Sentinel Literary Quarterly

Vol.2 No.2, January 2009. ISSN 1753-6499 (Online).

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Bernard Gieske
Genna Gardini
Helena Carolinska
Michael Lee Rattigan
Nnorom Azuonye
Ramesh Dohan
Sholeh Wolpé
Terri Ochiagha
Tolu Ogunlesi
Uche Nduka
Uchechukwu Umezurike
William Stephenson





















Uche Nduka




i stare my erection down.

you must be ready to connect with the dexterity of my carelessness. unwild wagging a reprimand.

won't play chicken with this agenda. the tightwad is no model

of sobriety. i need a country in which mismappings can securely happen. pop those nodding balloons. low low low neckline.

will you tumble with me. the question is whether it's worth eating

a humble pie. you may eavesdrop. don't rush the lovesong. guitar soloing, ten tiles grimacing, unbland. we have our share of country, blue grass and blues. strapless you.

i need to invite the tester, the upholsterer, the twister.

more at ease with the cringe factor. the jutting jaw of tediousness. queasy.

i do hope i make you queasy. halfway through breakfast in bed it happened. those were footnotes to painterly less than five minutes i got it off my chest. goes back to elan in Far Rockaway. i cannot keep away from laughter's

sway. loves unweave themselves. in me shores are born.

crocus rolling towards a storm as a new day genuflects.

i roam and hurl the seemingly unmagical into the air.

better to push me into Charlotte's web. struggling to keep

an alliance with firecrackers. one day all chocoholics...where do you live. in the tower of ink. she used to boss my dreams around. for beauty am insatiable. assessing this move from hot to cold coffee. severing: pulling away from lyrical dogma.

godward into granite. bad hair on the porch.

less of you. and when it comes to haystacks. when it comes to being lecherous in a Song Of Solomon kind of way. is dupery somehow necessary to what you are about. you're dope. won't settle for less answers from your mouth tightening around the sacrament of sex. at each thrust your voice comes: "love me". take the mangled mandolin, risk the abyss.


how loud this cloud has become. the rain grows fat. we are no longer in a high edge closer to the crab we call HISTORY. how loud this wind has grown. like the hooligan in a cherub. the storm can shed us and the earth can shed us when ease leaves a striptease. but who cares. what could it have been.

shaken and reshaken: illumination's fate. away from grumbling

cards. skein to skein. this life's alternate take.

or the hands that spread you or the maw that rues you.  

we happy with the decision of that fixer in tights.

that means a woodwind morning. from dragrope to shutters. visible in it-we are visible only in a crest that respects no borders. you are the one the old days spoke of. light of my blood,

mist of my blood. not for a moment could you stand a wire fence. that doesn't mean moving from plain disorientation to mere peregrination. are we happy with those snails covering

what's etched in stone. are we marked by indigo.

by a blue harmattan.

sharing a spider's breath, stepping into a hidden granary.


you sluiced and scrimped and died of tripe.

you slummed and rummed and died of tripe.

you slashed and heaved and died of tripe.

you heirloomed and clamshelled and died of tripe.

you dusted and carpetted and died of tripe.

you polehugged and bullhorned and died of tripe.

you flinched and twitched and died of tripe.

what if the sins of the rainforest were God's.


these revulsions of fiberglass. and periwinkle and corn and pear.

and the sex that plays us like flutes and demissions the willow.

ours this scratch, this awakening. against whom do we battle in this procession in the garden of being. silence catches light from one door to another, approaches. i bristle at the crotchrubbing of a sculpted measuring weight. is this silence hard.

rearing goats in the sky. is this silence soft.

planting yams in the sky. is this light its own undoing.

is this light a broken footprint. i ask you: 

mystagogue and wet nurse. you: towards an arc of love bent.

this is what it is like. you are writing a book and the book is recreating you, delighting you, infuriating you. hence the hefted

the tufted. ablutions pool and its lantern. i have to jump across a shield, run away, when she approaches me and memory's spillway. or else stay and read a maternal foliage, its cardinal pages,

solar premise. or else tell this erection to water the aces.

this is the space gorging on days right in front of us. here's our address. we shall rise and prune a thicket and put a plea for mutineers. futility isn't our kinsman, a cruel quietude, asinine gourd. bells of homage rumble in the air.


honeysuckle morning jokes about the number four. jokes about the eleventh month. of faith redeemed. of a stream's gleam, of shoal, of sunzoner whose music cobblestones once knew but forgot. as he once knew his father but later forgot. he heard the dance speak. he saw the song dance. it didn't scrounge for chords, mythologies guitars adored. so he did collude with snake tracks in the dust

after all. as once he made peace with a mat of straw. as once he saved the bullwhip of longing. don't sound so sure. it's so hard to find a way to the transparencies of a brown heron. from asphalt to cloverleaf. as if a broken dart is not a testimony to exclusion. a quibble only the alto sax knows. you say you pulled me back from the brink. i was all by myself. elsewhere as well. on the other side of fate. we are made sacred by these-sunbathing and coition.



where we wobble together

and wobble apart

in vertical laughter


am tossed about

by the sounds

your perfume makes


inspite of thirst

epics of migraine

catcalls of sawdust



splashed on sickle

in a dias



as crucible

as fingerboard


a cupping of tenderness

margaritas to share

curvy iambs

essentializing jisms


sifting through spurts

i wing away to lumina

i can't decide whether

to question the noonings or not


in a dungeon out

of a dungeon it's

all the same

are you sure


i have walked

and seen a dome eat ash

gravitas in reheated jams

beauty is not the absence of ugliness


uptown mulching

a loamy ridge

no kindness is powerless


bringing back

the bottom that fell out

knocked in or knocked out

i won't die of rock and roll


she is the source

of my ecstacy

if that's what comes with cowbells


threw out a prong

had enough of it

i keep turning myself

upside down and inside out


and that's how she came

up with a shimmy shake


there wouldn't

be us if there

were no jellies


luxury's prance


luxury's contralto

thighs riffing


joy never goes out of style


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Uche Nduka was born and educated in Nigeria.

Poet, songwriter, essayist, photographer, his poems and other writings have appeared in Trafika, Private,  Boogcity, Farafina, EOGH, Muse Apprentice Guild, New Leaf, The Refuge and many other online and print journals. The author of seven volumes of poems, his most recent book is titled "eel on reef". He presently lives and studies and works in New York City. Jazz is his philosophy.


Sentinel Literary Quarterly

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Editor: Nnorom Azuonye

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