Four poems by Osahon Oka

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When the horses, wild & hungry, come breathing fire,

impatient hooves ringing on the tarmac, may they find

me still–a flower petal perishing gently in the sun.

When the whip becomes lightning, tearing the earth

from planted bones browning in the constance of life,

may it find me still–a rough stone, a shape unsure

of what to become–ready to be shredded into pebbles.

When the soldiers raise their war cry, their voices

a melody of hurt & rage, their hands awash with ice,

their eyes full with terror & pain, let their guns speak,

let them be true to their maker, let them kill.

I cannot roam like dried grass or storm clouds, my eyes

always stretched into the furthest distance, forever.

The end must find me & I must be still, so the gods

can do their grisly work & the griots can retell me

 into myth & legend until my name, a small scar, will

pass into the feverish river’s journey & I will become,

every man, every black man, every broke black man’s

father, brother, son, friend.

Lucifer’s lament                                                              

I’m sacred & sad like God on the seventh day,

my heavenly bodies soaring in the first night,

the first earth visible between dust clouds

& frost–debris of creation–& I’m holy.

From my lips, an alleluia, the wings of cherubs

& seraphs hid my face near the first altar–

a stone piling of fruits & psalms–I was divine;

a chart of God’s path from cloud to sea foam,

a constellation greeting Lilith’s wild prayer,

her first flowering & her first hunger, wet then loud;

when the garden locked two swords in a clash of sparks

& bells, when Cain loved Abel & then knew to hate him,

when the first death, the second mourning,

when God knew pain & regret, & gathering

within his fist, I parted into atoms, populated

the earth with my gospel & nourished the first hell.

Taking swimming lessons on a beach                                                             

The sun, warm on my skin,

The beach squeezing granules into the sole of my feet,

The tender petals beneath my nostrils;

The scent of beauty & love exhumed from memory,

My hands clasped behind my back.

The sea on the wind, the surf on the shore,

The rocks black against the foam,

The paper kites parrying bird beaks,

The coconut trees leaning with heavy secrets.

The crabs escaping the clutches of the wet,

Sand crafting pearls in marooned oysters,

The liquor cold in the cooler, dolled up girls,

& her painted nails on the blanket.

The flash of glasses reflecting all my sad protrusions,

The decadent chocolate wrappers smearing my teeth,

The lazy boats bobbing like corks in a bathtub,

Laughter drinking him & her–their teeth white with youth,

The newspaper filled with murders.

The wind snatched music cresting then drowning,

The hat the wind stole in playful glee,

The dog that won’t bark & the frisbee that won’t fly,

The fly drinking every sort of sweat & bottle lip,

The man picking bottle caps & worn out blunts.

The sweat under my lower lip, my armpits & in my eyes,

A bee seeking to suckle,

A wasp seeking to sting.

The wild scentless flowers creeping to the pale sand,

The sand bank walking into the sea,

The new asphalt running into the mirage of distance.

The tall tail spearing the waves apart,

The blood; the blood glinting black in the sun,

The screaming wind & the white surf against the rocks,

The heat, the shells & her painted nails near the basket.

The sea                                                                                                                     

I have seen the sea,

Her lips blue with cold,

Her hair white with frost.

I have seen her reach the stars,

Her fingers filled with pearls.

I have heard her roar at the wind,

Her eyes filled with rainbows

& the fading blush of sunset.

I have beheld the coral reefs

That dance on her waist

& the ribbon of seaweed

That gathers her wild locks.

I have felt her black skin

Wrapping me into her bosom,

& her teeth sharp & white

Under her lips, waiting

To tear my body to the bone.

Osahon Oka is a Nigerian. Who enjoys writing whether for journals or just because he has an idea bugging him. He spends his free time reading poetry and fiction, watching anime, playing android phone games and watching people. His writing are on spaces included but not limited to Spillwords, Grotesque, Kikwetu Journal, Visual Verse. His collection of short stories is forthcoming on Praxis Books.

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