when it rains with the sun’s eyes fully (((open)))
mother says an elephant is in labour
i often think of the calves born in these moments
do they experience such miracles all their lives
lifetimes of the glorious ambience of water and light >>>
or was their origin and the bow of the rainbow
a picture of two truths in a frame
that [[[the world is beautiful and our existence could be ordinary]]]


Picture credit: Author

after the fall of adam
god hid paradise somewhere
between my temple, heart, wrists and ankles
a puzzle for a man that doesn’t know his reflection
or a way around his sadness

when i finally got in,
angels gave me a new body for the burnt one
and a gown of praise for my ashes
i chant holy all day like other faithfuls
to worship the one who gives and takes away
and hides our happiness
as a garden guarded by flaming swords


what it means to breathe
in a country that is an efficient assassin
is to rehearse my final moments

after every kiss
after every fire
after every thing that made me feel alive,
i call together all my life and tell them
how we could have been a glorious day if
we were born in the morning

for to live and love in my time as a nigerian
is a life that begins after the sun sets
and is over when the night falls


after ada

Picture credit: Author

god’s sun rises

behind a cloud of false witnesses

i am bent, stretched

because my

body wants the light


after brymo

Picture by Author

i don't know a thing about dancing
to move to a dream so beautifully
without making a scene
and all the eyes on this earth trying to figure
what i am doing with my life

yet the sea and its wavering ambitions
is called beautiful
the fall and rise of water
the come and go of hope
nobody scolds it for its indecision to stay
but we blame the moon for the tides

the sea is over a billion years older than me
and still doesn't have it together
i dey fall, i dey rise
abeg, give me time and grace


Picture by Author

i have sat here all my life
drawing your face over and over
on the sea around my feet
let the oceans be littered
with portraits of you

there have been no storms this season
and this city is long and desolate
with arms that hold nothing
yet it remembers your voice
many drops of water that fell
on the nights when we
needed a reason to believe

and i still talk in my sleep
saying the same prayers over and over
that these hot days without you
don't consume all of me

here

on the sand by the sea
where i have sat all my life
all of us in me that grieve your leaving
stare at the sky for your shadow
waiting for the wind that carries you every summer
to bring the rain again


Image: Rain, by Nik Cubrilovic

every dusk, the dreams come as the attacks do. it starts with many memories folding into themselves, a spectrum of falling colours too bright, too varied, i puke in my sleep and wake to my head rolling.

most rainy mornings, i have no words of prayer because my voice is too feeble to travel through raging water.

one day, i might understand god and his choices. but till then, i make excuses for him and wait out this weather.


Picture by Author

i no longer know how to wake to sunlight
but to a heart threatening to detonate
and i carry my body the entire day
like a bomb scare

© Joshua Omena 2021


Ladies of AfriLabs

Growing up as a man in a man’s world means that I naturally saw things only from the eyes of a privileged person. As a young male child, I did not understand that women had unique challenges and that “the patriarchy” exists. The first woman I met was my mother and naturally, that was all she was — my mother.

In my early teen years, my mother opened a shop to host her tailoring business and one hot afternoon, while I was in the shop with her, she shared her complimentary card with me. She spoke about her dreams with…


I am battling insomnia and some anxieties tonight. And I remember today is the 3rd of March. Ahh, this woman’s birthday. It feels good, thinking about you. Everything about you.

I miss the days we run and walk in the mornings as the sun rises on your polished skin and the nights at bistros and galleries where your laughter and light gossips made that city of Lagoons breathable. Felt good. Even the memories of it taste better. Like old wine or old whiskey. Something about alcohol getting better with time.

Well, tonight, I drink every moment I have shared with you. It feels good. And I hope I get to make more intoxicating memories with you in different cities, dear friend.

You deserve all the best today and forever. May you live all your lives.

Happy Birthday, Love.

Joshua Omena

Poet. Communications Manager. Daydreamer. Night-crawler.

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