Codeine Diet by Dami Ajayi

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Last updated on August 4th, 2022 at 04:20 pm

Codeine Diet

Online is a weak cyber-metaphor for high,
but you already know-
like you know blue is still the colour of the sky.
VBO Lounge originals
are Sky Vodka bottles rebranded.

Coquettish pony-tailed waiter,
waist bag thickens her sex appeal,
doing a non-committal Shaku-Shaku.

Bishop, in his moment of linguistic epiphany,
deconstructs this dance as demonic Shackle-Shackle
for next Sunday Sermon – no thoughts about Mary Mary.

We return to the VBO lounge, where online is vicious market,
where lonely lovers find fraud thinly disguised as longing;
Yahoo Yahoo is neither reverse Colonialism nor Slavery redux:
it is humanity revisited.

Somewhere in the psyche drug ward
a registrar discovers Freud.

Codeine Diet is featured in Dami Ajayi’s latest collection Affection & Other Accidents 2022. The collection is available on Roving Heights and Amazon.


Poet’s comment:

I wrote Codeine Diet in response to the eponymous song released at the height of the Shaku Shaku dance craze. I was fascinated by how snugly popular culture and Pentecostal Christianity fit. Shaku Shaku and its linguistic similarity to the gospel duo Mary Mary’s song, “Shackles (Praise You)”. That revellers at Lagos night clubs on Saturdays may attend Sunday morning sermons. That continuation means the “sinful” arena that is the club and the church auditorium are populated by the same audience. Nightlife is often funded by dodgy money. In Lagos, proceeds of Yahoo Yahoo feeds the lavish “Dorime” culture. Without the working class waitress, her waist bag and her sex appeal, this poem would be unbalanced as it circles back to the on call Psychiatry registrar (me a few years ago) discovering Freud.


Dami Ajayi is a medical doctor, writer/poet and a music critic. In 2012, Clinical Blues, his debut poetry collection was shortlisted for the International Melita Hume Poetry Prize.

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