Thursday, July 30, 2015

Profiling Danica Kreusch, #BNP2015 shortlist (South Africa)



Danica Clea Kreusch
After spending the first eighteen years of her life in the small town of Hermanus, Danica moved to the slightly-bigger small town of Grahamstown to grow up intellectually at Rhodes University. She’s still busy finding the highs and lows of writing as she completes her final year of a Bachelor of Journalism in 2015. She misses her second major, English Language and Linguistics, on days when the English language woos her. Despite the best efforts of her lecturers and friends, Danica still thinks being grown up and too mature is boring, and lives for puns, kittens, writing and reading everything she can get her hands on, forum role playing, sub-editing, beta reading, and spending too much time on Tumblr.

    Luna   by Danica Kreusch (South Africa)
   
    Light spills into the stone basin
    And collects itself into the moon
    This is the place the birds bathe
    Celebrating their freedom and purpose
    And lifetime of trying to touch the sun
    He has none of these three things
    But he has her hand in his
    Fingers knotted and not cupped
    These long-dirtied palms
    Submerge in the water
    And for long moments they have created chaos
    Then light collects itself over their linked hands
    Luna
    She feels like purpose and freedom and starlight
    Enough, his heart finally sighs
    No more striving. She is enough.
   
   
   
    The winner of the 2015 Babishai Niwe Poetry Award will be announced during the Babishai Poetry Festival, 26 to 28 August at The Uganda Museum. #babishai2015
    **********************************************************************



Wednesday, July 29, 2015

PROFILING GBENGA ADESINA (NIGERIA) #BNP2015SHORTLIST



Gbenga Adesina, poet and essayist, lives and writes in Nigeria. His poems interrogate love and loss and the miles and more in between.
Some of them have been published or are forthcoming in Africanwriter.com, brittlepaper, Osiwa Anthology(cassava press), Jalada aand others. He was a 2015 Open society for West Africa Resident poet on the Goree Island, Senegal. His chapbook curated and edited by Kwame Dawes is set to be published in Spring 2016 in the New Generation African Poets series by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Akashic books, NewYork.




JOURNEY INTO SONGS by Gbenga Adesina (Nigeria)
(On the Benin road)
i
The leaves are an imagination of green:
Self-preening Limbas, doting, motherly Guava trees unfurling their
arms on this road. The oaks and mahoganies loop like
map lines that lead to love.
And you, being you, find yourself in a state of desire
You want to touch and be touched. To fold yourself into a song, into a ballad
and give of it to this air. To re-listen to these places with new eyes, you
yielding to the road, the road yielding to you. Hugh Masekela cooing beside you;
the sheer thrush of self-surrender.
ii
But really, I’m thinking these greens, these twigs are opening sentences
I’m thinking, really, that roads are people and people are roads and
when we take them, navigate them, what we come into is a soft surprise
of songs. Some bright watermarks, some dark or maroon like love or loss
like these trees and their cheerful leaves beneath which there is a dying and a sighing
and a loving, like the red wound in Hugh’s voice as he twirls and twirls me into his space,
my hands trembling on the gear.
I press down on the pedal. Our car is a purr scissoring through the night.
iii
We are now at a junction where a slim, red-brown road on the left
slithers down the green into something we do not know
If I turn this wheel, careen down the road into its dusty insistence
Will I see her
My mother: a little Benin girl again making dreams in sand
or her father, Abulema, bare chested sculptor, his fingers
quick to love as to wood, nursing a bronze slap into a god
a waiting in his eyes, under this April sky relentlessly preaching
the gospel of rain.



**********************************************************************

The winner of the 2015 BN Poetry Award will be announced during the Babishai Poetry Festival, 26 to 28 August at The Uganda Museum.  #babishai2015


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Profiling Lua Nsume Davis, #babishai2015shortlist from Cameroon

 HERE'S LUA DAVIS FROM CAMEROON, #BABISHAI2015SHORTLIST


  22-year-old Lua Nsume Davis was born to Cameroonian and Canadian parents in South Florida. Currently attaining her bachelors in psychology, she plans to eventually receive her PHD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology with research interests in gender, race, sexuality, and disability based workplace marginalization.
Upon her first communion with a pencil, Lua fell in love with how words could transcribe feelings. Although she had the courage of a mouse, this gave her the liberty to speak up. From age 5 to 16, she entered and placed in many local poetry and prose competitions. And after a long hiatus from writing, she has fallen in love again.
My hair Is. is a tribute to African identity in America. It exemplifies how the sole act of displaying ones African Hair, in the myriad of styles it backs, is an act of solidarity.  It is the hair of people who have done great things with little recognition, and she is glad that it connects her to Africa in ways deeper than blood. She believes that wearing her hair proudly combats the same Eurocentric beauty standards that have suppressed people of color. 

Her shortlisted poem is below.
    My Hair Is     By Lua Davis (Cameroon)
   
                                           My hair is loud!
                Like the ricochet of voices rumbling
              down the streets of Washington, D.C.                                 ,,
              during the march of 1963. It yells: “Here I am! Here I am!” Even in silence.
          My hair is triumphant. Like the exultant echo of my mother’s footsteps as
         she glided across that stage to embrace the diploma of a first generation
       graduate. It dances to the discord of discrimination, never forgetting that
      a symphony is only made with patient persistence. My hair isresilient. Like
      the Cameroonian women of my family who toiled selling granuts &palm oil
      on the red-clay-soil roadside to ensure that their brothers received education:
      women who, despite being regarded 2nd, still moved mountains for themselves
    and their kin. It revolutionarily recoils at the oppositional pull of adversity in order        to
    revisit the importance of its roots. My hair is poetic. Like songs loftily uplifted bymy
    Bakossi people to heaven during prayer. Each strand is the stanza of a love poem to
                 God. My hair is proud. Like the coalition of kings and queens crowned with the
         curls of their           ancestors---whose hair continues to bloom in spite of
    the cumbrances of oppression. It blossoms
    in common accord with allied heritage
    preservation. My hair is intricate. Like
    the diverse cloths that kiss the skin
    of my African brothers and sisters.
    It harbors clusters of contrasting
    curl patterns: each beautiful in
    its textured diversity. My hair
    is a thank you note to the soil
    from which we leapt, to sun--
    kissed mothers plaiting their
    childrens’ ulotrichous locks,
    to the men and women
    with raised voices and
    elevated signs, protest-
    ing in Ferguson, MO,
    to the parents who
    tell their dark-skin
    babies, “You are
    more than the
    world says
    you are.”
    My hair
    Is.
   
   
#babishai2015
Our Poetry festival takes place from 26 to 28 August at The Uganda Museum. We'll be launching Poetry on The Mountain, an excursion of poetry on one of Uganda's mountain ranges and Boda Boda Anthem, the Kampala Poetry Anthology.

The winner will be announced on Friday 28 August at The Uganda Museum main hall.
Contact: bnpoetryaward@bnpoetryaward.co.ug
Tel:   +256 751 703226
Twiter @BNPoetryAward

Monday, July 27, 2015

THE BN POETRY AWARD 2015 SHORTLIST IS OUT


THE BABISHAI POETRY 2015 SHORTLIST IS HERE!

THE WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED DURING THE BABISHAI POETRY FESTIVAL, 26 TO 28 AUGUST AT THE UGANDA MUSEUM IN KAMPALA.

WE’LL  ALSO  BE  LAUNCHING POETRY ON THE MOUNTAIN AND BODA BODA ANTHEM AND OTHER POEMS.

#BABISHAI2015



Like Scented Mangoes    by Arinze Ifeakandu (Nigeria)

  I used to like the quiet in this place

Both of us

Seated under the mango tree

Sipping our tea in paper cups

Mum used to come and check on us

—Don’t climb up the mango tree, she said

But after she left you sprinted up

Agile as a monkey

And climbed branch after branch

The sunlight bathing you in the finest gold

And between us the scent of rotting mangoes

I was the fearful little one

Who watched with longing from below

As, balanced on a sturdy branch, you stared down at me

And smiled—You see? You see?

And then, clambering down, we stood side by side

Watching the sunset turn all bloody red



We have grown up too quickly

And I have traveled the world

Tokyo, Japan

Accra, Ghana

America, Everywhere

I have returned to this place

Where the silence now gnaws like rats’ teeth

Gentle-gentle, coolly-coolly

Between us, distance like scented mangoes

Mum’s grave white and marble

Behind the shrubs

Where once we lay side by side

And tasted the fading tea on each other’s tongue

Hands lingering at certain places

Your breath on my neck like warm-water air—

In Memory of a Loving Mother

—Memory like a frozen smile on a fading picture

Like childhood music at Sunday School

            La lala

I look up and the flowers are budding between green leafs

Two paper cups lie buried in sand and twigs

I squat to pick them up

But I pick only dust.



****************************************************************















































































My Son  by Adhiambo Agoro (Kenya)     



Fruit of my womb

I beg to stay away

And let you build bridges

To carve sculptures of our souls

To read invisible lines of Holy books

To find meaning in meaningless lines

And hope from tombs left for so long

Mother will be back

Let me find one like us, for us to become one





As your spine gives your body posture

So does the rhythm of our blood play upright music?

You are my last winter bird

My twins gave hope

My smile gave pride

But we're little termites with big hearts

We need our scraggy feet for paths we haven't crossed

Let me find one like us, for us to become one





The roses of our hearts have a charity case

The sidelines of our thoughts need ironing

We consume a variety of edibles to keep ourselves strong

It is a hard claim to live up to, Son

I recall your baby steps

And maps you left on the seabed after a longer drought.

Our change is forbidden but still

Let me find one like us, for us to become one





I will write these lines on paper

For the crowd to listen to our acapella

My name was lonely

Your father's name was pain

We covered your eyes from the world

For us to clean the dirt under our nails

Your life is a yearned cliché

I cry

Let me find one like us, for us to become one





We have few pieces of joy

Will we suffocate on these solitary streets?

No Son. We need history and tales

For kisses woke up the Queens and portions made Kingdoms sleep

Hold my hand to seal these words

Feel the scent from unseen paradises

As we beseech the mercies of prayer and faith

Let me find one like us, for us to become one.





*********************************************************************

















A ROOM WITH A DROWNING BOOK  by Adeeko Ibukun (Nigeria)


Somewhere in the room a book is drowning, the floor

is shivering with pages. You said the spine is the balance



to our two winged hearts. Sometimes it’s the light knitting

its letters to our hearts. I see how things hold us in their lights



so we aren’t here or there like you’re here and somewhere

a lover holds you in her heart, light in water teaching these lessons.



