Four Poems: Ngozi Olivia Osuoha

The Haggard Black Widow

In a little corner of the village
She lives with some damage,
There; is a thick bush
Her life she does push,
Struggling for ends to meet
As the rich move in fleet;
Poor black widow.

She travels several miles
Under the sun; no smiles,
Just to arrive at the stream
With her mud-pot and team,
Hungry Children looking sick
Brilliant future needing lick;
Hopeless black widow.

Haggard, dirty and shabby
With none near to lobby,
She treks a long kilometer
As constant as her parameter,
In search of some firewood
To cook some funny food;
Malnourished black widow.

Her Children are intelligent
But a helper is negligent,
Their school uniforms are torn
Their sandals are off and worn,
They are always sent away
For fees; they could not pay;
Hungry black widow.

Visit her in the rain
And see her pain,
Under her thatched roof
Open with waterproof,
Wet and leaking all sides
Stinking, dirty as it divides;
Troubled black widow.

Her times, mostly in the farm
Snakes and men do harm,
Her nights lonely and longer
Dream boring and darker,
She wishes to curse the earth
Just waiting for death;
Helpless black widow.

She Is Just By The Corner
We Could Help Her…

 

Gray Greedy Goat

Gray greedy goat
Got green guns, gleeful guts
Germinating griefs, giving gallows
Growing graves; guilty gospel,
God, gone guaranteed?

Gray greedy goat
Grand gossiper; great gift
Ground Goliath, general groom
Gummy ginger, gloomy goose
God, gone guaranteed?

Gray greedy goat
Grumbling guru, girl-gauge
Gross gully gongs,
Gaining grain grants
God, gone guaranteed?

Gray greedy goat
Grabbing Godson’s goals
Good gallons, graceful gyration
Guerrilla gladiator, gladly guiding
God, gone guaranteed?

Gray greedy goat
Gateless guard, grumpy guild
Game grudge gardener
Gallivanting, grooving
God, gone guaranteed?

Gray greedy goat
Gorgeous ghost; grenade
Gouty gangster, gorilla’s glove
Gaseous grape, ghastly grinder
God, gone guaranteed?

Gray greedy goat
Gripping greased guitar
Gathering glorious galaxy
Getting governing greetings,
God, gone guaranteed?

Gray greedy goat
Graded griddle, gallery
Global girlfriends
Grilling Gill, grouped grid
God, gone guaranteed?

 

Strong Worded Memo To Mr Uniform

I saw the angel of doom;
In front with his sword,
I saw the angel of vengeance;
By the left with his axe,
I saw the angel of retaliation;
By the right with his spear,
I saw the angel of destruction;
Behind with his arrow,
I saw the angel of ‘Tsunami’
By the centre swimming in blood,
I saw the angel of NIGHTFALL
He passed around.
This is a strong-worded memo
How i wish you would understand,
I pray that you think twice,
Crawl to safety and take cover.
Mr Uniform; Please reform
Inform and perform,
Arise O Compatriot.

Your sleepless neighbour.

Words On My Mirror (5)

Go for an illiterate.
Flee from a FOOL.
Everyone is afraid.
Everyone is suspecting everyone.
Too bad, everyone.
Many a time, arrogant people are truly empty.
Hail anyone who intelligently foresees and interprets issues.
Do not envy him.
Never pull him down.
It is for our good.
We must give all ‘for’ our children especially the rod.
A proud mind thinks, others are against him even his people.
Flee from anyone who always praises you.
Waiting in every sense is tiresome and unbearable, but actually it ends ‘wanting’.
If we learn from each other, we could move on together.
Hunger goes beyond bread and wine.
Think Twice

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Author Bio:
Ngozi Olivia Osuoha is a Nigerian poet/writer, a graduate of Estate Management with experience in Banking and Broadcasting. She has published over one hundred poems in over ten countries. Her first two longest pieces of 355 and 560 verses, “The Transformation Train” and “Letter to My Unborn”, published in Kenya and Canada, are available on Amazon.

