3 Poems by Babatunde-olotu Olúwatosin


In this chaos called my body

Grief is the mother of all voyages
Romeo Oriogun

I hang my head in a cloud
of nostalgia.
often, i find myself attempting to       pull thin lines of
Injurious memories                 from my head
the way one would pull strands of hair
hiding in a bowl of rice or      pieces of meat                       
stuck in between the teeth.

I wonder if nostalgia   is
the closest thing to Nirvana
we’d ever be able to say we found

Once,  sprawled in bed
with a quasi-lover, Frank Ocean dissolved
into our warm bodies            
in luminous falsetto: “. . . there will be tears, I have no doubt.
There may be smiles, but a few . . .

my head strapped to her bare chest    like
a third breast.
and as tears leaked      from the side              of my eye
onto her skin,
I thought about O,
and how she left;
how she said goodbye to me as if
she wasn’t that same one
who once         dug herself into my eyes, and said
“Olu, another name for (your) brown (eyes) is beautiful”

In conversation with self on the maybes of love

Maybe love is a softness that calls to everyone
of us,   the way our nostrils call to breath.

Maybe, but      to be soft         
is to be penetrable; to be vulnerable,
do you mean to say/we are to lay down our hearts/ in wait/to be maimed?
Isn’t this suicide; isn’t this     a form of suicide?

Maybe love is the only sane way to say:
death isn’t worthwhile if it isn’t in trickles,
and installments.
Forgive me, oh dear                                             
I do not mean to hurl in your face
the pathophysiology of grief.                                                 


maybe, just maybe…
To love is to (simply and adequately) say      that one has an expensive taste
in grief.

Like Poetry; Like Jesus

To poetry, To Jesus:  
(Because I seek to be saved)
I come bearing sacrifices of my body,
I lay them at your altar, because I hear you know to bring healing
to broken souls and worn spirits.
This is how I attempt to live forever.
This is my attempt at eternity,
at immortality.

My lover, Idaya, refutes,
She says “Jesus alone truly saves”,
Only he knows to mend broken souls and worn spirits.
In him, I’ll find eternity.
Idaya says Jesus would heal me, in ways
the oranges branching from her thorax won’t,
In ways poetry won’t…

I want to believe her but my ears have drunk from ocean’s lips,
they have tasted words he wasn’t saying.
Here, listen:
gods never truly save, not wholly. They enslave.
Like poetry, like Idaya.
Every god is as jealous as the other.
like poetry, like Jesus.

Babatunde-olotu Olúwatosin is a nurse and a poet who lives and works in Lagos. He is a lover of art, with a peculiar interest in poetry and music. Tosin advocates for social justice, inclusivity and mental health. His works have appeared in anthologies,  Agbowó, and as a “Tuesday poem” by Damiajayi.
On Twitter and Instagram, he is @babstoxyn.

Share Your Thoughts