Not all flames that
die, brother,
are meant to be stoked;
Don’t blow some.

We stampede at
conflagrations in

The home,
or electric paranoia
breaking with
doing Christmas fireworks that
dart heavenward and curve
down in ominous varicolour.

You might just
be stoking
the cynical fire
of the glow-worm.

There are, however, some
red red coals a
mother tosses on a thick
wood bark and carefully guides
a neighbour’s son to take

Home to his mother’s
while eye-smarting fumes
trail him.
That, brother, may you stoke.


Post-Truth on Canvas

Let us talk
about the lies painting – sophisticated
simpleton – never told anyone

That the world and all its schemes, once upon
a time, were just black and white and ashen and
nothing between,
platonic categories. Aletheia, that?

The films at the start said to their ability
over the years that truth has come
to be truer until now that it’s truest; the
next word is with science, the avant-garde,
acceptance, trending, moonwalk…

Paintings always had the colours to
throw around. Cameras became doubters,
Columbuses and Washingtons.
Children can bet on
their lives: red was not the colour
of blood in the past but hell.

Knowledge of sorts of dojis, tempera, triptych,
etcetera, guarantee nothing, just like their


About the author

 Abasi Torty Tortivie studied English at Ibadan. He is the initiator and Co-Editor of The Sky is our Earth: An Anthology of Fifty Young Nigerian Poets. He is from Ogu in Yenagoa.

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