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The smoke that swirled up from her pipe
hung there in the air, partly obscuring her face

With cupped hands she began
    to gather the smoke
  as if it were sand on the beach

Very carefully she began stroking
and teasing it until it appeared
to be taking on the properties of a solid

What had been the contents of her lungs
moments before, were now compressed
to the size of a tennis-ball

This blue-grey sphere hung there between
us like some strange smoke-filled soap-bubble

As I began to open my mouth to say something
a sword the size of a pin flew from my lips, and
burst the bubble whereupon the smoke fell
to the floor like fine white snow…….

          “…don’t you know?” she said, with a grin,
         “…that’s just the way that wars begin!”

As she refilled the pipe with twigs and weeds
she raised one eye-brow and a voice somewhere
between us said…..
”so you want to find yourself,do you?……..
don’t you know that talking to yourself
is the first sign of ’SANITY?”….

“And with that my mouth
involuntarily said “FORKS”
but the sound didn’t come
instead
    from the side of her bed
came the unmistakable sound of forks falling on a
wooden floor…….and everything began to rhyme
   then I heard the chime of her quartz clock
a rooster appeared, with an immense ****
                               ……..attached to it’s head
                                    by the wind it is lead
                   but East is opposite North instead

  then she scooped it up
    and it turned to twigs..
before my eyes could adjust….
…….the phosphorous flash of IGNITION
                     the firey INQUISITION
As she relit the pipe, with what seemed to be
             my thoughts and dreams made real
                                        in solid words
                                            in solid air
                             I cried in deep despair
                   for the weight of untold shame
                             that showered like rain
                   on those who could not explain
                                         their own pain
                           on those trapped in shame
                               those crucified for vain
                           making everyone to blame
                                             for MY pain
                                    which falls like rain
                                into her upturned hand
                                   where it forms a lake
                                     called “my mistake”

Based on a lack or something missing
                     I can hear the hissing
                          of the black snake
                  the guardian of the gate
                 my birthright to legislate
                catch fire before my eyes
                 as  another dreamy spire
                 of grey-blue smoke…….
                     …….rises into the void
for a brief moment the only rhyme is
            PARANOID

             but just as quickly it is gone

As the pipe glows then rises musical notes pour
from its bowl as if the Mistral wind itself were
blowing through the embers.
Upon inhaling I am surprised to find that my
companion has been joined by Oscar Wilde…
heavily, theatricaly disguised as an empty chair
    with accompanying wall-paper

This observation becomes solid in the air
and suddenly there are chairs everywhere
in my pockets, in my pipe, in my hair…..
chairs of every size and type and colour everywhere
no standing room, just chair upon chair upon chair

“Collect your thoughts” said Oscar Wilde
to me, as if I was a naughty child
So, slowly, I gather the chairs together
with cupped hands, like sand, into one single chair
then lay my pipe upon it to make it real
from behind the canvas I step….my hands reveal
PAINT AND BRUSH
IN SUCH A RUSH
                       GRIND AND CRUSH
                                       YELLOW OCHRE
                                                    CHROME YELLOW
                                                              yell “HELLO!”
                                        ’”HELLO!”
                          “HELLO!”

“    “….have you fallen in love with that pipe?” asks the chair
       As I stare…
            yellow sunflowers everywhere
festoon the walls, the floor, the chair…..
                 elsewhere…
there's rubber clothes and x-ray hair
           starry nights and daymares
         loveless thighs and derrieres
          cut price love unguaranteed
    sure-fire ways to dispose of seed
right now…… with GREED-SPEED
            rivers of come, knee-deep
            bed’s on fire…..can’t sleep
cut off my ears but they won’t bleed
               instead they turn to ****
which I place on the chair with the pipe
and invite my companion to take her feed
      
   “…don’t mind if I do” she replies
  “…but must we forever sit inside?”
“..not far from here I think I spied”
“… a cornfield……some countryside..”
“we could walk far, and near, and wide
then round and left and right outside
till darkness falls upon our heads…..
  and sends us scurrying for our beds”

But sleep won’t come
because some elektronik hum
is buzzing in the walls
makes me shiver in my *****
till my spirit-level falls
and my skin begins to crawl
off my body,….up the walls
         reality DISSOLVES
………skinned alive on a granite rock
……beneath the stars of future-shock

                 alone…….
with billions of others
           with no cover
other …than the cold blankets of mist
        that hiss
           from the wounds in my wrist
         reality persists

              CAN MY SOUL RESIST?

          WILL MY HEART DESIST?

FROM BEATING IN MY BREAST

WILL MY BONES STAND THE TEST?

…….or will they crumble like the rest?

