Monday, May 15, 2017

New Post: Uche Ogbuji, Finalist, Learning to Cope Prize


        Per me si va ne la città dolente,/…/Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate.–Dante

The country of gloom lies right through this door;
Eternal pain prepared beyond this gate;
They’re lost who know what this passage is for;
As you enter, accept your hopeless fate.

Reading this sign has me in quite the state;
Isn’t this the U.S., I ask the bored
Agent at the high desk, that you designate
The country of gloom, set right through that door?

He looks down at me to say: We know your sort,
Coming on no matter how we regulate
Entry. It’s time we stir up what’s in store–
Eternal pain prepared beyond this gate

For those who don’t belong. I fear to debate
The issue at this moment and step forward,
Passport out, eyeing the side hall soiled with wait–
They’re lost who know what that passage is for,

Deported, renditioned, unfortunate poor
Supplicants and refugees burning in state
Within their circles. He grins his knowing scorn:
As you enter, accept your hopeless fate.

This new regime has measured up the score.
We’ve had endless riffraff come on in freight;
It’s the cut glass welcome mat for any more.
Might we convince you not to infiltrate
This country in gloom.

Uche Ogbuji

Uche Ogbuji, born in Calabar, Nigeria, lived in Egypt, England and elsewhere before settling near Boulder, Colorado. A computer engineer and entrepreneur by trade, his poetry chapbook, Ndewo, Colorado (Aldrich Press) is a Colorado Book Award Winner, and a Westword Award Winner ("Best Environmental Poetry"). His poems, published worldwide, fuse Igbo culture, European classicism, American Mountain West setting, and Hip-Hop. He co-hosts the Poetry Voice podcast, featured in the Best New African Poets anthology, and was shortlisted for Nigeria's Eriata Oribhabor Poetry Prize.

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