Leo

I never said

I taught you to roar

You always had it in you

deep in your throat

you just took your time.

But then I was there

when only meows and purrs escaped your lips

instead of the growls of a jungle beast

when all you did was run and pounce and fall.

I couldn’t carry you

so I just fell with you

wanting you to stand

so that you could lift me.

I cried your tears

because lions don’t shed tears

They only shake their mane and bare their teeth.

Now your growl is thick

Your roar is strong

And I am a doe

that must either become a lion

or get left behind.

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Ikilo (Warning)

Bi omode ba fe te

Owo a ma yun

Ese a ma yun

Ara e o ni bale

tori ete ki n gbe je

o ma n kiri bi aisan

aisan to n wa eni ti o ma koba.

 

Eni a wi fun oba je o gbo

Eni a sofun oba je o gba.

Ete a ma sofun omo

“Sure te te te wa o”

“Sure te te te wa o.”

 

Teleola o fe te

Fi ara buruku bale

joko si aye re

ko ma ba kabamo

Aboro la so fun omoluabi

ti o ba de inu re a di odindi.

 

(Interpretation)

When a child wants to get into trouble

his hands itch

his legs itch

he will be restless

Because trouble isn’t still

It roams about like a disease

A disease looking for who to implicate.

 

Let the person we speak to listen

Let the person we speak to accept

Trouble will tell a child

“Come very quickly”

“Come very quickly.”

 

Teleola you want to get into trouble

Calm your restless body

sit in your place

that you don’t regret.

We tell a responsible child half a word

when he digests (understands) it, it becomes whole.

My Coke and Fanta Gentleman

Sometimes

Just sometimes

I wish Adebayo drank

Just a little bit

so that when he kisses me

I would drink from his lips

and swallow his spit more eagerly

rather than lift a bottle

of Smirn-Off or Redd’s or Kagor

to my waiting mouth.

 

I wish Adebayo drank

Even if only a little bit

so that when we shake the bed

the flush on my skin would be redder

the bites on his shoulder deeper

and the clench of his cheeks tighter.

 

But most times, it’s okay

I can drink for us

I will drink for me and my Coke and Fanta gentleman.20160314_210654

Two Tales

NUDITY, FOOD AND THINGS THAT CAUSE HATE

There I was, wet body with a bar of amber colored Fair & White Gold soap in my hand, single gold chain atop my slim hips, hair net on my head removing hair from my neck, bambi eyes wider than a saucer and mouth open in shock as the door to the bathroom creaked open and a pair of eyes ogled the spectacle. This was followed by a high-pitched slightly maniacal laughter as my embarrassment doubled and my yellow skin flushed as my heart beat tripled.

Oh no.

“Sister Simi, sorry o”, the owner of the slightly maniacal laughter said as she pinched her accomplice who walked back to the living room of my two-bedroom flat, holding his pinched arm. I could swear that I saw a tingle of accomplishment in her eyes and I looked at her in disbelief.

God.

“I didn’t know you were inside the bathroom o. How are you now? Please come and give me M&B paracetamol, I’m having a slight headache. How is your weekend going? Hope no problem.”

“I… I… I’m coming. I’ll be done soon.”

“Okay. I hope you cooked o. so I can take the paracetamol before we go for rehearsal.”
And she sauntered off to the direction of the living room in her very ugly red blouse and pink leggings like nothing happened.

I closed the door and sat down with my bare buttocks on the cold tiles, cursing myself for giving her an extra key to my house. As I stood up two minutes later when my mouth closed and completed my bath, I heard the TV change from SoundCity to Africa Magic Yoruba. Anger peered its head in my chest, amazed at the audacity of this woman and terrible words from a dark place in my heart began to take form.
I got out, got dressed and as I made my way to the living room with my car keys, I stopped short as the smell of my Hot-dog and Shrimp sauce wafted to my nostrils.

Jesus no. Jesus no. Jesus, please, no.

I ran the remaining steps to find my Hot-dog and Shrimp sauce on two plates with my Ofada rice beside it. There was no way both of them were eating and there was any left in the pot for me.

“Aunty Simi,” Ayinde said as he sat on the floor, my food between his small parted legs, “do you have Bobo?”
His mother threw her head back and laughed again, choking a little as the food in her mouth passed the wrong tunnel.
In that moment, my eyes filled with tears and I garnered all the hate I could muster and promised to unleash it in future on this five year old boy and his mother.

