Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 3,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

Image by Adias623 via Flickr. Caption: Sunset in Brooklyn.

See the Eastern Bluebirds,

that have known far wintering grounds.

Their orange-breasted dance and alert posture

in the trees with fruits.

The Yellow orchids that spring at the base of these trees,

an applause of colors to the birds, that they find a way

to stay alive.

It’s May, and I, too, have found a way

to stay alive.

The birds, we know, are kind

and sometimes on their long journeys, they hurt

one another. Yet they fly in formation.

What pulls one hurt bird to the other? Affection?

Or some ancient gravity older than the body sinned against.

As though there is an electric vow between them

that none of them would be allowed to fall.

I forgive those who hurt me.

I forgive myself.

What is good in me, I offer to the blue tailed thrushes

since I am, like them, a sea crossing child.

Their human knowing cry, almost love chorus.

My dead are still dead

But suddenly life

surrounds me.

 

 

About the Author:

Gbenga Adesina co-won the 2016 Brunel International African Poetry Prize. His poem, “How To Paint A Girl” was selected by Mathew Zapruder for its “clarity of observation and empathetic insight into the suffering of another” for the New York Times. His poetry manuscript, Holy Bodies, was a finalist for the 2017 Sillerman First Book Prize. He was a 2016 Norman Mailer Poetry Fellow at Pepperdine University, Malibu, California. He has received scholarships and residencies from Fine Arts Work Centre, Provincetown, and The Open Society Foundation in Goree Island, Senegal. His poetry chapbook, Painter of Water, was published by APBF and Akashic Books, New York in a series edited by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani. His poems have appeared or forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Brittle Paper, Vinyl, Ploughshares and elsewhere.

Tags:

OTOSIRIEZE is a writer, literary journalist, former academic, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. A judge for the 2019 Gerald Kraak Award, he is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective which has published two volumes: WE ARE FLOWERS and THE INWARD GAZE. He is the curator of ART NAIJA SERIES, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness: ENTER NAIJA: THE BOOK OF PLACES (October, 2016) focuses on cities in Nigeria; WORK NAIJA: THE BOOK OF VOCATIONS (June, 2017) focuses on professions in Nigeria. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition, and has been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship and the Gerald Kraak Award, both in 2016, and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop. He has completed a collection of short stories, YOU SING OF A LONGING, and is working on a novel. He is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined history and literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. When bored, the boy just Googles Rihanna. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts editing and writing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

Alain Mabanckou’s 11th Novel, Black Moses, Wins 2018 Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for Fiction

Alain-Mabanckou-©JF-Paga-Grasset-kk

Alain Mabanckou’s Black Moses has won the 2018 Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. The Congolese writer and UCLA professor’s 11th novel, which was […]

Un-Silencing Queer Nigeria: The Language of Emotional Truth | Five Writers in Conversation

Brittle Paper Anniversary Conversation - Un-Silencing Queer Nigeria

To mark BRITTLE PAPER‘s 7th anniversary in 2017, we organised two conversations on our Facebook page. The second, themed “Un-Silencing […]

#LIPFest18 | Register for Poetry Workshops with Kwame Dawes, Nick Makoha, Lebo Mashile, and Yomi Sode 

lipfest - lebo mashile

The 2018 Lagos International Poetry Festival (#LIPFest18) is offering workshops by some of the biggest names in contemporary African poetry. Much-honoured […]

The Freedom Artist, Ben Okri’s New Novel Forthcoming in January 2019, Is a Rallying Call in a Post-Truth Society

Ben Okri. Photo credit: David Levenson / Getty.

Ben Okri has a new novel forthcoming in January 2019. The Nigerian novelist-poet-essayist, who is the only black African to […]

Nuruddin Farah’s 14th Novel, North Of Dawn, Explores the Lives of Somali Immigrants in Norway and Experiences of Religion and Jihadism

nuruddin farah boundary2.org

Celebrated Somali writer Nuruddin Farah’s new novel will be out on 4 December 2018. The 384-page North of Dawn, forthcoming […]

Literary Prizes and the Decisions of Writers

Conde

Maryse Conde, the French-Guadeloupean author of I, Tituba: Black Witch of Salem (1986), Segu (1987), A Season in Rihata (1988), […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.