Sometimes something holds clearly what we couldn’t say in words.

We face it to learn our silence and that again becomes part of



our languages. Places own us like this, light bounces off them,

turning their spears at me. Our hearts beat now and vision takes



its shapes—the stream of consciousness, nuances as water turn,

streamlet as novella lost in our undercurrent.  I’m lost in a story now



or a story’s lost in me. Perhaps we should hang on words so that

we do not drown. Remembering makes living its anchor. So I asked



if it’s us you wanted to save insisting everything  is placed this way

and that way of our anniversaries, each moment  achieved  as light



buried in water—so it’s here or there, past or present, our chairs and tables,

dresser and records becoming the dykes. The mirror’s at an angle



to the world so it does not yield all its light at once. Everything’s our

subject before we become their subject, relying on memories to endure.



The Ghost of Jevanjee by Nyanduaki Okongo  Omare (Kenya)



You knew he would visit you,

sitting on the concrete bench, alone, pretending to be immersed in an old book

He greets your silence like an old friend

and stays there.

He will bother to describe the trees to you

each one of them

points at the shrubs by your feet and say- choose the one that speaks to you most and I'll give you its  name.

The sun will burn your back for attention

 the ants will pilgrimage up your skin like hungry hands

but you will do nothing about it.

He will tell you this- when the imminent rain comes, don't run away from it

allow it to wash your shadow clean

until it no longer darkens the ground above you.

And that even there,

in the midst of  love oaths

buried earthworms

hands pressed together in worry

planned sabbaticals

eagles' droppings

'I am the bread of life' sermons

thieves with no faces

memories of sex

great jokes told with closed mouths

smooth stones and potted flowers.

Even there,

you will find two friends:

Wrath, which burns but is sweeter

and Mercy, which suffocates but is lighter.

Choose one,

and it will give you your name.







***********************************************************************

Luna   by Danica Kreusch (South Africa)



Light spills into the stone basin

And collects itself into the moon

This is the place the birds bathe

Celebrating their freedom and purpose

And lifetime of trying to touch the sun

He has none of these three things

But he has her hand in his

Fingers knotted and not cupped

These long-dirtied palms

Submerge in the water

And for long moments they have created chaos

Then light collects itself over their linked hands

Luna

She feels like purpose and freedom and starlight

Enough, his heart finally sighs

No more striving. She is enough.









*********************************************************

























JOURNEY INTO SONGS by Gbenga Adesina (Nigeria)

(On the Benin road)

i

The leaves are an imagination of green:

Self-preening Limbas, doting, motherly Guava trees unfurling their

arms on this road. The oaks and mahoganies loop like

map lines that lead to love.

And you, being you, find yourself in a state of desire

You want to touch and be touched. To fold yourself into a song, into a ballad

and give of it to this air. To re-listen to these places with new eyes, you

yielding to the road, the road yielding to you. Hugh Masekela cooing beside you;

the sheer thrush of self-surrender.

ii

But really, I’m thinking these greens, these twigs are opening sentences

I’m thinking, really, that roads are people and people are roads and

when we take them, navigate them, what we come into is a soft surprise

of songs. Some bright watermarks, some dark or maroon like love or loss

like these trees and their cheerful leaves beneath which there is a dying and a sighing

and a loving, like the red wound in Hugh’s voice as he twirls and twirls me into his space,

my hands trembling on the gear.

I press down on the pedal. Our car is a purr scissoring through the night.

iii

We are now at a junction where a slim, red-brown road on the left

slithers down the green into something we do not know

If I turn this wheel, careen down the road into its dusty insistence

Will I see her

My mother: a little Benin girl again making dreams in sand

or her father, Abulema, bare chested sculptor, his fingers

quick to love as to wood, nursing a bronze slap into a god

a waiting in his eyes, under this April sky relentlessly preaching

the gospel of rain.







**********************************************************************





















                        WOMEN LOVERS by Salawu Olajide (Nigeria)

                        



She first said her biology was failing, and then her look, then her smile, then her feeling, then her heart. We look at each other on the rocking chairs. Listen, she says. The tube of her mouth holds something venal and serious. We long for each other. Finally. The finally comes as if it is the only intended word in the middle of the phrasing. She has a way of meaning her adverb. Did you moan on each other’s thigh ‘cept for sex? She says nothing but a nod which means yes. The sun seems to be gossiping through the window, I unhinge the curtain and let darkness swallow us. There are things they must not know. I whisper some calmness into her heart. She adjusts her gown and shows the part of her breast where she last kissed her. It is as if I have never loved before.



















LHR:  by Nick Makoha (Uganda)



An airport is a room. I keep talking as if my body is elsewhere.

In full sight of a crimson God as children we were burdens,

coffins with eyes. A professor steps into the light to educate us.

You can't kill the dead twice. Has he seen the militia slide down

a mountain like goats, or a beatingheart explode on to a barrack wall?

Even the coffee I brought back in hand luggage when poured in a cup

is an eye, a past dark itching for light.Therefore, I cannot be the memory

of your death, let me bend the waya river does, all shadow and sound,

around a hill, towards a village I once recognised. There are days

when this unplanned landscape speaks its music, above a ribbon of stars,

below a wall of torn out tents and beyond a river waiting as one would

the apocalypse. On other daysyouare a name on a list, given to armed men

at a roadblock. Guns held loosely by their waist. Hovering as catfish

in a shallow pool. Before roads led to you, or Livingston's maps found you,

before the mountains grew their backs, before sight was tempered,

before the revelation on a skies blank page in this perfect chalice of night

you are not the first pilgrim to ask the oracle what will I become me.

If I could  stop the sky from stretching its arms across the horizon,

or the serpent Nile opening it's mouth toward a sea, or star blinking

in a midnight constellation as god watches your wife wash silk in a stream

would I not stopped our countries screams. I have the luck of Caesar

his robe his crown and quest for immortality but soon this course

of blue and the way it bends  will have no need of me.









Elixir  by Famia Nkansa (Ghana)



When you touch me

My pores turn to pupils

I can see you in the crevices of my skin

You leave footprints under my eyelids

Your soles azonto on my irises

I touch my face

breathing your taste into my fingers, your fear into my fury

I cup fireflies in my palms

Cradling them as they flicker

on and off…on and off…



There is residue from us

Glued together

Like tape to paper



If the earth splits

wide like a plum squished in the sun

Will the rays reflect the thin-veined blood

smeared like grease on the cusp of the sky

The threadbare frays of cumulus clouds

The simper of thunder whispering air into the

mouths of shooting stars



If the earth cracks

like a spread-eagled spine

florid, translucent as the dew

gliding

down the underside of a grape

the limpid drop

poised

crouched

gone.

And the earth rips,

split, like an expanse of belly

will you

still

traverse

the ends

of the horizon

to bathe

in the

oasis

of my tongue?



*************************************************************

































































                        TREMOURS IN KIGALI    by Richard Otwao (Uganda)



Had you been there!

Had you been there in Kigali

When death anchored?

When the nation turned into a mortuary?

Kagera was the conveyor belt

Victoria, the thankless mass grave.



For Kigali, the sun stood still

As men sized their hatred for each other

Guns coughed and brought a great many

A great many thousands onto their knees.

As the tribal instinct fed its fury

Into the hearts of men.



Bullet riddled,

Bodies lay covered in blankets of green flies

Limbless bodies danced in the conveyor belt

On their way to the open liquid grave

As death patronized and patrolled Kigali.

Defined Holy Sanctuaries were defiled

Pagans clutched on stolen rosaries

As Christians forgot to pray

But loved to hate death.



The experiment in human suffering

Was a success in Kigali

Artillery fire rocked the landscape                                                                        

Echoed and re-echoed

Reverberated and re-reverberated

In Kigali: When death charged.



When I looked across the plains

Down the ocean of life,

I saw Kigali

Drifting like a salvo –shattered boat

Surrounded by ripples of death.



Had you been there in Kigali:

When the tribal instinct

Laid bare, the nakedness of annihilation

In what the world knows today:

Tremours in Kigali.



*************************************************************

                      

                        







                        

                        

                        

                        

                        

                        

                        

                        

                        

                        

                        







                        

                        Death-fall    by Nick Makoha (Uganda)



Before Koni, before Museveni, before Obote’s second term, before now

there was me. We were in deep Shit! Bridges couldn’t be fixed with gaffer-tape.

America stopped lending plasticine to fill pot-holes. I quit playing refugee.

Who among you was going to pay our country’s light bill?  Well? You uninvited guests

like Rome, you will know where we put the bodies in their tunics and kangas. My sins,

both real and imagined, into the trap. To my brother my rival, when he comes

don’t let him tap the glass (idiots), devise his death. You stable-god,

a month’s worth of grain for the paratroop regiment won’t purge you.



New wives and shoes and a move to State House while we live in huts.

Home will see your troubles cursed. By the way, your Chief of Police,

into the trap. You who believed in Churchill’s prophecy. You innocents

ruled by a spinning earth, your tears will quench the barns we set fire to.

You who call your guns She.You papiermâché martyrs with north Kiboko accents.

You shadow soldiers who dig dead men from their graves. You in the motion of battle.

You who search the airwaves for the British World Service, who stare

spirits in the face but can’t stand heights, the rules say, into the trap.



I will not forgive the clan who sheds blood for party politics. Your god might.

The one with his hands up as he waves, ask the firing squad to send him

with the widowers, orphans and motherless sons, into the trap.

All you disciples of empires.Mr Men ministers who paraphrase over PA systems,

into the trap. Wrecked after five days of being held under decree nineteen.

Why riffle through your Yellow pages in search of Heads-of-state? Into the trap.

The executioner who lets you watch his navel after bare-knuckle fights, into the trap.

 You who played The Bard on screen and stage, or quoted Aristotle, into the trap.



Your second tongue, into the trap. Lumino-boy with that Yankee

dialect, into the trap. It makes no difference to me, you sun worshiper.

Name your Icarus and fly, into the trap. You who abandon your wife’s thighs

for the cradle of a servant girl, into the trap. You at The Uganda Company Limited

(Trojans), because you gave us cotton but took our land, follow me with your horse mask,

into the trap. Those who offer me your skins as a fig leaf, let me carve a map

on your backs to Ithaca. You can hitchhike for all I care, into the trap. Take your stand

with the soothsayer in her snake dress. The ones who hesitate, into the trap.

