1 A bird drifts ashore from the sky with a song hung loosely between its beak. ² But, the doors of our hearts have no keyholes. ³ Surely, every other thing will evacuate, except silence. ⁴ There’s a century that sits between my incisors, aching. Like a virus, ache becomes a plague when it overstays the night. 5 So in this poem, I shove history into my belly & glory in the fullness of its grief. 6 Once, in my thirsting, I drank the Atlantic Ocean & spelled pain in the long swallow. 7 Since the days of water, every man had wanted to be more fins than limbs. All my heart wanted was to be a hollow chamber rather than an empty tomb. 8 Hey, there are flowers scattered across the streets. 9 & once, a bereaved woman looked like she’d dissolved a plethora of men & children in her eyes 10 I carry my dead in the tip of my fingers. My guitar interprets their songs. My harp, their lamentations. 11 In our animal-skin clothed sorrow 12 we reunite in the galaxy of burnt men. 13 It took me nights to find true light. It took moons to understand that even light runs into the dark for shelter. 14 How we keep running to the past. 15 Tonight, there’s a shadow, the geometry of a goddess. 16 Jerusalem. Jerusalem. 17 I pry the whooshing wind to hear the tongues of my ancestors. 18 In the midnight quiet, I blossom where I shouldn’t. 19 In my green state, I flower through dreams. 20 Every new day, a life span cut short. Tbh, I want to glory in the past 21 & see how time & history undo me again. 22 Learn to seethe the night until the darkness evaporates. 23 Until my fear becomes my song 24 & there’s a wave in my voice box. Until I can exhale fire & smell hope in the smoke. 25 Until I am too empty to begin, again. Everything begins with nothing, ask God. Beloved, 26 I wept. 27 I laughed. 28 Everything around me is worthy of mourning. 29 I ask, where is the bluebird, 30 where is the blackbird?
Chinedu Gospel is an emerging poet & a member of the Frontier’s Collective. He stays at Ozubulu & studies at Awka, in Anambra, Nigeria. He plays chess when he’s not writing & tweets @gonspoetry. He is a two-time Best of the Net nominee. He is a StarLit Award winner, 2021, for the winter Issue of AsterLit. He won an honorable mention in the Kreative Diadem annual contest (poetry category), 2021, Dan Veach Prize for younger poets, 2022, & Stephen A. Dibiase poetry contest, 2023. He was Shortlisted for the Blossom Contest, 2022, and longlisted for the UnSerious Collective Fellowship, 2022. His works of poetry have appeared or are forthcoming in Fantasy Magazine, Mud Season Review, Savant Garde, Bath Magg, Trampset, The Drift mag, Gutter Magazine, Fiyah Magazine, Sonder Magazine, and Roughcut Press, among many others.
“neo-jerusalem” was a finalist in our 2023 Blurred Genre Flash Contest, judged by Rachel Howard.