One Poem, One Week

temporary lodging for poems in transit

Tuesday Poem by Dami Ajayi


Our man’s head is not into cannabinoid clouds,
he loves to issue plumes of nicotine smoke
in the gathering of his peers where
the ghosts of Eco, Joyce & Fanon skype
with Chomsky & Zizek;

good time girl on his right side,
eyes fix on the svelte Caucasian to his left
Post-Doctoral, her thesis’s title is
a breath of words: semiotics,
African poetry and feminism in
140 characters.

Sly fox,
seamless exchange of complimentary
cards happens somewhere
between a spilled drink mishap
& a long paean on Heaney,
good time girl snap-chatting.

Mute black coffee mornings,
moody intellectual afternoons,
golden lager evenings,
our man prefers the nocturnal company
of Shakespeare to the warmth of any living thing

Tuesday Poem by Dare Dan

i’m not missing you

you come writhing your body in my sight.
you know i’ll always be by light.

we were a flicker; a taint in the eye of a sky; a hiccup
in an hourglass.
how old is the world to your insect now,
i let you slip each time…
and when you’re gone, leaving no ripple
in sight,
i assume you to be lost…

but memory, like water, always finds its course
this time, running amok on wings destined to be lost.
i throw you back anon
swim forlorn in the sea of my mind and
track yet a path leading not to this stand.

Tuesday Poem by Gbenga Adesina

(For K)

The things she says to me
I hide in stones.


Opal, sapphire, etchings like
pressed magnolia.

Eyes are the inner light of prophecy.
Let me be Orpheus. Sculpt O out of Oma

My woman is in the other room
translating Swahili into silence.

The alphabets curl like loss.
The vowels yodel, they open like the love of a child.

The things I say to her she keeps in olive
or wind, rain or the cities of my skin as they

open like the
love of a child.



Gbenga Adesina is the author of acclaimed poetry chapbook, Painter of Water.

Tuesday Poem by Efe Ogufere


I have broken and disjointed memories of my childhood,
but every memory of you is untouched,
untainted and unchanged, Father.
Your flaws have carved the outcrop
of my existence into a restless rhythm.
You taught me how to raze bridges,
hold ash on my tongue till it dissolves
into a song of sober indifference.
I keep a souvenir of hearts broken,
a tribute to you, wayfaring stranger.
You have sculpted me in your image,
your finest work yet.
The first night you walked away
into blackness and then memory,
I died more than a little inside.
No one heard the screams in my head
as I stared out the window and counted
the few good memories on my stubby fingers.
When you returned I saw parts of you were missing,
you had lost shards of yourself,
become a collage of misfits,
unsure how to nurse your family tree.
No one knew it then but me,
so I numbered time until you left us again
on my fingers and toes-
94 days, 38 minutes
and 3 long seconds of misery


Efe Ogufere tweets at @theaventurine.

Tuesday Poem by Moyosore Orimoloye

Exchange by the River Ose
Tell me, man like Oedipus,
what you saw in your innermost chamber,
where you, hunter, retreated into-
like a deer pursued.
Graft of the unshifting Iroko,
reification of inertia,
what moved you to pluck out your own light ?
 Ojuola’s lifeless body bore my face.
I feared a lifetime of looking into water,
and seeing my mother’s face contorted in orgasm
or worse-
the birth of my own children.
But tell me, Kurunmi,
man named in retrospect,
Did you go to Iwawun as warrior or farmer?
Kurunmi, why did you take five of your seeds to be planted in blood?
Moyosore is an award-winning poet.

Tuesday Poem by Fatima Ademola-Asuni

I lie in bed, naked.

I run my hands over my damp breasts
& over the flare of my hips.
A smile hovers across my lips –
somewhere between shy coquette & vamp
between exultation & satisfaction.

You have left these hallowed thighs
& the moisture within
& my insides have turned to mush.

I bite my lip and think of the last hour;
magnificent you & amazing me –
an amalgam of heat, desire, passion.

I have looked in your eyes &
I have seen your soul,
with your thrusts, you opened mine.

For a while our galaxies collided
& we were one with the universe,
with each other.

I lie in bed, naked.



Apparently Fatima Ademola-Asuni is not yet on Twitter.

