Round the table we sat four,
Rejoicing; how pleasing it is to pass an exam.
Joy from the heart of paradise in our core
And wallets ready to vomit pleasure:
Four bottles to feast
Pop the flame out of its cyst,
A trail of dehydrating pleasure down my throat,
Flooding my sinews like a broken-down damn;
So it all began: one glass.

One bottle, four bottles empty;
I feel my pulse climbing higher,
My temperature, yet second bottle is tempting.
Whirlpool waking within, reaching the land of plenty,
Are the other three hit?
They look pretty sober.
The black beauty kept slithering down my throat,
Tickling sensation spreading speedily southwards.
How long before I finish this second bottle?

Two bottles, eight bottles empty.
Is it really the floor I feel under my feet?
I am on a Zeppelin, now I’ve the heart of a beast!
Speaking from the heart, inhibitions rended:
Louder, louder, higher.
Singing, shouting, screaming.
Control still within, I wouldn’t break all oaths.
For sure, I was losing it, my liquor loosing the brain;
How long, before I realise I should stop?

Three bottles, many bottles empty,
Are all three of them floating too after these three?
Looks like; listen to the parley!
For loud hawkers we were,
No wares to hawk, but how loud we revelled.
I dared not turn round, look at the onlookers.
No! Gather your spilled senses together;
Hearing, seeing, touching, tasting, smelling
All confused in burning honey on my palate.
Spending, why did I get a fourth?

Four bottles, or how many?
Dilated pupils, my Zeppelin was taking off,
No need to ask anybody: we were four and drunk;
Rapping rowdily on the table,
Babbling. Today I pity the bar owner.
However, it was no surprise to him,
We started to laugh, one is throwing up.
Bet you would not comprehend,
Why the barmaid brought the sixth.

Many many bottles on the table,
We start discussing politics,
Our parliamentarians could not have done better.
We switch to football, argued about lawns,
Started a debate on ants, about the Queen’s pants!

Oh God, here goes the, hmm-th…bottle…?
We drag our weight out, zigzag on the street.
My door is over there, somewhere there,
In fact, our homes aren’t far.
Hmm-th bottles to our lips, the stream flowing in,
Four blind men aiming at nowhere.
I got up in a gutter,
Trousers soaked in urine,
And next week I’ll go for one more glass.

( c) Nyonglema Pisoh


Trudging amidst littered corpses resulting from fatal blood baths,

I asked myself in the middle of one wade: did Peace walk this path?

Did she, in her crystal beauty pause to hold conversation?

No! If she did I won’t be knee deep in human body parts!


Then I thought me, maybe she’s off to walk the holy paths

Wherein many kneel to walk closer to He who in Heaven art.

But the squabbling and quarrelling as each said his was the right one,

Made it clear she’d surely set off stealthily amidst their word darts.


Certainly, I told my weary self, she’d be found in family hearths.

But lo, the father scolds, the kids into devils moult, and that

Mother weeps, heart pierced by innumerable despicable horrors.

Poor me, I thought the quest past, but I must now restart.


Oh dear me! I’d forgotten those tender things she could fancy, children’s hearts!

What more jolly and jovially innocent? So at the door I knocked and dropped my hat

And then dropped my jaw, as all sorts of abuses walked the place.

I ran off discouraged , my energy spent. I lay on a mat.


Maybe what I have so sought was here in my heart?

I say to myself with confidence. But amidst my silent fights

Between right and wrong, the conscience bites and cloudy darkness

I knew for sure, I’d never see that fine lass.


(c) Nyonglema Pisoh