Two Poems by Taiwo Hassan

Ẹdúnjobí: A Love Letter 

Ẹ̀jìrẹ́ ará Ìṣokún,
Ẹdúnjobí, ọmọ ẹdun tíí ṣeré orí igi.
Ó fẹsẹ̀ méjèèjì bẹ sílé alákìísa;
Ó sọ alákìísà donígba aṣọ”

if i say i don’t think about it enough, this reality
will be everything & a lie. or do those
questions not crawl into you too – into
that hole in your head,

that mass of flesh and muscles, of blood
and water, of you and me. how did it all begin?
our bodies met,
our minds melted. is this how we learnt

the language of silence
& mastered the art of love?  i
wonder if we spoke enough, if that pool
was enough to house our words.

but over time, i’ve come to find home in
you. with each of your eyes moulding a special type
of fire, i’ve learnt to run into them for warmth. i
float, i swim,

i turn to you for anything that gives me wings,
once again, you become a perfect metaphor for bliss,
for things that have been named, for

Kẹ́hìńdé, have you made any sense of our long fights,
our fragile egos, our fleeting anger
& máàmi’s repeated stories?
i have.          call it souvenirs of affection,
of fear that this light we both carry
in our eyes will one day feel out of reach

& our mother’s ginger-tea won’t taste like
comfort anymore,
call it the pain of metamorphosis.

dear brother, fret not,
i’ve found something stronger than this poem I write,
it’s the invisible string we’ve always held on to,
it’s what you’ll find when you dig into this mass of bones,
flesh & feelings,
yes, it’s our love.

when i say i love you, 

i do not mean that kind that lives in the heart of some stars,
                                                              twinkling in the skies of a broken country,
bodies with wills so weak, frail walls
                        that cover their pain as soon as they’re bribed with a new
coat of paint.
i do not mean the love etched between heroin & the skin of a soul
                                                          kissed by grief, floating in a body of salty
water and syringes,
one with a mass so endless and blue
                                that’ll drown anyone close enough to taste its colour.
i do not mean that type between little fires and i,
                                where its soot finds a sibling in the scars i carry;
the boy in me,
the flames make a tune & sing
                                                          while the man i am find notes & harmonizes.
i do not mean the love that follows a broken silence
                                                    when expensive Chinas fall & memories
an art that manifests in pieces, a perfect cadaver, whispering
                                                                                      breathe boy breathe.
Máàmi, i do not mean the love in a night breeze,
                                                          God’s image of you.
of the strong essence in a shooting star,
                                                          the element a home carried to stand
through trying times.
when i say i love you mother, i mean i love you.

Taiwo Hassan is a Nigerian student, poet and writer. His works have appeared in Best New African Poets Anthology, The African Writers, Mbari Magazine, Praxis Magazine and Liminal Transit Review to mention a few.. When he’s not writing, he’s either listening to music or watching TV series. His social media handles include @iamtsoul on Instagram and @SymplyTaiwo on Twitter. 

Banner: The Shimmer, Digital Art by Robert Frede Kenter (c) 2021. Tweets: @frede_kenter

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