Dark Poetry
Poems by Etumnu Emeka Williams, Busamoya Phodiso
Modirwa and Marc Carver
Island of skull
By Etumnu Emeka Williams


I heard roar here and there
Untraced shadows everywhere
Hearts gripped with fear
Nocturnal hour of terror is near

I heard the cawing of raven
This dark island is there haven
Disgusting, I saw another vulture
Doing what is there culture

Then I saw scary skull
Wary of this island of skull
Yet some venture
Across it for greener pasture

Beasts, I see on this caravan mirror
What is this horror
Everywhere is bone
Underneath our legs as stone

Island of dusty anatomy
Begetting fear as ancient mommy.
To read other short stories,
click one of the titles below.
About Etumnu Emeka Williams

The poet is a Postgraduate
student of Mass communication
and a member of the African
Council for Communication
Education. He once participated
in the Nigerian Centenary Quiz
competition in 2014. The poet
premiered in the stage play "Joy
of Professor Abednego Jr"
written by Hon. Jerry Alagbaoso
in 2018, he has also worked with
the Nigerian Television
Authority, International as a
content creator.
About Marc Carver

Marc Carver has published
some ten collections of poetry
but he knows the most
important thing about poetry is
finding some truth in anything
then saying what he sees. Life
decides what he finds
End Times
By Marc Carver


The towns are like ghost towns now
without the ghosts
They are all herded inside the bunkers of hell with nothing to do but wait and pray and suddenly everything
looks different.
Life will never be the same again
never
and mankind finally got what it deserved.
Monologue In Which The Dead Girl Says She Is Not Dead
                                                        By Busamaoya Phodiso Modirwa


I am a girl hanging on the hook of a black song
I promise I will not stay here long

This body left still too long is a thing crawling to decay
Not unlike china, it warrants its cracks, like clay

But I promise, I am not dead, only sleeping                                    
Pay no mind to all this beautiful bleeding

I kissed my skin scarred with the cold of a sharp aid
¬¬Here, feel something, my mind’s hands said

Maybe what followed was euphoria in the body of a sloth
Drifting into the luminous nothingness, a mindless moth

But I promise I am not dead, only sleeping
Tell the mourners outside to stop with the weeping
The Secret
By Marc Carver


I took it to the garden to bury it.
Down and down I dug until I hit another one.
This one was buried deep but only because I knew that I could not open it
It had been there since the beginning of time
my time anyway.
It was impossible to open I knew that.
But this one had to go very deep
now it had come to the surface again.
You see I had almost forgot about it but it had been there always just under the surface.
So I dug and I dug until I got tired and threw it in and covered it.
The next day I was refreshed from my sleep I looked out into the garden and there it was
proud as punch for everybody to see.
Surreal
By Marc Carver


I see you there
eyes shining
pretty round face.
You are looking at me but your looking says nothing.
I see you are under a bed or couch.
You have no body just the head that props up the bed or couch.
You don't speak neither do I.
I guess there is nothing to say
Poltergeist Express
        By Marc Carver


Everyday I go out for my one hour's exercise.
I see the bus and it is filled up with ghosts, everyday three times a day. Only the driver is alive.
I don't know whether they are the same ghosts and whether they are looking at me and saying come on the
bus come and join us  
I would do but I don't know where they are going.
About Busamaoya Phodiso
Modirwa

Busamoya Phodiso Modirwa is
a Motswana writer and poet with
works published on Jalada
Africa, Praxis Online Magazine,
Ake Review, Kalahari Review
and elsewhere. She is a
recipient of the Botswana
President's Award for
Contemporary Poetry 2016 and
her short stories have been
shortlisted for the Botswana
Tourism Fiction Award 2019 and
Ibua Journal's Inaugural Pack
Light Edition.
The Dead Girl Won't Stay Still For the Viewing of the Body
                                                               By Busamaoya Phodiso Modirwa


Where a doctor would have poked around with a scalpel to carve out the heart of the waning, the woman
came with questions like bright lights. Watched the girl fasten silence around her waist, like a belt, break
her name like bread then walk right through her mirror, miles and miles.

‘Can I help you?’  She hears, you are needy; you cannot row yourself out of your troubled waters. She is
troubled waters most days.

‘Who are all the people on your face?’ She hears, I cannot see you therefore you are not here. She walks
further and further into the mirror.

The voice in her ear is a rope but she sits on her hands to forget its saving pull. Her name is sitting at the
bottom of the ocean making friends with sea horses like it has gills.

‘Will you at least talk to me?’ She hears, cooperate, everyone wants to see the girl the maggots housed
before her curtains closed. Sit still, restless bodies make restless ghosts.
The Dead Girl Says Her House Is Not A Grave
                                By Busamaoya Phodiso Modirwa


In this house we water the plants and say grace
Even though no one comes to breathe or dine here
Even though the guests leave the flowers by the door
This house is no ghastly room for the dead, a grave

Even though no one comes to breathe or dine here
I am here aren’t I?  Drawing the drapes and dusting the cabins
This house is no ghastly room for the dead, a grave
A gaping mouth the priest calls someone’s last home

I am here aren’t I?  Drawing the drapes and dusting the cabins
Even though here is a different place
A gaping mouth the priest calls someone’s last home
Please come in, there is plenty of room here

Even though here is a different place
Even though the guests leave the flowers by the door
Please come in, there is plenty of room here
In this house we water the plants and say grace
First Night At The Cemetery
        By Busamaoya Phodiso Modirwa


                                the older ghosts ease you out of your body
            bridle your mortal way of fighting everything
sickness/ sadness/ death/ yourself
                               
 welcome to yourself
                                               make yourself at home
there will be the kinder ones                 desperate for a new playmate
                                pulling you to the quieter serene parts of the graveyard [playground]
                     to play atop tombs of folks who died long before you were born
atop things too big/ far in time/ scary
                     but the older ghosts will slap their little tiny wrists of voices
                                                send them shrieking in anxious mischievous laughter like bats
like those nocturnal angels of the dark and quiet
                                                        and then there will be the bullies
who unhinge your head from your body and run off with it                        
                                                                call it an out of body experience
                                teach you the dead’s cuss words
say it is the language of the sylphs                                         already-
                                                        your crush is a crypt janitor
holding out to you fresh flowers                                 the mourners placed atop your grave
                like he picked them out himself from a fragrant field less haunted
you think him sweet                the way he looks away         every time you hold a gaze
                and for a split second you two are
                                                        the liveliest phantoms in the land of the dead
For poetry by Etumnu Emeka
Williams, Busamoya Phodiso
Modirwa and Marc Carver,
click here

For poetry by Valkyrie Kerry,
Meg Smith, Juan Perez and  
Christopher Hivner,
click here