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
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.
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
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.