I was born in Calabar, Nigeria and lived, among other places, in Egypt and England before settling near Boulder, Colorado with my wife and four children. I'm a computer engineer by trade, but poetry is my passion. My chapbook, Ndewo, Colorado is a Colorado Book Award Winner. In my spare time I snowboard, coach and play soccer, and train in American Kenpo. I am also an editor at Kin Poetry Journal.
Ed. Note: In an email, Uche sent me this introduction to his two poems. Here is what he wrote:
For this month, how about two of my most infuriating influences? The first a nod to Ezra Pound's poem Dance Figure and the second a musing on Eliot which makes plain my ambivalence. At least Pound had the decency to admit late in life that his bigotries had been stupid and destructive, but Eliot never seemed to recant his appalling anti-semitism and other racial chauvinisms, sexism and even worse his sometimes appalling treatment of people close to him such as his first wife. I look to redress my obvious debts to him by considering that he has bequeathed me and others the very literary tools for repudiating his personal savageries.
Ezra Pound - 1885-1972
Dance Figure Eight
Dark eyed, woman of my dreams,
Burnt jewel perfection, regal date,
Your hands on me like frosted streams,
Split winding sheet of goddess fate.
I stumble just to emulate
Your union with the luscious song;
Tuck in my thumbs to demonstrate
Along your waist-hem, silk sarong.
T. S. Eliot - 1888–1965
The finest rhythms of sense and sound
He laid like geometric lemmas,
A forthright flame in nature's code
Sprang from his metaphysic embers.
In fire-spun cadence, line by line,
He filigreed the house of churl;
In vitriol and blood-specked bile
He cleansed and cached a run of pearl.
Alone in every humming nerve--
No truss to prop his slender bones--
He did contrive a social front
For resonance of undertones.
The man entombed one wife in lime
Blew his own caste from out his nose,
Found doyen throne and slacker slum
Beneath his station to dispose.
For critics granite-eyed contempt
Or satire soaked in sulphured tar;
For Jews the overwhelming stench
Of Luther's spleen spilled from its jar.
His faith was abstract as his loves
A workman's cheap cement foundation;
Banker skill and patient craft
Wove fiber through his incantation.
Greek and Hebrew neatly mixed
As learned from long Renaissance course--
Shake-down of far-flung mysteries--
Exotic coins to weight his purse.
A cast of slovenly straw men
To buffet with his lacquered staff;
Helots given Shakespeare lines
Or low slang to cajole a laugh.
Yet even through this foul miasma
Masterpiece cools from his cast;
Such skillfully crafted bigotry
Outshines truth to the very last.
Though dangerous if swallowed whole
His oeuvre's a pantry of insights--
Gourmet treasures to nourish even
The marks lured in by faery lights.
Old Possum palmed the soot of life
And pressed it into flawless gems
From Antwerp to Johannesburg,
Excreted trade in apothegms.
And branching out behind his back
A franchise for diverse cultures
To brew elixir for renewed
Defiance of colonial vultures.
He's sown fire in the quick of words
We reap mandrake and asphodel;
Who dare curse raw ingredients
Of magic draught that's served so well.
His stylist pen, great thunderbolt
Affixing poor, stray innocents;
Go! Catch their blood in chymic jars
And swig the sweet maleficent.
-first appeared in the journal Fieralingue
©2014 Uche Ogbuji
©2014 Uche Ogbuji