3 Poems | Ismail Bala

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The Breeze by My Wings

I vent way down
Into the pit of my glottis
Vying for the vibrancy
Of a sweet-sounding peal
Chiming its way to the top.

It ripples the air fast as
The gurgling of water
On its way to the river,
Then changes to swishing
Of leaves on a gusty bright day.

I swing my wings
Climbing high above all
For you are the breeze by my wings.
I peak with the love of your soul
And the whole world is fraught
In swift rupture—
The rupture of your essence.

Upon Reading a Poorly Written Erotica
(after Jill Alexander Essbaum)

He stood before her sporting only butlery
and she reached for his Phallus under the mesh.
He had kept her private fluff, and her clit
went mute as a mousse. They dropped to the dead.
She hobbled his rod into her pus
and all his damned fluids poured out.
Still, her cosmic starvation raged on.
His balls upheaved as she pouched them,
and her own pebbles went slump as well.
He put her prong in his gurgle and talked dirty.
Oh, it was all that she could do not to drown.

(after Robert Pinsky)

Midnight moon on his back,
becalm, irreverent splash
of water against a rock.

Lean shadows clump
over the tree’s top—
nothing to bother,

only the same river
that keeps making the same
gurgles under his chin

and blaring the same colour.
No one to shout his name,
no need, no one to hail him,

only the river’s ripple—over
and over, to keep it before him.

Ismail Bala writes in English and Hausa. His poetry and translations have appeared in the UK, the USA, Canada, India and South Africa, in journals such as Poetry Review, Ambit, New Coin, Ake Review, Lunaris, A Review of International English Literature and Aura Literary Arts Review, among many others. Born and educated to university level in Kano, he did his post-graduate studies at Oxford.  His poems have been translated into Latvian, Belarusian, Nepalese, Slovenian and Polish.  He is a Fellow of the International Writing Programme of the University of Iowa. He is the author of Line of Sight (Praxis, 2020), and Ivory Night (KSR, 2024).

Lake Adedamola is a poet, writer, and editor with Nantygreens, who's worked with several other literary blogs including Brittle Paper. He has, since 2018, served in various capacities on the Lagos International Poetry Festival, LIPFest, team.

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