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Uche Nduka
Uche Nduka

Uche Nduka, one of the leading voices among the new African poets, has recently moved to New York, in the United States, from Bremen, Germany, where lived for many years, publishing and performing most of his six volumes of poetry. These include Flower Child (1988), Second Act (1994), The Bremen Poems (1995), Chiaroscuro (1997) (winner of the Association of Nigerian Authors Poetry Prize), If Only the Night (2002), Heart’s Field (2005) and eel on reef (2007). Nduka has also published Belltime Letters (2000), a book of commentaries and whimsical meditations in prose.

  the music in a bird
is what you’ve
broken into two.

slideaway facedown.
your breath is still
besotted with

the eel on a reef.
where you’ve beached
stars hang on scales
of water.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

and a voice to burn with arrives
in tripled frenzy
in cynic precision

and his groin-gazing
the whiff of his heel
and his turbo-thrust

where every imp is a patriot
every thug a saviour
every screamer an apostle
every nosepicker a prophet
every crook a statesman.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

my edges are spidering.
sort of.
shredding my connection
to a tanned belief.
to a yellow house.

i promise skits to players.
i juke. i saw off thorns.
i face a bank. a warlock.
a tank. i make time spit.
toss wrinkles off my flank.

valor isn’t a lap dance.
i scrawl. i slam. i sprawl.
i’m fragile. that is.
i growl. i mumble. i squiggle.
my lines are birds flying
inside a page full of darts.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

concretely dead is the putrescent
behemoth in a radiant orchard.
for man begins where
a metropolis ends. so let’s rise
to the orphic door. let’s
leave the falling leaves of
the falling shadow. when gardens
grow bloody and courtyards
become macabre let’s
seek the lustrous arms of
sainted whores. may priestesses
meet priests. may flagellants
turn hedonists when on
their chests fall the eyes of blame.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

a rushing of fibres and fragrance
your legs crossed, uncrossed
la singla!

Hills mingling with veins
Your legs slanting, grinding
on floorboard

la singla!
the fire of your feet
the art of your fire
la singla!

your clatter your patter
a masquerade in trance

as your life sways
around hems, ribbons

la singla!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

a window’s mouth opens
out to the visitation
of a waking planet.

dragging along a scrap of bread
a mouse moves under a carved
mask to salivate, eat, meditate.

the flavor of escape decreases.

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