                             and be blessed

                                        by her

          as she smokes me in her pipe ….

               I am scorched by her love

         that comes raining from above

                   into my upturned hand

        and when I can no longer stand

               another day another night

                  in this lifetime of fright

                 and I want to take flight

               I drink her from my hand

like fresh spring water on a summer’s day

                      she makes my head sway

              to the natural rhythm

               of her breath……..

                 of her smoke…..

                   of her hair……..

                     of her chair….

        of ANYWHERE

      where she is…..



She gives me back my skin

         fills me to her brim

then strikes another match

and draws me deep inside

till I can no longer hide…

      my grin, a mile wide

   I’m safe here inside

          ………outside

         ………inside

     THE VOID….
A Feb 15
How does it feel to be disliked by your whole village
But loved by a world you never got to know

Arles never once treated you with the same beauty as you saw in it
Concern for your wellbeing never came from the people you passed
Not even after they learned that you had taken your last breath
Your memory contained nothing but whispered rumors
They painted the picture of the madman who kept no company
Disregarding the compassion that flowed out of you
Only some knew the truth and what events molded
The trauma that shaped the man who frequented empty fields
Auvers-sur-Oise knew you as a separate man entirely
They stole pieces of you that you did not even have of yourself
Made you their crown jewel, nothing more than a story to keep the town alive
No part of your legacy remained untouched, just as no relationship you’d held stayed pure
Your own doctor claimed your art and in turn your reputation for himself
But how were you to have stopped them
Especially when you were not around to plead for anything different

How does it feel to be disliked by your whole village
But loved by a world you never got to know
AUGUST Sep 2018
Sino ba ang modernong vincentiano?
Ano ba ang kanyang pagkatao?
Nagtatanong sa sarili ko
Habang pinagmamasdan ang mahinanang kamay
Kung anong magawa ko
Dito ba sa munting palad nakahimlay
Ang lahat ng kakayahan ko?

Anong meron ako, anong meron tayo? kundi kaalaman.

Kaalaman na di galing sa sabi sabi nilang “hugot”
Kundi sa piraso ng mga aral na ating pinulot
Dahil sa disiplina tayo y nililok
Ang kabutihang asal sa diwa ay pumasok

Mula sa Mga **** nating tinuturing na magulang,
Mga mababang tao na ating ginagalang,
Mga taong nakilala mula ng tayo’y musmos pa lang
Ipinamana sa atin ang pananampalataya, pagpapakumbaba, at kabutihan

Ang tanggapin ang katotohanan,
At hangganan ng kakayahan
Ang malaman ang kahinaan, kahit may kasimplehan
Pilit inaabot ang makatulong ng buong kalooban

Ng walang hinihintay na kapalit
Tulad ng modelo nating si San Bisente (st. Vincent)
Na sa pagtulong ay di napagod
Kaya sa mata ng Diyos naging kalugod lugod

Salamat sa  Amang nasa itaas
Na nagbibigay ng lakas
Ang lakas na di nauubos
Para sa aming misyon na di pa rito natatapos

Sandata ay ang panalangin
Lakas ng loob at damdamin
Dahil sa Diyos na mahabagin
Walang pagsubok sa buhay ang hindi kakayanin

Ating misyon, ang tumulong sa mga kapus palad at nawawalan
Hindi lang sa taong nawawalan ng materyal na kayamanan
Kundi para sa mga taong naliligaw, nalilito at nagugulumihan
Pagkat ating ramdam ang bawat hirap
Ang bigat na tinitiis ng bawat taong may pinapasan

Handang makiramay at ibigay ang anuman
Para lamang ang paghihirap sa pighati ay maibsan
Pagkat sa bawat taong ating natutulongan
gantimpalang pangkaluluwa ang dapat ipagyaman

Sino ang gumagawa nito?
Sino ba ang modernong vincentiano?
Isa ba ako sa mga ito?
Ang modernong vincentiano ay di lang ako kundi tayo
Ang modernong vincentaino ay nagsasakripisyo at mapagpakumbabang nagseserbisyo
Ang modernong vincentiano ang magpapatuloy ng ating kwento.
Ang tula kong ipinanalo ng first runner up sa isang slam poetry competition ng event na may temang "Ang Modernong Vincentiano" noong September 26, 2018.
Bragi Aug 2018
A Story of guilt.
Not for him, for us.
Vincent.

