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Our poetry editor, Joe Pan, has selected three poems by Uche Nduka for his series that brings original poetry to the screens of Hyperallergic readers.

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USS Nebraska (BB14) (1918) (image via National Archives and Records Administration)

Up to the High Dive

up to the high dive
the showdown a cannonball in hot pursuit

blue veins alfalfa ditch
cut to amyl nitrate

lemurs abscond trigger warning
stress test & yet here i am

i have never been overawed by aimlessness
without finishing what’s in my glass without
renouncing bipedal stimulus   proactive crepuscular

without once breaking a stride   i am amenable
to colonnades that serve me   bam  bam

drop the phone   espionage is a fucking joke
that’s enough foxtrot   roll around the crocus

threw away the icebox & snoozed through love
conforming to acrylic toboggan

a hole where a church once blared
i hate saying that silence counts but it does

the lasso the fire of the white rose   the pressure
of motivation   it happens when a dialogue happens

is desire the same thing as a caress?

twisting around what the axis posits

if this is repurposing why are we running?

legend paints our faces
two karmas flowing into each other

what part of love is just one’s belief in it?
tanks? prison camps? opera is not only for fat men

candies? starship? money for something
risen to a delirious plum
outside the subway

this is not what it’s really like to stand stage right
because if worse comes to worse we’ll rip it up

stand up & be echoed says the sauna
i lost my gloves in the Rhine

ejector & ululant
that something is natural doesn’t necessarily
mean it is good or right

stories of the Lord & tourmaline
the woman is the Lord
heaven climbs into a waiting cab

Art Nouveau

i will keep throwing a wrecking ball
the mind is a funky street light

cans of spray paint searching for
the filth behind their truth without a pause

to steamroll over cuttings strippings
frantic phonebooking further away
from thoughts hanging on sledgehammers

gold   seam   gunk   glop
there’s a balsamic climax going on

meeting the outsider’s outsider

fuck off nervous breakdown!

walking towards Art Nouveau pictures
she is going to burn she is going
to dance on top of army tanks

you made the better move
i was too uptight for love

pitched it at a surfer
barreled down to your purity

an abused script let go
sick of inside jokes stage fright

moon the tip of her tail
which brownies will my website support?

plumbing pipe   cart   truck   pan

she was resting
he was in the wrong place

rooms without views
unscan unsolid wood unPlexiglas

he believed the music on her wall
living in the West but not of it

what is silvery braid?
it is obscene not to understand
the opposite of genocide

it is hard to grasp how much grief
is still in me for the death of
that poet shot at Opi Junction in 1967

read your story from mine if you wish
somewhere within a tight spot
double take of atemporal shadow
every part of you is the center of the world

Bets Off

Imprints or not, blue jays are laurels. Some archives meant for a chasm. The detour is helpless. It seeks delusions. To break bread with bread in springtime’s ragtime. Statistics flow by. Across the city, war kissed their philosophies, gave them a verse to sing. With chords of pleasure through the arterial library. You don’t have to figure it all out before you begin. Albany’s tweed bush & meanness of odd matchup. Make & break it & see the maestro fall for a stripper. The permutations of post-9/11 anesthetic. Bets off. Completely badass. Upscale groceries about to be carved up. A fair shake in public opinion polls. The too-muchness is the clincher. Does your slow pace stand for something? Aficionados’ recess. Clasps the collar of the littlest lie. Facts do not always help us know what’s true. Driving one another mad is what makes us perfect. Punk-drunk, blackout drunk. To roll with the gag. Why let analysis invade your dreams? Over & against the tranced, i’m not playing by the number. Growl. Suction. Broth. Over & against meddling & swooning. Distancer. Detangler. Wherever we arrive provokes departure.

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Uche Nduka is a Nigerian-American poet, essayist, and collagist. He is the author of nine volumes of poems of which the latest is titled Nine East (SPM Publications, London, 2013). He presently lives in New York City and teaches at Pratt Institute and CUNY.

Joe Pan

Joe Pan grew up along the Space Coast of Florida and attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His debut poetry book, Autobiomythography & Gallery, was named “Best First Book of the Year”...

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