Three Poems: Andrew Reiff

Stigmata
Up so many times from death
I disbelieve she stands,
blood dripping from the sightless eye,
Heaving and breathing yes,
But no cries
in the plain of light
Of sneezes of blood so great
Or seizures eject quark
That cover walls
As the eye drips blood.

I thought it was a health condition
until yesterday in the winter sun
the light of afternoon caught the pearl,
the blood pearl in its track as it cycled to the ground.

Those drops of blood fell from the communion cup.
These shine like the surface of a river at dawn.
I thought it was a health condition, the Berean brain swelling,
or mucus made by bacteria, but after CAT scans and operations
and continuing prayer and anointings with oil of prayer,
invocations loosed upon the bulging head
while the spirit suffered like a noble there,
came this succession of healings, recoveries,
fallings and rise, blood sprays followed by appetite,
sprained feet, outgrown toenails followed by walks,
yes, the head down a little, but breathing and walking
and talking to her those days, weeks, months that stretch a year.

I see it is not a health condition
but a stigmata of thee.
That she should live on our street!
That each night she would rise to drink
from the cold bucket she prefers,
or lay in with that red black coat in the grass
sometimes with her head up and not unconsciousness,
even if some days she sleeps now till noon;
For when the seizures leave her exhausted,
after she recovers and walks about the house or yard,
she sleeps a little more, but hungers
morning noon and night for life and food.
Stigmata of the left eye. What has it seen of our time?

Leaves traces on the floor. Immaculate.

 
 
 
Remember
He wanted to fix my truck but I wanted to remember
the dents in the side put there that fourth of July.
He wanted to fix the front bumper but I wanted to remember
where my son drove it into a wall.
He wanted to fix the back gate where my wife
backed into another car at the music store.
I didn’t care either way.
But nobody wanted to fix the broken frame
partly restraightened after the hit and run,
the fenders repaired.
Nobody even knew they were there.
 
 
Husband
She was subject
to the fire of battle
in my arms,
in the mountain,
by the sea valley,
in the garden long,
beside the beach
and after youth in age
when leaves fell suddenly for three days
and she drew back the white curtains with frost,
Antares of rocks,
trumpets of elk,
owls suspended in air,
permanently fixed
wide eyed among the Madrones.
Austin 077-5-1
Author Bio: Andrew Reiff wrote Celestial Plant or Terrestrial Star, the root of correspondence in the biblical metaphors for the man, plant, star relation. He did a study of American voyages, “Restorations of the Golden Age in New World Discoveries,” and a book of verse called “A Calendar of Poems, Encouragements for Such as Shall Have Intention to Be Undertakers in the Planting,” which title indexes his later writing.

One Poem: Vipin Sharma

Lovely Angel            

Lovely angel! Like the rose is at acme,
spread its lavish fragrance in gloom;
resplendent in a sea-green dress
making foggy dense weather bright
rings in feet move sound melodious
like the fairies vesper hymns to sneak
cool breeze blow luscious hair away
to hover splatter the aroma of hope
bluster despair and distrust away
then comes forth the bravura beauty
remove the darkness brings new living
here comes the shadow in the sunset
birds chirp reflecting upon the return
to the home of reality, all look happy
but deep narrow and shallow inside
awake from hibernate to see the light
filled with fallacy, deceive and betray
today compelled not come real world
but sleep long in lap of beloved reverie
signify plunge of souls heavenly abode.


vipin
Author Bio:
Dr. Vipin Sharma is a prolific academician and a freelance writer. His poetry, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of journals both online and in print. He has two books to his credit and currently a faculty at a university in Saudi Arabia.

You Don’t Have to Cry Again: Kelvin J. Shachile

            “Only Nigerians have the power to narrate on paper,” are the words ringing in your head as you stand in the strange place you have just visited for the first time. You choose to be here because of the phrase.

