Categories
Poetry

Poetry Issue #50

Ennui for Scenes Garnered While In Bed

By Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto

 

Are all of us birds enough?/
There is a glowing kindness in my eyes if you look well./
I don’t want to be that boy imprisoned by conscience…
Read more

Image: “Shadows,” by Hana Hozhabr Pour, acrylic, oil and marker on canvas, 8.27×11.69in., 2019

Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto

Featured Poet

 

 

 

Ennui for Scenes Garnered While In Bed
Are all of us birds enough?
There is a glowing kindness in my eyes if you look well.
I don’t want to be that boy imprisoned by conscience.
Sometimes I’m clueless about things: multeity of emptiness and fullness.
There is no one answer to a
thing―lines limning the teeth of the moon.
You only have to know enough because you can’t know everything.
When anything is given a degree of reverence and fear and love, it becomes a God.
When a process is associated with it, right there is a religion.
Living in these dark hours, I feel the palpitating neck of the globe.
Nothing is ever enough. Not even the bartender’s smile.
I discovered there is mindfulness in making a tea.
Do you call a place your mind is at rest home?
Fire is a dangerous thing.
I’ve known this since I was a boy.
It has been an invisible emblem on my country’s flag.
Sometimes you imagine some magic to defeat a kind of worry.
Graves don’t have ghosts, but only skeletons.
But the graves by my country’s anthem push play
On the scene where a president eats the livers of the masses.
Are all of us birds enough?
In all and in everything there is,
I am yet to meet a person whose smile doesn’t fit.

 

 

i wrote this poem while listening to Akon’s Sorry blame it on me
and on seeing a notification from my phone about war and deaths
it’s afternoon// hot // hot like an imagined hell/
i roll under a table/ and there i make up countless
dreams―/
birds unrolling from my corner/ full stop//there’s blood alert on my phone’s
screen/ there’s crimson pool sinking into the ground somewhere/ in Nigeria/
they say there’s a fire/ a burning place/shells shaking grounds// Borno//
a small boy/ i read from the alert/ carries a gun heavier than his body/
a small girl/ i read from the alert/ carries crushed berries around her thighs/
mistakes/ mistakes that amount to too many holes/ too many holes in
some parts of a flag/ with skies in the portraits of masked clouds //
i think of how we use our hands/ and unfurl fire/ and smokes/
and nobody/ i mean/ nobody says a thing/ just retweets for traffic//
i wonder what the number of retweets/ can resolve/ while death avalanche/
while people are bathed in dusts/ and their houses are shelled down/
―this
is not what prayers can undo/ my country does not know this/
this is not what running can solve/my country does not know this/
does God blames us/ though we are made in his image?/
how our cruelty begets his cruelty?//

 

 

The Things We Are Not Allowed To Raise
It burns my heart how everything is turning out now.
I know the heaviness that comes with losses.
When I remember my father, I imagine
The memories of him I have shelved inside of me.
Our faces carry a world of worries cloaked with curtains.
When I stand by people’s shadow, I only want to dissolve and be embraced.
Can there ever be enough sunrays in the gathering of reflections?
This is the first poem I have written in months.
And I understand how much you want to ask if it matters.
We often tend to miss the little things that
Hold us together. We often tend to forget.
And billboard how much dirty verbs we carry.
Here I can only say that no one body
Is enough without other bodies.
I go by my village river to hold hands with my past.
Because water remembers everything.
When you see me pointing at the moon, all
I’m trying to ask for is the meaning
Of loneliness and happiness.

 

 

Mother Thinks I Do Not Remember Her
She thinks I left her behind on leaving home for this city.
There are things one cannot be taught, he learns himself,
Like no one taught the Good Samaritan how to be good.
In my head, there are two ends.
One is home and the other, this city.
Home is where my mother plaits her worries. and
Whose prayers are invisible halos over my skull.
This city is where the hunger in my chest flags, and sometimes
It opens me up like a man opening a shook bottle of coke.
Mother,
I remember you each time I wake to the morning noises of this city;
I remember you in the stares of my classmates on walking into my classroom;
I remember you in the smiles of a girl I asked out, and whose laughter is clean spring;
I remember you each time I leave school and return to my apartment
To meet a roommate who I think is secretly in love with me;
I remember you in the pages of my wrists, keening beside me;
I remember you in the poems I struggle to write and in the fictions I’m yet to finish;
I remember you when I cannot sleep because my throat practices the tenor of hunger.
I remember you when I sleep in the nights with the dying noises of this city.
Mother, do not wear a dimly lit face. for
I, your son, am well and, remember you often
In this city filled with fire, water and stone;
In this city that holds me at the centre of its cloves.

 

 

In a City of Smoke I Found a Piece of Half-Burnt Love Note
-after reading Forrest Hammer
I love you in a certain way, like a boy
mauling his heartbeats into a school of butterflies.
I love you in that certain way a dog bolts forward
like a tractor in a cotton field.
Say that moment loving you over isn’t heard.
Say the ignition-engine-clutch doesn’t unfurl.
Say the heart is seal. Say the heart is not upset.

 

Say this heart is not upset.
Say I try to love you in a certain way.
Say this heart is not upset.

 

Say the mind’s ear listening to an odd song from a radio.
Say this bed knows two adults spreading over it in search of love.
Say this heart is upset is not upset.

 

Say this heart is not a dog, and a man’s love has never stood in the nude before it.
Say you turn yourself away from this heart, this balance, this imbalance.

 

Say the awed lady singing sings to me.
Say you know her. You don’t.

 

And the heart is not upset.
And I know a kind of love in a certain way.
Say that’s a lie. A lie can be a truth.
Say my bed sheet still smells of you.

 

Say the awed lady singing sings to you and
the moment loving you over isn’t heard.
Say the dream of the boy sieves through.
Say the moment I discovered something new.

 

And the heart is upset.
And the heart is not upset.

 

Say the moment dancing over wears the sun.
Say the moment hearting you over is a wedding ring.
Say the moment loving you in a certain way may not end in a poem.

 

Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto
By Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto

Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto is from Owerri-Nkworji in Nkwerre, Imo state, Nigeria and grew up between Germany and Nigeria. He is always grateful to the poets who have influenced him. He has won the Association of Nigerian Author’s Literary Award for Mazariyya Ana Teen Poetry Prize, 2009, and Speak to the Heart Inc. Poetry Competition, 2016. He became a runner-up in Etisalat Prize for Literature, flash fiction, 2014. He won the Castello di Duino Poesia Prize for an unpublished poem, 2018, which took him to Italy. He was the recipient of New Hampshire Institute of Art’s 2018 Writing Award, and also the recipient of New Hampshire Institute of Art’s 2018 scholarship to MFA Program. In 2019, he was the winner of Sevhage/Angus Poetry Prize and second runner-up in 5th Singapore Poetry Contest. His works have appeared in Lunaris Review, AFREADA, Poet Lore, Rush Magazine, Frontier, Palette, Malahat review, Southword Magazine, Vallum, Bakwa Magazine, Salamander, Strange Horizons, One, Ake Review, Crannòg magazine and elsewhere.