THE CLEANSING by Taiwo Odesanya

THE CLEANSING by Taiwo Odesanya

man touching back of the head with hands


by Taiwo Odesanya

Say, frustration is the seed mothering these 

Bullets the earth is puffing,

Say, it is the gun flooding this heat, 

These droughts, these storms, 

These insects, these wildfires, 

These diseases,

Say, humans have pushed the earth to the wall, 

Forcing her to taste her blood,

Say, humans have harvested earth’s tears like fruits,

And punctured it with inhuman activities,

Say, the earth warned and warned, 

But humans’ 

Inhumanity clothed their ears like a river over a land,

Now that frustration is pushing these bullets from earth’s hands, 

Many of them are trying to recede into shadows?  

Now that the earth is

Hatching climate change and her consequences as eggs, 

Some are hiding behind shields? 

Some are passing the burdens to others? 

Tell me this cross will rollover,

Tell me, 

Tell me the earth will cleanse this frustration and grow grace. 



Taiwo Oluseye Odesanya is a Nigerian Poet, Non-fiction writer, Blogger, and History enthusiast. He is a Computer Information Systems graduate from Middlesex University London with a deep passion for writing. Taiwo calls writing his first love and hopes to write something “groundbreaking” about remarkable events from the past because of his undying love for history.



Two young black lovers hugging


by Adedamola Olabimpe

your first kiss was a crime scene.

stolen from you in the darkness of your

mother’s kitchen.

it slid down your throat & started


the spark that turned you into the wildfire of a human.

your first kiss stolen from you

in the darkness of your mother’s kitchen.

a loss.

a funeral with only your 14-year-old self

& a mute god in attendance.

you wore nothing.


your first kiss slid down your throat,

hot & ready to consume.

insides turning to ash. unfamiliar desires

travelling through your senses & finding home

in the space between your thighs.


your first kiss was not your first kiss

but your second.

this kiss was a sin & this man forgot what a

child was.

fanning out flames with his head buried

in between your chest.

you remember his smell & how it corrupted


tainted nights. coloured thoughts.

look at you, child. the antithesis of purity.


Olabimpe is a lover of white bread who almost always has their earphones in. They have works published in Ngiga Review, Sub-Saharan Magazine, Anti-Heroin Chic, Visual Verse and others. You can find them on Instagram @borednigeriangirl and on Twitter @lilbrowneyedfae. 

