In this chaos called my body
Grief is the mother of all voyages
– Romeo Oriogun
I hang my head in a cloud
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,
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
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,
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.
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.