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1 POEM By Martins Deep


in my chest,

where i’m the butler of grief, i find a nook

to scrape off its brand from the back of my right hand.

my breadknife whetted into a dagger

thirsts for the end of my loyalty        but i am shivering        i shiver

knowing self harm to mean;              cutting my placenta 

                                                               affixed to its belly of a bittersweet spring.

this gets me wondering if i’m the reincarnation of a black slave

one, who missed the whirring of lashes;

& the moans of his master’s tastebuds

after bleeding sweat-sweetened sugarcane juice.

i’ve crushed mother’s blessings                            

to flavor his wine      & for so long; as the nightfall in the eyes of a bat.

[crushed •transitive verb• /kɹʌʃ/: a sound no one ever heard, 

because stealth is how you stifled 

the deafening cry into the imagery of                 an overripe grape 

                                                                                  betwixt the sole of a schoolboy’s sandal,

                                                                                  &                               the tongue of silence]

my dagger blooms a wreath for freedom 

on whose gravestone i now stand to wear this poem a crown of thorns.


Martins Deep is a Nigerian poet & photographer. He is passionate about documenting muffled stories of the African experience in his poetry & visual art. Writing from Kaduna, or whichever place he finds himself, the acrylic of inspiration that spills from his innermost being tends to paint, from the colouring book of his imagination, various depictions of humanity/life, & to spill ink on placards of protests.