk out of dawn
& I have begun picking dead leaves.

I have never played so close to fire, but
hear, I know the language of been burnt.

my mother taught me, the taste of a live-coal
on a boy’s tongue, when she walked out of her body,

left it a snail shell. today, I forget the language of joy,
I forget how happiness grows into a sugary bird

filling every puff of cheek, nestling under the pave
of the tongue, hiding in the spaces between the teeth

where god decided to let air in in seeps. it is the doing
of grief. how it will gift you a new tongue, or scrape clean
 
the one you knew; bland every bud that knows
sweetness; fill your mouth with a new song,
 
the way a Mother python fills a room-corner.
tell me, what is grief itself if not the remaking of a life?
 
how motherless boys are pushed into a life we never chose
burning wood & Maami’s cooking & the smell of grief’s spittle
from its latest fresh at your skin fills my nose like air.
rainwater & saltwater & the buttery taste of mucus on my tongue.
the rusty bunk bed, your fragile self pressed into its bosom.
here: the sword-edge sharp coldness of your eyes,
the wilt flowers in your hair, the after-rain quiet of your body.

 

something in my head whispers, this might be a joke.
death does not take people when their bodies begin
to green, when they’re in their most beautiful dresses—
does it?
 
when does it not?
 
I feel the pinky of grief on the nape of my neck, its touch
cold & warm like the welcoming of a new born & the burying
of its mother. the ants on my inside roam about, they pinch,
they want. a dead bird falls from my chest & ends at the floor
of my belly. the ants gather in its belly where some bees have honeyed.
a few minutes later, the ants roam again—just as I now
roam, my legs walking me to places somebody forgot to draw
on the map. the ants on my inside now bite; they bite
everything that has a name till everything that has a name forgets
its name—what is grief if not the unbottling of hunger?—
 
I forget my name, too. & I forget from
where I began walking into this new life.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ernest O. Ògúnyemí (b. 2000) is a writer from Nigeria. Some of his works have appeared/forthcoming in Acumen Poetry Journal, Ricochet Review, Litro Print Journal, Erotic Africa: The Sex Anthology, Lucent Dreaming, Low Light Magazine, Canvas Lit Journal, Agbowó, The Nigerian Poetry Anthology (Animal Heart Press), Polyphony Lit Mag, and elsewhere. A 2019 Adroit Summer Mentee, a 2019 COUNTERCLOCK Arts Collective Fellow, and a reader at Palette Poetry and a staff reader at COUNTERCLOCK Journal, he is curating the first Young African Poets Anthology, guest-edited by Nome Emeka Patrick and Itiola Jones. In 2019, he got a mini-grant to Kickstart a literary outfit dedicated solely to young African creatives. When he is not reading a book of short stories or watching the birds flying in the sky, dreaming, you can find him on Twitter @ErnestOgunyemi.

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