03 August 2020

Richard Ali is SLQ Monday Writer on 3rd August 2020.
Our fifth Monday Writer is Abuja-based lawyer, novelist and poet, Richard Ali author of City of Memories and The Anguish and Vigilance of Things. In The Monday Writer Interview, Richard talks about his writing, influences and writing habits. “I am a wind chime and the nature of my poetry is to identify and interpret the winds of my times.” You can read the feature here.

Read of the day


She-shell insists on finding me, braving pot-holed seas
Comes to rest at my feet, not saying a word, holding
Hollow lessons of what has gone before, keeping faith
In the promise that love stretches to pick up

Paring the lie of certitudes, eyes do more than mirror
Depths of greyness; dammed by irises are errant desires
Cresting to breast, fires that at times volcano like tears,
Raining redemptive pearls on sand

Between eternities, my mind explores subterns—whiffs
Of perfume, cadenced laughter, chance glances glimpsed
At market squares, ephemera. Dreams are groves in psyche
Beckoning our trust. I close my eyes and melt into her dream.

Blast from the past

Shopping For Faces

This webbed catalogue of faces
doesn’t likely twitch, seeming as
simulacra in their static skin-
linings. Projecting opulent smiles
that align mainframes with
the spotless ebb of flesh which
we’re shopping to learn, amongst
silent earthen majorities, Promethean clay
figurines reanimating desire, dryly –
those cracked minor players!

Did I go head over hailstones
for that first sighting of human error
landlocked by the circumference
of green-sleeved gardens? Some cupid
must have been leaning to unmask
judgement made to bias the flesh.
Yes, even spring tunes me into
barbarism like Stravinsky’s clenched rite
making tribal rounds. Beauty’s
in the eye of a hunger
apathetic to fashion. Give me,
your straddled fuck first – let us
garner cares for the pleasantries, later!
of a confidence cabled with
live-wire intimations, always strongest
at magnetic south. Call me crudely
oiled, but commerce is pulling
the heartstrings, with a penny
saved for casual sex.

Dating gains a stranglehold on credit.
Rack up dollars, cents, the last
spare change for minute stabs
into what sympathies are served
over the taking of lunch rolls.
If you’ll listen to the green,
hear what amours are earning
their market value. “Modern love gets
me to the bank teller on time”,
thought the crooner, with faces
to reel for on webcam, where fatalism
oozes cute vibrations. For a call
to the melancholic, just dial…
…and hustle over your
lemon-zested network connections
re-treading an old idea of romance
we thought lost to loathing.


‘Shopping for Faces’ by Martin Jack was first published in Sentinel Poetry (Online) in April 2003.

Submit poems up to 50 lines long, short fiction and book reviews up to 1,500 words long, short plays/sketches up to 5,000 words long. Target decision time on all submissions is two weeks. Send all submissions with a short bio and a photograph of yourself to slqdaily@sentinelquarterly.com