Two Poems by Okeke Nduka


My happiness went dead with the Portraits in my home.
We move the clock backward to take a last breath of where we left
Without songs in our mouth—In silence,
Meaning pictures can only get old when woes live on walls,
Meaning happiness got drowned in our heart before we fall into the mouth of Pains.

What the dog eats it vomits.

Every man will walk through that road
Where your body becomes a battle you can’t conquer,
Where your shadow determines the colour of your skin.

Before we were forgotten:
We walked into a Room when it’s dark
And teach fingers how to hold pencils.
Like an old flower leaning onto her body,
Like dry woods in a torn pocket,
Like bicycles running on empty streets,
Like your skin wriggling under a wet blanket.
That’s how to be a river besides an ocean—
A way to be a line in the book of history.
That’s how to be an old flower in the heart of a gardener.





Growing Apart

I woke up today empty in my mother’s mouth;
Searching for my name in her throat.
She speaks like a river
With drowning pictures in her eyes.
Dinner last night was set on her friable heart.
We ate to our fill
except our father who drank her happiness.
We are victims;
the dusty calendars hung on fallen walls.

Graveyard is a home for men that have no mouth.
My father reads a book about men as stars
And says “after our daily toll, we hide our soul in
the sky as stars and rest our body betwixt walls.”

Whenever a man dies a star falls from heaven
Into the ground like thunder killingly
Like pains,
buried inside the heart of a man afraid to be killed.
“men don’t cry” the radio clamoured:
They pull fears to their throat and let it drown in their hearts,
They cage the sun under their eyes
To turn their bones into a faggot.
My mother’s heart welcome us as visitors
That defies her temple with strange scents
And leaves our body burning till we write our names as smokes,
As wet pictures in her eyes;
Drawing familiar sketches round her wrist,
between her legs.

She freed us through her eyes as teardrops falling without breaking
Down to her toes that gave us legs.





Okeke Onyedika Prezide writes from Ojoto, a town where birds are voices of gods to those that have ears. His poems which seeks to uplift the standard and tradition of Africa has appeared in Praxis magazine, and forthcoming in Kalahari review, African writer, Tuck Magazine and elsewhere. He is currently an undergraduate of sociology/Anthropology in Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. 

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