Uche Ogbuji, “Mark us for tribe as we grasp at each other” -poetry




The pishsh
Snow flies pishsh
Head height, foot flung,
Cold in crouching shock
As mouths Oh! into smiles
Where brains plot bounds into slush,
Across spray, beating off slow fleece.
Wetness irrupts into propped orbits;
Teardrop jets of extruded mud make paint,
Mark us for tribe as we grasp at each other
Laughing slip-donned wonder as we spin cross-career,
Branch out to secrets aside the sodden thoroughfare.
Pishsh! To the park pishsh! panting, cough! pishsh!
Kicking off shoes, side-slapping skulls pishsh!
To pool yield of gleaming eyes.

We will be back here again, friends as ever,
Where bottom basks topside of fallen sense.

Knowing Snow

Step with a coy crouch
Knowledge fixed within the bed
Shifting weight to float.
What angle of boot attack
Does the slope’s repose demand?

Leap springbok memory,
Knowledge fixed within the bed
Back leg snapped upward.
Fleet shadow over snow, bound,
White splash to splash, crust to crust.

Twin-track the postholes
Knowledge fixed within the bed
Friendship’s in the gait,
Kissing in foot-sworn echoes
Love making to spring the thaw.


On Valerie Haugen’s Mount Sopris

And there, pooled like a dream cwm,
Swabbing the skirts of the Mount:
A Sopris spool-out of marshmallow mist,
Strained through the brambles
Into cool, crisp air a quick pinch
Before the vista vertex at the roof;
The brooding thrift of April drip
Moves to excuse itself skyward,
Then down into the grooves that lick
Their way through plains and canyons
To grateful coast; but first, the clouds
Insist, pausing before they doff their tops,
An interlude to slip a soothing
Shift over those who’ve built hearths
Where they can sip slow comforts
From the generous fingertips
Of highland grooming, alpine grace.


Frost Frieze

This westerly tilt of the sky-glow brim,
Of the red and orange rimmed chapeau,
Reveals what earth the heavens floored
To mask its matching, bloody show.

Dawn winches up her curtain cord—
The frieze slipped down to beard the gourd.

The foreign eye diffracts love-light—
Intimate customs seem assault;
When seasons are the countries toured
The tropic serves as violent fault.

Dawn winches up her curtain cord—
The frieze slipped down to beard the gourd.

I’m mapper and mythographer,
The one who moves, but stays a while;
Such mornings sign where I’ve explored
And mark their place in savage style.

Dawn winches up her curtain cord—
The frieze slipped down to beard the gourd.

Foothills unzip the vista’s stays—
Dawn winches up her curtain cord;
Snow smothers autumn’s sunrise shades—
The frieze slipped down to beard the gourd.

[Poems from Ndewo, Colorado, by Uche Ogbuji (Aldrich Press, 2013), Finalist for the Colorado Book Awards]


©Uche Ogbuji
photo©Stratos Fountoulis, « Chariots d’ infinie », Bruxelles 2014


Uche Ogbuji (@uogbuji) was born in Calabar, Nigeria. He lived, among other places, in Egypt and England before settling near Boulder, Colorado. A computer engineer and entrepreneur by trade, his collection of poetry, Ndewo, Colorado (Aldrich press, 2013) is a Colorado Book Award Finalist. His poems, fusing Igbo culture, European Classicism, U.S. Mountain West setting, and Hip-Hop influences, have appeared worldwide. He is editor atKin Poetry Journal, founding and former editor at The Nervous Breakdown, and runs the @ColoradoPoetry Twitter project. He is also a founding member of the Stanza Massive, a small, DIY-minded group promoting poetry, collaboration and multimedia.

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