Tuesday Poem by Nma

Take a piece of cloth,
dip it in blackness,
wrap it around the lamp,
watch the light dim and disappear into blackness.
Enjoy the darkness of your soul,
let it wrap all around you till you are lost in it.
Blackness. Darkness. Nothingness.

Tuesday Poem Special By Remi Olutimayin

Welcome to the Tree, said the Branch

I heard your 1st cry
I was moved
Like the centre of the universe shifted subtly
And I thought of your tree
Our tree

I held you
15 minutes fresh in the world
You scowled at me
I couldn’t return the look.
A near sighted man is immune to body language.
Also, your fellow branches?
We all scowl at new challenges

Besides, that’s evidence to me
That you belong to this tree
It carries stories from far & wide
From Burma to ECWA
From Princeton to Columbia & Rutgers
From the RWFF (now the Nigerian Army)
To Kings College to Queens College

We are firsts among many
But we are not the many
We serve as people must be served
With dignity, kindness, respect
I pray you see these in my life

Holding you while you fought
Jaundice, Malaria, & cold touches that tickle
Bringing you out of your tanning bed
To bottle you to your fill
Change you when needed
Watching your mom watching me watch you
Being at home in the crook of my arm
All in your first week?
I don’t think, I know,
You belong to this tree

A tree that’s home to an architect,
2 civil engineers, 2 educators, a psychologist, 2 bankers,
A Priest & a priestess,
A Project Coordinator,
A Voice Actor/Director
What we all are…
Dream builders.
You are a dream builder
That’s all I will put on you

I don’t care what that dream is
Just make make sure
It’s not someone else’s nightmare you fear that fuels you
But the courage that comes from your dream
Seeing what is about to become , but isn’t yet visible.

Life will test you down to your roots
It will show you what I mean.
I’m confident about that.
You will do well.
Our branches do well.

I am after all,
Branch to branch.

Tuesday Poem by Remi Olutimayin

My magic isn’t found in one place
Magic is not sedentary
Magic is not plain and ordinary
It is the ephemeral made real
Like a kiss long overdue
Like a dive into the open and unknown
Of another person’s hidden
It is the secret made plain
Because you were ready
Because you were hungry enough
The divine hides in plain sight
And we chase it as if it were
Any kiss, any hold, any grasp.
It is not, because if it were
Anyone would fill the void
I find magic in you
Magic made real, not plain
In the rise of your curves
In your yielding that shapes me
In your receiving that makes whole
The incompleteness I bear.
Man or woman, sage or fool
Truth is truth and magic
Magic is the truth in our meeting
Of lips, of hands, of tastes
Of reaching and attaining
But wanting to reach again.
Let no man lie to you about me
Do no lie to yourself either
When I make myself before you
When I become through you and for you
It is a chase of life for life
To be unmade while making
Making love, making sense
Making truth of the half-revealed
Do not judge me as plebeians judge
For you have seen me as I am
Willing, vulnerable, defiant
Willing to die in your laps
As I bring life to you

May I tell a lie with the truth?
I love you, but I don’t own you
I own what you give me
I return to you what you give to me
Not hope. Not promise.
But desire that deafens the loudest doubts
I am for you, in you, with you
Every thrust, every caress, every wet sigh
To arrive in you, I must go from you

These are the conversations within
When we grapple, when we joust
When we lay because we are we.
Don’t disappoint with sad questions like
‘So what are we?’ like a maiden far from the farm
‘What are we not?’ is a woman’s conversation with a man
‘Why are we not less?’ is a man’s conversation with a woman
Accept this broken promise, this addled suggestion
‘I want you as I want you.’
Changes will change you
Changes will change how I want you
Will you have me as I want to have you?
Curves, breath, and sighs?
But that is a conversation that leads to meeting again

Tuesday Poem by Sheikha A.

An-Nur Al-Ain: Nakheelun Jameel

When Medina was being blessed like a land that awaits
respite after being trampled on, people stood like nakheels,

backs confident in their verses of loyalty. Shoulders
prostrated like they were the knees for that hour, palms

joined as if in a meeting of destinies. The first call
of obedience is the Azaan. The order that ensues

is the striking of the sun’s light against waning traces
of darkness. We will sing the Sana’a in the early calm,

like the way the Holy One was greeted, by joyous
feet skipping in their sandals that no longer feel the hot

skin of the sand. A caravan was formed:
nakheels, the dutiful, the shaheed, the haters of drum-rolls;

they place their hips on the ground in the way
of pressing their ears to the sounds of fallacy, the trance

of gushing khamar. And like how jamals walk in rows,
nakheels grow close to their brothers. They gather

seeds at the base of their roots, protecting what is
that shall ultimately sprout as what was. Ancestry is

like a battleground where men on opposing ends
stand in eternal waiting, listening to the tambourine

jingle like the dainty waist of a slave. The silent footsteps
of the man, weaving a crowd of men, his light a force

of the star of heaven, born much before the advent
of earth. Holy One, where you stand, jabals convert

to toors; your call awakens extinguished flames,
and riddles the silence with a gap, long just enough

to not be prolonged, short just enough to be conditioned.
This is probably how we learn shukr: an act of continuance,

an act of a mended tasbeeh, an act of an aging nakheel.
The tamars are plucked, ripe/unripe, they know their growth

is under the direct rays of a teaching sun. My hips
are the rose bearing splinters in its stem. I wait

for the sky to turn into a land of crimson grass; the moment
when walls will mean truce; a Single Breath will handle

us like a process of dispersal; we shall find our ordained
ground; we shall peel the shell of our seed; the soil will part;

we shall line in rows; convert to roots; grow until our fronds
can no longer feed the generations lessons of praise;

that will be then; the time of brown hisaans arriving
at our doors, their rikaabs awaiting our grasp, and their backs

of jewelled saddles calling us to sit on our designated throne.
The call will be sacred. The hand on the other side, nurturing.

