Plantains by Zara aka Eke aka Zed

If I were to woo you with plantains I’d require that you don’t mistake them for bananas, for the latter are just too sweet and I need a little ‘not that’, like the cruelty in your teeth. And if I wooed you with plantains, I’d flavor them with stories, crying in their newness and wrinkling in their old. I’d start smooth, like the plantain tree that grew in the backyard at home, next to the green pineapples, whose crown kissed the ground every time it stormed.

Then I might tell you about Panama, those rice and beans and living on the beach days, eating slick gold circles of crushed and fried plantains, with my skin dusted with sand and my hair salted with spray. Last time I tasted halos, my mami fed them to me in a house in Canarsie last year. But then her son broke my heart, so now tostones just taste like tears.

Or I could just woo you with plantain chips, they sell them spicy in New York- thin round slices peppered in red. Did you know? In Lagos, they slice them lengthwise instead, like mummified sunlight on a hawker’s tray, like yellow tongues suffocating in a plastic bag, like why I cannot come to Lagos to stay. They sell their roasted plantains dry with groundnuts. Abeg, let me just take you to my home down south. We sell them sticky and scarlet with seasoned palm oil, it’s like blood and heaven salting in your mouth.

I hear that learning to love me is like trying to climb a plantain tree, but when you get to the peak, oh. What a view you can see.

Anyway, in this process of wooing you, I get to tell you things with fruit, that I see undressing you as peeling a ripe plantain, soft coverings dropping away so eagerly to reveal sugared flesh. I’ll taste you till my teeth fall out, darling, put me to the test. I’d cut off your ends and suck inner sweetness onto my tongue, dip you in red oil and savor you long.

Contrariwise, weighing loss heavier than gain- leaving you would be like opening a green plantain, if I were unwilling skin and you the hardened meat within. What blade could wedge me away from you, incising long lines of devastation for purchase, peeling me off while leaving my inner membranes clinging with a stubborn set. You cannot send me away yet. We need time, time for your bones to melt with ripe and fill with sweet, so ready that when my fingers graze you, you pool at my feet.

I only meant to woo you with plantains, bringing dowries of pregnant bunches cleft by a cutlass from its mother stretch of tree, sap staining my palms and kolanuts in a wake behind me. I cut down its long leaves and bound them with twine, that I might make a bed for you and stake you mine, framed against dewy green. I offer you this bundle of oblations, what else have I to give? I seduce sacrifices down your throat, feed you plantain fufu from my fingertips, if you will let me live.

When there are nothing but sapped skins heaped upon our floor, I’ll retrieve my cutlass from behind the door, step out and cut down more. Like you were dying and these were the cure, like I’m mute and they will for me implore, like you I do adore.

I’ll worship you with my harvests time and again, just tell me you’ll come back for more. 


From “Me” With Love by Shane D.

From “Me” With Love
My sweet ribena
Because of you I’ll sell okrika
Under rain or sun, I go de hala
Just to get you stuff and mascara…
Baby smile for me even though I no be camera
You aint twitter but I go be your follower
For you I re brand am Ada and Eve
I’ll get suicidal if you try to leave
Na me go beg every time we get beef
I go do armed robber even petty thief
So I fit buy you shine-shine and fine ear-ring
But sucre, I tire like Michelin
Because right now I wish you are in
My heart; I’m sick of enduring
I swear, na your hand I go place my ring.

Dreamer by Shane D.


On the park bench she sat
Looking golden in the sunlight
Left then right; no partner in sight
Pound, pound, pounding hard – I mean my heart.
Somehow, feet inched up  to her chair
Lips curved, words formed but never caught the air
Goose pimples; body felt bare
Gullet swallowing- she said “hi, you said something I didn’t hear”
“You are beautiful” was all that escaped
Heart leaped; this was something that had never being experienced
From it’s hyper state, mind descended
And the fog? It all disappeared
Ha! The park was empty
My head heavy like I was hibernating
Then my phone went buzz, buzz – vibrating
I awoke with a start… I was only dreaming.

Life by Shane D.


The world is a big, big stage
And we are nothing but actors
Some act in haste
But others slow, in bits and fractions
Mistakes are made that can never be erased
Some end their scenes with sadness and in pains
But life is a play; why take it too seriously?
Acts and scenes… They’ll all end eventually
And there is no player  to come out victorious…
Play like each part is your last
There’s so much in this life  to worry about my part
Be yourself, don’t act in a disguise
Make the most of it; you’ll never get out of it alive.

Sticks & Stones by Chiamaka E.



Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me

Sticks and stones may break my bones but…

Who the hell am I kidding

Your words are like knives

They slice open arteries

Rip my tendons to shreds

They cause more pain than

Bullets shot from point blank range

Words thinly veiled in hate and judgment

Wrap hands around my throat

Constrict my airways

They slide between the cracks

Inaccessible by your blows

Tear holes in my heart

Unseen by human eyes

There is no band-aid big enough

Or glue strong enough

So let’s be real

Sticks and stones may break bones

But those eventually heal

Words cause permanent damage

untitled by Amazon Scholar

I want to savor the far away world we create when we are together. Quiet and fun. Light and satisfying. Lost in conversations, long and deep.

I want to float along the soft, raspiness of your Mississippi accent
In the jokes and sweet words that you wrap your voice around and serve me sweetly.

And yet when it is time for quiet, we can do that too. Just sitting—bathing in the comfort that we build. Fingers twisting the soft roots of your dark locs.

I want to taste your rich brown skin. Feel the heat coming off it when I run my tongue over every pore, scar, and crevice.

I want to laugh too hard together as we should.
and stay close to your mind.

Swimming through your thoughts as I invite you into mine.

Wax philosophic about the God we know and understand.

About the family we hold dear.

About the experiences that sometimes haunt us from our pasts.

About our lofty and rich hopes for beautiful futures.

A future that from this day forth will always be enriched by my experiences with you.

And when I think about


those balmy nights.

And those sunny, moist days.

Soft moans in your front seat

followed by loud screams in the back.

Wide smiles spreading across your pretty lips.


Warm will fill my body and my soul—

enveloped in the friendship of our own definition.


And I will feel free.

The power of “Good Morning” by Osazeme O

Growing up I remember how important greetings were in my home. In fact those were the few words & phrases I was taught in my mother tongue.  Good morning, Thank you, good night, have a good meal, are just a few of the catch phrases that littered my daily experience  outside of amen & hallelujah that is. I guess back then There was sort of an on demand element to it, because well manner, polite, respectful children utter such niceties to their elders. But now I believe there was more to it. When I think back to the days my parents were away on business or when I slept away and wasn’t greeted by those familiar voices pregnant with limitless love for me wake me with a kiss or a bang in the door depending on how fast I went to sleep the night before. I realise that there is so much education embedded in those simple daily rituals. They reinforce the idea that we are connected to one another. That we come from somewhere & that at the end of the day no matter what muck & mire we encounter in the world there is a place we can return to and be cradled.
Today while talking to an older friend I happened to let it slip that I was a little tired. Upon further inquiry, I revealed to her that I’ve been waking up much earlier than usual to say good morning to a womyn I hope to eventually date. Even though I had the experience of multiple good mornings from my parents & siblings when I was younger, I didn’t really realise how powerful a simple GM could be until recently. I was dating a different womyn, and within a few days of that experience I realised that she’d always text me first thing in her day. Sometimes the message would be just as simple as GM or a little more elaborate and playful. Despite the fact that that interaction ended on a rather sour note, I’ll never forget how powerful those morning messages were. One simply can’t underestimate the transformative power of knowing you are cared about beyonds the bonds of family & friendship. What was significant about that experience to me is they even the mornings that followed an evening of a difficult conversation or strife I still got a GM message. It was an opportunity to start afresh. Those daily messages were a reaffirmation of my importance to her at that time. I think beyond a lot of the physical intimacy that comes with being attached  to someone what I miss most is the emotional intimacy. And I guess this is partly why each time I meet someone new I face them with the excitement of a first timer. The possibility of building a new alliance, of developing new affinities is so thrilling. So this time around I’m the one waking up at the crack of dawn despite the fact that my day starts later to say ” GM, have a great day” because I realise that just that simple greeting & gesture carries so much power & love. 

Hell’s Gate: The Northern Killings by Shane D.

Sitting in the darkness
Staring into nothingness
Death smells
Would you die, or would I be next?
Wishing and hoping for sunlight
Dreading the fearsome moments of this test…
The shrill cry of suffering is all I hear
Smell of blood; the end draws near
I hear, I see… Bodies drenched with fear
And some bold, thinking they can bear…
Courage I crave; give me some
But who in this dire times would in generosity give?
False hope – deception is all I see
Open display of rotten bodies; am I at hell’s gate?
I need to know; is it already late?
People believe; heterogeneity, dying for their faith
Even at such I know, these religions (would) all end in fate
Who would come and who would save?
Another baby Jesus or Lucifer himself?
Nah! We are to save ourselves
Put an end to our fantasious dreams
Hilarious fantasious dreams even in our nightmares…
Arise now! Wake up!! Save yourselves or rot in hell.