********************************************************************


My hair Is                        By Lua Nsume Davis (Cameroon)



Like the ricochet of voices rumbling

down the streets of Washington, D.C.                                 ,,

during the march of 1963. It yells: “Here I am! Here I am!” Even in silence.

My hair is triumphant. Like the exultant echo of my mother’s footsteps as

she glided across that stage to embrace the diploma of a first generation

graduate. It dances to the discord of discrimination, never forgetting that

a symphony is only made with patient persistence. My hair is resilient. Like

the Cameroonian women of my family who toiled selling granuts& palm oil

on the red-clay-soil roadside to ensure that their brothers received education:

women who, despite being regarded 2nd, still moved mountains for themselves

and their kin. It revolutionarily recoils at the oppositional pull of adversity in order        to

revisit the importance of its roots. My hair is poetic. Like songs loftily uplifted by   my

Bakossi people to heaven during prayer. Each strand is the stanza of a love poem to

God. My hair is proud. Like the coalition of kings and queens crowned with the

curls of their           ancestors---whose hair continues to bloom in spite of

the cumbrances of oppression. It blossoms

in common accord with allied heritage

preservation. My hair is intricate. Like

the diverse cloths that kiss the skin

of my African brothers and sisters.

It harbors clusters of contrasting

curl patterns: each beautiful in

its textured diversity. My hair

is a thank you note to the soil

from which we leapt, to sun--

kissed mothers plaiting their

childrens’ ulotrichous locks,

to the men and women

with raised voices and

elevated signs, protest-

ing in Ferguson, MO,

to the parents who

tell their dark-skin

babies, “You are

more than the

world says

you are.”

My hair

Is.

********************************************************************


Dusk dawn by Waruguru Nyatha Wa Kiai (Kenya)



We walked with our heads bowed

Hands firmly pressed on our butterfly stomachs

We rolled like dead wood, not even once did we sway our hips

How did they know?



We walked on our toes in fright

Our feet never crushed an egg shell

We were silent than the wind

Who told them?



We cemented our breasts with mud

Clogged our vaginas with cow dung

Cut our hair and stopped smiling

Who betrayed us?



We never danced to the drumbeats

Our eyes never sparkled like the sun

We have always held our breath

Never have we lived!



When they chased us down the stream

And slid their hands on our thighs

When they dipped us in water

And discovered our breasts

Was it you who whispered

That we are women?


******************************************************************


















A Poem We Would Rather Forget  by Sanya Noel Lima (Kenya)



thirty one years after the Wagalla Massacre

This is what you remember                 the butt of a gun landing to your mouth

                                                            and then the muzzle pushed

way down your throat

                                                            and all you could pray for

                                                            was for them to pull the trigger.

This is what happened                                    they came for you in lorries

and you were innocent enough to think

that a Kenyan citizenship

would shield you from harm.

This is what followed                         they asked for your clan

but how could you tell that

saying you were of the Degodia Clan

was signing your own death warrant?

These are the memories                       naked bellies on the asphalt

and boots with guns

stepping on their heads and necks.



These are the memories                       gunshots ringing

and truncheons landing on chests

and the cracking of sternums

and the giving in of skulls.

These are the memories                       every sternum broken, was your sternum broken

every skull smashed in, was your skull smashed in

and every thud of a truncheon, was a thud to your soul.



This was your decision                        you were going to die anyway

but the fear in you

couldn’t let you die just lying on the ground.



This was your luck                              the terror made you run so fast

even the bullets couldn’t catch up with you.

This is your regret                               you wish you had died too

so you would be relieved of memories

of cracking sternums and skulls smashed in

of unheeded cries for mercy, and prayers to God.



This is what you wish for                    a chance to forget

that on this day, thirty one years ago

five thousand people were executed

by their own country.



These are your questions                     Do the dead move on?

Did the ground ever quench

its thirst for Somali blood?







































































Diz Poetry      by Babjide Michael Olusegun  (Nigeria)



Diz Poetry go come in many many styles

Since Diz Poetry dey com Uganda

Diz Poetry godey dub reggae reggae free

But Diz Poetry don dey use hin beat

Diz Poetry gat many manytinz to say

So Diz Poetry know know which one to say

Diz Poetry fit no make much sense

For Diz Poetry no come to impress

Diz Poetry fit look- within- personal

But Diz Poetry may dey –without- political.

               Diz Poetry will be so long in longitude

               For Diz Poetry will be very versed in latitude

               Diz Poetry will burst into rhythmic tears

               For Diz Poetry was writt’n with wilderness’s words

               Diz Poetry is speaking from Africa

               As Boko Haram blows up North-East Nigeria

               Diz Poetry won’t call on Cupid

               For Diz Poetry is lonely not blind and stupid

               Diz Poetry is not from “Dis Poetry”

               Diz Poetry is only like “Dis Poetry”.

Diz Poetry 4 lov use Gangan’s mouth

Diz Poetry sef 4 lovdanz with Sekere’sileke

Diz Poetry 4 talk of libarti

But Diz Poetry sef don enta captivity

Diz Poetry won halasom poets

Since Diz Poetry owe demobonge respect.

As I hala: Maya- Angelou- Zephaniah- Neruda, Rudyard. NiyiOsundare-

And Johnson in d States plus Okotp’Bitek for izSong of LawinowitJumokeVerissimo.

May I sharpali say: Una go watch Diz Poetry like say na Play on Words

Cos Diz Poetry dey flow wit watery meanings in stanzas of 4 by 10.

               You may wanna ask

               What Diz Poetry is all about

               Or is Diz Poetry simply all about nothing?

               Never mind, Diz Poetry has no answers to these

               For Diz Poetry gonna slip through my heart to thee

               Diz Poetry might make you laugh

               And you may wanna push Diz Poetry aside

               But Diz Poetry’s two and three

               May make you wanna give it a chance

               Cos Diz Poetry is simply free, M.A.D and booing your mind.



















































































Evolution  by Tolase Ajibola  (Nigeria)

 (for adonis)



“A star is also

a pebble in the field of space” – Adonis



i



i like to write in circles,

circle is the shape of the sun

when it breaks through ocean doors;



the sun is the end of dreams.

dreams are images pushed in wooden carts,

cart is an idea of trees.



the moon writes endless verses

about the sun's mood

in the night time.



ii



the moon gambles with me,

seven is his lucky number.

he sips beer after each win.



his moustache welcomes froth,

uncultured alcoholic draped in the mourning clouds

at a friend's funeral.



i won't be at the funeral

for time wins Olympics

and this friend reincarnates



iii



poetry lies with the sun,

within it are two rivers

one washes dreams,



the other poisons all things.

this ship doesn't move,

it sank in the current of mood.



i cannot write too

the river is ink and

i am confused…










PRESS RELEASE BN POETRY AWARD 2015 SHORTLIST


27 July 2015

PRESS RELEASE:  THE BABISHAI POETRY 2015 SHORTLIST!

The Babishai Poetry 2015 shortlist is out. From over 2,000 poems, judges Professor Antjie Krog, Mildred Barya and Richard Ali, selected a long-list which was unveiled last week, out of which they selected 16 poems for the shortlist. Mildred Barya says this about the process:

“The process of judging poetry or creative work isn’t difficult. It is shaped by the submissions themselves. First, you want to select very good poems and the advantage is that you have a large sample to choose from. You have no idea which poem is going to strike you in a unique manner, tug at your heart-sleeves, so to speak, even haunt you with its freshness, madness, attitude, form, message, voice, inventiveness, and so on. But you will know and recognize that poem in the process of reading all the poems. At least, that has been my experience. After getting the “best” poems, you may then try to figure out why those in particular have connected with you, and produced such a profound effect. That’s when you may notice that they’re saying something old in a new way, or the manner in which they balance radical opposites may be impressive, for instance, clarity and mystery, loss and fulfillment, personal and political all at once, how competent they play language games, how they employ humor or sadness, beauty or grief, in short, how they make you feel, think, and see the world. It is a subjective experience that comes more from the poems themselves, than pre-set criteria. “

The winner of the 2015 Babishai Poetry Award, will be announced during the Babishai Poetry Festival scheduled for 26 to 28 August in Kampala at The Uganda Museum. During the festival, the Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation team will launch Poetry OnThe Mountain, which is a poetry excursion scheduled to take place in 2016, at one of Uganda’s mountain ranges. At the festival, Boda Boda Anthem and Other Poems will also be launched, a poetry anthology of Kampala poems.

The Babishai Poetry 2015 shortlisted poems are:-
•    Like Scented Mangoes by Arinze Ifeakandu from Nigeria
•    My Son by Adhiambo Agoro from Kenya
•    A Room With A Drowning Book by Adeeko Ibukun of Nigeria
•    The Ghost of Jevanjee by Nyanduaki Okongo Omare from Kenya
•    Luna by Danica Kreusch of South Africa
•    LHR and Death-fall by Nick Makoha from Uganda
•    Journey Into Songs by Gbenga Adesina from Nigeria
•    Elixir by Femia Nkansa from Ghana
•    Women Lovers by Salawu Olajide from Nigeria
•    Tremours in Kigali by Richard Otwao from Uganda
•    My Hair Is By Lua Davis from Cameroon
•    Dusk Dawn by Waruguru Wa Kiai from Kenya
•    A Poem We Would Rather Forget by Sanya Noel Lima from Kenya
•    Diz Poetry by Babjide Olusegun from Nigeria
•    Evolution (for ardonis) by Tolase Ajibola from Nigeria
•   
You can also read the poems here, http://www.bnpoetryaward.co.ug/download/bnpa_2015_shortlist.pdf

We wish all the shortlisted poets, much success. We’ll be profiling all of them before we announce our Top 3. You may follow the Babishai Poetry Festival updates on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Babishai-Poetry-Festival/443462022497949?ref=ts&fref=ts and Twitter https://twitter.com/BNPoetryAward.


Contact:
Email:         bnpoetryaward@bnpoetryaward.co.ug
Website:      www.bnpoetryaward.co.ug
Tel:          +256 751 703226


   




          

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

UNVEILING THE BNPOETRY AWARD 2015 LONGLIST



UNVEILING THE BN POETRY AWARD 2015 LONGLIST


Old Together    by Femi Morgan (Nigeria)

I am an angry, bad mouth felon
But she loves me
She is a rusted anchor of complaints
But I love her, more than I love anything

I am the late comer and the slight eater
As if the soup is not sweet
She is the one who refuses me on that lofty place
But I love her and she loves me.

