Seasons

Every winter I lose a glove or a hat,

Put on a tinsy bit of weight

Like a slender grizzly ready to hibernate

 

Every spring I lose an umbrella

Actually, I’ve never bought one

At some point I’m caught out like a drowned salmon

 

Every summer I get a heat rash below my neck

My West African ancestors look down and wonder why

Stranger still, when the sun is out I lose a sock or a tie

 

Every autumn, I plant something new

Winds and hurricanes come and shake my branches

I lose a friend or some summer romances

 

So in sun, sleet, slick or slide

Which season will I lose my heart to Love

And would she trust me at all?

The backseat

Dad takes up a lot of leg space behind the wheel

So I’m always behind mum’s seat,

I’m older, anywhere in the back

With the greatest room is without a doubt my birth right

 

The back seat doubled as sibling’s cage

Vying for room with stretched elbows

And overzealous hips

 

Often the front seats taught sermons of forthcoming discipline

No space for tantrums, we might be in the West

But this is a West African household

With West African rules for backchat from the back seat:

One hand on the wheel, a knock on the head with the other

 

Older, bolder and obnoxiously more knowledgeable

The back seat spoke political correctness and opinion as fact

Like the continuous disenfranchisement of the Palestinian people

And why Eskimos are Inuit and Red Indians, Indigenous Americans;

Backseat crusader.

 

Some journeys were full of sunny skies

Warm sighs whether on wintry nights or beneath summer lights

Rippling laughter from back to front and front to back

Branching at kebab shops or McDonald driveways,

Straining our necks to check the menu

Choosing the same thing anyway – chicken mayo,

Forensics can trace our trips by dips stained on the back seat

 

Throughout the year

The back seat takes some strain-

Sandwiching unwanted guests, sweaty cousins,

Fat aunties and noisy nephews

 

I’ve seen afternoons turn to evenings, static in the back seat,

Something all ministers’ kids will understand

“We’ll be back soon”, they repeat

The most consistent lie ever told

 

Great novels have been read in the back seat,

Even better dreams have been had dozing in the heat

Waking up to home sweet home or jarring potholes

 

Once, in the backseat of our green Hyundai

Lost in the poor lit streets of a northern village

The front seats are in stormy animation

 

The pitter patter of “I told you” and “shut-ups”

Thunders to a slap that sends the rain away

Bringing heavy clouds to mum’s eyes

Dad’s lightning hand shocks the back seat;

My sister shrinks in electrified silence

I shake and sob with fear and suspense

Like children counting between bolts and claps

The back seat never seemed so far away

 

I grew up in the backseat you know,

Watching hairs grow grey in the front seat

Learning that dads get scared too

And mums shed more tears than you do

MyShelf

I like my books clean, fresh and crisp

With no crooks, tears or bends.

And then one day reading H G Well’s Invisible Man

I thought “why not, it’s mine and no one else’s”.

So I wrote, first on the margins

Then I employed parenthesis for poignant paragraphs,

Enclosed eloquent verse with quotation marks,

Underlined sound sentences with fine lines,

Drew elaborate ellipses round pearls of wisdom

And now, when you flick through,

You see Wells and I in animated conversation.

 

My hand still trembles putting fresh ink on old ink

But I’ve got a big shelf and more conversations to have…

Firestorm

I think about you

I think about your small hands

Anchored on my puffed out chest

And how we said “never again”

Again and again

 

You retreated in my hesitation after you asked

“What’s your favourite thing about me?”

Well, it’s the mess I make with your hair,

The way your breasts fall when I won’t let you up,

Your owl eyes and innocent stare

 

I have been trawling through the wreckage and

These are the last embers of that firestorm. 

Flashes

Like footage after a robbery, she still has photographs of us

I surrendered the receipt to those digitized memories

When she determined my affections were deceit

 

Indeed, I might concede that there was,

In my heart, conceit

Treachery in every kiss,

For my heart was never in it

 

At the tip of my tongue, a concoction:

Curiosity – the cloak of my lips – and she tasted

Dose after dose – these fed my prose – till alas!

She discovered my mind to be no wonderland

And this, a chapter she must close.

Muse

A muse is

Team relegation

Planting a kiss on coveted cup

It’s missing the last bus

Green lights with the right songs on the radio

Winters grizzly chime

Those long British summer nights

Cancer’s sudden grip

Life at the end of an umbilical cord

Unreciprocated love

Fleeting eye contact across the coffee shop

A sin that torments

Triumph over tempestuous temptation

The death of Mufasa

Employing Timon and Pumbaa’s philosophy

Dark childhood memories

Pretending to fall asleep so dad carries you to bed

More often than not it’s life’s troughs

not the peaks.

People

There are some worth getting to know

And some you ought to let go

It’s the only way to grow

 

There are some who your soul they will scar

And some you will unwittingly rip apart

Don’t make relationships more sacred than they are

 

There are some who’ll tolerate your shit

And some who’ll help you laugh about it

Love them as much as your heart will permit

 

There are some who know you

And some who think they do

Know yourself better than they ever could

 

Know yourself better than they ever could.

Youth’s folly

Allow me to drool in my folly

No matter the fee

Let me make my mistakes

And revel in unrighteous rebellion

 

While my hair is tinted black

With joints still intact

Let me lose myself in lust

And find love in forbidden places

 

Two decades under my belt

Hard liquor and rum will be dealt

Let me forge memories as dark as the night

And concoct new things for my chemical composition

 

After intoxication comes self-discovery

Amongst new found philosophies

Let my body be the canvas

And epiphanies ink

 

Resign God and His rules as relic

My sins I shall relish

Let me find wholeness in hedonism

And purpose in pleasure

Delete

I mean this with no murderous intent but

I want to erase you from my past;

Every digital trace

                                Linked to unfortunate memories

Severed – from when we first met to our very last text

 

Every accidental gaze

on any pixel bearing your resemblance

is an unwelcome ripple in my mind

 

I place no blame on your actions, no fault to your words

Each breach and every glitch

Were from my hands and my lips

 

We could enter a new paragraph,

               

              I’d rather delete.