Right or wrong, the century burns
Rancid arsonists. My dreams creep supine:

gazing into the skyish weal–
stars by ajar declension–

800,000 Naira a job, red kola.
To survive I have to give up–

Enucleate my rights & country
from my soul & body.

I once contemplated my soul’s insurance
from televangelists & infomercials–

God’s iron foot-soldiers
Who alter & fast-track destiny.

Here, choice is expensive–
It’s a heaven first-class ticket

Cutting corner is still illegal &
Defrauding the system works perfectly.

The day my rights spoiled &
only corruption can fix her

my future burned in my presence
nonstop, like a wildfire

That no quenching water
is coming for her.

Outside the dark mouth of the city
door opens, then closes

Out there, I could be anything I wanted
They say, but, living is an inferno &

I’m too electric to live in water
the burning sky has no door.


Hallowed gallows

God is still listening to what
he must already know

Suppose you tell a stranger everything
& he becomes everyone

The girl you kiss that slaps you
The uncle’s wife that shows you her boobs

Some memories talk like a verse
& shocks like a high tension wire

There are holes in your heart
you sealed with bruises

Suppose everything’s open
& searches for whom they’ve wrong

Secrets replaced by the
Coins God & Devil tossed?

Secrets watching like gallows Alma
Secrets searching for a dying mate.


Umar Yogiza Jr is a builder, writer and freelance photographer living in Northern Nigeria. Collecting words & meeting young writers gives him joy, as he awaits the result of the coin of life tossed by God & Devil. His work can be read in Heartburn Review, Pikerpress, Tuck magazine, Spillwords, Poeticdiversity, The Indian Feminist Review, Nthanda Review and elsewhere.