I am the ruffian, fussing here and there for things not missing
She is the silence when silence is the need
I am the butt of her jokes when the fuss is over
When lost is found and scattered becomes arranged.
I love her though I do not tell her, she knows
She loves me though she is too old to call me stupid names like ‘darling’

Our album is full as our cups are
Our children have gone away and we are children again
Longing for companionship not as rough as it began

It will soon be over
How soon we do not know
But it will be that of full smiles of old honeymoon
Transcending in a compass of time

We are old, old together.


 A JOURNEY INTO SONGS by Gbenga Adesina (Nigeria)
(On the Benin road)
i
The leaves are an imagination of green:
Self-preening Limbas, doting, motherly Guava trees unfurling their
arms on this road. The oaks and mahoganies loop like
map lines that lead to love.
And you, being you, find yourself in a state of desire
You want to touch and be touched. To fold yourself into a song, into a ballad
and give of it to this air. To re-listen to these places with new eyes, you
yielding to the road, the road yielding to you. Hugh Masekela cooing beside you;
the sheer thrush of self-surrender.
ii
But really, I’m thinking these greens, these twigs are opening sentences
I’m thinking, really, that roads are people and people are roads and
when we take them, navigate them, what we come into is a soft surprise
of songs. Some bright watermarks, some dark or maroon like love or loss
like these trees and their cheerful leaves beneath which there is a dying and a sighing
and a loving, like the red wound in Hugh’s voice as he twirls and twirls me into his space,
my hands trembling on the gear.
I press down on the pedal. Our car is a purr scissoring through the night.
iii
We are now at a junction where a slim, red-brown road on the left
slithers down the green into something we do not know
If I turn this wheel, careen down the road into its dusty insistence
Will I see her
My mother: a little Benin girl again making dreams in sand
or her father, Abulema, bare chested sculptor, his fingers
quick to love as to wood, nursing a bronze slap into a god
a waiting in his eyes, under this April sky relentlessly preaching
the gospel of rain.


Elixir      by Femia Nkansa (Ghana)


When you touch me
My pores turn to pupils
I can see you in the crevices of my skin
You leave footprints under my eyelids
Your soles azonto on my irises
I touch my face
breathing your taste into my fingers, your fear into my fury
I cup fireflies in my palms
Cradling them as they flicker
on and off…on and off…

There is residue from us
Glued together
Like tape to paper

If the earth splits
wide like a plum squished in the sun
Will the rays reflect the thin-veined blood
smeared like grease on the cusp of the sky
The threadbare frays of cumulus clouds
The simper of thunder whispering air into the
mouths of shooting stars

If the earth cracks
like a spread-eagled spine
florid, translucent as the dew
gliding
down the underside of a grape
the limpid drop
poised
crouched
gone.
And the earth rips,
split, like an expanse of belly
will you
still
traverse
the ends
of the horizon
to bathe
in the
oasis
of my tongue?



Death-fall    by Nick Makoha (Uganda)

Before Koni, before Museveni, before Obote’s second term, before now
there was me. We were in deep Shit! Bridges couldn’t be fixed with gaffer-tape.
America stopped lending plasticine to fill pot-holes. I quit playing refugee.
Who among you was going to pay our country’s light bill?  Well? You uninvited guests
like Rome, you will know where we put the bodies in their tunics and kangas. My sins,
both real and imagined, into the trap. To my brother my rival, when he comes
don’t let him tap the glass (idiots), devise his death. You stable-god,
a month’s worth of grain for the paratroop regiment won’t purge you.

New wives and shoes and a move to State House while we live in huts.
Home will see your troubles cursed. By the way, your Chief of Police,
into the trap. You who believed in Churchill’s prophecy. You innocents
ruled by a spinning earth, your tears will quench the barns we set fire to.
You who call your guns She.You papiermâché martyrs with north Kiboko accents.
You shadow soldiers who dig dead men from their graves. You in the motion of battle.
You who search the airwaves for the British World Service, who stare
spirits in the face but can’t stand heights, the rules say, into the trap.

I will not forgive the clan who sheds blood for party politics. Your god might.
The one with his hands up as he waves, ask the firing squad to send him
with the widowers, orphans and motherless sons, into the trap.
All you disciples of empires.Mr Men ministers who paraphrase over PA systems,
into the trap. Wrecked after five days of being held under decree nineteen.
Why riffle through your Yellow pages in search of Heads-of-state? Into the trap.
The executioner who lets you watch his navel after bare-knuckle fights, into the trap.
 You who played The Bard on screen and stage, or quoted Aristotle, into the trap.

Your second tongue, into the trap. Lumino-boy with that Yankee
dialect, into the trap. It makes no difference to me, you sun worshiper.
Name your Icarus and fly, into the trap. You who abandon your wife’s thighs
for the cradle of a servant girl, into the trap. You at The Uganda Company Limited
(Trojans), because you gave us cotton but took our land, follow me with your horse mask,
into the trap. Those who offer me your skins as a fig leaf, let me carve a map
on your backs to Ithaca. You can hitchhike for all I care, into the trap. Take your stand
with the soothsayer in her snake dress. The ones who hesitate, into the trap.



Like Scented Mangoes        by Arinze Ifeakandu   (Nigeria)

I used to like the quiet in this place
Both of us
Seated under the mango tree
Sipping our tea in paper cups
Mum used to come and check on us
—Don’t climb up the mango tree, she said
But after she left you sprinted up
Agile as a monkey
And climbed branch after branch
The sunlight bathing you in the finest gold
And between us the scent of rotting mangoes
I was the fearful little one
Who watched with longing from below
As, balanced on a sturdy branch, you stared down at me
And smiled—You see? You see?
And then, clambering down, we stood side by side
Watching the sunset turn all bloody red

We have grown up too quickly
And I have traveled the world
Tokyo, Japan
Accra, Ghana
America, Everywhere
I have returned to this place
Where the silence now gnaws like rats’ teeth
Gentle-gentle, coolly-coolly
Between us, distance like scented mangoes
Mum’s grave white and marble
Behind the shrubs
Where once we lay side by side
And tasted the fading tea on each other’s tongue
Hands lingering at certain places
Your breath on my neck like warm-water air—
In Memory of a Loving Mother
—Memory like a frozen smile on a fading picture
Like childhood music at Sunday School
La lala
I look up and the flowers are budding between green leafs
Two paper cups lie buried in sand and twigs
I squat to pick them up
But I pick only dust.

**********************************************************


My Hair Is     By Lua Davis (Cameroon)

                                       My hair is loud!
            Like the ricochet of voices rumbling
          down the streets of Washington, D.C.                                 ,,
          during the march of 1963. It yells: “Here I am! Here I am!” Even in silence.
      My hair is triumphant. Like the exultant echo of my mother’s footsteps as
     she glided across that stage to embrace the diploma of a first generation
   graduate. It dances to the discord of discrimination, never forgetting that
  a symphony is only made with patient persistence. My hair isresilient. Like
  the Cameroonian women of my family who toiled selling granuts &palm oil
  on the red-clay-soil roadside to ensure that their brothers received education:
  women who, despite being regarded 2nd, still moved mountains for themselves
and their kin. It revolutionarily recoils at the oppositional pull of adversity in order        to
revisit the importance of its roots. My hair is poetic. Like songs loftily uplifted bymy
Bakossi people to heaven during prayer. Each strand is the stanza of a love poem to
             God. My hair is proud. Like the coalition of kings and queens crowned with the
     curls of their           ancestors---whose hair continues to bloom in spite of
the cumbrances of oppression. It blossoms
in common accord with allied heritage
preservation. My hair is intricate. Like
the diverse cloths that kiss the skin
of my African brothers and sisters.
It harbors clusters of contrasting
curl patterns: each beautiful in
its textured diversity. My hair
is a thank you note to the soil
from which we leapt, to sun--
kissed mothers plaiting their
childrens’ ulotrichous locks,
to the men and women
with raised voices and
elevated signs, protest-
ing in Ferguson, MO,
to the parents who
tell their dark-skin
babies, “You are
more than the
world says
you are.”
My hair
Is.

 **************************************************





WOMEN LOVERS  By Salawu Olajide  (Nigeria)

She first said her biology was failing, and then her look, then her smile, then her feeling, then her heart. We look at each other on the rocking chairs. Listen, she says. The tube of her mouth holds something venal and serious. We long for each other. Finally. The finally comes as if it is the only intended word in the middle of the phrasing. She has a way of meaning her adverb. Did you moan on each other’s thigh ‘cept for sex? She says nothing but a nod which means yes. The sun seems to be gossiping through the window, I unhinge the curtain and let darkness swallow us. There are things they must not know. I whisper some calmness into her heart. She adjusts her gown and shows the part of her breast where she last kissed her. It is as if I have never loved before.

**************************************************************


Dusk dawn by Ann Waruguru  Kiai (Kenya)

We walked with our heads bowed
Hands firmly pressed on our butterfly stomachs
We rolled like dead wood, not even once did we sway our hips
How did they know?

We walked on our toes in fright
Our feet never crushed an egg shell
We were silent than the wind
Who told them?

We cemented our breasts with mud
Clogged our vaginas with cow dung
Cut our hair and stopped smiling
Who betrayed us?

We never danced to the drumbeats
Our eyes never sparkled like the sun
We have always held our breathe
Never have we lived!

When they chased us down the stream
And slid their hands on our thighs
When they dipped us in water
And discovered our breasts
Was it you who whispered
That we are women?

***********************************************************
SUICIDE BOMBER    by Emmanuel Okom  (Nigeria)

Suicide Bomber, Suicide Bomber,
With Death strapped to your chest like a lover,
Death nestled at your back like a baby
Or Death sitting with you like a passenger-ally,
With eyes that mirror the burning embers of hell,
And a heart of refuse, full of scorpions, ready to venom-shell.

Suicide Bomber, Suicide Bomber,
You who hate multitude and number,
Who have no regard for the sanctity of human life.
What evil has gripped you so, that you bomb children and husband and wife?
Have you no regard for your own miserable and endangered life?
If you haven’t, what of the legion of lives you smash to pieces upon your life?

