Three Poems || Osahon Oka


Credit: Sam's Existential

Three Poems

by Osahon Oka

Life is a festival 

          The river sings 

to the drunk & dizzy 

       & that is enough hot drink

             for any head to take. 

I take hold of schizophrenic dreams 

             & suck it in until smoke 

      forms from my insomnia 

                   & watch inertia crow 

out of my addled veins.

I'm the child of harmattan 

               bush fires, 

        says the dust devil 

to its shadow— 

                           let us dance 

like failed brakes 

             on the tongue 

of this parched sun. 

         I'm not the shadow 

           of your restless dance, 

                 I say,

loosened like ripe breasts. 

       I've fondled 

                             the tart, 

swollen dusk; 

     I've danced 

                      the devil's dance 

     longing for heaven 

& eaten from his bitter song. 


             I've caressed 

& held myself adrift & aloft 

         like a river flame

until the dance 

                spurted out of me, 

wet & spent 

       like a gutted wave. 

Is your bush as charred 

         as this crippled tongue?

The messenger out of the sea

I too was born in the burning, 

                           mirage, the water of my breath. 

              Branch was holy ash 

                      on the forehead of the wind 

                       & spat out of there a stained vestment, 

birds grew ominous in their fractured distance.


                Pyre was my mountain top 

                                   where vespers sang: 

             the broken turntable of my mother. 

She, the firebrand preacher of elements, 

             pulled me out by the molten char 

of my metal plated soul. 

                       What warped seed! 

        A holy thing & yellow, 

                I rose among the ascending disorders 

& floated among their shrivelled skin. 

Among them, I was no one; 

                  just another messenger, 

a beautiful rendition of ruin. 

        I was not the first born nor the last. 

              Mother held them all in a rib cage 

          of screeching metal anguish, 

                 fragments so cold, they gleamed

with brutal eyes at the orange world. 

                      But I also saw the glimmer 

when the wind pulled away, 

             unfurling the wings of smoke 

                     from our mighty horse. 

It carried us high into the foliage 

among the singing of angels & hinges. 

                    We burned as we flowered 

& I, yet aflame with the passion 

           kiss of my mother's flung arms, 

                   reached for their blunt reality. 

& the wind caught the spark,

           lifted it from its hammering heart 

& we rose together, unlatched 

mast, into the rainbow sleek sheen 

         of the dumb sea where untold fishes 

bejewelled the waters with their dreamy eyes.


                   & in that sudden catatonia, 

            I saw a vast ship of purple 

                      & on its helm, her fire so holy 

it had no beat, the moon: 

          charred, pockmarked & bald. 

                      Her glory felt like cold bone 

so I fled, slammed back among embers, 

            already worn to the dark empty dress 

                   of steel stumps— home, 

                      a crowded stench— my family gone, 

         their terrible work done. 




of a thousand echoes, 

gradually hunger recesses. 

             Eye pits 

& here, 

                 the skeletal temple. 

Wings of brilliant iris 


          the marble lamp                               

sloping into cobwebbed ruin. 

     Flattened muzzle 

of pistol butt 

        broken teeth

                    with lips of roe— 

pale, crimson limp—

the inner bark of anguish 

opens your fragile mask— 

                witness to fingers 

              that play 

                     the harmonies 

filling the feverish air 

          of hell. 

& here, 

               solitary humanoid, 


& scalped open, 

         your corroded undertow.


Osahon Oka

Osahon Oka is a Nigerian of Bini/Kwale extraction. He is one of the winners of the Visual Verse Autumn Writing Prize 2022 and has not only made the long list of the Erbacce Poetry Prize but has been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Anthology. All of the above aside, he has writing up on PoetryColumnND, PepperCoast Lit, Ibadan Art, Wild Pine, Down River Road Review and elsewhere. He can be reached on Twitter @onyemazua7735. He writes from Benin City. 


Post a Comment

Post a Comment (0)
Fiery Scribe Review