SPECIAL CONTRIBUTION II (ISSUE 8)
WHEN SISTER MAR’YAM WORKS OUT | Chisom Okafor
the world becomes a field
where her pelvis is a bow
and her legs draw whirlwind-circles
on fists of clouds, overhead.
I point out how badly her tracksuit needs stitching
she smiles, pretends not to hear
like when she prays
and her words come differently, the way
they come to the mind of a hungry child–
whispering to her beads at sunrise
then counting off,
on her fingers, reciting from her ‘Resolutions List’.
She refuses to face Mecca
her cheating lover is there, at Jamarat
instead, she says, mould your faith into a mackerel,
let it set sail, deep into little waters,
re-make faith from minuscule details
in that way,
what remains of your heart is sent up like scaffolding
log after log, slowly-
mating snails never hasten.
He thinks you’re a tumour, you send painful
spasms down his testicles,
he calls you cancer, painful from over-growth, but
you build your faith from him, from those.
A groan. A sigh. A twitch of eyelids.
A wave of the hand.
Make music with the strings on his tongue.
When they cluck at you, recite from Beethoven
or Bach when you have too much black.
You are a sunflower bursting buds in spring.
Your agency –
behind those eyes –
are wellsprings, well-hidden from sight.
Chisom Okafor studied Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. His poem came third in the 2016 edition of Nigerian Students Poetry Prize. He is presently the Lead Rep. for PIN Yaba Connect Centre.
LESSON FROM TERMITE | Benjamin Elemide
Maybe we learn calculus from termites,
how they solve mountains of problems,
how woods are differentiated into dusts,
and how dusts integrate into huge edifices.
Maybe we learn wisdom to build
great things from dusty imaginations,
unlearn to be slug, and term our might as weapon.
Maybe we consider their ways
to reconsider paths to bloom and blossom;
how workers need no overseer
to keep their mandibles in work;
how they are blind to colours and flaws,
and how they build dreams together into reality;
we would learn wisdom for seasons,
how to release folded hands to gather
sums for summer, and wheat for winter;
how to break future into moments of now.
Elemide Benjamin is a poet, short story writer, and moderator of events. His works have been published in various anthologies and magazines. He believes happenings in the society should readily inspire any writer.
The Abstract about Death | OsyMizpah Unuevho
absence describes you folding up from the cards upon the table.
drink more alcohol.
worries are a road swept with sweet flowers.
you drop a three card.
she gives an ace. i go all in. and i drink more water.
somebody is in a part of heaven where
sex is free. another in a foil of sharwama
goodness. another runs into the
absence of tomorrow.
he dies like a stray feather
falling from a bird. in a circle
of friends. and everybody above doesn’t know. care.
until we are participants in
dancing for him.
then we think of yesterday. and how we would die and others would
be drinking. eating.
and having sex with our death.
this is the abstract about death.
OsyMizpah Unuevho (born March 1997) is a lover of abstract and impressionistic paintings, Scottish bagpipe music, free thoughts and a student of Geology at the Federal University of Technology, Minna Nigeria. He loves God and the third person: his female mind. He is currently working on his debut poetry collection.
WOULD YOU NOT DANCE TO THE STORM? | Adeyomola Ismail Kareem
My face may be a cage made of wood,
Yet I do not run from the Inferno of fate
Do not walk at my pace
If you shiver in the rain,
Do not even dare if you are from a clan of salt.
Do not sit children by your feet
No, do not show them the scars on your butt,
No warrior gets hit by an arrow in his home.
A poet’s heart weeps into the sailing wind,
And maybe God’s own song is the storm.
You might choose not to listen to the sailing wind,
But would you turn down a turn to dance to the storm?
Adeyomola Ismail Kazeem is an indigene of Osun state, born in Ogun state but has lived in Lagos for most of his life. An alumnus of the University of Ibadan and a pharmacist, he has always fancied subtlety of poetry like the beats in songs.