Suicide Bomber, Suicide Bomber, man-like in nature,
Maybe the Devil himself has changed your good nature
And made you to believe in the Utopian Seven Virgins of heaven.
May you be reminded that there is no marriage-heaven,
For those who refuse to gather but scatter and batter
Are doomed to suffer the pangs of death in hell’s crater.


un-man me, please  by Samuel Oluwatobi (Nigeria)

the fangs of the night lust after my bones
yeti reach out for that innocence
in the corridor of childhood

i have been staring as my stars burn
into ashes that rain on my black hair
but it is sand that my hair hungers for

i want to sit at the storyteller's feet
and ride on the back of the cunning tortoise

i thirst for the milk of the morning
and to make my daily bread from mother's breasts

to be a man is to drown in the sea of your inner tears
i don't want to be a man again
let me be that child whose cheeks glisten with tears
take me back to the beginning of breath...


Lisbon’ed    by Babatunde  Fagbayibo  (Nigeria)

The heat that greeted our arrivalat Lisbon was sweltering.
It was as if the gods of this cityhave employed this unbearable humidity to
melt our intentions,to distract us from peeling the layers of
this beautiful city and view itthrough the lens of its former colonies.

And here we are:Unperturbed strangers; children of the postcolony;
keen to navigate the contours of this city;link its narrow, hilly streets and
enchanting classic facadesto the struggle of liberation in its
ex-African colonies.

Every building, every lane, every street, every train station, sparked our curiosity.
We asked ourselves:Did AgostinhoNeto or Eduardo Mondlane
or Amilcar Cabral or GracaMachel ... walk these streets or live in these buildings?
Which aspects of their liberation ideas and strategies were hatched within these facades?Did they buy groceries in these shops or had coffee in any of these cafes?
Questions, Questions, Questions...
And the answers?

The warm, welcoming facesof Lisbonites provided no answers.
Yes we saw black faces as well. We said Obrigado and made corresponding nods,
but we couldn’t understand each other for they are Lusophones.

Instead of satisfying our curiosity, the imposing, classic facades of the city only
dazzled us and kept our fingers permanentlyglued to the flicker button of our cameras.

The narrow streets sucked us in,stretched our legs and allowed the
the excruciating heat to brutishly massage our black skins.
We didn't mind because we thought it would lead us to the answers.
Alas, it only led us to cafes, shops, restaurants … where our
whetted fashion and culinary appetite were adequately addressed.

We have been Lisbon'ed.
We fell in love with this city.In between its ancient and modern feel,
we found a space for expression.The self became apparent; the otherwas embraced.
Our post-colonial lens remains intact. The questions still rage but at the moment deferred,simply because we have been
Lisbon'ed.

Privilege   by Mugabi Byenkya   (Nigeria/Uganda)

The bottle spins as the reams of thoughts flutter by my consciousness
As my disjointed synapses fire off things I would not mind saying with confidence
The bottle stops.
On me.
Breath in…
PAUSE
Settle on one idea, I see
‘Never have I ever wished for the unearned advantages distributed based on the values of the dominant matriarchal society that we live in’
All the men take a shot
All the women sit in awkward defensive silence
Sometimes silence is violent
Sometimes silence speaks of untold and underrepresented voices
Sometimes silence speaks of long internally torn oppressed histories, also known as ‘background noises’
Sometimes silence tells a story
Sometimes silence tells this story from alternate eyes
Do you realize?
Sometimes silence is violent

Like that one night out
Or EVERY single night out
Going out for some drinks, dancing and good times with the guys
As we get on the dancefloor, we form a little circle, and the dance the night away to our hears content
Enter woman.
She tries dancing up on me, to which I reply
By turning around and politely explaining ‘I’m sorry but I don’t want to dance with you’
‘Wow’ she replies, ‘What do you think you’re too good for me or something?’
‘No’-
‘Then what?? You got a girlfriend or something?’
‘No’-
‘Then what?? Are you gay or something?’
‘No’-
‘Then’- WHAT, WHAT, WHAT, WHAT answer would ever satisfy one who does not care about what I want
This is NOT my story to tell..

Truth is, never have I ever wished for the unearned advantages based on the values of the dominant patriarchal society that we live in
Truth is, all the women take a shot
Truth is, all the men sit in awkward defensive silence
Truth is, silence is violent
Truth is, no matter how many female friends, girlfriends, mother’s, sisters, cousins etc. I have, I will never ever, fully relate to the female experience
Truth is, I cannot speak for a life I have not lived
Truth is, however angry and frustrated this makes me, this does not compare to the experiences of those that have to live it every single dayTruth is, I think I finally know what it feels like to be white


MY MOTHER’S REGRETS   by Chiuga Veronica  Akaolisa  (Nigeria)

Mama would tell me stories of her past only at night
The melancholy in her voice could never be masked by darkness of the sky.
Her stories became a lullaby to my young, sleepy eyes
Her regrets, a cautionary tale for my growing mind

I still remember how her eyes glimmered with unshed tears
Held back by the resolution to her fate.
For every life she never lived, every chapter she never wrote
A book outlining my days was thus created.

A young, betrothed bride of nineteen, her innocence was ripped from her
Her pristine mind gradually replaced by sin and guilt
Her vivid dreams were bound by four walls and a cradle
Held prisoner by the cries of my soiled diapers

Our striking resemblance forced her to don a cape
Determined to prevent history from rewriting her story
Her back never grew weary of shielding me
Her laser vision, never tired of scrutinizing me

My childhood was consequently filled with bruises I never had
Lies I never told, mistakes I never made
Battles I never won and lessons I never learned
If only her frown remained turned, I thought
I would sit quietly in the box confining me

Her stories, I promised to tell
Her cross, I vowed to bear
I only wish the outside world wasn’t so tempting
Its enchanting call inviting me to create my own regrets




LHR:       by Nick Makoha (Uganda)

An airport is a room. I keep talking as if my body is elsewhere.
In full sight of a crimson God as children we were burdens,
coffins with eyes. A professor steps into the light to educate us.
You can't kill the dead twice. Has he seen the militia slide down
a mountain like goats, or a beatingheart explode on to a barrack wall?
Even the coffee I brought back in hand luggage when poured in a cup
is an eye, a past dark itching for light.Therefore, I cannot be the memory
of your death, let me bend the waya river does, all shadow and sound,
around a hill, towards a village I once recognised. There are days
when this unplanned landscape speaks its music, above a ribbon of stars,
below a wall of torn out tents and beyond a river waiting as one would
the apocalypse. On other daysyou are a name on a list, given to armed men
at a roadblock. Guns held loosely by their waist. Hovering as catfish
in a shallow pool. Before roads led to you, or Livingston's maps found you,
before the mountains grew their backs, before sight was tempered,
before the revelation on a skies blank page in this perfect chalice of night
you are not the first pilgrim to ask the oracle what will I become me.
If I could  stop the sky from stretching its arms across the horizon,
or the serpent Nile opening it's mouth toward a sea, or star blinking
in a midnight constellation as god watches your wife wash silk in a stream
would I not stopped our countries screams. I have the luck of Caesar
his robe his crown and quest for immortality but soon this course
of blue and the way it bends  will have no need of me.




SHE SITS    by Edidiong Bassey (Nigeria)

On a swivel leather chair,
She sits.
She sits,
Enclosed by walls of rusty case files;
Draft Minutes pile up her desk;
Instructions drop ceaselessly in her mail box.
She sits at12:30 p.m.,
She sits adjacent to the exit door,
Where her gigantic lady-boss towers and screams;
“They better be ready by noon or you get fired.”
Lost in her career as that “Corporate Practitioner”,
She sits.
She sits,
Sentenced to an uncertain term,
By someone else’s dream.
There she sits;
The speaker par excellence,
The great poet,
The undiscovered Dancer,
The Artist,
The Inventor;
On that dusty seat of failure,
She sits.


Smile   by Kelvin  Kaesa (Kenya)

She still has most of her teeth
and about five fake ones,
A great personality
and a smile to kill for…

She lives on the third floor
Fourth apartment, to the right
Five kids no dad, he’d left
He’d left because on certain nights in their single room,
He would come home mad and soaked in the stench of booze
Random fights
Streams of trashy talk and bloody eyes would always ooze

On a certain night in their single room,
He came home late with the usual stench of booze
She heard him call their daughter, “hey, baby-boo”
Saw him touch her
Her hair, her hips and now her boobs
Mighty quick, she picked a knife and slit right through
His chest to the left, where he had a tattoo
Of her name bold and shaded in blue
She wasn’t glad, but really sad that she’d missed his heart
On that night in their single room,
She ended up a single mom
With five kids, five fake teeth and a smile to kill for

And whenever her kids ask her,
She smiles and says,
“When life knocks you down,
Get up, dust yourself, don’t mind the scars and move on.
You can always buy fake teeth if you need them!
So smile”



A DIVORCE LETTER TO FEAR by Eseza Nabaggala (Uganda)

I don’t know what I was thinking
when I decided to get engaged
to you, later on marry you. The
years married to you have been
the most horrific of my life. You are so
self centered, all you think about is you.

I met someone new, his name is Faith
and he is incredible. Every moment with him is
a reminder of what I can be if only I believe in myself.
I didn’t have to give myself time to get over you since it
 didn’t hurt to leave you in the first place.
As soon as me and Faith met, I decided to marry him
  he is mine to have and to hold for the rest of my life.

I tried to walk down memory lane,
to find one reason to fight for our marriage.
I found none, all the memories that I have of you
are of dread and intimidation.
How many times have you talked to me
about how I can never amount to anything?
Or those images you have imprinted in my mind
showing me that the worst is yet to come?

And like a fool, I believed you. Looking
back I don’t know how and why I let myself
put up with you for so long. But not anymore
I won’t let you manipulate me, a single moment in my life.

Am sending you  divorce papers
which I have already signed.
Whether you sign them or not doesn’t matter.
I made up my mind to leave you.
I also know that you will keep creeping on me
But that is all you will ever do, creep up on me
I will never give you the chance to manifest.

It’s said that you should not bang the exit door
 because you might need to use it,
but I won’t say the same for you.
I didn't just bang the exit door,
I locked it with chains.
Am done and out with you, Good riddance.

PS: keep the divorce papers, you may be convinced
to sign them some time. Your ex wife, sorry slave.



