Sunday, August 1, 2021

Selected Works, Uche Nduka

1. What You Are

All you can do
is tilt the light
for the weather
to be fucked away
that talent for
sticking with the tide
going out to meet
its fate
the effortless glances
fractured words exchange
I appreciate you so much
but don't expect too much
of the end of romance
there are endless trips
to make down the cliff
into hair flesh veins
emptiness is difficult
to maintain
love quickly wears it down
this is no charming equilibrium
for even the mists
want to be valued and held
no destination can turn
you into anything but what you are

2. Seen From Every Roof

Everything happens here
where white sails tease
your face

                            in the night of
                                        the American West

I go backpacking
                          with the sea

as a way of accepting
                          that palm trees may
                                         or may not remember us

Gonna fly now
with fireworks
                      as tides guard tides

turn my back
on a half-smiling lamp
the sea and I

                        are seen from every roof

on equal footing with
every underworld
                           heard in every line

3. State of Light

Foghorns loop over Puget Sound.

It's hard to know where
to begin if my portrait
is also the portrait
of my country.

I haven't stopped caring
about whom I'm dealing with.

Graceful people doing
graceful things in graceful places.

I can turn around
and once again hear
a seagull say It doesn't have
to be either/or. Poetry
doesn't have rules like that.

Kids at school celebrate
a campaign that turned
into a crusade.

Metal headdress.
Pool lounger.

She said Okay
and poured it but
didn't drink it.

4. Squint / Strand

Looking earthward
the angels expect jackasses.

I've never been able
to concentrate on anything
else but this moving target.

Turning right
I see them leave hardwood floors
and hurry to the waterline.

They would see to it
that they would bruise themselves
only on a freelance basis.

There's plenty of room
for disdain or seduction
while fireworks feed the sky.

Your beard is blacker
                              than mine.

I wonder what goes on
                                  in your mind.

5. This Proximity

Serenity is on the bridge.

Your t-shirt is in the laundry now.

It makes me homesick for some place I've never seen.

As if there's a way if you're ready.

Three doors down. Four doors down. Five doors down.

Serenity isn't in fooling around with the moon.

On the drums you can flat-out tear it up.

A picnic blanket a place to brandish hope.

Rosebush strobe lights sleepover a slutty release.

Eager for an impending havoc or romance at high speed.

Asked if any of that immersion had made
a difference for lives that scat.

Flash lets you know that pubic hair is
not a quiet thing.

6. To Look and See

Either way it's inevitable
no better way to start
the day than with a book
that never ends
an alpine ancestry
sears itself onto
                         the window seat
survival means playing
with fire
whether I was wanted
                               there or not
I needed to leave home
                        to find my kind
of people
that flight was meant
to be
I was desperate for marvels

7. Budding Symmetry

is the most
crucial meal of the day

a seascape
lighting our way home

*       *.         *

No ground was lost
beneath the brilliance
of the migration of sparrowhawks.

Don't dim your light
while my lips yield
to your lips.

*.          *.            *

Explore the why
of bleeding heart
burning it down
since the saxophone
let in the thong.

We didn't come to abandon
to draw a line.

Uche Nduka-poet, essayist, dancer-is the author of twelve volumes of poems of which the most recent are LIVING IN PUBLIC and FACING YOU. He treasures the psychic territory of literary labour. He believes in aesthetic flexibility. Spectral intimations of imaginative potentiality thrill him. Some
of his poems generate electricity. Nduka's forthcoming volume of poems (Spring 2022) is titled FRETWIRE.

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