DEPARTURE by Roman Oriogun

I came across these poems on Brittle Paper while on a bus ride. I remember the poet’s name from the 14:We are Flowers Anthology I read last year. I enjoyed Departure. My heart aches with each line and smiled with others.

“i was born to be darkness hiding under a cave

& i know the weight of exile in a body”.

The first poem called Departure artistically narrates being queer in a dangerous and unaccepting place and painful departure of lovers to better places. It paints the experience of being gay in Nigeria where it is illegal and punishable by imprisonment or death by a mob. The poems are informal using imagery, repition, first person and stream of consciousness narrative techniques. These all make me love the poems.

“The streets hum with voices,

vehicles run into the rising sun,”

The above lines are an example from the second singing poem, Kumbaya. The last poem Saddest Night Alive, also narrates a tale of a distraught lover, fragile love, longing and nightmares of being killed.

“I’m learning how to live with this fear of not finding love”. 

I can say the above sentence is one that echoes a fear of mine. Why is it so difficult to find someone to genuinely love me for more than a minute?

Click the Brittle Paper link to read the poem. Share your thoughts on longing for love from a departing lover.


My Reading Goals 2018

Reading is an hobby of mine I refer to as my first love. I’d like to explore new narratives in 2018. To aid this I have a short list of S.M.A.R.T reading goals. A S.M.A.R.T. goal is defined as one that is specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time- bound.

#GOAL 1- Maintain my reading habit during the 12 months of the year.

Action Steps:

  • Schedule reading time in my daily to-do lists.
  • Actually read and enjoy it.
  • Pick reading materials from my usual sources (purchased paperbacks, reviews, magazine published stories, my own work, blogs and Okadabooks).
  • Reflect and note down lessons learnt and ideas gotten from read work.
  • Note and share my thoughts on works read.
  • Recommend works I enjoyed.
  • Take breaks from reading (eg. In between books or during semester C.A or Exams.).
  • Keep books away from damage. Store finished books properly.


#GOAL 2- To read more poetry in the next 12 months.

Action Steps:

  • Read poems found online, in literary magazines and blogs.
  • Read 3 poetry collections with a average of 70 poems.
  • Read 2 poetry anthologies. I enjoyed reading anthologies in the past.
  •  Read poems of various forms written by Nigerian and other (non)African poets.


#GOAL 3- To read at least 7 novels from other Africans on the continent and in Diaspora.

Action Steps: 

  • Make a list of books by other African authors (nominated for lierary awards the past 2 years, from 2017 purchase list and reviews I enjoyed)
  • Purchase or read online (e)book curated on the list
  • Draft my thoughts on read works and share in WHAT I AM READING.

I’m excited about the journey the works I’ll read this year will take me. I’ll do an Achievement Assessment at the end of every quarter of the year. Because of my smart reading goals I won’t be doing any book challenges.