THERE SHOULD BE PLACES  by Redscar Mc Odindo K’Oyuga (Kenya)

There should be places beyond the brevity of our beliefs
places beyond our coached sights, beyond our grasp and plastic illusions
There should be places where men bear babies instead of axes
And sing praises to their courageous wives
For known are places where women are hunters
Ever laden with plenty and clap the rain into being
There should be places where people wander in thoughts, walking backwards
into unexplored times that still stand tall in their untouched virginity
places where clocks are a myth that is taboo to explore,
where time is the wind that blows in any direction
And whispers through the hairs of the aged
There should be places made of dreams,
Where tears crystallize into bricks, shimmering majestically
but proudly show what lies inside with no shame;
where sobs are the soothing winds that fuel a love
that does not demand or question what should be.
There must be places where tears go when they leave faces
places where sobs nestle when they leave bosoms
places where daisies made from children's laughter,
tangle with the thistles from their cries, dewdrops from their song.
There should be places beyond the brevity of our beliefs
places beyond our coached sights, beyond our grasp and plastic illusions




Living for Dead  By Ayeyemi Taye  (Nigeria)

Must all the dead lie face up
In their confinements?
Maybe bats are right in their
Upside-down-ness in turning land to
Sky, in their dilemma: neither rat nor bird.
They should have tried something new.
Maybe the unchangeable can be changed
In this clickable age where men try
God’s patience with gender changes.

Cry the sea dry for them
In case they don’t survive.
Mourn the dead down the grave
In this universe of sadness.
Bury them in your sleep battered
By echoes that quake with fire,
By wind that blows off their dreams
As a white scarf on the line
As a paper kite on a suicide mission
In the den of wired poles where
They live on beyond the dream
Of remembrance because the resurrected
Will never go back to their graves.

How far they were from home?
As the distance between body and soul
A gap longer than the rail
But they should have been born old
And then ungrow into babies
And then buried as foetus
In the womb of the land
Where they have come
From young to dust and young to dust.



The pearl    by Kitumba John Mary  (Uganda)

she is as silent
As the brown dust.
she speaks in whispers like whirlwinds
And together they churn in the air
And get lost after a couple in distances

she wishes the sun hold back
Leave the morning in a gloom like the owl stare
she is faint of eyes that cannot see
When the wings of beauty are lifted
And hark in rays she is.

And today, tomorrow, like yesterday
She will lift eyes round as the globe
Roll her tongue small as a petal
Shine and glide with mild ease
And watch as they all go to sleep

She is a pearl
The outsider said so
In her house they will to break her
In her composure she soars
Light of her heart might just be contagious

She motions again
In gestures loud as the rat scampers
Slow to slur she treasures her keepers
Modest her fingers in softness
And yes, she is their mother
They called her the pearl.



Melanin God     by Ama Asantewa  Diaka  (Ghana)

My motherland is made up of old people’s bones.
My motherland is the reason my bones
are jutting out like door knobs.
My motherland is the Monday morning
I accidentally slept through;
A pocket full of old currency notes,
The smell that invites the flies to the backyards,
The youth whose insecurities followed him into his 30s.
My people are full of words;
smart words, pseudo-intellectual words,
persuasive words, ignorant words.
But words never won a fist fight.
We’ve brought our hands together
in prayer at the smell of trouble for so long,
that we have forgotten we can join
those same hands together for work.
The foreigners sprinkle water on our smoldering beards,
so we believe in them.
They say they are trying to give us God,
but it looks a lot like they are trying to be him.
When shall we learn that God already resides in our melanin?
We take over from our mothers the act of holding our hands up
to prevent the sun from setting.
We grow weary, but our hands never fall to our sides


ONLY WHEN IT RAINS       by Adaeze   M.  Nwadike  (Nigeria)

It is all true
Everything you heard about Uzo is true
That he left on a hot night
And never turned back
That the sky appeared in my dreams that night
Brightly dark; heavy with clouds
And in the morning I wished we could talk
I wished we could say all that we left unsaid
All the bitter words we hid in our hearts
That drenched our souls
It is true that during the noon
They poured out as tears
Because the sun goes mad during the day
And frown cloudly at night
I wished it rained

It is true
Everything you heard about waiting day and night is true
That the days seemed longer
And the nights vaster
That calls were not returned
And I prayed and mama did
That I forged a smile as I repeated after her
''It is well''
It is true she told me to wait
And I waited
But they were like chasing a shadow
Because we did what we could do
Yet it never rained


TREMOURS IN KIGALI    by Richard Otwao (Uganda)

Had you been there!
Had you been there in Kigali
When death anchored?
When the nation turned into a mortuary?
Kagera was the conveyor belt
Victoria, the thankless mass grave.

For Kigali, the sun stood still
As men sized their hatred for each other
Guns coughed and brought a great many
A great many thousands onto their knees.
As the tribal instinct fed its fury
Into the hearts of men.

Bullet riddled,
Bodies lay covered in blankets of green flies
Limbless bodies danced in the conveyor belt
On their way to the open liquid grave
As death patronized and patrolled Kigali.
Defined Holy Sanctuaries were defiled
Pagans clutched on stolen rosaries
As Christians forgot to pray
But loved to hate death.

The experiment in human suffering
Was a success in Kigali
Artillery fire rocked the landscape
Echoed and re-echoed
Reverberated and re-reverberated
In Kigali: When death charged.

When I looked across the plains
Down the ocean of life,
I saw Kigali
Drifting like a salvo –shattered boat
Surrounded by ripples of death.

Had you been there in Kigali:
When the tribal instinct
Laid bare, the nakedness of annihilation
In what the world knows today:
Tremours in Kigali.



Luna   by  Danica  Kreusch  (South Africa)

Light spills into the stone basin
And collects itself into the moon
This is the place the birds bathe
Celebrating their freedom and purpose
And lifetime of trying to touch the sun
He has none of these three things
But he has her hand in his
Fingers knotted and not cupped
These long-dirtied palms
Submerge in the water
And for long moments they have created chaos
Then light collects itself over their linked hands
Luna
She feels like purpose and freedom and starlight
Enough, his heart finally sighs
No more striving. She is enough.



FORGIVENESS   by Esther Karin Mngodo  (Tanzania)

The first day you started your periods, you knew that you were a grown up now. Your mother had told you that when you see blood, know that you are now able to give birth. White should be your favourite colour. For you are now meant to be clean. You were afraid to tell your best friends about it, you still wanted to play with them. But you cannot hinder growth. You cannot stop the hands of time and say, No, I am not ready.

The first day you slept with your husband, you knew that you were a grown up now. Your mother had told you that when you see blood, know that you are now able to give birth. You were afraid to tell mother that your husband didn’t open your doors. You remembered the day you were raped in your home. You prayed: forgive me God, forgive me baba and mama, forgive me my husband.

The first day you started living without your husband, you knew that you were a grown up now. Your mother had told you that if he leaves, no one else will marry you. No one wants to inherit what has been used by someone else. You wondered since when had you become an inheritable property. You remembered the day your husband beat you. He called you a whore when he found your door open. You prayed: God, forgive me! forgive me! forgive me! You heard God’s gentle voice speak back to you - Daughter, forgive yourself! forgive yourself! forgive yourself!


Destiny of free will   by Efe Tokunbo   (U.K/Mexico/Nigeria)

So I met this shaman down the forest way;
he said, “I'm another you, wanna come out and play?”
It sounded like fun so I joined the mystery school;
little did I know it was no place for fools.

See, I've been on the run for most of my life,
fleeing sorrow and strife like they were an ex-wife
with a couple of babies seeking alimony payments.

I've squatted in mansions
and slept on the pavement
but no matter how far I roamed,
I was still stuck in the basement.
Just up the stairs, there was a whole other world
full of sunshine and laughter but even though I bawled
my eyes out...

the darkness wouldn't let me go.

“Nonsense!” cried the shaman, “step into the clear light;
pure love awaits – you know it feels right.
Just let go of all your fear and desire,
be free of attachment like a monk on fire.
I'm not saying it's easy but the choice is simple,
life is complex but it ain't complicated:
forget the drama, cleanse your karma,
love Pacha Mama and escape into dharma.
The Buddha did it and so did the Christ,
now it's our turn, can you dig the zeitgeist?
We're infinite and immortal,
we only appear otherwise,
So come on, brother-man,
your true self is on the rise.”

Well the road is long and hard and I'm still a-struggling;
and truth be told, I don't know the ending,
but if you were to ask what I see ahead of me,
I'd say, “free will is an arrow aimed at destiny.”



My Son   by Adhiamno  Agoro  (Kenya)

Fruit of my womb
I beg to stay away
And let you build bridges
To carve sculptures of our souls
To read invisible lines of Holy books
To find meaning in meaningless lines
And hope from tombs left for so long
Mother will be back
Let me find one like us, for us to become one


As your spine gives your body posture
So does the rhythm of our blood play upright music?
You are my last winter bird
My twins gave hope
My smile gave pride
But we're little termites with big hearts
We need our scraggy feet for paths we haven't crossed
Let me find one like us, for us to become one


The roses of our hearts have a charity case
The sidelines of our thoughts need ironing
We consume a variety of edibles to keep ourselves strong
It is a hard claim to live up to, Son
I recall your baby steps
And maps you left on the seabed after a longer drought.
Our change is forbidden but still
Let me find one like us, for us to become one


I will write these lines on paper
For the crowd to listen to our acapella
My name was lonely
Your father's name was pain
We covered your eyes from the world
For us to clean the dirt under our nails
Your life is a yearned cliché
I cry
Let me find one like us, for us to become one


We have few pieces of joy
Will we suffocate on these solitary streets?
No Son. We need history and tales
For kisses woke up the Queens and portions made Kingdoms sleep
Hold my hand to seal these words
Feel the scent from unseen paradises
As we beseech the mercies of prayer and faith
Let me find one like us, for us to become one.



A ROOM WITH A DROWNING BOOK  by Adeeko Ibukun  (Nigeria)


Somewhere in the room a book is drowning, the floor
is shivering with pages. You said the spine is the balance

to our two winged hearts. Sometimes it’s the light knitting
its letters to our hearts. I see how things hold us in their lights

so we aren’t here or there like you’re here and somewhere
a lover holds you in her heart, light in water teaching these lessons.

Sometimes something holds clearly what we couldn’t say in words.
We face it to learn our silence and that again becomes part of

our languages. Places own us like this, light bounces off them,
turning their spears at me. Our hearts beat now and vision takes

its shapes—the stream of consciousness, nuances as water turn,
streamlet as novella lost in our undercurrent.  I’m lost in a story now

or a story’s lost in me. Perhaps we should hang on words so that
we do not drown. Remembering makes living its anchor. So I asked

if it’s us you wanted to save insisting everything  is placed this way
and that way of our anniversaries, each moment  achieved  as light

buried in water—so it’s here or there, past or present, our chairs and tables,
dresser and records becoming the dykes. The mirror’s at an angle

to the world so it does not yield all its light at once. Everything’s our
subject before we become their subject, relying on memories to endure.