All you can remember is yourself sitting in the silence of the night in your study room for hours. With bitterness and wretched heart with emotions as your fingers hovered above the innocent keyboard of the small laptop your friend Bashir said you can use for some time.

You wrote the sad story sobbing, you felt like a god as you decided the life and fate of the characters you wrote, you killed Juma at the end after his struggle with being the kind of the boy the world wanted. You made Livingstone live because it is the name of your favorite actor whose presence on the screen brought all chores in the house to a standstill. You have been copying all from him, from haircuts, to dressing and some days ago you had decided to die a strip of hair with a brown die on your head but your mother said it won’t look presentable to those you were going to meet.

You submitted your story to a literary competition and then one evening got a congratulation email that preceded the call from the judges. You won a three months writing vacation fully sponsored to the place of your choice. You chose to come to Nsukka, a university town in South Eastern Nigeria because it is in this place where the footprints of the giants of African literature have risen from, Chinua Achebe and Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi. Standing there waiting for the host who had been sent to get you from the airport, you laugh at the small motorcycle that passes by and imagine yourself riding on it. Okada, you know is the name for it. it makes you feel good for some time but the pain inside you that made you write your life and called it fiction still haunts you and wants you to write much more about it, may be that might set you free. Such a heavy yoke of hatred, denial and self-rejection. You ask yourself what was wrong when all those you had made up your mind to live with walked away from you. It was because you pretended a lot.

You dreamed in English that night and woke up sweating, shivering out of the fright that one of the vampire characters in your thriller novella had visited you in your house. He wanted you to remake the kind of behavior you had destined for him. He had just picked a small baby, and all you did was to make him eat the innocent child for dinner.

            “I wanted to take care of the child and use her to transform the world.” He says to you.

            “You could have just made her your meal when the time to do so came. Better did it so much earlier.” You responded. For all in your mind was that vampires didn’t have a soft heart to make a home for small babies.

Your character got angry and grasped you by the neck, threw you down the cliff towards the endless pit you had made in the book where aliens would later get away to get into the earth. You yelled and gave up, you imagined the kind of the world down there where you would land and then you woke up speaking English.

            “You dreamed you were in America?” Was all your roommate asked you.

            “Something like that.” you responded struggling to catch your breath.

            “You should rebuke that dream in the name of Jesus Christ. Better dream of being in Hell than America.”

            “Why?”
“They are racists. You will never know you are black until you step in that land that hosts people who know everything. They also say they have guns and many young men there are serial murderers.”

            “Well, that is enough.”

You walked towards the window, pushed the curtains aside and stared at the dark night outside. The lights on the small paved pathways in the campus made you remember the encounter on the admission day when you met Bashir. He told you his Parents were from India but he had been born in Kenya and didn’t have a thought to go back to India.

            “Why is he telling me?” you asked yourself.

In your head you already hated him, took him on the scale your grandmother back in the village had used to judge that Indians came to establish businesses in Kenya that were all destined to kill the young innocent blood.

            “Didn’t you hear about the supermarket that razed down in the city and the Indian owner just stood there watching?” she asked you when you tried to deny her words at first.

So Bashir to you was of the same type. He happened to be in the same class you were and he seemed to have you in his mind.

            “Will you be my friend?” he asked.

            “I will see.” You responded.

You spend the entire day wondering why he wanted to be your friend, and then realization lit on your face. His trait had some show of what wasn’t authentically masculine. Who really asks to be someone’s friend here in Kenya, especially a young man? It sounded weird and you ended up ignoring the thought.

Bashir preserved his fate and made sure he didn’t really want his bed to forget him every night he went to it. On the other side, you stood and observed, you saw the change and the definition of what a campus guy needed to look like. You become a physician and diagnosed yourself with an ailment, you called home and money came. You walked into the administration as a spirit and sat in the executive meetings which I know you don’t remember, you adjusted the fees and boom! Things started to change.

You threw away the rugs your mother bought for you at home, you had to get some dreadlocks on your head and got those ripped denim trousers, shorts and the ones which are folded near the feet. You pushed the leather shoes down the bed and picked up those kind that matched your age.

