Uche Ogbuji, “Sunlight stealing over the ragged edges of scar” -poetry


Your insouciant lashes of black spiral,
Wound-up, cheeky veiling invades our opened lips,
Bluffed off high-brow, sweeps in to garnish tongue-tie-up.
Laughing, you marshal

Your insurgent springing of wild-grained impulse,
Breaching lives of / mouths of the poets, whispering salt,
Brushed off, rebuffed, bitten, yet still stuffing goosed
Klatsch with the carnal,

Ginseng-spiked polite-coiffed head-cock («upstairs»),
Gimlet-stirred blend of your hips with mine, as I
Pattern breaths to sip this deluge of embrace,
Pacing that last gasp.

Your wild coils grow themselves into my weirding
Voice, betraying all suaviter in modo,
Plucking out a fortiori claims to cool,
Fringe-framing the ruined mask.

Shyness ever follicle-foiled, recedes, what’s
Left’s the gag, insisting on grit, no grinned jest.

Swept along in white water I’m bent, buried,
Bound up in silk sedge.


Fire Next Time

It’s as if that vengeful god has called;
He’s up the sky soon to be burst with terrors
That serve us right for existential crime;
Not satisfied with nasty, brutish, short,
He’s fashioned out a fathomless device
And rigged it to the doomsday clock’s last chime.
They sing: ‘God gave Noah the rainbow sign,
Warning: No more water, but fire next time!’

What was our error? Skulls have sealed it out!
The cosmic imperfection marked by matter?
Revenge for particles that botched their rhyme?
Did that blemish in the firmament
Mean God spent six days cleaning up the mess?
Were snakes and apples wrath from lost sublime?
They sing: ‘God gave Noah the rainbow sign,
Warning: No more water, but fire next time!’

The tracts claim proof from a Russian borehole:
Shrieks of the dead awaiting late invention
To remind us hell prefers us in our prime;
And yet they talk of purifying fire—
Though Heracles was superman it took
The burning shirt to stage his gospel mime.
They sing: ‘God gave Noah the rainbow sign,
Warning: No more water, but fire next time!’



Accumulation of stuffing,
Peep of royal blue background,
Opacity fifty per cent,
Diaphanous shift of Cybele,
Red for sacrifice, blue for nobility,
Tight knot of clinging zero,
And a fairy foreground of sandy flat;
Lumpy grid of leathered farm plots,
Fleshly insistence of cloud,
Numinous nubile in coy caress, withdrawal,
And endless depth once broken,
Sunlight stealing over the ragged edges of scar,
A pooling of blood into the crease,
A blinding upturn in the sea-surface cipher,
Inversion of the firmament,
Immediate the Aphrodite foam
Like forelocks on a young victim,
Immediate the fruit pulp
Like blanch of votive dress,
And even more immediate, the breach,
The cirrus to stratus to cumulus drop,
The telescoping to bone-hard ground,
Air drawn from the gut like a summoned salve,
The cloud-bound burn-curled
Like edge of injured flesh,
Abrupt tent of scabbed defense from sunbeam,
White blood cell pallor and serum yellow of storm top,
Stalactite chill of inexorable vector,
Raindrop of milky chalk descent.
Safeguard from indistinction below
Is the burst of your memory;
The splash of shrinking warmth in expectation,
intercession of your clay-grace divine,
God body indistinct in its aerie height,
From which eye ichor, blue sea of light,
From which duct salve of slate-shade rain
Low pressure dressing of gods’ own pain.
Ilu Igwe is my vehicle
Anyanwu my regard for you
And all fresh wholeness of my love—
Ala, approaching, overdue.

——————–Notes: Ilu Igwe, Anyanwu and AlaIgbo gods & goddesses of, respectively, heavens, sun and earth.

Brandy Lève Tôt

Crack of dawn by thunderous signal: Train comes
Soon and she unzips the burden of night time
Baggage, Spills herself into day, the first class
Carriage of moment.


Twit Jug

Twit twit twit, so rude the force,
Looted lineaments of torse:
That old tale of Philomel
Who from her cell, snared and hoarse,

Wove Tereus’ outrageous course,
Hark his hoop-cry of remorse,
Moan over the eaten child,
The line defiled, royal divorce.

Jug, jug, the sound sometime coarse,
In mythic context even worse,
From Thracian Greek to Cockney,
Songs for Procne haunt the gorse.

©Uche Ogbuji
photo©Stratos Fountoulis, Summer 2008

Uche Ogbuji (@uogbuji) was born in Calabar, Nigeria. He lived, among other places, in Egypt and England before settling near Boulder, Colorado. A computer engineer and entrepreneur by trade, his collection of poetry, Ndewo, Colorado is forthcoming in 2014 from Kelsay Books. His poems, fusing Igbo culture, European Classicism, U.S. Mountain West setting, and Hip-Hop influences, have appeared widely, most recently in IthacaLit, String Poet, The Raintown Review, Featherlit, Outside In Journal, Don’t Just Sit There, Qarrtsiluni, and Leveler. He is editor at Kin Poetry Journal and The Nervous breakdown, founder and curator at the @ColoradoPoetry Twitter project.

Learn more about Uche’s forthcoming book!

Visit All «English Wednesdays»