 

 

STOLEN KISSES

When I pouted my lips and closed my eyes, I didn’t know what to expect but the last thing, and I mean the very last thing on my mind was to feel Christian’s lips on my own after responding to his ‘Simi kiss me now’ with ‘Oya take’ inside the board room of our office with Isaiah sitting directly opposite us, his brows squeezed in concentration as he stared at his MacBook Pro laptop. Christian had withdrawn with a grin as soon as my eyes flung wide open in utter disbelief. If he had looked away and pretended as if nothing happened, I would have told myself that it was only my imagination but he just stared and smiled and I swiveled my chair away from him. Very good. I am now an office slut. From Shedrach taking me home in his rickety Toyota Corolla all the way to Satellite Town where he had never been before in his entire life before meeting me and having to find his way back to his house in Oshodi every Thursday when we closed earliest in the week to Musa who bought me lunch every day as he asked the same ‘So when are we going on a proper date outside this office environment?’.

Office slut. I couldn’t wait to tell Lamide. She always knew what to do.

 

P.S.

I actually do have a Tele’s Hot-dog & Shrimp sauce and believe it or not, it’s awesome.

Both stories are based on true events.

The 3 pieces of 8

All or Nothing

We tried our hands at love

supple pink flesh

turned snowy white leprous.

We failed

I was right

You love hard

You hate harder.

A monster is born.

Mara

I slept in tears

dreamed of rain and storm

and woke with her crouching on my chest

as I sank in the flood.

She places her lips on mine

as our eyes lock in time.

Someone, Anyone

please wake me up.

Adieu

The first day of spring

the seeds of hate will now bloom

as you march like unto war.

If you would still leave

take one last look

have one last thought

hold me one last time

For auld lang syne.

These 3 poems are how I feel this February.

Your comments are welcome.

Follow us on twitter @tele_ola and @Janus_aneni

The Tale of Tikva

A songbird woke from its nest
tunes of hope in its tiny chest
It knew not the day had come
which would bring with it a dreaded storm.
Tikva arose, for that was her name
and thought the day, like always, would be the same
but she really didn’t have a say
for in another’s hand she was already prey.
Many chips and bites at this tight rope
would cause a fray soon, was all her hope
A further sink into an abyss
as her watcher calculated amiss.
Finally, she broke her only hold to light
and ran amok into the silent black night
Flap flap, flap flap, she flew way too fast
Flap flap, flap flap, before her watcher’s net be cast.
There are a hundred ways in the black and blue sky
for a little song birdie to die
And Tikva flew with all her might
deeper into the abyss without her sight
towards a power beyond her tiny birdie brain
towards a force from which she could no longer refrain.
The winds grew tired awaiting her return
the fatigue in their arms they could no longer adjourn
And so all hell let loose
putting the last knot in our dear Tikva’s noose.
Down and under she went
spirit, strength and wings all spent
Down and under she went
laying sprawled at her predator’s tent.
Gutted of all pep, perk and song
the songbird lay as a cloth so wrung
How she crawled to her watcher no one knows
for she did suffer many blows
And now healing with all feelings numb
she awaits an absolution that might never come.

P.S.
2014 was an average year till this December. I made the worst mistake of my life this month and I will live with it for the rest of my life. But it’s fine really. I always bounce right back up. Just give me a few weeks.
My name is Tikva.
My name is Hope.
Adebayo baby, there’s no one else I’d rather be watched by.

 

“Bad things don’t happen at once. They steal upon us in bits and pieces. In fractions and decimal places. One little bad decision after another.”

Follow Janus and I on twitter @tele_ola and @Janus_aneni

Abiku

Colder than the breath of Iku himself
egbon has come, slippery as an eel yet again
with mien as a shield
immune to the loud silence
as Iya Agba lay
spent in her mess.
Baba murdered infants in the war
and Iya Agba spat into Osun
a juvenile fool
but what is my own sin that you torment me so?
As flowers to a bee
As feces to a fly
I call you egbon, listen to my cry.

Oh Ika, ancient though you bawl
Irunmole buruku, timeless though you crawl
Have mercy on these children of men
Forget their blunders of before when
they knew of your wrath and unforgiveness.
Accept their offerings
appeasements being made
since before Maami bore me
for they are old and worn
this is a battle you have won.
Aburo, think of me
as you close your eyes in mock
I promise to follow you
To the river
To the market
To the end of the earth if you want
Only wait and play with me.
By Baba’s shriveling loins I swear
Not one scar on your body
Who would dare?
Egbon mi, Aburo mi
Stay
Let me be your protector
Till Iku your accomplice
takes me when my years are done
be-shielding only you.

 

Glossary

Iku -Death

Egbon  – Elder sibling 

Iya Agba – Older mother

Baba – Father

Osun – River goddess of fertility in Yoruba land

Ika – Wicked one

Irunmole buruku – Terrible demon

Maami – My mother

Aburo – Younger sibling

 

N.B.

I’ve always been fascinated with Wole Soyinka and JP Clark’s Abiku poems, and thus this was borne from them both. Wole Soyinka writes from the perspective of a proud Abiku who feels no remorse whatsoever about the pain he causes while JP Clark tells the story from the side of a relative begging the Abiku to stay.