            “I have been making myself look old when I was still such a young man.”

            “You look cute and awesome.” Priscah your secret admirer complemented. Your heart beat seized and you even didn’t hear the words that followed.

All in all, when the time for the first creative writing assignment came, you missed a mark for presenting handwritten work.

            “You should come to my room and pick my old laptop, may be it will help you for some time.” Bashir told you with that face a child would use to ask you bring him something when you came back from a journey.

You looked at him with that twisted face, his humility faded and lines of sorrow appeared on his face. You felt contented for doing that.

            “Why had you to do that?” Yohana, you roommate from Tanzania asked you.

            “I am a man and I cannot allow myself be introduced to the Indian cult with my eyes fully open.”

            “I don’t understand.”

            “You Tanzanians never understand, you are always too slow.” You said then walked away.

Literature classes went on well, good that you remained focused on what made way for you to the university. Every time English escaped your mouth you felt its smoothness and the Ugandan accent-that friends said you have-glitter at every piece of word that you spoke. With pride and satisfaction, you knew you had achieved part of what you dreamed to do.

            “I will one day speak good English.” Had been you dream.

You no longer said bananas, you said plantain. You forgot about bodaboda and called it taxi, words like the village escaped your mind and you started saying the countryside. Then letter t went slippery in your speech, your nose started to block and pap! You got the American accent with you.

I tell you, you rose above the clouds that sailed in the sky to bring the drizzles of rain that fell that night after the dream as you stared outside. You regretted having the single part of thought in you, why had you to make those people just a one thing as Chimamanda had said in her speech the danger of a single story.

So when they told you that it was only in Nigeria where people know how to narrate well on the pages, you said that it was your destination. You dreamed of their spirit getting into you as you drafted you novel you had given a title ‘Giving up, Being a Man.’

For you had finally realized it was such a shame to hold down the love a lonely brother had needed from you after the encounters of xenophobia his family had gone through when they had visited his brother in South Africa. The warmth that you could have just served him by being with him, laugh and write together to make him forget the death of his mother which occurred during the Westgate terror attack.

            “I fear that one day the terrorists might come here as they went to Garissa and kill me the way they did to my mama in the mall.” He once told you.

He told you how he would love to have friends from every part of the country. You saw him walk with Njoroge out of the class and all you thought was that he had finally met a fellow conman.

You saw him greet that boy from Kisii and all you could see was the fitting how the Indian witchcraft you had watched in the soap opera combining with the native Kenyan one from the Gusii land.

Little did you know some things are just stereotypes destined to silence the power of unity among the people of the world.

You remember the realization when your thoughts changed and saw no meaning of the ear-piercing you had just done, you dumped the rugged jeans and tight T-shirts and went back to the decent trousers your mother bought for you. For you had finally realized that no one was supposed to make a meaning of the kind of person you were supposed to be.

            “I have to type my short story.” You said with a faint voice to Bashir when you got him standing silently on the balcony of the off campus apartment where you now lived.

He turned, his face sunk and he sobbed in his hands. He walked passed you and locked himself in his room.

That evening when he brought you the laptop, he said you would have it for some time for he had another one to use, you now have it in your bag. You regret every part of the journey of pressure, hasty change of the environment, maturing to fit in the council that defined how campus men look like.

You forgot that you can be who you want to be regardless of who you are.

            “Ngugi WA Thiong’o lived in Limuru and even wrote his book in detention, Margaret Ogola wrote her book as a doctor. Kinyanjui Kombani has been in Kenya yet he has such good stories.” The words streamed in your mind.

Then you realized it had been a mistake for you to be here in Nigeria, you would have chosen somewhat a better and exciting place, like Dubai, but your mother hates middle east and calls it the land of terrorists, you then think Egypt would have been a better place, visit the pyramids of Giza and walk through the streets of Cairo, but your uncle who is a pastor of the evangelical ministries said the pale horse prophesized in the bible, book of Revelation had been seen on camera in Egypt and the world would end from there.

