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Two Poems

Crossing Benue
after reading Nnadi Samuel

burnt consonants laid at my feet.
++++++++I begin this poem where the vowel            ends.
it ends inside a                lagoon. this                voyage, a
++++journey into history.            I name my boat with
a foreign sobriquet.           my prayer tastes like               rainfall.
+++++++what I share with this cabin                 are adjectives too
soft for ruin.            I language from something elastic
+++++like pain. my body worn out by a long stretch.               I
didn’t say earlier.          but, I have been          grabbling with my
+++tongue to         lick the lateral light           in the glory of the lord.
what I speak,    are blue ashes waiting to purple.     grace
+++++came to pass.           & so did grief. & so did all the
bodies in the Atlantic. sometimes,                       I do not touch the
++++silence that deluges the entrance of an hour.             because,
when time breaks the mud of our bodies,            the waters
+++++++cannot hold it together.          this is where the river
leans backwards into             the mouth of God in search
+++of a healing.          I cast a net of hope. &
what is it that      recedes from the mouth of a  dead          dolphin
++++if not a story of slavery? I cross the water.
& I cross back.            & I cross back.              & I cross back.
++++& I cross back.                 & I cross back.              & I cross
into the mouth of          a loud consonant.


A Long Walk Downtown

Downtown with the world turning upside down in my head.

I run into a woman collecting wilted flowers in a basket.

They say joy comes in the morning, doesn’t it?

I watch a myriad of children chase down a car like moths going after LED lights as the driver pulls over to buy some papers.

I watch them recede with fallen eyelids. Some of them scouring the gutters for luck.

Too bad, of all the beautiful places in this city, a boy seeks to find fortune inside a ditch.

From a distant minaret, the muezzin calls for prayer.

& in his voice, there was a hand stretching into a latex tree, into a skyscraper, into wings, into Icarus to touch glory at the circumference of the sun.

He screamed again. & this time, the hand couldn’t even find its body again.

I walked & walked many miles without a purpose.

I only wanted to walk out of my head where the world wasn’t upside down to a place where I would look outside my window

in the morning sunshine & kiss a songbird.

Chinedu Gospel is an emerging Nigerian poet. He stays in Anambra where he also attends school, at Nnamdi Azikwe University. He plays chess and tweets @gonspoetry.