Tuesday Poem by Remi Olutimayin

A Poem for Anne

I knew of you first through your first daughter. She spun her love for you with words, human and herculean. She spoke of your resolve not to crumble with her as evidence; lesser women have torn their selves down for less. She thought she was telling me of her mom. I heard in her words, matriarch, a queen dowager who mothers because she must. History doesn’t deserve you because men look for façade and celebrate cunning. When you were at the then Federal Ministry of Education building, opposite Bonny Camp, you met my mother in passing, she met your daughter, and you met me. This is wishful fiction because children are invisible, so adults only remember adults. 

I don’t know. I don’t know. If there was ever anyone I drowned myself in perfumes for, if there was anyone I felt tenderness for despite hard looks and tough words; if there was anyone whose obstinacy tickled me in private to tears… My tears today don’t come with even a giggle; they hide behind a partition of the only son-in-law you had, they snake their way behind the creases of my smile, just beneath the skin. I have no sense of how to love you outside of your children now. I have no burden greater than wondering what could have been. I console my father because he saw in one day what I had heard throughout my courtship. I feel like a crumpled piece of paper that must still be read aloud, creases and all. I see thorns that I once would grasp with decisiveness.

Your fight is over, your smile is frozen, your sense of sensibility is a monument to me. No matter how long or far I drive in life, you’re always a glance at the rearview. I was asked to write for your memorial so I shed my tears here. In these words they cannot see me cry. They cannot see the gossamer of my memories of you and tarnish it with idle opinions of ‘’How a man should mourn’. I have your daughter, but really, she has me. She hurt me with a pleasant memory of the wedding reception you cheered me on as I gyrated to James Brown and other people of your era. The music of your youth remains my private playground I didn’t remember your cries

“Go, Remi! Go, Remi!. ” Until she told me I didn’t remember why my heart hurt, its broken shards cutting into me when I remember you & breathe. Thank you for exquisite pain like this; it is reserved for you and your kind, known only by being known & no other way. You paid your debts. Accounts are settled. We move gracefully, decisively, honestly & strong.

Tuesday Poem by Adamu Usman Garko

A Kind of Dying

When I said I miss you
I meant the glistening beauty of your face
& the gripping warmth of your embrace
& the brook within your cleavage
from which, I, thirsty,
drink out my misery.

When I said I miss you
I meant your mellifluous voice,
the cadence of your soft words
& the intensity with which you revolt,
hymns of my paradise.

Your silence is a dark hole
into which I am swallowed whole.

When I said I miss you
I meant the dark mist of your irises
in them, stars that tickle my belly butterflies.
I meant your suppleness,
the ripe roundness of your cheeks.

I miss the way you trample on my heart
& make it skip a beat.
I miss how my blood clots,
how my lymph boils &
my breath becomes steam,
wafting with your fragrance.

When I said I miss you
I meant all memories have been
woven into a skein of longings,
frayed at the edges.

When I said I miss you
I meant I miss living
because living without you is
a kind of dying.

Tuesday Poem by Roland Nduka Akpe

Words hid in a corner
dark with remembrance.

Words dumb from scarred silence
from long neglect
ask me to speak – tongueless.

Beautiful things sit beautifully
in a bar called Bravado,
full of insecure blandness.

She sits cross-legged on a barstool,
feet several inches of special –
off the floor.

Floors are resigned expressions.
We all fall in them screaming,


How quiet will you be
when the dark nipple of oxygen
with areola of breath is withdrawn?

I am silent like a hungry baby
tucked alive in fist of brown earth:

Is a muffled shriek
a coo?

Tuesday Poem by Som Adedayor

—for Tèmi

tonight, the moon longs for shadows,
let us offer ours; let us offer our ears
to the angel strumming the lyre;

the sea thirst for lovers
let us fill her shores with our tongues.
the womb of the earth
do not tame blossoming flowers.

then why don’t we lend voices
to the hymn sprouting from our lips?

cuddles are roadmaps to the stream
that gently flows in the hearts of lovers.

Tuesday Poem by Yemi Obabire

Have you eaten? 

360 minutes ago, 

we talked. 

1 hour spent, debriefing

every slithery second since

our last phone call. 

360 minutes later, 

another phone call. 

These seconds have been quiet

All 21,605 of them

“Have you eaten?” 

You ask, puncturing the silence. 

We both know the answer

Hundred kilometers away, 

You’re speeding down the highway

to my ventricles. 

Tuesday Poem by Carl Terver

all the birds that gathered round the solar system of your eyes

all the birds that gathered round the solar system of your eyes

(where my telescope lingered)

are no longer in orbit. 

they’ve died from the pressure of living for light years. 

I am not in need of an astrologist’s toolkit

to date their demise,

I want the feel of your face pillowed in my arm,

I want to snatch the moon

running away from the Milky Way

& place it between our faces.

Zipporah, I want to pick the leaf–twitter 

of those birds fallen to the ground

& make a nest from them

In the solar system of eye–trees