            “Why had he to discourage me from going there?” you ask yourself.

Only to realize later that even men of God who strongly believed in Him feared to die first.

All you could see was the chains of darkness in which you had decided to jail yourself for a long time. Walking in the shadows of the more handsome man with a baby face and deep dimples on your cheeks, but you forgot it, you ended up hunting the goodness in the land where you didn’t belong, as you wait for Chinedu to drive you into the university of Nigeria where you will be having your time for three months, your eyes start to get wet, but then you get a text message notification on your phone, It’s from Bashir.

You don’t have to cry again, it reads.

                          

 

Author Bio: Kelvin J. Shachile a 21 years old Kenyan born passionate writer, actor and poet. He was first published in the whispers, an international online poetry journal. His first children’s book is soon to be released. Kelvin is a tutor at Spring Valley Academy where he teaches creative writing and English language.
He studies at Maasai Mara University, studying geography-specializing in Geospatial analysis.

Three Poems: James D. Casey IV

Hollow Tree of Fate

I couldn’t believe my eyes
what a fool I had been
wasted in this place for so
long that the maggots had
taken over my mind
eating away at my thoughts
daily reminding me
of the time I carved my
initials into the hollow tree
of fate
on that cloud
in the sky
a thousand years ago

Over and Over

Crying
Singing
Rambling on
About nothing
And everything
All at once
Give it up
Take it all
Either way
Be aggressive
Inside out
Outside in
Swallow it
Whole
Regurgitate
Sell it as new
Playing the fool
Over and Over
Again
Digging a
Shallow grave
Cut the cord
Break the chains
Set yourself
Free

Lions in the Promised Land

take a chance and rule the day
never keep your mouth
shut
stand up and yell out
rise
the smallest of cubs
can become the mightiest
of lions
take it by force
own it
be the master
of your own creation
listen to the
voices
from the ether
old spirits
guide you
in
to the promised land


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Author Bio:
James D. Casey IV is a southern poet with roots in Louisiana & Mississippi. He currently resides in Illinois with his Muse, their retarded dog, and two black cats. Mr. Casey has authored four books of poetry, and his most recent title is Owls in Hot Rods with Pink Elephants and Dead Bats released August 2, 2018. His work has also been published extensively by several literary magazines and small press venues. Mr. Casey spends his days writing poems, but also enjoys practicing magick, and cooking Cajun cuisine.

Five Poems: Peter Magliocco

I’ve perpetrated in a lifelong gambit:
the turn of the screw inside
my being’s sorry machination
 
clanking pitifully along,
before breaking down
within dusk’s sanguine aura.
Seeing the face of a mother
 
long gone, now a mirage
or apparition of love lost
in life’s mutating rainbow
where folk mysteries abide
 
in the myths of extant tales
depicting sad orphans.
My tears for her bathe
the far-flung continents
 
I seek (beyond these pages
mildewing with dust & time)
to find a fitting home in.
It’s the happy birthday of earth
 
I think of when night comes
to embellish undying sun:
emblazoned scar-like on skin
apple-scented from her long bath
 
within the ornate picture frame
my vision fades from a light
Titian saw — then painted,
darkly, on our parchment eyes.

Transgressions in a Solar Pane

Site-specific orbs of a falcon

in the rear-view tractor mirror
reflect ultraviolet sunlight
skirting the pond from tires now
sloshing (with fulsome whine?)
forward, until mud impedes them.
Tire grooves of burnt umber
indent the clayish littoral
encircling the sweep of water-
currents tinted a golden hue
in the sinking sun’s backdrop.
Watching it the sculptor prays
rain can’t dampen her mood,
or twilight bring closure fast
to the natural spectacle she seeks
her tractor to traverse entirely round;
but hail ungainly halts the slow wend,
turns metal to nearly-natural flotsam
the earth now weds itself onto:
closing, too, the sculptor’s longing
& hierarchal need to reconfigure
the once pristine water-body of life
into her signature grace unmoving.

