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Skin Deep: Poems by Efe Ogufere



Painful throes rise and crash against her skin
As her breath shudders, stutters and rhymes
Jaundiced eyes struggle to stay awake as she holds
My hands in a grip, firm yet loose
A contrast of palms. Irony in five fingers
I feel her pulse, slowly fading to dust

I peel open her skin, dive into her bones
Almost drown but then reach out to her veins
I taste the layers so tender and torn, she tilts at my touch
A battle rages white and then red. No bad blood yet
I lose myself to the currents, the painful tides
Of a war that is everything but won

Half drunk on her bones, I break open her marrow
The hollow is deafening, the imagery is vivid
Rogue leucocytes murder erythrocytes before my eyes
The rebellion of cells, a ruthless crusade
An avalanche of pain, the invasion of blasts
A white knight sworn to protect through the night

I wade through her marrow and discover a rose
Mottled, wilted and dying for breath
Petals hold songs that could have been
Songs are just words without rhythm
Words are letters absent meaning
Letters are lines seeking purpose
Lines are lonely and lost
Lonely is she
on the EKG



Beneath your skin,
Dark and lovely connubial vials
Hold ancient songs buried in liquid deep
A serenade in the Serengeti
A sunrise on distant hills
Shedding light on black and white
A myriad of hopes drown in murky waters
As my soul holds yours against the tides
We are the color on our skin, they said
But we shed red rivers when our heart is bled
The tears in your eyes form stalactites
As a wall of paint stands between you and I
Watch me wander through pigments
Trading ambivalence, lost in your essence
To the giggles in their glances and gossip
Color me blind, paint me deaf and let me pass



                   No Poetry could…
Describe the beads of sweat,
That form rivulets on Lamy’s back like dew.
Explain how joy overflows
In tears from eyes that have held sadness.
Fathom how a beating heart
Fragile in its beat holds promise of tomorrow.
Describe how the waking sun
Rises from the east and paints the fields crimson
Explain why the moon’s reflection,
Dances on the ocean as the fisherman casts his net
Fill memories with rhythm,
Gift letters the wings to flutter on melody’s strings
Tame the wildfire desire sparks
In her eyes as she lays firmly in my arms
Unlock the stanzas in my soul,
As her name holds like an anaphora on a loop
                   …But this Poetry should

© Efe Ogufere
Image: remixed

Efe Ogufere
Efe Ogufere
I am a banker working in Nigeria with a passion for written and spoken word poetry. My influences are drawn from music of all genres. My favorite poets are Warshan Shire, Tsitsi Jaja Tj Dema, Rupi Kaur and a few other contemporary poets.


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