My Mother’s Day

My mum told me a story
of what I could be: anything
that my heart so dreamed.
She told a good story
with the way of an actor playing a story
with cries, a smile, and a host of poses
of how I could live with stars and heav’nly bodies
guiding me with a bit of algebra and a pound of Archimedes’.
My mum told me a story
of what I was, am: everything
I needed to be with no wit less.
She sold me the story
of how I could be myself without a sorry
(although sorry I would be if I did not have a clean bed!)
of how I had the rights to my own story
(with a reminder that God is the best of all stories).
My mum told me a story
that I long to tell too
with her chuckles, her frown, and my own host of poses
with a bit of algebra and half a pound of Archimedes
(perhaps Ṣóyinká too)
a story of strength and hope
that I’ve only now retold
for today, My Mother’s Day.


a wedding

love and laces are a perfect couple; rings,
red and roses my favourite wedding,
swaying to blues in pretty shoes and I dos
that echo from long before

love is

Ma says love is,
“own your own thing,
each man mind his”;
but let’s go with,

… t’ be loved, love is
touch…, desires, mine
and hers too; and
mind your own thing!

i’ve got rap on my radio

singing, love is
just another word
that rhymes with war
and poor and lost.

but, wait, wait, just wait.

’tis written what love is:
kind and not puffed love is
God come as man love is
streams of His brick red blood

flowing from His nailed hands
and feet for me love is
for you our bond love is
calling you to where love is

ọkọ ìyàwó jídé

for Ọpẹ́

where is our ọkọ ìyàwó?

the bride has been beside herself
with expectation and a pout
straightening her ivory laces
again, pondering, on end,

“where is the ọkọ ìyàwó?”

the enigmatic ọkọ ìyàwó.
or so the bride swears:
plying us with tales
of his playful wit
following spectacular shows
of bravery and softness. but,

where is this ọkọ ìyàwó?

the bride has made a stew
of green vegetables, fierce red
crayfishes, a number of peppered
African Giant snails, dices of plush
cowhide, and kind chunks of cattle tripe
with yam pounded with fierce gentleness,
not waiting for the gifts of live goat and palm oil,
the tubers of yam that her in-laws will bring. so,

where is her ọkọ ìyàwó?

do i hear drums?
aren’t those excited cries
of “Ekáàbọ̀,
ṣé dáadáa lẹ dé,
a tí ń retí yín”
welcoming guests?
hmm, ọkọ ìyàwó jídé
(the cock’s crow bears witness!)
to take our bride at last.

her smile

her smile
opens as ivory rose
petals stirring from a doze,
a winter mile. her smile
flutters ’round milk hedges and loose
a flurry of jazzy warmth that moves
my heart to sing a beat and ‘ha!’. smile
on days the sun bears no match and hides
till tomorrow. on nights creasing fears
strain your brow, i hunt for a smile,
as rain falls in glittering tears
running down plush pecan brown
cheeks that long to curl up, and smile.

òrìṣà kan kò sí bi Olódùmarè!

is there any
like Ọlọ́run the King?

they call to Ṣàngó, for fire and thunder,
singing odes of Yemọja set to the raging blue-eyed sea.
they dance, to rhythms for ànjọ̀nús not born, for the sake of the unborn.

they have cried to Ọ̀rúnmìlà
and gone to beg Ọ̀shun for favours.
why do they not seek Olódùmarè Himself
who breathes powers that Ọbàtálá could not boast?

they bring rum and a he-goat to Ògún Shibirikí,
palm oil and a cock for Èṣù Láàlú.
but what do they come to?
Ọlọ́run Ọba asks only one thing,
(unshed) blood of ènìyàn, (beating) hearts of said men.

i will have none of Ògún
who needs spears and guns to save me
nor do i want Ṣàngó who may be shamed
by Yemọja or Yèyé Ọ̀shun.
my song will be for Olódùmarè alone.
it is He i will give my life, to keep my soul.

it is hard to love a man

it is hard to love a man
when he don’t want no loving.
it’s just hard to love a man
when no man’s wrote how.
it is mighty hard to love a man

without loving his smile, his charm
is hard not to love. a man
who wears his skin dark and his bum tight
is just hard not to love. a man
whose hands beat the drums of your heart
is mighty hard not to love. a man

-truth is, all men need loving-
is not hard to love.
touch him, give him woman spicy and he’s
just not hard to love
although I don’t know many women who can say,
“it is not mighty hard to love a man”.