The Mind’s Redaction

A rose, a hammer, a nail,

all gilded by graven winter
scarring old mortal tongues
with yesterday’s frost.
I see no one now
around me to summon
memories of your revenant hair
silkscreened on purblind minds
no heaven waits for.
Next door Kafka’s ghost smiles
at my instruments of torture,
knowing I’ve come to dismember
his body of work
in the museum of minds.
I’ll trim the moth-eaten
pages of history
without a second thought,
humming The Battle Hymn
of The Republic
we once took pictures of
before a blade, a rock,
a sonnet without words.

Beyond the Gospel Garden in Sacraments of Shadowy Green
 
Sacraments of human need
your fingers reach for at dawn,
 
grasping only shadows:
Death is the mascot
 
for armies of the night
to march through the catacombs
 
where art & truth lay buried
(in frescoed artifices).
 
I was too young a soldier
cutting the imaginary throats
 
of new enemies within,
never glimpsing the real faces
 
of our lost humanity
(bearing an electronic cross –?).
 
Who betrayed us, martyrs
duped by the war machine
 
beyond the Gospel garden
(seeds sprouted into headstones!)
 
where hope passed in the arms
of the defaced icon saviors
 
painted on the city walls
with the magical graffiti of lovers.

Author Bio: Peter Magliocco writes from Las Vegas, Nevada, where he’s been a longtime resident and periodic small press editor. He has recent poetry at Midnight Lane Boutique, Jellyfish Whisper, Greensilk Journal, Degenerate Literature, and elsewhere. He was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net for poetry. His most recent poetry book is Poems for the Downtrodden Millennium from The Medulla Review Publishing.

Four Poems: Aamir Abdullah

O My Dear Death

O my dear death.
Depths of your oceans
fascinate me.
your glittering currents ,
like The eyes of a
mysterious woman
bind me in an unseen
silken rope.
And I,
In a calmness
In an utmost pleasure
Surrender.

 

 

Nest

My heart is her nest
Her piece of art, peerless
She with moon beams created
With her silvery body bleached it
Her smiles thurified the whole
Extended it in all directions

My heart is her nest
Breathes in it
A new born innocence
She nestles and nurtures it
On milky stream
Flowing through her bust

My heart is her nest
Where sorrows mount her body
Peck and pierce her
With a pain filled chirp
She sheds a warm tear
Holding it on my palm
I walk through a swaying bridge
A tear in which
My soul rests
A tear which turns into a light bird
And flies away to
Surround the universe.

 

Pocket Call

Wasn’t it the same day
Same hour, same moment
When it was
Due upon me
To remember you…?
Wasn’t it the time
To feel the blaze
Of your burning palms
Which,years ago
Illuminated my path
I promised to hold your hands
Before they burn to coal
But promises….!
Still unfulfilled……

Dust was all around me
And memories were echoing
But nothing was audible
Except a buzzing in the head
My hands were weaving…..a web
To catch me in my own silk
And I
within me
was struggling to breathe

Who without me
Without my hands
And without my fingers
Dialled your number
Is that you?

 

I Can Cheat The History

Historians are my friends
From ancients to the mods
From pre to planetary
History is on my will
I am in written word
Modest than all the modest
God of love and mercy
The decisive
The protector
The inspirer

Historians are my friends
The graves all I dug
Throats put on sword
Skulls all I buried
Hell which I created
Will never be exposed
Will never be exposed
The blood and the flesh
In bedrocks of my empire

Historians are my friends
History is on my will
No one will write your screams
No one will write how you were
Tormented
And tortured
And troubled
I can change the history
I can cheat the time
On all the scripts and scriptures
Valid are my signature
Historians are my friends
History is on my will!

 


‘Pocket Call’ : Dedicated to Annette Nasser , as a pocket call to her gave the Idea of this poem.

 

Author Bio: Aamir Abdullah lives and writes from Punjab, Pakistan.

 

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