shot glass
"... brevity is the soul of wit ..."
- William Shakespeare


Uche Ogbuji (@uogbuji) was born in Calabar, Nigeria. He lived, among other places, in Egypt and England before settling near Boulder, Colorado. A computer engineer and entrepreneur by trade, his collection of poetry, Ndewo, Colorado is forthcoming in 2014 from Kelsay Books. His poems, fusing Igbo culture, European Classicism, U.S. Mountain West setting, and Hip-Hop influences, have appeared widely, most recently in IthacaLit, String Poet, The Raintown Review, Featherlit, Outside In Journal, Don't Just Sit There, Qarrtsiluni, and Leveler. He is editor at Kin Poetry Journal and The Nervous breakdown, founder and curator at the @ColoradoPoetry Twitter project.

Uche Ogbuji

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For Pauline Chinagorom Ogbuji née Onuoha

How shall I get you something of dear nnenna?
Or even just the "dear" when her cipher being
Has but dream traces in my own live meaning;
Can I project her self-god's promised witness?
Here I am, sometime fruit of her agenda,
Ekwerazu's daughter, pressed into Christian
Mold of nwanyi Igbo, framed by market, kitchen
And labor, unworthy weighting of fitness.
Long before my day you passed into mystique,
Well before the war which dashed and knit anew
My two clans, spread worldwide as we branched and grew,
Fed by grace which was long shade of your quickness.

Nnenna, stretch that fund of grace should I misspeak,
Should I fall short of wages you never claimed,
Which you left to purchase credit of your name
By bearers of your self-god's promised witness.


  • Pauline Chinagorom Ogbuji née Onuoha – the author's grandmother
  • Chinagorom – Igbo female name meaning "my personal spirit is my witness"
    or in Christian reformulation "God is my witness"
  • nnenna – Igbo: paternal grandmother
  • Ekwerazu – Birthplace of P.C. Ogbuji
  • nwanyi Igbo – Igbo: "Igbo woman"