Monday, July 27, 2015






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


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)


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.


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.


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


down the underside of a grape

the limpid drop




And the earth rips,

split, like an expanse of belly

will you



the ends

of the horizon

to bathe

in the


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



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 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.


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


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…

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