I have wishes of greatness too
Except in the evenings, I am indecisive
Susceptible to blunt songs, somber poems, and timid chatters
of youth. I’ve lost count of how much I’ve held out my hand
Wishing I could spell my name on another’s lips
And just like in love, I am afflicted by a strange feeling
of not being enough. The nights are wistful embers of an
inverted desire of belief. I don’t believe enough except today
I run away to congratulate myself on what little I’ve achieved
Realizing that something sets us looking for fulfillment,
sweet memories to show that if we could only feel this longer
all inadequacy would be shred. I comprehend that
the loneliest people have a stock of wishes
But I see myself differently, as if that gives me hope for more
I do not recognize these things. I don’t want to think of life again
Only to dazzle at the person that I am … miserable when I reflect
How routine is eating away at my youth.
The only reality of wishing is hoping I could feed my desires
In a life meandering its way through evenings I stare unto the sky
to say goodbyes until nothing remains. There should be more, I guess
though I really don’t wish for it. I no longer pray
I live my days capturing moments like everyone else
Except that I want to write when I think about the face of God


Dear Poetry

Dear Poetry,

I am tired. You’ve inhabited me for long, but from today I have to make a decision. Perhaps my decision doesn’t matter since you remain ignorant of my needs. Not once have I shied from crying my heart out when I was deprived of love. As it is, I am a yet a man knowledgeable enough to adapt to hurt. I feel abandonment is a metaphor of my existence, an icy rod of my spine or a sentence surgically inserted in my Achilles tendon for derailment, so I plod. You’ve chained my hands with pitiable words, you inconsiderate bastard! How many times must you want a muse and condemn me to sign songs I do not like, those that taste like ash burning my vocal cord with words like, I want you.

I need you to understand. I’ve been a faithful devotee who has explored your forms, enticed language so you would be expressed. I have gone through each of your rites, attended workshops, dreamt and woke up violated forever. I’ve violated others too for the sake of your purity. It isn’t said loud enough, but when a young person turns to a poet, he loses love and remains with the idea. There are times I’ve pledge allegiance to you when you appeared numerously as a woman, as it is, I am yet a man seduced by flesh.

You are no longer a saint, poetry. I’ve witnessed your deceit, the emptiness you bring. The moderate flings, the sex, the damsel in distress. I must admit that I no longer feel enticed by your prowess, yet the more I want to leave, the greater the nuance of your lips, you kiss like heaven. But I am not a believer, not for you. I can’t live with the idea that I am a scourge of something as if I am not privileged enough to withstand that thing you do with your tongue.

Enough! If you loved me would I still be in the multitudes and confines of failed poets? Would I still be crying for your pity? Why wouldn’t you tell this woman I have loved her? Tell her I am destroyed by calm desire. You would know this, it’s better to have violent desire, rave madly about it, have it eat you than do nothing about it. Violent desire can be creative; I can write the millionth poem, it can win me an award, and for the sake of history, I might be inducted into the hall of fame for hopeless romantics who did wonders for love. However, calm desire elicits no response, it’s stilled, it betrays perception, and it doesn’t show nor try to win.
So poetry, is a poet failed when he can no longer fight?

Eddy Ongili 2016


The art of forgetting made me safe
Even as I dreamt, it protected me
Even as I dreamt, I could stomach the hurt
I could climb the stairs, eyes closed
And look in the mirror without flinching
I was elated, signing inches above the podium
full of people like the sand – no sweet songs
like the Sirens. I experienced love but also
endured suffering. Even the pain
I wore like a white shirt, clear enough
for a painting. I felt the earth protecting me.
When I embraced suffering, and under
the garments tainted white by mischief
I was unfulfilled. I skinned myself
for ink, shoveling blades onto
my veins until the canvas came alive
and birthed a portrait. It hanged. I survived
and felt no danger – nothing at all
I was a primary example of good
Something I am beginning to remember
A jinx that is separating inside me.

© Eddy Ongili, 2016
ArtWork by Schaman


Sometimes we scurry places in the hope of finding
freedom and shape it into things we used to know

old memories speeding like wolves on a wild chase
remind us if we could find love, all distances would disappear

that bottle of beer, the cup of coffee – encased with regrets
and a tinge of uncertainty plunders our foundations, to drown us

Once we learn we cannot travel without clutching at someone
you realize different places are littered with hope as a blur.

For nothing says goodbye like staring out in a hot afternoon
only to notice the tiny swing of an idle hammock. It’s rumored

that alarm sounds reminds us why we have to keep moving so our
alienation tapers towards happiness enameled with simple gestures

Yet something immigrates in our bodies for respite
short pleasures prevail, all distances are subverted like a returning ocean.