On Losing Sight by Benson Eluma

Something is not-so-wrong this morning. Been playing some oldies, then got to this video. Classic, therefore open to every praise and accusation in the book. You could call it sublime or infantile, self-conscious or crypto-sexist, lavish or minimalist. You could call it in the same fraction of breath archaic and eternal. At 3:08 something happens. The doctor herself takes some of the medicine she’s just administered on her love-ailing patient, she swigs it stylishly like—your guess on the simile I’ll choose is right, my friend!—it’s Pilsner. Afterwards, she removes her spectacles and gives you the voyeur that look…. Made me laugh, then it dawned that this is the moment of parabasis, the meta-moment when the text comments on and gestures beyond itself. Jesus says in Edwin Morgan’s ‘The Fifth Gospel’: ‘It is not those that are sick who need a doctor, but those that are healthy.’ Everybody needs healing, Lord Jesus. Medicine, like love, like music, like language, is a descendant of sympathetic magic, contagion. The patient collaborates with the doctor to diagnose their common condition. Labour of love. Isn’t that what the true classics of passion do between their producers and consumers, diagnose our common ailments? And in doing so they become our aliments. We take them with us, even into the bedchamber where we recreate ourselves by ingesting each other in toto—all-round healing through whole-body transplant in a carnal sacrament of which the cannibal partakes because s/he wishes to incorporate the total essence of the other in appreciation of the other, in revocation of amour propre. The physician, not the potion, is the patient’s therapy; vice versa. 3:08 is a moment that dirty-minded, crotchety Harry, otherwise known as Aristotle, would appreciate. He would appreciate it, but only secretly at dead of night. At 3:08 peripeteia and anagnorisis coincide, thus satisfying the expectations as laid bare in the Poetics. Finally, I recognize myself because I see that your malady is mine, and mine yours. I see you, I feel you, therefore, I am. You see yourself bristling with life as you look in the mirror of my eyes and confront the reflected fires of your unease, my dis-ease. The dialectic, the negation of the negation, leaves the realm of abstractions and is made concrete in the synthesis of flesh with flesh. I stop seeing myself, stop feeling myself because I see, because I feel, you. And then I can’t see you anymore because I just so feel you, and you can’t see me either or even see yourself because you feel me, too. We see us, we see with eyes wide shut, then we stop seeing altogether, only feeling beyond feelings, drowning in the depths of that terrifically sensate orgy of the sixth sense of our frenzied union. The eye that is so blindly immersed in vision, immured in its aqueous medium, does not have to see itself, the ‘I’ that dissipates into the body of the love-signifying other in ‘continual surrender… to something which is more valuable… a continual self-sacrifice, a continual extinction of personality’.

At 3:08 I recognize that I need that Pils, too.


Who is Benson Eluma?

Tuesday Poem Special by Toni Kan

This is not a Love Poem

Hush, I want to hear Wana-Wana, I say
Who is Wana-Wana, you say
And I see clearly that your world
And my world are worlds apart
No matter how many times we kiss
Or lie entwined like snakes
We will forever be apart
Because there is so much to learn
When you are not blinded by an erection

Is this a sub?
Sometimes a sub is much more than a sub
It is a shade and the fucking truth all rolled in one
And sometimes 140 characters
Are just too little, too puny to capture it all
The sheer circumference, the Yoruba-yashness of it all

Once, a long time ago, your Instagram posts made me laugh
But they lasted as long as a snapchat, interred now in the ether
Do you know the ether; Sir Eliot stuck in Wasteland?
Will your nubile body stand like a boulder between me
And the marauding army of approaching years?
Will our passion still burn, incandescent when I reach for the blue pills
Each time my man wants to stand at attention?

You say boo, and I jump, because no matter how long we kiss
Your language remains a barbarian’s babble like text-speak
I cannot LOL like you do or OMG like your friends
When they heard I was 45 and you just 20
If I had said fuck you to Gold Circle in 91
You, my dear one, could be calling me daddy
This is not a sub; this is just my own way of saying it is over
Because your world and my world are worlds apart.

Tuesday Poem Special by Iquo DianaAbasi

How does butterfly say to
eager child on its tail,
giggling, innocent, delirious,
‘run no more child. Come swiftly, lift me in your gentle fingers’?
Does the butterfly perch atop the child’s nose,
or does it wait till child tires, then
land on his fingers?

How does bird tell hunter,
the chase is pointless; long over before
catapult was loaded, pulled back, aim-ready?
Does it sing an inviting tune of lusty notes as it pretends to fly by?
Does it perch on a tree and flap its vibrant plumes?
Would it suffice to feign fright and fall to the
ground, though the stone missed
it by a feather’s breath?

How does the rose inform the clouds
she is ready for their gentle, then hard drizzle?
Does she stretch her bony branch skyward, her bed cracked
moisture-less, as the sun recedes after yet another day’s duties?
Would it suffice if her petals began to slowly
wither in wait as she thirsted, like I do now?
Would you understand this rose then?


Iquo DianaAbasi  is a performance poet and her first poetry collection, Symphonies of Becoming, was critically acclaimed.

Tuesday Poem Special by Peter Akinlabi

The Arcades

(For Liz, whose botanical name I now forget)


She’s petite and had a braid.

I am Pete, I said.

We walked through the arcades;

the trees swayed. And silence,

hand-in-hand with intentions, walked ahead.


The harmattan wove its webs and sutures,

cold, like that, is kind to young loves.

Birds sang on the trees, dropping hints

into silence. I sought something to lay

the freeze bare for clarity


Sidestepping love’s essential gothicism,

I tossed the coin:

I confess, like a true poet, that I am

only broken

by the sources of things.

Throbbing. Hands. we looked in each other’s lattices.

All sextoned, she rent the gag,

wiping incredulity with a Shakespearean rag.


And Parting time like a bar-room curtain

we recreated a mythology of the garden.


We floated through the arcades, acrobats-on -stilts

looking for botanic roots of things,

bodies, luminous and riverine,

parsing things lustrous and serpentine,

we coursed towards the source of moist.



Peter Akinlabi’s poetry collection, Iconography, is out now.


Sisi Akowe:

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