Strokes and flicks,
Glides of guilded golds
Hushed in the Blues,
Innocence in the Greens;
Boldly infused oils
Spilling out on a canvas;
A legacy built on
Sorrow. Toil. Turmoil.
Who with dark indents on a page shaded in
Shadows showed
Work. Work, work,
Constant work.
A Starry Night’s muse.
All the while cowards saying they always
Knew,
Always loved,
Always loving
Vincent.
Jesse stillwater Jul 2018
there are the ones
that feel it climb up
the shadow towards the light,
hesitation on every rung,
each wave of the arising
      overwhelms  unabated ―
and woe betides those
who are on the run
from a storm's deluge


A rousing ocean breeze
stirs inside the memory
of an unframed seashell
lying on the hearth mantel;
heightened sensitivity
lapping soundlessly,
spindrift plashing
the shoreline
of another world's
feigned peace


Perhaps the muted voice
of guilty pleasures,
hushed by their own
hidden truths
Feeling the unfelt textures
of every stifled vibration
left unbreathed


The naked truth befallen
so cold and lonely
Running in circles,
volatile as all those
     unspoken excitations raging ―
and the whispers of those
who hear not
the voices in the wind


An emotionally enslaved  heart
tarries,  marooned high and dry
in a memory on a distant sand bar
     lain fallow for so long ―
stagnant darkness
of an unsated soul
gathered on the back
of a parched tongue
sullied wordless


Rising up through
a dusty hieroglyph corridor
through an unlocked
labyrinth gate;  vestige echoes
from somewhere left behind
in an incomprehensible
abandoned wake


It's getting harder and harder
   for an insatiable soul to breathe ...
   climbing up a tree trunk―
up within the silence
of the listening tree


  Toes dug into
the rough bark furrows ―
fingers reaching upwards
beyond their deepest known grasp


A shadow stranded
out on a hangin' bough
hearkening without ears that hear:
“perhaps they’ll listen now“  
the wingless bird sings
in psalms that fly away
on tattered feathers
over untamed waters roil


Back to nature’s waning youth,
the bough bends unbroken
to taste the freedom
of the wild absolving seas



Jesse Stillwater
June     2018
Notes:                                                                                                          
a friend sent  a link to a deeply thought provoking modern classic 70's song about Vincent Van Gogh and the complexities of imperfection some of us relate .... i'd listened to the words prior but never heard before now.

  Title is last final lyric line from:  "Vincent" (Starry, Starry night) 1971
Writer(s): DON MCLEAN, ENRICO NASCIMBENI,
ROBERTO VECCHIONI
My sister would always wait until the time
lose concentration in the dead evening.
She would tell mother it was time for vigil.
Her racial church always has one every Friday.
Mother won't complain cos she thought her
to be a good girl & we were the bad eggs.
I became sick of watching her go to this vigil.
I followed her trail one **** Friday evening
When she entered into the dumb house
The room went blind and I heard her moan
Mother is yet to recover from the shock.

When every searching eyes has gone astray,
Nneka would always learn to pleasure herself.
She would trace the hole in her thigh pleasantly
then, groan in an unknown tone in the dark.
Her voice searching for what is missing in her,
She would chase the calm darkness into chaos.
Our bodies would protest as we watch curiously.
Our skins would gather heated sweat into boiling water.We learnt to urinate more often as the groaning circulated in our disturbed eardrums.
Till now, we never learn what that is called.

In the village square before the new year,
Girls learnt to giggle watching boys dance.
they always have stories on their lips to tell
their parents.The village bushes were their home. a home for them and the other Boys.
they prefer the rough guys to the calm boys.
they prefer the **** men to the fine boys.
as long as you could dance to their tone,
Your artistic performance will take them home.
then, they talk about you behind close doors.
how weak you were under their prowess.

In their closet they talk about boy's weakness,
The Perfume their men wear to please nose.
How the lips of their men taste in the dark
How broad the shoulder of their men look
How intelligent they are found in the night.
Women and their familiar need on men
Girls and their nagging lips against nature,
These are the nemesis songs among feminists.
Father told us about these snout skimpy girls
their preys are men of goodwill in light...
These are things girls do behind closed doors.


©John Chizoba Vincent
FromAPenRefusingFrustration.
create a golden route for a poet like me,
let the embodiment of song carved itself
in the palms of the world beyond till lyrics
of faith light to ease the thought of my mind.
If you die before me, tell papa not to cry.
the shrine he left in my hand is still well
planted in the imaginations of his generations.

tell Fela &Giwa that Nigeria is no better,
tell Chinua Achebe that the water in our
throat cries of dry ground they stepped on.
we may not be a better cinematographer
capturing the deeds of this land but your
still photos can crop some timelines to go
with you till I come along to join your trail.

if you die before me, send a word across.
let me know the existence of heaven & hell
if Shakespeare & Okigbo & Buchi are there
so I can change course to path my emotion,
the artistic photography of the tales of hell
are the codeine conscience of anxiety in us.
we die before the masquerade halt in the air.

