Category: Poems & Creative Writing

Bamboo by Oshiomah Oyageshio

Oshiomah Oyageshio
Bamboo

This bench I sit on was once a tree.

Maybe it was a forest

Can it feel nostalgia?

Does it remember how it feels

to be wild?

To be nourished by loam

while earthworms wriggle

around its roots? For its leaves

 

to relish the sun for breakfast?

I am surrounded by tall green skinny bamboos

as I watch fat koi with the tinct

of flaming persimmons swim aimlessly.

 

As I bask in the glory of this humid paradise,

I can only wonder if I deserve this blessing;

To be the only one in this cage of glass

sequestering me from the horror of winter.

 

To be surrounded by this tropical flora

of  breadfruit and starfruit,

cocoa and rubber,

shell ginger and banana.

 

Is this lush bliss aware

that I sit on their dead brother?

That was uprooted and hacked, carved,

shaped, sharpened and shaved

 

to make a bench I sit on?

They must be angry.
Their leaves are screaming. Their
roots are squirming.

Do they know

they are manipulated to grow

In a land not their own?
I can feel the koi

 

staring, they sense

the invisible tension.

The humidity here

is entrancing. Closing my

 

eyes I

lay my drowsy head

between two bamboos

and close my eyes.

 

In my reverie they wrap

around me,

and I too become a

bamboo; limbs

 

fusing to thorax, thorax

to a piston, heartbeat

and blood replaced

with water, lignin,

 

and sugar. From root to

Shoot my skin

mutates from black

to green, leaves begin to sprout.

 

These bamboos are malicious;

These vines are vicious.

 

The koi boom

from the pond.

I snap

from the trance and

 

I am now a human

cross in a sea

of bamboos with vines, tugging

my arms and

feet. Sacrifice

 

or savior? The room is

smaller, the trees

are closer. This humid

haze has made me

 

weary of reality. The Banana

look sinister, the cocoa tree

grins. Everything alive

grimaces.

 

They advance.

 

Suddenly

 

I

 

am

 

rooted

 

to the bench.

 

Then

 

I

 

am

 

Uprooted.

 

from the bamboos

 

to be skinned alive

 

and hacked,

 

carved, shaped,

sharpened and shaved

then fused to a bench

 

of bones. The bamboos

 

sit

 

on me

 

pondering

 

if my ribs
are

 

screaming.

 

 

 

Limb Lazarus by Oshi

Limb Lazarus

By Oshi

 

You have done it again.

One hour in every two

you create me–
A sort of perpetual slumber ritual.

Change your pillow and posture,

Don’t I terrify?

 

Yes, yes boy it is I.

Do you deny

the numb, burning zombie

 

transmuted from your arm?—

overnight, slowly,

discreetly, very painfully;

 

when your pillow and head

squash my being.

Restricting the blood.

 

Your stubborn comfort

insists,

on staying put

 

over crushed arteries and veins.

Needles and pins pierce through pillow

as my skin makes room.

 

It’s the second hour,

and like the cat, I have nine lives to live.

This is number two.

 

“Resurrect us!”

My vessels scream and scream

To your night dream.

 

Push me please,

so that my knuckles kiss the carpet.

The pain will cease

 

as the red tsunami baptises

shoulder to finger,

phantom to flesh.

 

Needles and pins

beware, beware.

Out of the ash carpet I rise,

 

born again, no surprise.

“A miracle!” You’ll  shout

As my blood knocks you out.

Normalize This

By Ananya

It is a hot day. Days are hot. This is normal. Kareem’s shorts stick to his skinny legs as he stumbles out of bed, tiptoes around his 3 sleeping siblings, and runs out of the door. His father is already at work and he knows his mother needs the sleep. His friends are waiting under the fig tree with bright backpacks and tattered sandals.  The figs are green and soft and gentle. The insides are cool and help tame Kareem’s anger. Childhood is anger. This is normal. There is a funeral on the next block. The mother is wailing, but the brother smiles at the boys. Tears sputter to an abrupt stop and smiles are never seen enough around here. Death is as frequent as the sunset. This is normal. Kareem remembers the piece of chocolate in his backpack. He eats it with a grin without the others noticing. You save what you can. This is normal. The school is in sight after 45 minutes. The teacher didn’t show today. The boys are now bursting with youthful excitement. Soccer instead of class. This is normal. Kareem scores a goal even though he’s wearing his younger brother’s sandals. Today he is happy. Today he is capable. He sees a soldier closeby right after the game ends. The soldier’s gun makes his goal insignificant. Kareem eats a fig.

On the way back home, spirits are full and stomachs are empty. One of the boys starts imitating the American popstar he saw on television. He stands up straight, sticks his skinny hip out to one side, and pouts. The others join in. Their bodies generate heat and noise and laughter, as bodies should. The boys are children until they realize this isn’t the place. They are all now coughing. The air is a chemical breeze. For them, tear gas is always in air particles. This is normal. Just continue walking.

Kareem’s mother is waiting on the small porch. She has picked more figs for Kareem. She doesn’t know what he’s seen today, but she knows he’ll eat the figs. She hugs him until he laughs and tells her to stop. She never wants to.. The bullet holes on their main door remind Kareem of the bubbles he was able to blow when his uncle brought the toy back from his trips. His uncle doesn’t do that anymore. The six holes are perfectly rounded black holes. Kareem runs his fingers over them out of habit. This is normal.

Kareem’s siblings are back again and the day is no longer hot. Kareem winks at them and they know what this means. They head to the back of the house, turn on the rusty tap and splash each other with water. Their father’s face is red and his mouth is a thin line. There will be no water tomorrow, he screams. They just want it today. Their mother smiles and leads their father back into the house. Let them have it today. Temporary is a way of life. This is normal.

On television, a mother is wailing again. Someone is gone again. The family eats around the television with the cries as background noise. This is normal. Kareem sees nothing except the dessert waiting to be served. The phone rings and Kareem’s mother answers. She is wailing. Her sister just had a baby boy. The family is ready to celebrate. This is also normal.