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.
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.
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.
CRIMSON by Uche Osita

CRIMSON by Uche Osita

CRIMSON by Uche Osita

October 2008

Adaeze,

Do you remember the way I used to hold your hand? Do you recall how I kissed you the day you told me that your father had finally left your mother? How tender our lips; rubbing off the loss that you knew could only be stayed for so long. Do you remember how we used to hug and hold on for eternity, not wanting, not needing anything else in the world? Do you remember the faint scent of chocolate that filled the room each time you visited? Adaeze, the rhythm of fate’s music has played far too loud and now I am scared. I fear that I am holding on too much, to these things, these feelings, and these memories. Maybe I am unfortunate. Or maybe Mama’s admonitions finally made manifest.

Do you remember the time when you said you would never leave me, was it all a lie?

It is true all I see now is darkness, it is also true I may never be able to live out all the dreams I talked about when there was light but Adaeze, the only darkness I truly see is the one that I know your absence has caused.

****

Adaeze, I love you.
****

I believed in God when I was little. When all Mama could talk about day and night was how wonderful God was, how grateful we were to have a father that stayed home and how kind God had been. Papa stayed home alright, but only because he was jobless. He also had a ferocious temper that hit Mama hard, all the time.

When I finally got a scholarship to study at the University, I felt a deep relief that I could not express in words. I promised Mama I would never let her down. She saw in me, hope, a reaffirmation that her belief in God was not unfounded. She, however, warned me against girls, no girls she insisted, not until you are done. I had agreed. It was so easy agreeing to something I had yet to give serious thought.

I kept her promise until the day I met you. When I first saw you I knew I would never keep her promise. You were so happy and carefree and I was burdened with my background and expected responsibilities. But you accepted me for me. You did not mind that I had quaffed kai kai with the boys in the slum. The fact that my father was jobless, that I had eleven siblings and a breadwinner mother whose only source of livelihood was selling matchboxes, cheap biscuits and sweets.

****

Adaeze, did you know that I have been waiting for 2 years to reach you? You blocked me from calling and you have not been in town all these while. I have been learning to deal with this new condition our love has bought me. Quite frankly it is not half as bad as I imagined. I do not speak as much since I can’t always tell whether I am being spoken to, but I also think a lot. I now take slow measured steps, and I am vaguely aware of time from the heat intensity of the sun and Mama hasn’t completely forgiven me since then.

I started learning to write with an old typewriter papa used to work with in his early days as a typist. It was a very trying experience, having to feel and guess and feel again. I have persevered mostly because I wanted to one day write you this letter. I am sure that you are reading and partly because I suspect that this curse may well not be the end. Adaeze, I am going to become a writer. Ever since I learnt how to type, I have been practicing, day, noon and night. I have written and rewritten ever since and I have strong thoughts to take some of my products for appraisal. Even though for me, there would always remain a vague memory of light -past, this new hope brews a thick fire in my heart and I am determined to guard its flames.

How have you been? I sincerely hope that life has served you a better dish than it did me. But perhaps you suspect my motives. But I assure you, 2 years is a very long time. And writing you is my way of moving on, of trying to forget. I woke up this morning feeling mildly grateful, Mama just got better, she has been down with a fever since last week and the doctor just called. I have in consequence come around to thinking about how much I have undervalued the little things that I have had; life, peace, family. Though, I wish I could have more, still I suppose I should be grateful for the little I have.

The world has changed a lot and me with it. And I have chosen not to allow our past to dictate whatever happens next.

****

How can I blame you? All you did was love me. And sometimes when I remember the times before; the times when there was light; I grope around in the darkness searching for hope, for you…

****

Still, when I sleep at night my dreams are crimson. There is an indistinguishable shadow that I suspect to be you, it reaches out and I come forward. Then I am forced back by another shadow, this one I know to be Musa. It reaches for me, I raise a hand and try to stop it, but it is quicker. It reaches for my eyes and then there is darkness.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Uche Osita is a creative writer. His works have been published in Kalahari Review, African writers, Mu-Afrika journal of African literature, The crater library, Nwokike literary journal, and Pulse.ng.

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