14 July 2020


Flying ointment by Gabriel Griffin

My knowledge is the kind
that buds and blooms, my charms not
swelling breasts but aconite, hemp’s
sweat, the purple poppies’ ooze; my

spells the droning of fat bees
gorged on sweet-scented eggs,
their honeyed hum
dozing into dreams.

I’ve done no harm! Not put
the screech-owl’s curse
on running mouse or man, nor
infused toadstool’s candid spawn

to confound, confuse – or
worse! Nor ever used the
viper’s splitting eye
to make men die. Instead

I’ve helped old cows over
time give birth and milk,
rubbed out the pox on rosier
cheeks than mine and

eased the moaning when
Death’s pin has poked
too many holes in life’s
fine and fragile skin.

Simmering on my own
slow cures for doubled nights,
I get no thanks, expect no reward
for skills I’ve honed

alone; the flame soft swearing
at the log, a fever boiling
in the pot, midnight winking
at the door. I’m poor. Poor!

So what harm do I wreak
on you that you cry
Witch! and hunt me, pin
me, rack me, duck me,

stake me, baste me, want
me to die just because –
despite your will –
I fly?

‘Flying Ointment’ by Gabriel Griffin was highly commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (March/April 2020) judged by Mandy Pannett.


Chiedu Ezeanah

Except from Paradigm City Quartet by Chiedu Ezeanah

(For Nnamdi Obioha Azuonye – the Majestic Mista Mystic – Feb.13,1982-July 4, 2001; author of Paradigm City, Iridescent Glow, Rhymes Upon The Clock and Life With So Short A Memory. Nnamdi literally fled this earth with his prodigious talent after a car crash at 19.)


Iridescent Glow

David, exuberant psychic astronaut,
Explodes gigantic galaxies for joy.

A glow beams a billion awake.
The shore’s giddy glory quakes.

Tall fireworks in nine hurrahs
Undim a pluriverse of new light
Past vast parched partitions.

A spotlight’s nude athletic glides
Torch bonfires of rhythmic strides-
Redeem ambition’s iridescence.

A child-hero’s bold blue eyes
Flush frail New-Time to rhyme:

Shed like King Cobra’s snake-skin,
Phantom Old-Time is lurched behind.


Rhymes Upon The Clock

The thawing cold shoulder of the arctic
Turns the dove’s blood pressure atomic.

Largest Lake Chad* is fossil, ditto the Kyoto Protocol:
The ozone layer rues Al Gore’s outraged goose pimple.

The ticking clocks are flashing away
Paced with heartbeats ready to race.

The mind, the spirit and the body grow
Toward Paradise’s endless tomorrow.

Majestic Mista Mystic, mastermind of imaginings
Baiting infinity with words rapping, brazen, unaging-

Perch again, upon Ra’s ancient pyramids.
Transmit the emperor’s sun-birthing habits.

Pan bloom time’s belly like a laser-
Parachute down the Nile for a Spa.

(Paradigm City Quartet by Chiedu Ezeanah was first published in Sentinel Literary Quarterly Vol. 1 No. 1, September 2007)