Ogunkoya Samuel is a Nigerian physiotherapist. His poems have been published in Kalahari Review, AfricanWriter and Best New African poets anthology 2017. He writes from Lagos .
1. She asked me about social silence. The words jumped off her cheeks like happy dolphins. I leaned on the thin space between us - hoping the remaining words may fall on my skin, that they may lick the dryness off my skin. I told her she is pretty in all languages. She smiled. She knew. 2. I asked for her number. When I called her phone the following night, words tumbled into the receiver, "yo, who am I spikin' with". I called her a love poem. She told me not every love poem end sweet, some end...tragic. I asked her how she will end. She said "like a mist, like a mist". Mist. Mist 3. And she disappeared. Like a mist. They said the sea took her. They said the sea is a jealous type, it can't bear anyone loving its' own in a way that is beyond it. That night, I dared the sea to wipe our town clean . I dared it to turn to blood. It didn't. I cursed it. I cursed me. 4. The girl from the third street visits me often in my dreams. At first she used to perch in the space between my brain hemispheres. And when she grew bigger, she crawled down to my heart, filling every space in it. She comes at night feeding on memories. Memories of every other girl I have come to love. She is of her father, the sea. Jealous. 5. But she was jealous in a sweet way, bringing that kind of pain you never want to let go, a strange security in loneliness, in not been able to handle love. She soon grew bigger, pushing herself through my limbs. It hurts sometimes, and I tell her. But she knows I enjoy the hurt. I soon became a walking sea-girl. I sleep most of the time, so I could dream, so she could visit. I would sleep while talking to people, eating or fucking. I soon learnt how to do all of that while sleeping. 6. I have become a sleeper. A dreamer. A sea-girl with a man's name and face and body. A ghost, a strange kind of social silence.
The fabulous life of worshippers, infidels and living things
and after we washed our faces with morning prayers -unfinished thoughts falling from our dreams- mother reminded us that the scriptures are closed books, the eldest, the one who death replaced papa with revolted last night he said holy books are ongoing conversations, they should evolve with mankind. mother said those are vain words from godless men and then grazed his face. our sisters wore silence like long robes over their bodies, they too have been taught -to be quiet is to be a wise girl a woman's strength is in sealed lips a woman's mouth should hold more silence than words- two nights ago, our eldest called this barbaric, mother struck him twice. we ran into the mouth of the city, picking relics off its teeth. each ounce is worth half a meal
Letter to a lover boy
So when you decide to break her body remember she is a poet too, she would understand why you seek darkness to chase away the clanging darkness in your chest do it like one walking into the sea do it with your heart exposed -your arms wide open- let the winds and waves wash your temple clean go without restraint -and your clothing, and the burdens you packed along- breathe in and out all the awe filling your lungs
and when you reach her, touch her in ways that make a body shudders. breaking her body into two unequal testament of the Trinity 's mystery of creation (of weaving a body so delicate and powerful, of putting all divine forces together in keeping her foot planted on the earth) for she is something mystical, something gravity bows to.
pray words into her mouth while your tongue lies above hers search for her hands through the dreads on her head. hold them firm. there is a sacredness in the interlocking of fingers.
throb. throb. there is healing in the clashing of thighs there is healing in creating a new life. it is like curating all of the magic of your ancestors and also reaching out to the future for things you can't but marvel at. life comes with healing.
in all, don't forget to be human. to be violent but tender to lick each others wounds raw And to whisper promises don't ever say you won't leave sometimes lovers heal sometimes lovers leave sometimes lovers lose they lose all their innocence to a broken body to a miracle to a new town to a new person