Dream Residue

By Uche Ogbuji


Can’t believe I stayed asleep to give
Honey slope après ski GPS,
Real life need-to-piss bringing the cock-block;
Her black greek letter accent fading fast
With harem eyes under bright bluebird skies
To duller daybreak wink of bluing chalk…
Damn! I planned to smash that like Thor’s hammer.
The ferry over cream slides cruel to dock.

Other vessels cruel in other ways—
White water raft on hag ride flipped awake,
Convulsions at the temple from the shock;
I fight paralytic memories
Of climax vertigo, of virgin dread
Crowding the close-pressed black about the clock,
Reach for her soothing eyes across false worlds
For ferry over cream tied cruel at dock.

I lean to tail end fishing through the fresh—
Like every lazy early season’s flight—
Fall eating death cookie of mermaid rock…
Is she still thick like syrup at the lodge?
Got her off-piste avalanche probe right here.
I rise tripod to crowing of the cock
Slowly shedding sticky dream residue
As ferry over cream slides cruel to dock.

TAGS: , , , , , , , , , ,

UCHE OGBUJI is a founding editor of the TNB Poetry section. He is also co-creator and co-host of the Poetry Voice podcast. His short collection of poems Ndewo, Colorado (Aldrich Press, 2013) is a winner of the 2014 Colorado Book Awards. To expand a bit, Uche Ogbuji was born in Calabar, Nigeria. He lived, among other places, in Egypt and England before settling near Boulder, Colorado where he lives with his wife and four children. Uche is a computer engineer (trained in Nigeria and the USA) and entrepreneur whose abiding passion is poetry. His poems, fusing Igbo culture, European Classicism, U.S. Mountain West setting, and Hip-Hop influences, have appeared widely. Uche also snowboards, coaches and plays soccer, and trains in American Kenpo. You can catch more of the prolifically fraying strands of his life on his home page, or, heck, even on Twitter.

15 responses to “Dream Residue”

  1. Uche Ogbuji says:

    The backing track for the audio is “Humpty Dumpty” from Placebo Sessions (1971-1974). A lovely album that’s become unfortunately a bit of a rare item.

    Marc Moulin—Placebo Sessions [Import]

  2. Uche. I have a confession. I don’t get spoken word poetry.

    But whatever it is that this is, I dug it.

    • Uche Ogbuji says:

      Glad you liked it Kimberly. I suppose my first instinct would be to say that I think all poetry is spoken word, or at least should aspire to be so. But I do know exactly what you mean. That genre born to the rhythms of Jazz in the grand operating theater of The Apollo, most recently popularized by HBO’s Def Poetry Jam.

      I’ll admit I’m a fan of the stuff, and it’s influenced me a decent amount. I’ve always felt that it was one of the only scenes producing decent poetry during the dark ages of the art in America, the latter half of the 20th century. But then again I’ve always felt that sometimes that genre was crying out for form, but almost didn’t have any idea how to make that bridge. “Dream Residue” is in form, but I hear it in Jazz, and so recited it that way. I don’t know whether it’s the form you dig, but I’d like to think so. I’ve been writing in that combination of style quite a bit, lately.

      Curious; are there particular geners of poetry you do tend to like? Examples of poets?

      • I have the collected works of e.e. cummings – a gift from a overzealous boyfriend when I told him how much I love the poem somewhere i have never traveled, gladly beyond

        And I do adore Shakespeare.

        Other than that, it’s all pretty much lost on me.


        • *aN* overzealous …


        • Uche Ogbuji says:

          That’s fair enough. I know the feeling considering most fiction is lost on me. cummings is a pretty good place to start. As for Shakespeare, I assume you mean e.g. the sonnets and Troilus and Cressida rather than the poetry sprinkled throughout his drama (“Full fathom five…” “Alack and fie for shame…” “The barge she sat in like a burnished throne…”) That is interesting, as the Elizabethans with their conceits and courtly styling can be pretty tricky to grasp.

