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i re-imagine silence
as a white cloth sailing
in the wind
as a lake of blood in a dying child’s eyes
who has seen the shape of pruned tongues or karma coming after dogs

– this city is a tunnel where crouching shadows waylay the men who owns them
steal their songs
kill their joy…

i re-imagine fear as a dark
cloud coming after my multicolored kite which my teacher says cannot
survive the inferno my country has become

because it speaks so
much beauty into the world
like how to tend rosebeds or tuck cherry blossoms
into the hairs of softboys
like how to pray to rainbows for sunshine
and snowflakes
and raindust

these butterflies teach us
how not to make wars
with the trunk of our favourite
or call forth the half moon in a honeysuckle before bloomsday
or murder evanescent flowers & songs & boys that float like soapsuds

the spot where the soldier’s boot raped Easter is still waiting for next April to grow new grasses

but my mother said
go to Maiduguri and plant new
do not wait for god or country or
matching boots

  …but they’re killing flowerboys all over
the world —
Orlando says it
akin says it
the bruises on my cheekbones say it
my puckered poems say it…

i re-imagine war spreading like a body of water
from Sudan to Syria
to stylistics in Sapo’s poetry
where do one go these days and not get drowned
in crown cocks

each city has enough fuel to burn down itself from floor to finish
but we’re still busy searching for god in each
other’s throat
the mouth of the four rivers in eden
hidden in our breastpockets

so my poems keep saying
throw in
more water,
more water…
some more water
keep painting the newmoon
on the toes of daisies
keep counting the sun days until the caterpillar blossoms into wings


About the Author:

Portrait - ChibuiheChibuihe-Light Obi is a poet, memoirist and creative photography enthusiast. His writings aim to interrogate identity and memory; to probe language, finger silence and, confront stereotype. His works have been published in The Kalahari Review, Expound magazine and Black boy review. His photo book “Coal of Many Colour” is forthcoming from Praxis magazine.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

4 Responses to “Bloomsday | by Chibuihe-Light Obi | African Poetry” Subscribe

  1. Michael 2016/08/10 at 01:31 #

    This poem is epic.

  2. Yusuf Sodiq Oluwatomi 2017/06/05 at 12:39 #

    This poem deserves an award! PERIOD!

  3. Afya 2017/06/26 at 02:11 #


    Kindly check “…waylay the men who owns them”.

    I believe it should be “…men who ‘own’ them.”


  1. When Abibliophobia Strikes! | Book Lover's Hangout - 2016/08/23

    […] Fourth, vivid poetry by Chibuihe-Light Obi. This is a quote from, Bloomsday. […]

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