THIS LAND IS NOT AN HABITAT FOR US by Enobong Ernest

THIS LAND IS NOT AN HABITAT FOR US by Enobong Ernest

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THIS LAND IS NOT AN HABITAT FOR US

by Enobong Ernest

in this dream

a family bends down

to

search for the body of their father

among the remains

of bomb blast

a new orphan is

soaked

in the colour of a loved one’s blood

i wake up, pleading God’s son’s blood

tv is on. newscaster is

doing mortality count

i’m reaching

for the remote. i’m

pleading more blood. compatriot,

don’t read this poem. you’ve seen it before

        after bloodshed,

a national anthem instrumental

filters

out of father’s radio     then

president reads speech

on rice pyramid

        every time i leave my house

i think of masked men & ransom

of detonation & bullets

of psalms 91 & mother

        let my

countryman open his mouth & say

that he has not incised

the name of the Lord

on his forehead

that his lungs do not feel

like a pair of explosives

       let heaven send a dove here

& see if it will perch

& see if it will peck

an olive branch

in a nutshell:

we squeeze our lives into your palms, Elohim

keep it for us.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Enobong Ernest Enobong is a Nigerian poet and award-winning essayist. His poems are mostly centred on memories, psycho-social experience, humanity, Black, Africanism, and mythology. He is a Best of the Net Nominee of Arts Lounge Magazine (2021). His poem featured in the 2021 SprinNG Afro-Eros anthology To Borrow Screams from the Atmosphere. His works have appeared or are forthcoming in Praxis Magazine, Brittle Paper, Ghost City Press, The Shallow Tales Review, Arts Lounge, Acorn Haiku Journal, African Writer Magazine, Kalahari Review, Wales Haiku Journal, & elsewhere. He is a staunch believer in the power of memories, the formative years of children and the pro-African gospel of Professor P.L.O. Lumumba of Kenya. He writes from Lagos and is currently a law student at the University of Lagos, Akoka.

EUPHEMISM by Samuel Adeyemi

EUPHEMISM by Samuel Adeyemi

faceless muscular ethnic man grabbing wrist of girlfriend during dispute

EUPHEMISM

by Samuel Adeyemi

Second Runner-up of the 2021 Kreative Diadem Annual Creative Writing Contest (Poetry Category)

Murder by a scalpel is pronounced death, 

not surgery. There is no intricacy 

 

when the blade drowns in a body, whirling

inside like a wet threading of gut. 

 

Whatever the instrument, do not hesitate

to call your suffering by its name. 

 

It won’t soften it, but it will unshroud the 

mystique. I have stared at my misery 

 

for so long, it seems less oblique. How this

works—the fangs still terrify, but they

 

look just like teeth. The tissue, death-sharp 

yet quite familiar in its whiteness.

 

Our prophets have always been about pre-

tending. They think calling a wound 

 

a flower will taper its ache, sugar the poison

that mars the blood. But the first step

 

to wholeness has always been recognition.

It is a lie that the lie will be

 

the genesis of healing. The greatest miracle 

lies within the same truth we are taught 

 

to abandon. When you stare at the mirror, do

not invert the image. There, your open 

 

chest. Gaze. Is that a nail where your heart 

used to be? Wipe off the honey & tell

 

the wound as it is. Metal organ. Blood rust.

Why must we wait until our suffering 

 

ends before we name it? What happens when 

we are the ones outlived? I have chosen 

 

to resit the ritual of time, to call every bruise 

by its colour. For what is a scar, 

 

if not a wound waiting to become? Come 

unto me. I will show you where I hurt 

on the river’s body. Look. I am touching 

all over the water. 

 

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

THIS THING CALLED DEATH by Blessing Anaso

THIS THING CALLED DEATH by Blessing Anaso

dried leaves on a concrete pavement

THIS THING CALLED DEATH

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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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.

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.

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