        • Actually, I consider all of Shakespeare to be poetry. Iambic pentameter ain’t easy, less so to perform adeptly. He has mad language skillz, yo.

          And the sonnets are okay. Some better than others. But I prefer them when someone turns them into songs.

          That said, and moderately off-topic: I LOVE Eminem and consider him to be a poet.

          Go fig.

        • Uche Ogbuji says:

          What a great bonus to have found excuse to talk poetry with you, Kimberly, reluctant though you may be on the topic 🙂

          A large proportion of Shakespeare’s drama is iambic pentameter, as you say, thought there are large tracts of exceptions, often for effect (Robert Graves remarks on how Caliban answers Ariel’s blank verse with rough “quayside prose”). But as Graves also points out, it’s hard to have a large tract of blank verse that carries the concentrated flavor of, say one of his sonnets. It would be hard for the reader as well as the author. So that’s the distinction I was making. I tend to avoid the debate over “what is poetry” but I’m actually much more impressed by the poetry of Shakespeare’s plays (which tend to be filed under “drama”) than much of his work that gets filed under poetry. i.e. I’m not as big a fan of the sonnets, and I much prefer Chaucer’s Troilus/Cressida treatment. In other words, I think our tastes are matched there.

          As for Eminem, that ain’t off-topic nohow! I’m but a moderate Eminem fan (or at least I much prefer his earlier, underground work before he made it big) but I do believe that there are large genres of accomplished rappers, including Eminem, who are strong poets. The graduates of the New York and Philadelphia underground such as Mos Def and Black Thought, the West Coast abstract scene such as Hieroglyphics and the Southern “thinking man’s gangstas” such as Outkast and Goodie Mob, not to mention the explosive lyricism of Rap Français (from M.C. Solaar to Diam’s) whether in France or in Senegal, Haiti or Montréal, and so many other regional rap scenes worldwide. The sophistication of modern hip-hop is truly unparalleled at least in English since the Elizabethan era, and I’ve always thought that’s where you’ll find the true heirs of Shakespeare, Chaucer, Sydney, Donne and the like.

  3. Irene Zion says:


    I think I understand only about a third of it, I’m ashamed to say, but I’ll keep reading it over again and see if any more lights turn on.

    • Uche Ogbuji says:

      Irene, there are a few snowboarding references, e.g. “death cookie” is an object under the snow that cause a rider to crash and a “lean to tail end fishing through the fresh” is the feel of riding in deep powder. A bit of it is paysage intérieur, but I think just a bit.

  4. Simon Smithson says:

    Man. I felt cooler just listening to this. The backing track, the smooth rhythm of it – nicely done, Uche. A lot of fun on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

    • Uche Ogbuji says:

      Glad it brightened your day. Mine was spoiled a bit yesterday by a spiral fracture of my distal phalanx (left pinkie) while I was taking a turn in goal playing indoor soccer. I think it might be my first broken bone ever, so I suppose I’m past due. Maybe I should listen to the “Dream Residue” audio too in hopes it would make my day more fun, but somehow I suspect it doesn’t work that way 🙂

  5. Irene Zion says:


    Since I am a well-known klutz, I know nothing about snow-boarding and therefore know no terms used in this sport. This does help explain things a bit.
    (I think you’re just too smart for the likes of me, though.)

    • Uche Ogbuji says:

      I bet you snowboarding would turn out to be the wings you’ve been looking for, when all the klutzy miasma just melts away into the piste. I’ve definitely know several people who’ve told me they’ve never felt as graceful than they have riding. Of course it’s a hard sport to take up from Florida, for sure.

  6. milo martin says:

    sorta controversial, this poem…
    but i believe that is your intention with a poem
    chronicling a snowboarder’s wet dream…

    she might still be at the lodge
    sipping a creamy hot chocolate
    waiting for your death cookie…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *