Questions at Tea Time
By Ojo Taiye
i’ve done nothing all summer but wait. (for myself) to become very aware of time.
what will happen. if i stop being afraid. at night i seek the kind of light. you can only find inside the dark of a fist— the scent of ash in my mothers’ tongue. singeing the sweet songs of hours built with bloodied hands. isn’t alcohol & joy.
a placeholder in a poem folded with limestone & fury. like a good son. i boat my hands into a wrath of wings. & yet i’m not comfortable with the word: corn syrup. perhaps the only thing i can make is love & art— i cut my hair. & imagine it bleeds. a man whispers in my ears: i want to break you. & i think of all the places.
i oared myself straight into the morning’s sharked mouth. in this body. where everything has a price. i burn my trauma to the ground. & sit in a stone house
imagine there are metaphors. everywhere. about the presence of seashells
whispering for help: sky of my many deaths. i wanted something.
there is plenty to regret . how everything. about me is asking for a nation itself.
that would by nightfall become another orphan.
Elegy for Miss Jasmine
By Ojo Taiye
all the door knobs in my life are broken--
my mother died two years ago, & i’m still writing
poems to bring her back to me.
in bidi-bidi, raindrops are prayers: ways we know harm
by touch. sometimes i don’t know how to make it to the
other side of this bridge: a wonder, a grief, or a sweet
smoke ready to flower in my chest—i keep falling thru
the clouds— the unbearable atmosphere of memory.
yesterday, i mourned an aunty who i’ve never laid eyes on.
i try to recall the taste of my father’s ghost. syrupy, no.
a field littered with bones & limbs— o language of birds.
time & days are sparrows fighting for crumbs—
what joy might be in this hour? i ask myself. i was born
to know that my body is a form of poetry—how certain
lines are like take a glass of wine so as to forget your sins
but not your edges emerge from a body of work.
consider how dawn leaves a trail of petals & tarmac
soaked with the scent of copper coins:
i only knew how to live when i knew how i’ll die.
& this brings us to the silence of the grassland where
we live— & a boy begins crawling his way to shore.
Ojo Taiye is a young Nigerian who uses poetry as a tool to hide his frustration with society. Apart from writing, he loves drinking coffee a lot. You can find him on Twitter: @ojo_poems.