The Ghost of Jevanjee by  Nyanduaki  Okongo  Omare (Kenya)

You knew he would visit you,
sitting on the concrete bench, alone, pretending to be immersed in an old book
He greets your silence like an old friend
and stays there.
He will bother to describe the trees to you
each one of them
points at the shrubs by your feet and say- choose the one that speaks to you most and I'll give you its  name.
The sun will burn your back for attention
 the ants will pilgrimage up your skin like hungry hands
but you will do nothing about it.
He will tell you this- when the imminent rain comes, don't run away from it
allow it to wash your shadow clean
until it no longer darkens the ground above you.
And that even there,
in the midst of  love oaths
buried earthworms
hands pressed together in worry
planned sabbaticals
eagles' droppings
'I am the bread of life' sermons
thieves with no faces
memories of sex
great jokes told with closed mouths
smooth stones and potted flowers.
Even there,
you will find two friends:
Wrath, which burns but is sweeter
and Mercy, which suffocates but is lighter.
Choose one,
and it will give you your name.


A Poem We Would Rather Forget  by Sanya Noel (Kenya)

thirty one years after the Wagalla Massacre
This is what you remember the butt of a gun landing to your mouth
and then the muzzle pushed
way down your throat
and all you could pray for
was for them to pull the trigger.
This is what happened they came for you in lorries
and you were innocent enough to think
that a Kenyan citizenship
would shield you from harm.
This is what followed they asked for your clan
but how could you tell that
saying you were of the Degodia Clan
was signing your own death warrant?
These are the memories naked bellies on the asphalt
and boots with guns
stepping on their heads and necks.

These are the memories gunshots ringing
and truncheons landing on chests
and the cracking of sternums
and the giving in of skulls.
These are the memories every sternum broken, was your sternum broken
every skull smashed in, was your skull smashed in
and every thud of a truncheon, was a thud to your soul.

This was your decision you were going to die anyway
but the fear in you
couldn’t let you die just lying on the ground.

This was your luck the terror made you run so fast
even the bullets couldn’t catch up with you.
This is your regret you wish you had died too
so you would be relieved of memories
of cracking sternums and skulls smashed in
of unheeded cries for mercy, and prayers to God.



This is what you wish for a chance to forget
that on this day, thirty one years ago
five thousand people were executed
by their own country.

These are your questions Do the dead move on?
Did the ground ever quench
its thirst for Somali blood?




Hot Spot by James Yeku (Nigeria)

I am bound to this land by bytes
That is why my vision is strained by the screen
I am routed through its labyrinths and streets
and its algorithms travel in my networks
I hear the rants and raves of users
Morphing guys into games and bots into nuts.
I feel the weight of its wired burdens
And I know the fantasies of its paths,
The wishes of its data well up in my mind
Leaving messages imploding in my head
Like a mishmash of spannin’ and unplugged rhythms.
I have heard the cryptic cheers of illusions
Deleting truths from defragged girls
I have seen men reduce its space to choice empires
Splashing its walls with dreams of self-glories.
I have seen words bowing at floodgates of faces
Faces flooding gates 404 and refusing to be broken
By ancient links and paths…

I have seen men cached out by knotty cookies
And teens taken by leery trolls.
I have seen images dancing to the vain beats of selfists,
With Narcissus rewriting the victories of Nemesis
I have seen phonies selling cheap sex to babies
And princes scamming thieves abroad for bread.
I have seen the profiles of a thousand friends
Liking and following friends at a thousand paces
I have seen the memes of artful madness,
And the madness of artful memes viraling ideas
Like a gene carrying the imprints of geeky minds.
I have seen the scape of souls on the stages of Facebook
And read the tweets of their vanities retweeted
Like a celebrity cult to be reposted.

If I sing not of orangery smiles,
Or write not of elegant poses
On the screens of Instagram,
Or sing of the delight
Of words to the pleasures
Of seeking eyes and wandering hearts
It is because of the capillaries of chaos
Which adorn this land of empty knowledge.

Because I am bound to this land,
I have seen secrets of the bedroom
’tubing you way into their slips
WIth sleep running from eyes
Too busy to surf reality.
Yet I have not seen IT all…


Ladi   by  AbdulKareem  (Nigeria)

Ladi
You weren't this beautiful when you were young
Ladi, how did you
Become this so pretty!
Ladi, life punctured you on your cheeks
And you made them into dimples
Now, I envy the depth in the purity of your smiles
When your loving uncle raped you
You then wrote a virgin poem afterwards
And you said, this, no one can deflower

When I read your poem, Ladi
I trembled
How could such a weak hand
Sculpt a poem that strong
Ladi, even when life bathed you in blood
You shone as if you bath in milk

Ladi, the grace in your steps
Is a story every man wants to tell
Ladi, the architecture of your hips
Is an art every painter wants to behold

I said, Ladi you are a miracle
You said, No, you are a poem
I said read you to me
You said, like a song in a foreign language
No one understands but loves
Ladi, you said you are a poem
Like lightning that kisses the earth in a flash
You are beauty
Like light tearing through the garb of darkness
You are fearless
Like the mystery water in the belly of the coconut
You are wonder

Ladi, if poetry makes one this strong
If poetry makes one this happy
Ladi, teach me poetry
Ladi, make me a poet




WE CARRIED HIM HOME  by Redscar  McOdindo K’Oyuga  (Kenya)

From where his frame earlier dangled, out grandma’s hut that stooped
like his twin hunchbacked. In silence, we carried him, his lips
parted in what resembled a smile, a continuous deathly & troubling smile.
In silence, we carried him while his sleepy white
eyes, now the colour of chilli and dripping with rheum, stared at me.
In silence, we carried him away from the villagers and their hollering and their
prying eyes that thrived on gossip,
past the purple hibiscus and weeping bougainvillea that once-
upon-a-time weathered in his heyday honour
We carried him past the thick coppices of shrubs and rows and rows of
dense undergrowth inundated with copulatory chirps from male crickets
who had successfully wooed a female and those who were in the process of wooing.
We carried him past the sluggish bayou filled with dead fish and dead leaves and live salamanders with their rudimentary legs dangling lifelessly behind them.
We carried him through winding waterways, littered with drying excreta
and maggots and the smell of decay that hung about us, unshakable like death.
In silence we carried him home, the whole six feet of him, home six feet under our feet.


Bloodlust   by J.K Anowe  (Nigeria)

what
botanical
names
do you
call God
blood and loss

when
reminiscence
leaves your
lifeless eyes
gazing at the
eloping sun

when the
skies are like
deserts dry
and laughter
is not enough

and sweet vanity
from your slit
wrists thinly drips

what
pen-names
do you call
eachfreefall
as you watch it
hit the cold sterile
floor drip against drip

making delicate
poker dots on the
white bathroom floor
‘til the silence surrounds
you like fog and you are
lost in its symphony soft
as cotton or wolf’s fur where
you drift slowly through the
windowpane then towards
the faceless horizon
where the last sun glows…
I won't write a heartbreak poem for you‎
I won't write a heartbreak poem for you
Because I am too proud to pickle your memories to preservation and
I cannot...
I cannot afford to immortalise you
In the sublime wordings of my poetry

For I know how cocky you get sometimes.
Suppose that the poem appears in papers
You would buy a copy for all your friends and brag
"Look what creativity I inspired"

I won't write a heartbreak poem for you
Because massaging egos is one of my least favourite sports
I often wonder what pride he feels,
The boy who inspired Adele's "Someone like you"‎
That his abandonment ‎of her
created a song gone platinum

What if I wrote a heartbreak poem for you
And it goes viral?
Your cocky self would clip it off papers
Attach it to your C.V for your next job hunt
The board would offer you prompt employment
Since they are always looking people
Who inspire creativity in others
And you think I want to grant you such favours‎

I will stop this poem here
For it is beginning to sound
Like a heartbreak poem for you


Queen of Heart-Breaks   by  Annette Mumbi  (Kenya)

(I’m just here, staring at the ice cubes on the ice tray by my side
Then, like in a game of cards,
I draw out a tough one, that’s yet to melt.)

***
It’s a crystal clear, ice cold Cube.
So cold, I can see smoke come off of it.
So cold, it sticks to my tips when I touch it.
So cold, it burns, and stings and numbs me,
And it rubs off the cold on me, this ice cold crystal clear cube.

Then you come along; like heat to that ice-cold, crystal clear cube.
You sneak up on me; you make me take down my guard.
I stop believing, like that ice cold, crystal clear cube,
That ice cold is the ideal state of my heart.

You warm up to me, and I, in turn, like the ice cold cube, warms off my comfort zone.
You melt my heart of ice,
And soon enough, the only solid, sane, part of it is swimming in a pool of its own,
Just like the ice cold, crystal, clear, melting cube.

They call you the King of Hearts,
Because it’s always what you draw each time a round of cards is won.
And they call me the Queen of Heart-breaks,
Because I seem to head the club of hearts that loved and lost.

What you know not about me, Mr King,
Is that you didn't break my heart honey-
You sort of melted it.
And no, there aren't broken pieces to pick up, sorry...
'Cos Like that ice-cold, crystal clear cube,
My heart melts, but it doesn't break.

So sorry, honey, it's not me, it's you;
It's that you're too warm to be around...
Cold hearts like mine got no to time for lukewarm.
You're either cold, hot or you're out...



the concept of freedom  by Samuel  Oluwatobi Olatunji  (Nigeria)

i know of a caged songbird
whose singing has solidified into shrieking

she keeps flapping her weary wings
in a fruitless attempt to forge forces
into a farfetched freedom

but her breakthrough comes in form
of bruises breaking through her bones

listen, friend
freedom is an abstraction that outwits
pure physical manifestation

life is a stage in the shape of a cage
and we are struggling succumbers
to the tune of immortal pipers



WE WRITE  by  Adelaja Ridwan  Olayiwola (Nigeria)


MAYBE WE WRITE to annoy –plucking
tears  like  almond  fruits from  the
eyes of  men. Maybe  we write
to  provoke, like  chanting
warriors  to war.  Maybe
we write to Remember
 –weaving     fantasies
like   raffia     basket.
Maybe    we write to
arouse –melting the hidden thought of a solitary lover.

