January 11, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Lam Thuy Vo photo



Chisom Okafor







My hair, thick with lubricants, is never lost here, never at a loss

on what to eat, she orders shear butter laced in coconut oil to my own consternation

tells me I must look away when privates discuss privates

heavy with the monstrosities of war

Fela points to the other side, eyes apertured with bullet holes,

Listen, he tells me, I hate this musicality in my food


Meat or fish…Zombie

Eating here or take away…Zombie

You dip your serving spoon the wrong way, or do you not see

how your mother starts from the sides. Outside­in.

You serve me the wrong things, as well

Fela for pounded yam. War for music. Combatant for guitarist.

consider the delicacy of a neon­ed sunset

that certain things are best said here,

like truth changing colours against an undefined neonness,

couples undoing love to relearn a language of chess boards,

which is a thousand lies, wrapped up in confessions, each the colour of tomato ketchup

teach us again, maestro

to rediscover home beneath your eyes, how, to find god in a strange land,

we must sit huddled over this table to recreate truth from an aging song,

reclaim an archeology of memory from spoils of war.





For boys who aren’t boys


and for Blaise



teachers do not see me when they peer into streams

they only find a patchwork of wrong variables

repeat after me ‘I am a man. I’m not feminine’

repeat. again. good. repeat.

once more. good.

I’ve stuffed myself with lies in lieu of lines of defence,

as the bicarbonate I sip to grow fat on its empty calories

priests come to do three sessions of exorcisms

because this is how to cast away any effeminate spirit

stand in the witness box, my son. give strong evidence. see, I’m your alibi.

resist the devil. say be gone. say I won’t catwalk no more.

Won’t speak with a lightness of voice no more…love boys no more…cross dress no more.

say, I’m a boy. masculine. renounce the beast. watch it flee.

you’re free now. say free.

loud. louder. louder.






Chisom Okafor

Chisom Okafor lives and writes in Lagos, Nigeria. He has had works published in numerious literary outlets. His debut chapbook, Equations is forthcoming and will be published in 2018.

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