Nkwachukwu Ogbuagu

January 16, 1968 - Umuahia, Nigeria
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The Night New York Slept

It was one solemn, long night,
Tenebrous with the astuteness of perfidy,
And multiple hours before the break of an
Impatient dawn.
Lampposts froze through the pergola of winter.
Limp from exposure to unprintable tales of orgies,
And their lights, hidden by icicles of pelted snow,
They fell face-down on the wayward paths of Central Park.
Manhattan was hung on the tattered frescoes of
Horror, masked with the silence of confrontations.
Bronx held on the acreage of polluted whims.
Queens posted raillery and banters upon the
Frames of cold stupor.
Her lungs were bloated and sore.
The ague of a run-out winter smeared
Staten Island with a shock of cold sweat.
The nostrils of Brooklyn were on fire — like
Burning twin tunnels —
Yet no phlegm was on the flame.
The viscous substance got congealed
Through uncanny alchemy.
A long trumpet of coughing sounded and reverberated.
Wuhan sneezed and the world caught cold and shook
And then stood still....
That is by the way!
As cold as it rained on that creepy, forlorn December night
John Lennon was shot and killed,
Yet the city kept vigil with candles and canticles.
The carols of Christmas were postponed on one hell of
A peregrination.
She’s been cuddled for years with arty and
Romantic stems of flesh;
Loud mouths have crooned and lulled her to slumber, but only
To a wake that surpasses the nastiness of winking
Phases of a flirtatious moon;
Rough, gentle and withered hands have pressed
The big apple’s juice into chalices for her,
Spiked with jealousy and hate,
And with the tilted rancour of satanic rum,
Yet she drank all, like Rasputin, and stood her ground
In the form of her naked, proud skyscrapers.
With the calm flares of Liberty,
She wouldn’t blink her eyelids in slumber.
Some folks simply cannot sleep with lights on.
(It’s quite like dozing off when the cymbals of
Rock ‘n’ Roll nod to the frenetic drums of fast-paced Jazz).
No way!
C’mon... !
And the glim of post-electric oak rooms
In the halcyon times
Revealed her pretty eyes flashing with the strength
Of foudroyant strikes upon a grassy bed.
Harlots hardly sleep.
Same with a souteneur who, in the spirit of a sitter,
Must guard the night through the dark corridors of
Insomnia when tots snivel and swim on dry moats.
Time Square has been livid for eons,
Entertaining neon lights that flash even on
The rounded countenance of Madison Square.

The glamour of New York City grows with interminable
Vigils, night and day.
She’s prettier at night when her mascara deepens her
Mysteries, and yet glows on her hairy navel —
That puissant spot of Delilah’s sexuality, where
Samson dozed off.
Effulgent rays form beads of newness that hasten
Beauty to the hands that fed her on the night of her
Bridal dance.

It becomes soporific when a crowned virus,
Purplish-red and with the roundness of
A floating ball, becomes a Rambo on the loose;
A tiny breath of toothed torture, whizzed through the
Flattened railroads of the city’s metro.

Hypnagogic hymns miscible with hyssop and
Honeyed water,
Warm and syrupy,
Calmed her nerves....
Living next door to Corona,
The lady, suffused in less fragrant pints of
Ether, bowed her head.
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