The Little I Remember”
The night is young, so please go home, children playing start to go; it’s a massacre – Judo
Ibadan coats centuries in wafers of brownish roofs & hills
& plants them as meadows, as stories, in the soil gums of old townsmen.
Bodija transmute rainfalls as iron ores into
the slender hands of kids, outstretched beneath gutters.
Where I lived, unkempt boys grew up as gangs of soiled puddles
stationed according to desperations at every alley.
Only a few slept in parental sacs at night.
I, a naive boy in this stunting life, always knew that
if I were to be inside a sac, things could’ve been better;
like growing up believing to be safe in a kangaroo’s pocket.
Every morning was a golden voice of unlettered women
uplifting choruses of pap// butter// bread// hustles of herbal mixtures on their heads.
One morning, a voice stopped by my grandpa’s wooden bench. Her eyelids
were hues of races protesting against the bullying whiteness of the day,
the English sun. The voice shook the south-western world in the plastic
with a power clatter of womanism & functionalism—
as if a gulp may do some trick to his soon-due mortality. Green street boys
kicked their health as nylon-wound balls & bags of dust, at any open piece of the earth.
Girls clutched their warm hearts to the arrangement of pepper in metal trays,
at their mother’s portable shops // & mobile battery (re)charging workshops lit purple
& scarlet beeps, pulsating to the motorcycles racing. Very little kids chased
one another with inklings of sand in their scalps & pants in run-throughs
of what defines a blessed day: outbursts of punches & margins of
machetes in the pitches of slow runners.
one could tell that the sun would never set if the day hadn’t melted
every man into the young night.
Ayomide Micheal Bayowa is a Nigerian-Canadian poet, filmmaker and student of Theatre Studies and Creative Writing at the University of Toronto, Canada. He was longlisted for the Nigerian Students Poetry Prize 2018 and shortlisted for both the Eriata Oribabhor Poetry Prize (EOPP) 2018 and the 2019 Christopher Okigbo Interuniversity Poetry Prize. In 2020 he was the runner-up of the On-Spot Poetry Writing Contest and winner of the 2020 Open Drawer Poetry Contest. He was the runner-up of the University of Toronto “ELLY-IN-ACTION” Virtual Competition 2021, a top-ten gold entrant of the 9th Open Eurasian Literary Festival, London. He is the first-place winner of the June/ July 2021 Edition of the Bi-monthly Brigitte Poirson Poetry Contest (BPPC). He is a semi-finalist of the 2021 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and the first-runner up of the 2021 K. Valerie Connor Poetry Prize (Student Category). His works are published in Barren Magazine, Kalahari Review, Agbowo, African Writers, AFAS review, Kreative Diadem, Praxis Magazine, Stone of Madness Press and forthcoming in Guesthouse.
Banner: Riptide/Swirl, an image by Robert Frede Kenter (c) 2017. Twitter: @frede_kenter