Maybe
we write for
the sake of writing,
summoning    friends
to  our  temple  of   art.
Maybe we write simply
like   scribes, to  polish
our sandals of imagery
and dust our cabinet
of words. Maybe
we write to
express or impress, to inform or REFORM. Maybe we write to narrate or relate
mysteries –of      dirty shrinesthat MAKE     babies,   and neat    and tidy   hospitals
that cannot!     Maybe we  write of     ERRORS –of power       that has    become wine
and   pride  that  has become        PILLOW.      Maybe we      write, yes, to be
WRITTEN
about. Maybe we write  to     REMIND       death of our names. And
perhaps, maybe we      WRITE    to stun, to amuse and
amaze like      RASAQ*,    yes, perhaps
 M A Y B E!




My Blanket (Originally written in Tumbuka with the title Gombeza)

See the blanket, drying on the clothes line,
Yes, the red one with decorative black butterflies on the edges. It’s mine
Guess what, it won’t be long before it dries

Please do not move it from where I put it in the bedroom
Without my knowledge

When there is a cool breeze, my blanket feels nicely cosy,
Wrapping it around my body I snuggle in it

Even when it reeks thick stink of raw tobacco, I own it
Sometimes you can smell pee, I know, well, that’s mine too
I don’t mind farting in it after a hearty meal of red beans, in rich creamy sauce I own it. It gets washed, right? Look! It’s on the clothes line getting dry

I cannot get too far
Without my red blanket with the decorative black butterflies on the edges

Sometimes, it serves as a cushion for my head when I carry heavy loads
Like pots of water from the dambo
Or firewood from the forests
Just the other day, I wrapped sweet potatoes in it from the fields

I know, some among you were making silly comments like,
‘How disgusting!’
But later you came to eat, and even enjoyed my sweet potatoes
Well now’s my turn to boast;
See, the blanket is mine;
The filthiness too, is mine,
That being the case I say, suck it up, dude!

The blanket is good for me;
Nurturing and taking care of me

Oh..., and another thing; I’m aware of your speculative scheming; gossip mongering
Even before the smell of death nears you are already deliberating about who’ll get my precious blanket when I get bumped off the planet
Stop that nonsense right now! I intend to be interred with my blanket

Should death come for me today, oh baby, I am ready; I mean bring it on!
Here’s the plan: You will wrap my remains in my red blanket, yes the one with the decorative black butterflies on the edges.
To hell with your fancy caskets or new blankets
My precious red blanket with the decorative black butterflies on the edges
Will suffice.



Are You True? by Edith Nakku-Joloba (Uganda)

Are you?
The mother’s daughter, stubborn, not so wise?
The father’s girl, eager to please, a distance denied
The sister dear, gossiping close
Secrets hanging like ripe mangoes
Ready to fall
The mother? Anxious and fast,
brown hot banana leaves stinging your hands
Wafting smells to the waiting many
The One?

Are you?
“My dear, come and I tell you
What the supervisor said on your appraisal”
Motivated?
In taxis perched, back to driver, on tiny extra seat.
Hot or broke?
Are you born out of wedlock or born again?
Sheep of the pastor’s flock
Tithing, giving and soon eating grass?
One?

Are you?
The Radio- Reality fan?
Listening to auditory unwinding horror
Gonna call that number?
The quintessential African woman?
Short dreads, beeswax royal
Anointing your head
A kitenge of mixed colors adorning your waist
Ready for funeral or party
True?




Diz Poetry   by  Babajide  Michael Olusegun (Nigeria)

Diz Poetry go come in many many styles
Since Diz Poetry dey com Uganda
Diz Poetry godey dub reggae reggae free
But Diz Poetry don dey use hin beat
Diz Poetry gat many manytinz to say
So Diz Poetry know know which one to say
Diz Poetry fit no make much sense
For Diz Poetry no come to impress
Diz Poetry fit look- within- personal
But Diz Poetry may dey –without- political.
Diz Poetry will be so long in longitude
For Diz Poetry will be very versed in latitude
Diz Poetry will burst into rhythmic tears
For Diz Poetry was writt’n with wilderness’s words
Diz Poetry is speaking from Africa
As Boko Haram blows up North-East Nigeria
Diz Poetry won’t call on Cupid
For Diz Poetry is lonely not blind and stupid
Diz Poetry is not from “Dis Poetry”
Diz Poetry is only like “Dis Poetry”.
Diz Poetry 4 lov use Gangan’s mouth
Diz Poetry sef 4 lovdanz with Sekere’sileke
Diz Poetry 4 talk of libarti
But Diz Poetry sef don enta captivity
Diz Poetry won halasom poets
Since Diz Poetry owe demobonge respect.
As I hala: Maya- Angelou- Zephaniah- Neruda, Rudyard. NiyiOsundare-
And Johnson in d States plus Okotp’Bitek for izSong of LawinowitJumokeVerissimo.
May I sharpali say: Una go watch Diz Poetry like say na Play on Words
Cos Diz Poetry dey flow wit watery meanings in stanzas of 4 by 10.
You may wanna ask
What Diz Poetry is all about
Or is Diz Poetry simply all about nothing?
Never mind, Diz Poetry has no answers to these
For Diz Poetry gonna slip through my heart to thee
Diz Poetry might make you laugh
And you may wanna push Diz Poetry aside
But Diz Poetry’s two and three
May make you wanna give it a chance
Cos Diz Poetry is simply free, M.A.D and booing your mind.




The Wavesongs of the Tompontany.

Dedicated to Derek Walcott and the Malagasy.


In the days when our fathers still gave their sons to the sea
Cast them out, unbearded, in small boats, to dance with the waves
And return to the small islands from whence we came,
To learn the ways of our people and seek the acceptance

Of the wrinkled, history-ridden women of our tribe,
Death Defiers, Stygian Nymphs, Reverse Charons
Whose black, budless tongues
Ferry knowledge back across Death’s pond.

And if our mothers find them worthy and the sea permits,
They would return to the big island as men with wives-immaterial;
Small island spirit-wives who will possess and inhabit
The big island women they will eventually marry.

Unprepuced, salt seasoned seafarers, who know their history
And carry ancestral memories tattooed on their shoulders,
They return to the big island with hair on their chins
And the names they will carry through life.

Armed with the secrets of fire; how pitched flames
Can caulk and denature dugouts into taming the waves
How outriggers provide stability by confusing the sea,
How to knit sails, listen to the wind and commit to stars their journeys.

Skills with which they will feed and mesmerise their sons;
The styx-obsessed offspring their immaterial wives will produce,
And one day, house and guide them, when they,
Tired of being mesmerised, are cast out to sea.



Something Pretty by Michael Ochoki (Wudz)  (Kenya)

There is something magical about a pretty woman who unreservedly opens up about her humble background. Tales like how she had corn porridge for breakfast growing up and picked her nose in class and smeared it on the collar of her patched dress and she could stick chewing gum under her desk and later unstick it and eat it for lunch when other kids had buttered bread and new shoes.

You should see the sparkle of this pretty woman in her eyes when she recalls how her mom endured her father's drunkardness and slaps and she will tell you how she came to town so naive and twisted an ankle as she tried to walk on life in cheap high-heeled shoes and unmatched shades of lipstick as she sipped Fanta in the night club not knowing whether to twerk or nod her head to the loud music of mimicked sophistication.

There is something magical about a pretty woman who is not ashamed to cry at the bus station in colourful rivulets of make-up because you had an argument last night and you decide to go home this morning to visit your grandma who raised you when your own mom died during your birth and she was pretty too.

There is something magical about a pretty woman who dares to dream and can serve tea at a local café just to pay for her tuition and she can surprise you with a pair of boxers and a 200 bob necktie when all you do is spend 5, 000 on beer and friends on Sunday evening and she has to remind you that you have a job interview on Monday morning 500 kilometers away.

There is something magical about a pretty woman who is not ashamed of saying she has a kid at home because the sonofabitch who ejaculated in her when she was 19 ducked and can’t even call or buy the kid those teddy bear shoes that have disco lights at the soles with an annoying "tchuitchuitchui" sound or a stub of pencil for him to write tiny poems about absent fathers and the freckles of smiling single baby mamas.

There is something magical about a pretty woman who begs you to stay though she can replace your broke ugly ass any minute because a dozen bachelors with money to burn are preying around her aura like wolves but she is pretty enough to know what love smells like and it is nothing close to your socks or weed or your macho attitude or roses and dust in the rain but she keeps her head up because she is pretty and all pretty things are divine and priceless.

There is something pretty about a magical woman.

Evolution  by Tolase Ajibola  (Nigeria)
(foradonis)

“A star is also
a pebble in the field of space” – Adonis

i

i like to write in circles,
circle is the shape of the sun
when it breaks through ocean doors;

the sun is the end of dreams.
dreams are images pushed in wooden carts,
cart is an idea of trees.

the moon writes endless verses
about the sun's mood
in the night time.

ii

the moon gambles with me,
seven is his lucky number.
he sips beer after each win.

his moustache welcomes froth,
uncultured alcoholic draped in the mourning clouds
at a friend's funeral.

i won't be at the funeral
for time wins Olympics
and this friend reincarnates

iii

poetry lies with the sun,
within it are two rivers
one washes dreams,

the other poisons all things.
this ship doesn't move,
it sank in the current of mood.

i cannot write too
the river is ink and
i am confused…


I won't write a heartbreak poem for you‎   by  Ucheoma  Onwutuebe (Nigeria)
I won't write a heartbreak poem for you
Because I am too proud to pickle your memories to preservation and
I cannot...
I cannot afford to immortalise you
In the sublime wordings of my poetry

For I know how cocky you get sometimes.
Suppose that the poem appears in papers
You would buy a copy for all your friends and brag
"Look what creativity I inspired"

I won't write a heartbreak poem for you
Because massaging egos is one of my least favourite sports
I often wonder what pride he feels,
The boy who inspired Adele's "Someone like you"‎
That his abandonment ‎of her
created a song gone platinum

What if I wrote a heartbreak poem for you
And it goes viral?
Your cocky self would clip it off papers
Attach it to your C.V for your next job hunt
The board would offer you prompt employment
Since they are always looking people
Who inspire creativity in others
And you think I want to grant you such favours‎

I will stop this poem here
For it is beginning to sound
Like a heartbreak poem for you