ALL ACCOUNTS AND MIXTURE: The Poetry of Chekwube O. Danladi


I was hammered
the first night of
Ramadan   guilty
as if Allah believed
it me   even if not   so many
other outlets for discord:
coitus purple urkle acupuncture
such practicality in things
I could have showered and had
war sung out of me
My other name Husseina pressed
like a razor to my temple
and I thought to lean into it
knowing for my people
the many uses of the
cow: milk butter meat  rug
Against the tiles where I arrived
I shouted slaughter are you
looking to marry?
Why else come home?
Mene ne mutum?
If not someone to praise-name
the thing my gut miscarried
months earlier?
I’ll want that ache again
a hunger to walk the evening with

I was at my mother’s
ear while she killed
anything   the cock’s
neck in her hand
at 86’s Eid   the flesh sacrifice
mutual so many pleasures
guaranteed so nothing beautiful
ends   her largesse brought prone
me an oracle awaiting questions
elsewhere   afflicted to hurt nothing
but myself   She too  withstood love’s
accretion by holding fingers
to flame yet did make-up her
face that dusk   wearing her body
like sin only soothed by eating
nono munshanu nama
Most of her is since covered
her kneeling pious
a soul belated in exchange
for ascent and clean firmament
What is a man? One coming
soon to hold night against her
It was too early
that low blown wind a worm
up her skirt but alone in the kitchen
she broke the fast anyway



         (for A.P.)

Our sun this morning          inflicted and teems
sore, moving against           time or a pustule
we may cure herba   ceously. We ride its
filtered light unclean           ly our physiques a
-nointed like pealing           down a pike way. Your
embers are MANHOOD      obliged, encumbered
to bad behavior,       the labored way I’ve come
to know your body, the season of guilt.

I teach your eye the trick of humming, con
-tact a commitment of pleasure, yours. If
I let this hand a        -gainst my back, you’ll claim
to know me empir    -ically, black goes
beyond the optic:      a roar of fluid,
an appellation           for vertebrae, slap
-core of my disso      -nance. The other hand
at my black estrus,   scented and tasted.
I am a mean thing.  We are not within
love but this want is             what you love, our morph
-ology one of slacken things: cum, scattered
waist beads, warm air re     -couped. Light sieves past the

gossamer curtains   I toss my titties
like a pair of con       -gas, generous timber
of slap-tone, your cock        a would-be proving
ground for my girlhood,      if I were a girl
at all. What binds us,           our genealogies
a distinction of         the sheathe versus the

weapon within. The realm of our conjunc
-tion, a dead Black wo         -man buried in
Cienfuegos barbs me,          bending the pitch for
all unending gifts.    She is sliding side

to side coming to      suture this pleasure
of ancestry, re           -mind the origin
of your mouth, name me    nothing vacuous
so I may go some     -where, part that ordered
rare speculation       wracked through with affect.



            (for Stokely)

With the ease with which you widen the berth
my words like sequester
risk being too understood
                                    we watch the alley cats
                                    from the kitchen window
                                    over our end-of-day coffees
afraid not just of stellar recall
but cognizance         its why
I’m sitting still though I’m not
yet tired         yet the frame
                                    captures the kindest rendition
                                    of that secret game we play with strangers
                                    lobbing off their heads and seeing
                                    if they still know where to go
We trace something serene
as the ambulance whirs down Kingsessing
                                    imagining also taking what isn’t ours     
                                    a boy smiles up from the trolley
                                    his mouth a vortex of potato chips
we come to no such satisfaction
our bellies as empty as they’d been that morning
except on your bedside table
there’d been a plate of cashews
                                    and I’d wanted to put them
                                    in your mouth for you
                                    as you slept   after I’d licked
                                    off the salt
you let me rest all day as if I didn’t
pick the hard terrain
my eyes running bloodless when I stationed
                                    we make our space for another
                                    because in another world that boy is our son
                                    and I love him enough        I stand in
                                    the doorway to call his name across the alley
as the streetlights shudder on
You are the woman he’ll call daddy
when the city isn’t close
            He’ll sleep in our bed until he’s eight
                                    As if he can’t slip away
                                    in your hand he’ll drop a peach
                                    in mine the pit                      safety becoming a word
                                    he’ll know the meaning of
After his eyes close we open ours
We make a racket of our longing
We refuse the day to end



(for my sister)

Neither breathed nor held,
those forgotten gods now
proffer poverty,

since no legacy
but ours to tend,
for you to die and cast me

your keeper – to wash you,
to dress you –
be it a casual hunger

or an anthem of erotics
sing it loud and disturb my
sleep, all of time fading – then

rubbing, then darkening –
what you call confession
we’ve consorted: born two,

the damage brilliant; is it a myth
the Igbo buried their abominations
in pots? Long time provender
for the wicked.

Unlikely how generous the
gesture. All ghosts suffer
equally so clutch me through

each parable,
the assemblage of
your trespass:

in the forest,
yes, tender, asking earth
some confidence, idling,
your calm regrets even
that country.



                        -Rose and Taylor’s,
                        Champaign, Illinois

Came the some-days boyhood was due

                        my efforts needing tending

I went round the way to 1st Street

                        for pussy-talk and bets on the bracket.

Audacities razor in my palm’s clutch, waiting

                        so I sit with my shit all opened up too

the room like Caravaggio’s Seven Works of Mercy

                        though all these angels be Black, and calling out the god-head

my pulse speaks up all the ways I’ll want

                        them to hurt me and wade through it.

Someone orders chicken wings

my savior assuring my fit around the swill, my affirmation to know a place.

That harangued confession before I die

                        possessed by sweet oil wrought in his hard-skinned reaping.

I bit my thickest lip through the good feeling

rollicked my neck against the slick of Luster’s Pink Sheen Spray

and in the mist I saw my name become mnemonic.

                        I held the vessel as I entered, kissed across his face the sign of the cross.



Sloppily shorn nappy hairs
A half full bed

Stirring above
the seizure of the
washing machine
A junkie for neglect rending

the half empty bed
Finger paint art
pretending to gesture
Chasing your face in a dream
where I'm sitting on it

You as a girl when you
used to be
dancing with a black boy prom date

Three parallel scars
fighting to be reinvested
A maelstrom of Derrida
almost resonating

Donna Summers’ sexy squeal
something like I want to do
A luminous half-light

The Devil's array of scores
Him two God zero

There are days we run
naked through wishing
we knew each other as teenagers

The shit-smell of new diagnoses inherited
polarities pealed into lamplight
Cockroaches giving birth beneath
my pillow

banal weight gain
enthused weight loss
a frosted donut
A chest binder, black

N-body physics
embodied in the swirling of prairie grass

Dirty rain in the cistern
Apartment number five
The darkness of my eyes

About the Author:
Chekwube O. Danladi's poetry chapbook, Take Me Back, was recently published as part of the New-Generation African Poets Series: Nne, edited by Chris Abani and Kwame Dawes. They are currently working on a novel about queers living in Abuja, Nigeria. They live in Urbana, Illinois.
Follow Chekwube on Twitter at: @codanladi.

About All Accounts:
All Accounts and Mixture is an annual online feature celebrating the work of LGBTQ writers and artists. For this series, we seek work from authors who self-identify as "queer," while acknowledging that this designation is subjective and highly personal. Our goal is to provide a forum for writers whose voices might be mis- or underrepresented by the literary mainstream. Submissions open May 18th and run through June 19th. Poetry, prose, visual art, reviews and interviews will all be considered.