Six Poems Uche Nduka


But the psyche.

                   But the anarchy.

But the abyss

                 turned entirely back

                                        on itself.

But the altar. The crone.

                  But the panther. Testimony

from a tranced pirate.

                    But the music that showed up.

But the fast train.

                    The visitation.

But the asylum & sanctuary.

                   But the breakdown.

The breakthrough.

                     But the brown-eyed barometer.


An overfed guitar,

tired balls.

The fag-ends

                     of rambles.

So what.

I write like this

              to wake sleepy monks

in the wilderness

                 of the street.

The end of summer

will be when

                  memory matters.

Wanderers head home.

So much given already.

So much given.

So much to give.

Do you remember

eating pussy

at sundown?

I do.


Stumbling in your

alphabets the lovers

went up up up

loosed upon the island

                              triply blessed

our arguments

& disagreements

                    are part of

                                  the full picture

I was lost


inside your knickers

& now

         you’re gone

pounding the pavement

                           poems stuffed

                                             to the gills


Losing interest

is beside the point, we

didn’t dare figure out

the prequel, a woman’s busy

hands in the rainy season

of a nation’s beginnings,

this unholy war in holy lands,

latitudes left each other a

note, sailboat of our spirit,

those heedless selfies, the

blisters of blue irises, somehow

we braved the blast of

loneliness & sang out of tune,

no resolution, no conclusion, we

hung a new star over gathering rains.


Three thistles.

Four inkwells.

Terracotta tracker.

Clay coil pots.

Weaver star.

Fooling with gouache.

Black line.

Osprey in water.

You’re back again

on the sunroof of

the car as it speeds

down the freeway

with the wind in your hair

or at least try to

in the public mirror

reality & words

an actuality common

to both of us

wedged between what

is said & what is.


The mountain

remembered us

rainbow in the attic

the riddle

is our measure

all theology begins

with lovers that leap

& curse

don’t expect me

to present a balanced picture

this poem is a ballet

without shoes

I cling to your legs

with their stores of sweetness

like the beneficent cunt

opening its wings

I reject the entreaties

of dead language

you dance the book

from right to left

the ocean is our sky

Written by  © Uche Nduka

Uche Nduka
Photo by Fiona Gardner

Uche Nduka was born in Nigeria to a Christian family. Raised bilingual in Igbo and English, he earned his BA from the University of Nigeria and his MFA from Long Island University, Brooklyn. He left Nigeria in 1994 and settled in Germany after winning a fellowship from the Goethe Institute. He lived in Germany and Holland for the next decade and immigrated to the United States in 2007. Nduka is the author of numerous collections of poetry and prose, including Living in Public (2018), Nine East (2013), Ijele (2012), and eel on reef (2007), all of which were published after he arrived in the United States. Earlier collections include Heart’s Field (2005); If Only the Night (2002); Chiaroscuro (1997), which won the Association of Nigerian Authors Poetry Prize; The Bremen Poems (1995); Second Act (1994); and Flower Child (1988). Belltime Letters (2000) is a collection of prose. His work has been translated into German, Finnish, Italian, Dutch, and Romanian.

Books by Uche Nduka

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Featured Picture: Moon in Capricorn. Oil, Collage 2022 Mitchell Pluto


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