HOW TO JAIL A BIRD by Bayowa Ayomide

HOW TO JAIL A BIRD by Bayowa Ayomide

photography of small blue and brown bird

HOW TO JAIL A BIRD

by Bayowa Ayomide

– or how to bail on your bed.

First, one needs a nose respirator or a lab coat,

a science-student or a surgeon.

Lock the bird up in a box made up of transparent carpentry.

Fear is enough to make a bird a scapegoat,

the sky is what a bird needs to disappear.

Dissection into a correctional institution is an inside job.

The bird is not caged.

It would be best if you placed a penny in an inmate’s hand.

The officer’s circumrotation is from the right; you take a left.

The bird has a different look, maybe a butterfly—

the one that flings around your belly

when you’re called upon to give a speech.

Something like a slingshot is us on you from the audience.

You’re not sure; your mind is a battlefield of negativity.

The bird will not be caged.

Tonight, the correctional officers are not changing shifts.

The prison smells the same. When you wake from your bed, the dissection is your body structure carving your likeness on a foam.

Your hands are in plain views all times;

visitors are not allowed to hug nor touch you.

You know this is not pure science,

the deadliest weapon is launched in your psyche.

A bird’s cage is her song.

You’re a survivor; you’ll bring the war in your throat to its knees.

Please take out your cell apparatus,

that item we use to put one within electronic frames.

Smile. Chirp. Break loose. Let the still-life victim escape.

Source: From the Isolation Issue (September 2020)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

BAYOWA AYOMIDE is a Nigerian-Canadian poet, filmmaker, actor, and cinematographer. He transferred from the University of Ibadan to complete his B.A in Theatre and Drama Studies and Creative Writing at the University of Toronto, Canada. He was a long-list of the Nigerian Students Poetry Award 2018, shortlist of the 2018 Eriata Oribabhor’s Poetry Contest, the runner up of the 2020 On-Spot Poetry Writing Contest, a shortlist of 2018 and 2019 Christopher Okigbo Interuniversity Poetry Prize. His works have appeared on Praxis-magazine online, Africanwriter, Afas Review 2018, The Medium- University of Toronto’s Campus Newspaper and BPPC. He is the author of the chapbook, ‘Stream of Tongues, Watercourse of Voices.’ He believes so much in the nightly prophecies of the crickets behind his window.

A PORTAL OF CRISIS by Chukwu Emmanuel

A PORTAL OF CRISIS by Chukwu Emmanuel

white paper on a vintage typewriter

A portal of crisis

by Chukwu Emmanuel

In the news, the incident of death rises geometrically.

I know because something is lost when you search for it.

I peep inside my father’s house & his sadness fills my body to the brim.

It is the incident that tightens the air in our bodies. This silence is porous

Enough to fold us into halves & while we watch our parents talk

About the wound in the world stretching into bodies, My sister and I

Move behind the wall to unravel the hymn in our mouths. I sit behind

My sister wondering what shape her body is turning into. We look ourselves

Over until the yellow bullets of chickenpox show themselves. In our room

With no blinds, we sit on the lip of our doctor’s instructions, we sit like

We are lost to the world. & this isolation is singular with what eats us beneath.

I keep our difference apart. I have seen death many times but never of a sister

Who stands before the mirror watching her body respond to stimuli.

& in the wake of light, when I watch mine too, it is never same as hers.

Some things rise after being silent & this was how everything became clearer

After her recovery. I am only infected with whatever sickness someone gives me.

Every day, my body sheds colors of these memories & I understand my father’s fear

As this whole rib of silence holding him. I understand the joy to give my parents

Enough children. But what manner of child breathes happiness as air in his bed of affliction?

Source: From the Isolation Issue (September 2020)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

CHUKWU EMMANUEL is a Nigerian. He is a medical student with the spirit of writing in his blood. His works have been shortlisted for Kalahari Review Igby Prize for Nonfiction in 2019 and in 2018 for both Prose and poetry categories for Benue Literary Festival. His works has been published by or are forthcoming in Praxis’s magazine, Africanwriter magazine, Libretto magazine and numerous blogs. He’s currently working on a collection of a collection of stories documenting medical life. 

