A Maulstick

A maulstick is what i have in common with you. On the other side of the orchid we agreed to quote each other out of context. Some say they browned a nutshell browned a record. If a poem can’t save me i don’t know what will. Savannas that groan. The move, Mexican serapes. The move, Dutch Renaissance light. White heron Lodestar the task of backwaters. As i babble about chaos post-cafe. Killing the killing floor. Tonight after a birdwalk i’ll worship a barmaid. Ample reasons to be graceful/grateful. & the damn highway bumps against Gregorian Chants. Mugwumps brainstorm. Sex anoints us. Dervish parabola quanta. Poetry is inconvenient. When it all comes down to arsenal. Spewing from a carton a sorority much smarter than i am. Hotfooting it out of one-stop-shopping. Lipstick sniper fire microphone. Passion to compassion nothing is holding you down. I know enough about my pratfalls to know it would be hazardous to flirt with you. Doesn’t surprise me you always consult the saltshaker. No avoidable delay goes unpublished. From bumblebee to musket to muskrat. How to overcome taxonomy. To create reserves for a resilient diet of idleness. There is a need for outrage & i don’t want to always come across as nice to him or to her. Self-concept     self-judgement      self-torment. Eruptions in the face of it. I hear someone scratching his balls.




This Is Where I leave You

this is where i leave you where i leave you a leaf. scratch tape    miserable shovel   box-office dud wrings every ounce of melancholia out of you  jockstrap  skeletal  jet lag  bedlam attached to the bone. expects more of you. dumbbell watching out for you. some false floss. the heart of the buyer’s guide. i know someday i will save all my dawns for you. stuff like shipwreck & electric chair. junkyard mutant midgets. paperbacks demobbed. slip the horn into the gin of a shellsucker. worth hearing what’s blossoming in kabuki Bop. nation-building gone to seed. pawnshop diving & busted harmonium. jivey ranchera. joy in my billfold. a taste for obituaries & flowered shirts. liftoff is the place the face of every wave. shoehorn in a drizzle. ivories & clover. you get to the point where you are no longer a private eye. a blind man feeling up an elephant. it gets to the tedious business of pulling winning tickets. taking a dip a peach to beat the heat. sawu bona. another ceasefire broken. selected wacks laugh till life makes sense. popupshop    curvygirl    violetxylophone. through a keyhole, tightly. the freaks of fishnets. don’t let the tunnel fool you. nutcracker rouge where a shuffleboard has gained traction. motherlode sextett from the scratch. too much honey for a jam. takes embellishment down a peg. hints from the underground. of raffles & horror we have no measure. a washtub chuckles.




Why Did This Thrill Find Us

why did this thrill find us no crying now you said to your nightgown no crying now i said to my pajamas you could leave or enter wait or depart wait with anticipation or wait without hope without plan you could muse or sulk sit or stand you could be or not be yourself arrange or not arrange a thing with or without projection or contemplation could be outside our existence outside our difference pressed together or not beyond the thrill mentioned or not fused or not completely in sequence or not retreating from interruption or not cross statelines or not accept onyx or not  standoff  swag strumpets cookie mush alliance confrontation prelate tripartisan midterm refund privatizing hot button survivalist in the final stretch with network blindsided cellulosic disclosure litigation bone graft doorskin initiative preventive paperwork carefree vernacular carousel defunct lip reader kinky clue sad sack jubilee fuel-pump brake cats leverage dot-com perks watergrass tapes early draft of a motorcycle accident no disgruntled gropings you should be laid or hospitalized bloodmoon living the high life two of your favorite roof decks space is not a luxury textile shrimp massage shambhala heirloom grill fabric trail beards opossum baronial bargain ambassadorial tortoise shell doesn’t lack for charm or critical clitorial




Blue Mist White Stone

well done, cavern
ruckus or maudlin lovers

talk to me of dragnet
a northern spell or drawing board

when you turn every which way
and keep coming back

purpose does not
trump pleasure

on the other hand i have
not seen the light

sister of crystal and velvet
the contrabass in your family tree

all the birds that belong
to a roadside mirror

puddle-jumping with babies

my days are dizzy
but you can come along for the ride

we’re pliant in the hands of dreams

i’ve got to go i’m running
too late but you’ve got
to doublecheck the address

if i had any sense i
would hop into the trolley
car and forget all about
the rainbow

robins waved at us
and morning came furiously
third of june

the marsh loved the sky
your shoulders hummed
prospect place epiphany

nightshade eyelash
round the flame sweeter
than sweet

a day swims past a tower
the toll of alders

blue mist white stone
hot pants apocrypha

i love you with the mural
in the courthouse with
the boat in the harbor with
the cherry at the gatepost
with the tangle of silence

we wander we beg drag queens
to spend a little more time with us

the sprawl of guts had left
its mark on sage brush

left its mark on a greasy
gatherer of buckles

you never,never could get
away from the unslick
the cruel evacuation

a different way to address you
to track the black veins
of poinsettias




The Sea Is Writing

this is not a done deal.
with or without impunity
for fluted pain.

start with separation, the inevitability
of separation from sepia,flesh,bed.

the sea is writing. the moon is in opposition.
patois is the least of their problems.

needing to make sure no limit awaits him.
needing to make sure no limit awaits her.

the exit signs are warnings of blissed out
madeleines. i make demands on you in these
pages i make demands on you in the streets.
and if my night flows to Lagos,let it be. five
dudes in flannel. the riffage responds to the
urgency.enter the tupperware. even in this
witching hour i’m not about to dismiss normalcy.
propellers edge near the luckless. the pitiless crowd
have been screwing with us all this time.but
the grotesque has been kind to us. and you can’t
draw the blinds on ” hands up, don’t shoot”.
as long as the steam keeps rising.



Uche NdukaUche Nduka is a Nigerian-American poet, essayist and collagist. He was awarded the Association of Nigerian Authors Poetry Prize for Chiaroscuro in 1997. He lived in Germany and Holland for over a decade, and was the recipient of a Goethe Institut Fellowship and Heinrich Böll Haus Guest Author Fellowship. His books include eel on reef, Ijele, Nine East, Belltime Letters, Heart’s Field, If Only The Night, Flower Child, etc. He teaches at CUNY and resides in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife the Photographer/Artist Fiona Gardner and their daughter Sula.