• Poetry

Olajide Salawu - A Father and a Son Feed on a Baby Racoon, Red Lights, Here is Wind

A Father and a Son Feed on a Baby Racoon

for Ochanya


I lied, there was no baby racoon.

There was only me, there was also God

in the sky. There was heavy darkness

on the night of psalms for the first brutal entry, 

there was the breaking of flesh,

the shattering of soul; the gripping of arms,

and two mismatched bodies struggling against the cold cracked floor;


there were other gerunds of pain.

I gathered before the mirror to collect the rest of my ramshackle body.

There was me, then there was him

there were the beastly eyes, there was

violence that launched towards me

as my skull cracked against the wall and

my spine stretched in pain and on my torso—

the altar of pleasure—I lay like a smothered lamb.

Then there was interlude.

The son wanted to feed. A short black out.

Life came briefly—to me again like a post-thunder whisper

there was wall clock and the pendulum that looked like my threadlike life.


For the 48th time, there was me, then there was him.

There was my rejected body at St Nikolas,

there was death waiting at the door,

I told the people to make way for me,

it was time to leave the city of wolves.




Red Lights


The curtain unfurls and two bodies

exchange a kiss bought in thirty shekels 

under a Brusseled night. There, in the miracle 

of this darkness, beads of waters fall from

the body of a woman pooling below her feet

and it seems the sea has tracked her here

whispering about how her sister ransomed her body

for the waves of Lampedusa. It is the fourth month

of strange bodies coming into her and her body

making love and money for woman who 

pledged the red lights are for the dogs of the city. 

On her tongue, Brussels tastes like rotten Benin Kola

and she has never imagined a nude night

where stray men would make memories 

on her body under the strobe lights.

She has never imagined her loins would

make music for her freedom decades

after the colonial moon had set in her country.




Here is Wind


We all choose to become

an eagle when Beira


becomes stormy

and children turn into kites


bodies slapping blindly

against an upturned canoe


Today, the water is eating up the city and

tree carcasses are converted to makeshift rafts


mothers are trying to grow fins

to keep their daughters alive in this violent breath.


It's people's dream to become a paper canoe

when the city becomes a sea


and there is no lifejacket.

It's people's dream to become fish.




Olajide Salawu earned his MA in Literary Studies from the Department of English, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. He is the author of Preface for Leaving Homeland published under African Poetry Book Fund box set series. He was a 2017 Pushcart Prize nominee. His poems have appeared in Transition, New Orleans Review, Prosopisia, Paragrammer, Wacammaw among others. He lives in Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria.

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