Husky tears would I drop on your grave
to be taken to Mandela & Luther King.
there are roses I will take from the clay ***
Of my father to your graveyard to give to Ify
my hearted lover in the morning of miracles.
if you die before me, this tattered call would
I make to our ancestors for a perfect survival.

this land is a disco dance hall you must tell
Yar'du of Fate & tears crossing our eyes
in a patterned way to be christened life's joy.
this land is a feminist like Chimamanda A.N,
this country is a pun star you must tell Ken.
tell my cousin Ezekiel to wait for me longer,
I am coming. to join him in benedicted rein of
our country.

If you die before me, I'll be on your graveyard
for a life time cracking up the foundation of
the world to find death. I will ask him if the
other phase is  better than here before coming.
suffering is not meant to be dreamed twice,
Two week-ed weaknesses are the wink wires
connecting our lives in a radioed embryo .

this is my recap
a captured scene
Let's bake life and dreams
till death call us all to himself
then the world becomes empty
love finds love mingling in hands...
die before me & be my eyes beyond.


©John Chizoba Vincent
FromAPenRefusingfrustration.
My eyes pierced into her thigh
Into the upper room of a hole
Connecting hell and heaven
I was introduced to infatuations
Hanging my thoughts and prayers
Through the imagination of her pride
I saw her nakedness through her look
Love spoke but lust became louder
I erected my body like a ghost tree
against a weak foundations, I fell
Not into love but into first sighting,
Into hedges of her fragrances,
My heart became plural of everything
heaven endowed her with.
My mind built her body systematically
I saw portrait of her ******* carved In
my mind eyes depicting song of adultery.
How she react to love making appeared
How she moan in pains as I tickled up &
down on her imaginative groaning body
My eyes drew in my pocket of thought.
I was lost in thought watching her move
Swiftly betraying my night embraces.
The shape of herself disappeared craftily
as I regained the ground of my posture
******* the tale of my eyes lost in lust.

©John Chizoba Vincent
Remember the street is a dryeR
Easing out fears into a flat pastE
Memories may be seen as an imaM
Entering into convenant with hastE
Minding the time he coiled on kiliM
Beauties of the street are folded like bulb
Entertaining the earth like lonely artistE
Remember the street made you a fatheR
Thinking for yourself  & it's tough distincT
House yourself in it bossom like tooth in MoutH
Even if stumbling stones retaliatE
Stand to those fragments of those beliefS
Tilting down your muse towards prominenT
Remember where you started to roaR
Elaborating your strength to keep calm voicE
Eagerness is a blood dripping into languagE
Through which the ghetto name a streeT.


Yours Poetically,
©John Chizoba Vincent
After Amadioha went into sweet nightmares,
he made us to breath through the chest of the sea. from the celestial bodies of the shrine,
We shone our forefather's smile with a mirage,
a little littered mirage spelling words in ellipsis.
these were the rose crumbs tailored in the sand castle of our glassful laughter, we're the Palmful morning in the eyes of our home in the abyss.

when a child cries, he forgets that the route to
his home is written on his body as a tattoo.
when a girl thinks of gathering firewood in the heart of the forest, she thinks of her thigh &
the bushes surrounding it, nature made it so.
We do not think of our skin as a poetic of agony,
We do not think of our eyes as poetry letters
but we draw lines and currents of imaginations describing how rituals made men insane.

We carried out those prilgrim for the boys,
our forebearers made us cracked our head up,
they carved pumpkins traces for this generation; for this humble journey mixed with fire & water.
Our souls, our dreams were the Shakespearean places you never had the chance to see physical.
they are the rituals of nature, a side Sithoulte,
a wonder land created like a paradise you don't stay often but in your dreams & imageries.

We are birthed here as debris & plump scars,
a tortured lips holding the past & the present.
We are the foundation of everything evil spirits,
We were born in the ritual of a grievous war.
to say a human is a benchmark of his own,
to say a man is a mango dropping without a choice of where and how to touch the sand,
to say a man is everything fretwork of agony;
to say a men are slaughtered memories...
but to this edges of rites & repeated steps,
We'll remain the gospel from every mouth.

Our ancestral hands shall still set a table,
to tell the girlchild how to sit in a public hall
to hand over the shrine to the  boychild
to tell man that he owns a woman as head.
to keep birthing good and **** children.
our hope will always depict heavens glory
and, our darkest fears as the skin of hell.
And it must be passed down to the next
genes to tell the next & sand keep multiplying.
This is the ritual of mankind to remain alive.


©John Chizoba Vincent
FromAPenRefusingFrustrations.
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