ODE TO OUR BODY ON FIRE by Anthony Okpunor

ODE TO OUR BODY ON FIRE by Anthony Okpunor

ODE TO OUR BODY ON FIRE

by Anthony Okpunor

Ode to Our Body on Fire – Winner of the 2019 Kreative Diadem Annual Creative Writing Contest (Poetry Category)

Make me a night
I have not died in & let me see the way it burns.
Because this is life I have
envied everything with broken wings.
I’ve once envied my body. I do not remember how I got there.
I wake to rooms with chandeliers
but my God, I was born thirsty.
I am reminded of dust
three days before my body begins to grow.
I have outgrown the brown color of the earth.
These things mean I’m a little smaller,
my tongue blisters & there’s no city with water,
it is my silence you get to know.
Tell me, when you hear my heart beat,
how often do you stop yourself from dancing?
Does my pain still sour you?
What is dinner if we’ve not prayed over the heat?
I am unsure if the sea will hold me to my word,
my blood ties my body to this poem, in the mirror
a smile spreads to my forehead.
The smell of dust is things to come
written allover a body.
We are unlucky if our body does not burn
in the slow song of fireflies.
They will mistake our silence again.
We catch ourselves lusting in the flame.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anthony Okpunor is an emerging Nigerian writer who discovered poetry and writing in general, as a better form of self-expression. He lives and writes from Asaba in Delta State. He is a student of the University of Benin at the time. He splits his time between writing, reading, lectures, good music, and himself. His works have appeared on online platforms including African Writers and Praxis Magazine.

IF GOD WAS A NIGERIAN by Othuke Umukoro

IF GOD WAS A NIGERIAN by Othuke Umukoro

IF GOD WAS A NIGERIAN

by Othuke Umukoro

ASUU would strike him
till his sorrow grows a beard.

He would be a Yahoo boy or a pimp or a drug dealer
or an innocent girl in the cold & dark streets of
Italy tendering white men’s amorous dreams
or all of the above.

He would be a potbellied politician
that swallowed (y)our children’s future,
or a snake that swallows dollars
or a rat that chases the big man
out of his office.

They would have slaughtered him, like
Ramadan rams, in Benue or
bandaged him with bombs in Borno.

His children’s life expectancy in the
Niger Delta would be around
9 or 10 (that’s a conservative statistic)
—all they would ever have are: a bowl
of oil spills for breakfast, a plate of
greenhouse emissions for dinner
& grief sandwiched between.

He would drown crossing the
Mediterranean or sold for peanuts in Libya.

He would yelp & complain on the mad streets of twitter
but will never come out to vote out oppression.

The sun would die in his mouth in Kirikiri
or other eyeless places where those who try to
sing new songs are stripped, chained & tortured.

He would not be in school but on the sidewalk, holding a
blue plastic bowl for your damn pity or under the leprous
stare of the sun cleaning your windshield at a red light.

SARS would shoot him & the government hospital
they will rush him to will not have electricity.

He would be a broke ass poet like me.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Othuke Umukoro is a poet & playwright. His demons have appeared, or are forthcoming in The Sunlight Press, Brittle Paper, AfricanWriter, Eunoia Review & elsewhere. His debut play Mortuary Encounters (Swift publishers, 2019) is available here.
When bored, he watches Everybody Hates Chris. He is on Twitter: @othukeumukoro19

I KISS THE NATURE GOOD MORNING by Kamarudeen Mustapha

I KISS THE NATURE GOOD MORNING by Kamarudeen Mustapha

I KISS THE NATURE GOOD MORNING

by Kamarudeen Mustapha

I kiss the nature good morning
And brew a pot of honey in my veins

I converse with the wild hues of the wilderness
And win myself a garland of rainbow around my neck

Today I befriend the weaverbirds and their tweeting colony
See how fast I become a chatterbox of modern lore

I imitate the Nightingale and its solemn notes
See how fast I become a singer of fortune

The day I imitate the oracle,
I will become a poet of vision

I will borrow its mystic gaze
That threads the innards of truth 

I will borrow its nimble feet
That walk the labyrinth of wisdom

Tired of borrowing, I may steal its prophetic flames
That burn the dross covering the gems of tomorrow 

I may steal its everlasting repose
And learn the secrecy of patience
 
Tell me which blacksmith fashions his ore
And fabricates his sinews
The uniqueness of his saber
Comes from the zealousness of his shadow
 
The length of his shadow comes
From the reflection of his person by the height of his fire 
Not the ore and neither the fire
But the power of his bellows
 
Then the strength and the rapidity of his hammer
On his anvil…

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamarudeen Mustapha (Prince Dankeketa) writes short stories and poems. He is a teacher and a photographer based in Ibadan, Nigeria. His poems and short stories have been published in Our Poetry Archive, Setu online magazine, Africanwriter.com, and Kreative diadem. He had also had poems published in some anthologies apart from self-publishing some children story books like Zinari, the Golden Boy, Winners Never Quit, Magic Birds, Wayon Bana ( Hausa ) among others. His debut novel ‘Zero Orbit’ is almost ready for publication.

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