Choose

I saw you swear

You are a black man

Never heard you yell

Except in quietude

You do not dream

Whilst staying awake

Or stay alive

while dying inside

Never heard  you  cry

While you shed the tears

You have not spoken

Without using your voice

You have not touched

When you love and look

Or tell  to all

What  you do  mean

Without being mean

If you’re keen

You would have seen

You are quite tough

But not thick-skinned

You are brotherly

A man

Or  utterly

Black

Of such a thing-

As  a black man

Have I not heard

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Weaves

would you know

what makes people

stick long together

love is a glue

love is hard

love is tricky

comes too quick

goes too soon

yet people stay

not for lust

just for respect

there  is one

not the other

but without passion

with regard lacking

everyone flees abroad

or shrink aboard

when these go

respect and love

and some stay

it’s called abuse

it’s deemed prison

it is war

captive and captor

inmate and warden

partner and abuser

an unholy alliance

things that once

went all around

stand motion still

an ugly picture

carved in debris

of dreary memory

hold onto them

don’t let go

they are fabrics

the paper textiles

covering all the

things we adore

yet easily torn

by ego cascades

and fleeting feelings

hold onto them

if they go

we are gone

 



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neighbors

 

 

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Dissidents

The war has long been over

Yet the battle rages on

Like virulent phages on a clover

The captives have all been freed

Our children keep needing their heroes

Our backs keep kneading the linens

Our arms keep pleading  for warmth

Our husbands keep speeding away from home

They have found new love in  hate

Campaigning for more combats

They have chosen the art of protests

Fighting to resurrect the conflicts

They’re ensnared  by mental armory

And fences they raised in their heads

They breed a pride of defiance

And though the war be over

The freed decline to be unyoked

The children are yearning for heroes

Our backs are cold from waiting

 

© GBOLABO ADETUNJI/ AYOKA
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Bits Of You

Your soul is heavy

Like a waning typhoon

Clumsy

Like a rookie ballerina

Taunted by the applause

Never heard

Your beauty is hidden

In the cloak of your flesh

Your mind wavers

Unstable as the clarity of a bubble

But I adore you

Every bit that make you up

For what am I but

A bag of baggages

© GBOLABO ADETUNJI/ AYOKA

 

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clumsy

 

A Time To Promise

I know you planned for

A season of fun

But here you are

And it’s a knapsack

Of wars

You can’t abstain.

You must choose your battles

And opt to fight.

Wake up

Feel the breath of life

Blow through your nostrils

That is the signal

To laugh through the pains

Rise from your slips

Pick up your breastplate

Arm your sword

Its a new day

And time to promise

To win your battles

© GBOLABO ADETUNJI/ AYOKA

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promises

Forever

 

Before you pledge me forever

Or the famous fantasy

Of  fancy happy endings

Be careful

Conscious

Be candid

Give me a joyful  beginning

Promise us a blissful middle

And let’s ponder

Or hope

We are ending up cheerful

 

© GBOLABO ADETUNJI/ AYOKA

 

 

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careful

To An Iroko Tree

Greatest Iroko tee

The witness of generations

Defender of the soil

 

Teacher of the lessons in a small seed

Help us remember

A mighty trunk was once a tiny grain

 

Teach us modesty in our choices of nourishment

That we may feed on things

That destroy not the cycle of life

 

Grant us humility

As we remember that a single robust tree

Can never make a forest

 

Like the gracefulness of your bark

Help us accept  the wrinkles of aging

With mirth and laughter

 

Permit us to encourage one another

To fight to save a tree

As it is a war to save humanity

 

Let us be motivated to see how

Those who choose to plant trees

Sow the seeds of hope

 

Inspire us to teach our children

To plant the seeds of expectation

And nurture the thoughts of achievements

 

Replenish our bodies as we consider

Those that eat the calories that count

Never stop to count their calories

 

In tree climbing  as well as in life racing

Let us remember that a stumbling block

And a stepping stone are always one and the same

 

© GBOLABO ADETUNJI/ AYOKA

 

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