ELOCUTIO by Olaitan Junaid

ELOCUTIO by Olaitan Junaid

woman looking at sea while sitting on beach


by Olaitan Junaid

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

depending on // how //    it is handled     //   a poem // 

could be //  a knife //     like a toddler //      with boobs // 

i handle   my grief     // so gingerly //   it knows not // 

to spill // in my wildest dreams // everyone // runs //

away from me // says // i hold onto grief // so close // 

i sometimes forget //   to hold   //   myself   //     often  // 

i wake // to the bleating of // bukhatir’s last breath // &  

even though //  this poem //  isn’t about   // my mother // 

everything // here // pretends // to be alive // alhamdulillah // 

it’s juma’ah // & i want to tell a story // without // 

the grave // i want to tell a story // where // the void //

between us // maintains // just as void // never as // 

the strange woman or // the boy // my father’s with // 

a new // wife // & i, a brother // to love // & why //

does my mother keep // ghosting back // to me // whole

as secrets // anyone around // to love her back // & why // 

won’t she // just // live happily // ever after // 

it’s the semester’s end // alhamdulillah // next weekend //  

i’ll be sleeping // all through // the one after //

i’ll be lost // someplace // with no one // to // find me // 

forgive me // mother // i keep // pretending // nothing dies // 

here // forgive me // mother // i keep pretending // there isn’t //

any silence // in this poem // even when // the closest // 

i’ve come // to joy // is // finger // thru it // to be honest //

i want to believe // grief isn’t bilingual // but o, i keep screaming 

& screaming // subhanallah // when a termite bites // & now // 

my tongue // is lost // to grief’s brutal dialect // & when // 

i mean to sing // i shed // once // or twice in response // to prayer // 

i screamed // asẹ́ // when i only meant // to amen // àṣẹ // & again 

// everything i love // sieves // through me // the ones //

less porous // & wouldn’t let go // keeps falling&falling // like //

luck // o, lord, speak to me // of grace immeasurable // & i’ll tell 

of my friend // who’s barely twenty-four // & hypertensive // & dying 

// & soon // she’ll begin // to fork // through drugs // to stay alive // 

& soon // she’ll be too busy // arranging what’s left // of her body // into //

a collage // of memories // that we may hold // on to // &  soon //

she’ll be too tired // to stir fries // to say // hey // old friend // 

how many dreams // have you survived // today // & soon // 

i’ll mistake her for my mother // a tired beauty // only that // come

tomorrow // she’ll be home // sleeping // her lover // still hers //

watching // she won’t be dying // too soon.



low angle view of spiral staircase against black background


by Abdulmueed Balogun

Winner of the 2021 Kreative Diadem Annual Creative Writing Contest (Poetry Category)

It is hope that keeps the flame of dreams dancing, even when the wind of forlorn 

throws at it a thousand blow. I have taken my heart to the silvery river, to remove 


all traces of greed, what turns futile a century’s strife, to wash away the sticky dusts 

of dissatisfaction, what steels people’s mind to the teachings and admonitions of patience, 


what makes them envision the blessings of God as crumbs, as nothing worthy of glorification. 

I see them now, smiling as they wine and dine, as they shroud their nakedness with stolen golds, 


though survival is the first rule of nature, and when home fails to be a heaven, it’s only natural 

but not justifiable to breathe by all means. Mother urges, with the clarity of a calm river, son, 


don’t hurry the procession of life, take every pace at your pace, that’s divine; don’t be beguiled 

by the fleeting pleasure of the world flashing to your eyes, into hacking the tree of hope in your 


mind in the name of survival. Father exhorts, with the voice of a resolute thunder rattling in the 

heart of the sky, when clouds wear darkness as cloak before the rise of dusk, beloved, the world 


is brief like a second, spend yours as a harbinger of smile to pallid cheeks, and to your 

neighbors— a bamly river be, soothe their pains, if you can, when they grief and if you can’t, 


mope their tears with words of compassion. Dear God, I have come to you as a country ravaged 

by war, as a bird with broken wings, the road of life is coated in riddles and thorns, and only 

those under the parasol of your grace can tread unscathed. Gaze upon me— a poet, 

a pilgrim and dust, with your merciful eyes, I do not want to brew my bliss like birds my


age who have murdered their conscience with knives of greed, from the core of what you 

ordained profane, I do not crave to oil my harmattan-bitten lips like my peers with my neighbors’ 


oil, while they go to bed with growling stomachs, with bleeding hearts. God, I erect the pillars 

of my dreams in your hands, insure my affairs in your heavenly vault, let your name be praised.



Abdulmueed Balogun is a Nigerian poet & an undergrad at the University of Ibadan. He is a 2021 HUES Foundation Scholar and a Poetry Editor at The Global Youth Review. He was longlisted for the 2021 Ebarcce Prize, Finalist: 2021 Wingless Dreamer Book of Black Poetry Contest, won Honorable mention: 2021 Whispering Crescent Poetry Prize, Shortlisted: BBPC Feb/March 2021 and an alumnus: 2021 SpringNg Writing fellowship. His works are forthcom(in)g: Avalon Literary Review, The Night Heron Barks Review, Salamander Ink, Bowery Gothic, Subnivean Magazine, Jmww Journal, The Remant Archive and anthologized in: Fevers of Mind (Poets of 2020) and 2021 Cathalbui Poetry Competition Selected Entries. He tweets from: AbdmueedA.

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.

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