i’m on a hiatus for psalms
between my guardian & i is a chasm. the type that reckons you as rebellious, dwindling in revolt. early morning, our lips resurrect to a tempest, babbling arrows buffeting thunders. i don't know if that's how a florist tends a flower; how a gardener whittles the hedge of a plant to create a rhythm—a well-trimmed frontline, magneting eyes. neither do i know how a lad is stretched to stripling, & then, to adulthood. here, i only know the psalm of abuse. here, the only ode is a receding of insult. instead of pillows, my guardian uses a slab, nets it on my nape & calls it discipline. yet, that same night, cracks open— like an egg—a psalm with my name. but those nights, sleep always outwits these psalms & fills my eyes with the night's sonorous music. at least, it's the way it ought to be. at least, this poem is meant to tell how the two of us are crossroads, same with our own singing.
The day fulminates against sailing & we play the adamant sailors Our ferry, alert to playing the daredevil The fact remains: the ebbing waters at the strand decode a tranquil river, basking. We put to sea as a woman puts to bed & every anxiety dies on the sea. We watch afar, blue vastness. I once desired this desire, that I will write a travelogue on water & name it Liquid memoir. At least, it is one of the things that keep me awake nocturnal eyes, staring at the invisible sea. A teacher once said dreams are rockets & you, an astronaut. If you believe, you will break the zenith & leave a noticeable absence—I mean, you will leave a legacy that only you created. Here, on the sea, our tongues swing fulsomely into music. other boats gaze at our frolicking. Urchins maneuvering a speed boat to the wrong destination. There, the sea surges & drapes the boat. Shipwreck. We drown, leaving a noticeable absence to other boats sailing with us.
ON DAYS WHEN THE AIR IS GRIEF
On such days, joy is a smoke from a cigarette—exhale—too soft for my hands & the air to hold. It's not my fault if a leaf dries before It's season. There's a sultry sun in a cave burning them. Burning joy. Yesterday, my friend lost his mother to the shadows of night. This morning, his face still bears the same pain—even when we try to light a bonfire of exhilaration. I mean, grievous memories have a way of melting the heart in the middle of laughter. There's a sultry sun in a cave, burning leaves for summer. The tree never jubilates When its clothes are stripped from its body. But it lest fate detail its next foliage. Now my friend bows to fate like a cow submitting its neck for the knife. But he has hope, set it as a cornerstone, lit on candles at night, that he might be clothed soon. Cloth with joy. Clothed with something that will glue to his body. But as he prays the prayer he watches the wax of the candle melt, as the fire touches it & he concludes: everything is falling; even grief is dying with the air, & death seems to be the only planet to be. The option.
to kiss atavism
sometimes, I lose the relic poems cyclic towards names that begat childhood. sometimes, I kiss oldness—the rustic books, parallel on the self—& I plummet into those cusp eyes, that view these with awe. asymmetry, suffocated. to have a home is to have an un-bandaged sore, flies buzzing around it. here, urchins peopled my grandfather's house. here, Pankshin became a pebble metropolis. draping even the flower that carries the image of my father & housed a bee—I, a metaphor for an unguarded vagrant. towards the end, I flailed my hands & hugged anachronism.
i watch my grieves flux out like leaves, leaving a tree like words, wind-falling from my mouth like hairs—cut & burned, ashes twirled, history forgotten. today, we stand & gaze at the graffiti of oldness: how the blacks are gripped with chains like dogs & hurled out of their land, to a new land—a massive exodus. some, fed to the sea. today, we remember your grandma. how she was banished from her hamlet, & she becomes a vagrant bee, hopping from one flower to another, till her soul broke out of her body, like a butterfly breaks out of a caterpillar & flutters to the dark world. today, we remember ourselves: exiles in the world of love. you & i, alone on the bed about to contain our coalescing bodies.
Olayioye Paul Bamidele is a writer and a student of mass communication. His works have appeared or are forthcoming in Ninshar Art, Ice Floe, Kissing Dynamite, Kreative Diadem, One Black Like That, and elsewhere. You can find him on Facebook page Paul Olayioye and WhatsApp at 08162573107.