For Boys Who Are Dead Roses


you grew in the heat of neglect between

the cracks of a concrete floor, piercing

through the hostile bars of parched clay.


you break free!


your fragile stem inhales

its first fresh air


you spread your arms like leaves & dance

to the music of rushing wind


you dig your feet root-deep in the soil

& hope to sip nutritional goodness enough

to feed the flowers of your budding dreams


night time. day time. cold shivers. sunny days.

you wrestle with time, breathe in carbon &

exhale wishes, nursing your flowers until it blooms.


like sunflower (a rose, maybe), that morning, with the rising sun,

you open the petals of your dreams to a world red & yellow,

bold, oozing fragrance.


before night fall, off come the petals

nipped from its bud. stomped. destroyed. rejected –

you watch your dream wilt. die. decay.


you feel pangs of rejection, you want to eat yourself

& pour your grief into a cup of vinegar,

crown yourself with wreaths made of decomposing hay. mayhaps,

it will drown the pain & help you believe in fantasies, again.


but nothing really is as heavy as a rose in a casket



For Boys Who Came, Saw & Were Conquered



We stuck our arms through the bars

clawing for freedom from ugly circumstances


We danced like the flicker of candle light in dark streets

beckoning on illumination to light up our darkest nights


We drizzled like rainfall through the night

wetting our parched dreams with tears


We stood tall like lamp posts on deserted cities

waving torn flags of peace, with waring demons


We quivered like a reed in the wind

longing for calm in the inside


We nudged hope, crawling on skinned knees, across coals

baiting for wisdom to discern drought from deluge


We hoped to break records

we got broken instead




Jaachi Anyatonwu is a poet, editor and publisher from Nigeria. His writings are inspired by everyday happenings and observations. Influenced by writers such as Maya Angelou, Chinua Achebe, Shakespeare, Myles Munroe, Christopher Okigbo, Ben Okri, amongst others, he aspires to quake earth with his quill, while keeping tabs on efficiency, originality, consistency and accuracy. His works have been published in several print and online publications, including ACEworld Publishers, WRR, AllPoetry, Praxis Magazine, Poetry Soup, Poem Hunger, Tush Magazine, and African Writers Magazine.