© Eddy Ongili 2016

The Bubble

We sought places, you and I, like theaters for the cheer
The corner seats were enough
To find seconds to weep meticulously
Under the guise of laughter. We laughed and confessed love
For her
And even under the terrible arrest of her eyes
We wouldn’t have expected her ridiculous attempts
At goodbyes

Those clamoring words eager to resurrect when the curtains opened
Or those tendons we snapped craving to witness and taste hope winking
Seductively from her lips
Our eyes galloped from the carnations of her lips
We hoped she found freedom, as a woman
But wanted nothing to do with writing about how
Light beams plastered her face as an artistic expression
Yet all she anticipated was the present, resting legs crossed
In a random posture

When curtains closed, we tripped over cliffs, mimicking crushed hearts, hoping to
Feel the touch of her fingers again
And we’ve been haunted by this itchy desire, flapping across our spines
For when she first left, her stare grazed deep inside us, and
We wouldn’t have known poetry if we didn’t feel the physical tingling feeling in our bodies
Some time ago, our rhythm stalled, hurling her into pillowy spaces
Gentle as
The heart. Yet like the time we spent hiding from love
We learnt to walk away, hoping that someone would say, “Hey, stop!”
And we would’ve swiveled back and landed on their arms
And asked how suffering fits into our desire of enduring it
We insisted on going home as if someone was waiting for us
Only for darkness to collapse into our hearts, prolonging the ache

© Eddy Ongili, 2016
Art by Khan Nova Via African Digital Art

Dervish Dancing – Whirling Thunders

When I was the silent song, her grievance, hoisted me on stasis
We marveled at songs, my girl. We waited for the train, its sound, till the swirl
Undid distance, uncoiled our lips into lose ropes and I waited for the first knot
To pattern after a violin around her, a resistant sign of religion as a melody, clouds corked in
bottles, against tides, against whirling thunders, against screeching foot-taps, we held

When I was the silent song, her grievance, hoisted me on stasis
Of ten thousand men limping towards her shrine, howling over her deepest gaze
I bought countenance, spears, courage, shrinks to strike competitors – Oh howlers
But they kept dancing, limping, desiring that they could hold her as a painting
Under such pomposity, she loved another as an artist, such awkward inclination
That rumbled below her that she might recall the warmth of my lips, a nesting maze of passion

When I was the silent song, her grievance, hoisted me on stasis
I fell on my knees when she started counting paintbrushes, its strokes. Ah fireworks, organs, the sex
Pleading sickness, eczema. I hoped to leave her body tired, or wet, depending on the sound her tongue drenched in
I wanted her thirsty or posing for boudoir. I snapped mental pictures whenever. Whenever she sighed.
To admit I craved to survive on her touch alone would make me want to taste her breath

When I was the silent song, her grievance, hoisted me on stasis
I’d have done anything to be normal, to escape the bubble or live long enough to be naïve
I arched arms, falling into her shade, sometimes bosom, erect like a baobab. I wanted all flowers blossoming
through mists, heat, dust, and mud. I wanted a name after surviving stasis, so I could see her free.

© Eddy Ongili 2016

Inspired by franice j. harris Against storm, against glib thunder

When it counts …

I pursue a feeling that my usual desires don’t encounter

A prayer aching for its ending

A song numbed by its chorus

A body improvising theatrical notes

So I could hush an orchestra and be compelled by a strangers eyes

To free myself from the one I have inhabited for a lifetime


Yet it feels as if I pin my skin onto other bodies

As if that would make my lamentations amble peacefully in an inverted sky

But I am disfigured by anticipating crossing the threshold of tolerance

Then beauty glitches over my body and each god damned narrative is consumed

By this feeling of emptiness concocting fulfillment which thrives on the scent of fire

Still, before I atrophy, I wonder how it feels to exchange memories for prayers.


My mind

My heart

Crumble like china on a rocky surface

Becoming a poem

That makes me want to know how it feels to crawl into oblivion

Or be reduced to the fatality of anticipating a kiss in an afternoon drizzle


But the saddest part is

I am a box of matches

An inferno

Possessing a terrible memoir of imploding love

Which when tasked to kill, only paralyzes with imprints of forever

Encased in a concrete box in the heart’s museum of unfulfilled feelings


©Eddy Ongili 2016


Once, living as a verse

I leapt across creases of pages

Into books trolled by bristled fingers


I was once a man preoccupied with letters

Till the sexual tension bailed out as a folded hand

I read volumes of books, letters, more letters, and poems

And when God’s turn came, I found his works spilling all over


So I held him like a dandelion while I walked across a ridge

As I annihilated my vocals humming and masturbating an incipient disease

of the soul. I cross-checked his works while teetering across sharp valleys


Then God decreed let there be trees, and I chocked on forests

I wouldn’t attempt to battle a twig involved in intercrural sex with a leaf

if I didn’t know it represented a  violin.


So frequently, a disgruntled melody interrupts a part of my heart

That wants nothing to do with love, so often

palms have turned into ballistics, waving while pulling the trigger

Gawking at cartridges relishing at the thump of fire and soreness


But so often all these are also works of omission, I find myself

Winking, toasting, rubbing loins, chasing forlorn – Away

So as to strap the gale of restraint

But poetry worn-out of its whore-phase abandoned me

Only returning like a Japanese sex-toy, cunt!

While I disavow any abandonment of the arts I had undertaken


There is something effortless in poetry that infuriates me

How it looks like, how it sounds … that there is

A pattern, a revolt, conformity …

However, there is a nakedness that captivates me


It was poetry that taught me that if a man needed a moment

He must stand at the same place till he captures or turns into it.

© Eddy Ongili 2016