Nkwachukwu Ogbuagu

January 16, 1968 - Umuahia, Nigeria
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Death in the New Year

Our hands are tied, Death
Since you dawned on us this New Year . . .

Shapely bottles of champagnes have shone
And have broken to fragments with the ululation
Of firecrackers that warmed cold and dark wintry skies.
Now, aphonia sets in from unending lamentations.
Headlines, buried by the chilly bones of winter,
Are barren of good tidings.
A chionophile besieges the rim of a sedulous Yuletide
Grieving by oneiric alleys . . .
I speak of the Friedhof of haunting grimness behind
The curtains of howling winds;
Chants that frequent the disease of frightened melodies, stained
With the aged banality of youthful death;
And the purlieu of cremated souls and consolidated ashes.
Daggers are drawn to paint skulls on canvas slit by the
Whispering tongues of fire
Candles burn their tallow gently on the skin of cancer,
A stinkaroo that stinks with rage.
We do not know how else to turn the calendar.
The edges brim with hostile, burning blood,
Frozen with bits of hate and servile penetralia.

New Year hangs the singed sigil of death
On the bosom of fattened scrolls.
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