Uche Ogbuji, born in Calabar, Nigeria, lived in Egypt, England and elsewhere before settling near Boulder, Colorado. A computer engineer and entrepreneur by trade, his poetry chapbook, Ndewo, Colorado (Aldrich Press, 2013) is a Colorado Book Award Winner, and a Westword 2015 Award Winner ("Best Environmental Poetry"). His poems, published worldwide, fuse Igbo culture, European classicism, American Mountain West setting, and Hip-Hop influences. Among other editing projects he runs @ColoradoPoetry on Twitter. A selection of his poems was included in the Best New African Poets 2015 anthology.

October 5, 2016

Uche Ogbuji

Grey Erie

Grey over olive, water in flotsits, Burst into pox of mushroom white — Here's the surface, fixed in its waves, Refusing the yield to evening light. The legend: blue-bottle clear in the deep, Only sunbeam columns betray silt; They say it's a tidy locker for ghosts On Carnegie wage, and Vanderbilt. Stymied, that mussel wonder marine, From flying eyes over surface schism, Grey on refraction, checkmate hue From blue at bound of a mould-skin prism.

A few years ago I was descending into Cleveland Hopkins Airport on a visit to my parents. It was evening and the sun was playing its accustomed evening tricks with shade and color. I was struck at the way the surface of the water of Lake Erie fluctuated from green to blue, and from a mouldy matte to a reflective gloss. I'd heard of how the invasion of zebra mussels, carried to that lake on the hulls of commercial boats, had the unexpected effect of eating away much 20th century industrial waste, and I imagined what clues the modulation of the surface might offer to the state of the main body of water. Those musings took the form of "Grey Erie," a poem I must admit required quite a few more revisions than usual to really cast into art my thoughts from that day.

Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published weekly by Glass Poetry Press.
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