8 POEMS by Uche Nduka /Bainbridge Island Notebook: Excerpts

Uche Nduka is a Nigerian-American poet, essayist, collagist and dancer. He is the author of 12 volumes of poems of which the most recent are eel on reef, Living in Public and Facing you. Some of his work has been translated into Finnish, Italian, German, Turkish, Serbo-Croatian,Dutch. His forthcoming(Spring 2022) volume of poems is titled FRETWIRE. He presently teaches in Queens College(CUNY) and lives in New York City.

Bainbridge Island Notebook: Excerpts


Bowmoon three-gunned

and a light less fed

than dew

to say nothing

of going to pieces

and screaming

my guts out

a benefactor

in good standing

i’m inclined

to minimizing

the falsification

of a banquet

you happen to the day

like nautical make-overs

between bong hits


Nor solitudes conspire

against flying lovers

a tickle fight.        roof shingles

white walls around

soiled nightsoil men

where timers tumble

into shadowsteps

horses in stirrups

smell of the false

teeth of the moon

phalanxes and ridges

of conceit surround

survivors             pulsations

of seasons in lust

where the skyline

spies through shutters

on folding knives, potted plants

gone east gone west


Tells you how much

nutrient there is

in a serving of hell

surgery is not an option

you may not be

the one you take yourself

to be

preparation is out

of the question

can’t help the shrewdness

of green across the water

tells you how you can

defend yourself

against balanced sheets

while planets sing of you

someone’s wearing

the almanac thin

be ready for anything

ethnic cleansing

has always been a fad

just thinking

that wherever you are

you are still doing the splits


Break out the handcuffs

for those clouds. Tweet

till your fingers bleed.

It’s a beautiful thing

to see. Nail the morning

to the wall! Is the news

going to slow down today

at some point. My chances

of staying out of trouble

are not improving. The clouds

will plead not guilty

after a grand jury indictment.

Lawmakers seek change

regarding the shape of

a mouse trap. Squinting

survivors demand exceptions to rules.


Until we can hold space

for each other’s graffiti.

Balsamic premium:

pilot script.

Concrete silo.

Angel hair pasta.

I was making pottery

and sleeping on a park bench.

Custodian of angels.

The sequel to a parable.

There’s no bottom to salvation.

I want to be an actress

in a mermaid show.

To breathe underwater.

In love with the country

that chased me out.


Of springs

and a shriek inaudible

tracking storied bodies

in a tot lot

or deluge

of emptiness

or hurricane

inside a needle

this intense light

isn’t keeping me

from flying apart

as my veins race

through a page

heading for the moment

when loss becomes


is this the agony

of too much goodness


a fire started by birds

in the coming and going

of memory

you heard alone

what no one said

a long wait

on a long day

of your long hair

this is the testimony

of bronze

what a cracked wall

could turn itself into


in the umbilicus of lilac

a deciphering

by an epicure

way to inhabit

molecular cacophony



slides between us

slides between us

and two others

we shall never know

silences go where dunes go

elsewhere has rebirth built into it

an island

slides between us

slides between us

to fly into fog

is to fly into sex                                

   Uche Nduka


2 Replies to “8 POEMS by Uche Nduka /Bainbridge Island Notebook: Excerpts”

  1. Ike okonta says:

    Uche Nduka is a fine surrealistic poet. These eight poems testify to that…


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