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.

HOW TO MOUTH BROKEN PSALMS IN AN EARTHQUAKE by Wisdom Adediji

HOW TO MOUTH BROKEN PSALMS IN AN EARTHQUAKE by Wisdom Adediji

people looking at wrecked buildings

HOW TO MOUTH BROKEN PSALMS IN AN EARTHQUAKE

by Wisdom Adediji

1

It’s okay to let go. to spread your palms over the clitoris of your shadow

& mouth your fears like the incarnation of a broken spirit.

 

2

You danced your lips to your heartbeat hitting your ribcage,

as the sand collects imprints from your vigorous foot.

you’re scared.   scared of why the earth have to open its mouth while sleeping,

scared of the tremors escaping its snore,

through the epicentre. the sock waves. fires bashing out of its yawn.  

The earth seems like a bouncing castle pricked at its brim.

Before you’re eyes, everything becomes Sodom

everywhere becomes Gomorrah,

you stand still. shocked. like a bag of dry bones,

as water balls skate down your cheeks,

you weep, weep, weep….

but it’s nothing.    Jesus also wept….

 

3

You remember your teacher. geography teacher.

what he told you about earthquakes,

he said one day, the earth will yawn

& gulp bodies, & crave souls, & spit fire as sputum,

& he too will become a labyrinth,

& many others will be like unexcavated artifacts,

forgotten inside the earth’s belly

 

4

& you too will tend to survive,

you’ll stop running around. fearing.

You’ll flee away from walls. from poles. from trees. from holes. bridges. tunnels.

& hold your ground. Cat yourself under the wooden cabinet,

or the strong ancient table in your room.

now, all you have to do is breathe. press the red button on your phone,

& chew psalm 23. once again, breathe    breathe    breathe    &    breathe…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Wisdom Adediji is a genre-bending writer from the city of Ibadan, Nigeria. His works have appeared or forthcoming on Oneblackboylikethatreview, Arcuute, World voices magazine, Arts lounge and elsewhere. He is currently studying geography at the University of Ibadan and writes from there. Meet him on Instagram @wisdomadediji7.

THE CLEANSING by Taiwo Odesanya

THE CLEANSING by Taiwo Odesanya

man touching back of the head with hands

THE CLEANSING

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. 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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.

FOR THE FIRST LOSS OF INNOCENCE by Adedamola Olabimpe

FOR THE FIRST LOSS OF INNOCENCE by Adedamola Olabimpe

Two young black lovers hugging

FOR THE FIRST LOSS OF INNOCENCE

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

everything.

tainted nights. coloured thoughts.

look at you, child. the antithesis of purity.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

ELOCUTIO

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.

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