Letters to Ayoola (3)

Ayoola, ore mi,

A thousand oceans and broken telephone wires could not separate us. As I usually do, I have mused and mused over your last careful and cursive letter. Perhaps, I should have celebrated the coming of a new life by going through the traditional fanfare. Tears of joy. A congratulatory call. More tears. Anticipation. Rather, your impending birth has had me contemplating our beloved Orisha. I’ve thought about it often enough to say it: this new life must be floating somewhere between orun ati aye. Are you impatient? I cannot bear the anguish of waiting or more still, my absence.

Between soothing tears and building broken bridges, I have been praying for light. When the darkness engulfed my blindness I found it easier to shield my body. I enjoyed the invisibility and I would sometimes gracefully dance between the uneven shadows I found. My own was lost but there were many I found along the way. But I still prayed for the light. I prayed fervently and fearfully, knowing that my body- naked, shapeless and contorted would be seen- be unveiled-
to whom?
These questions, as do thoughts of how many tears paradise can carry, elude me daily. Where do we find the strength to build when stones so quickly turn to sand? Supposing I lost my footing, which I constantly do–which of the two worlds would accept my heavy, sinful bounty of a body? Ore mi, I am still falling: 

Ore mi, I am still falling: 

I don start again, abi? I know. All my love to Baba, at long last, some sense in the title. And to my beloved, yes, mine: whisper not only the beauty but also the pure evils and maladroits of our Great Care-Taker. If you won’t, I shall, and you know that is a promise

To more days of Sangria sweetness.

Yours,

 

On this seemingly fruitless journey, we have been waiting.

Haltingly going neither backwards nor upwards-

Floating between the intermediary of who we dreamed  to become

and

that which our reflections mockingly produce.

we make gods of our bodies

and starve passion through the unwritten literature of our souls.

we are searching,

searching perhaps for that which we lost long before this journey began.

searching greater still, for that which our hands have not formed

nor our minds fathomed.

And They tell us-

that we are dreaming larger than we can become-

Because becoming has never been

in our power-

 

the grabbing hands

she had suddenly found herself growing weary-

weary of the men with grabbing hands.

grabbing at her uncovered flesh and often grabbing at her soul.

their kisses were like warm water on a humid summer day.

they always seemed to confuse their rush to undress her with a distant relative of “passion”

she yearned for soft hands that would caress instead of grope.

for those arms that would carry her above the burning coals.

so she let her mind dance around this new reality-

this reality of soft hands and strong arms.

because grabbing hands made her weary and she felt

it was time to live again.

Our Intermediary

And where did we come from?

We have brought our love to the alter of Zion.

Praying that the spirits of our Abiku will rise again.

We whisper forgotten prayers into the imaginations of our future,

Clasping hope to the unknown,

perhaps we waited too long.

For the bang,

the scream,

the jolt,

back into,

what was never in our power.

Mother, A wonderful Headache you gave me

And Mother,

You only ever taught me to love and to be true,

Assuring me that this was enough armor to meet the world with.

And Mother,

You prepared me to hope in the stars and pray to the winds.

And Mother,

You promised that faith could conquer all battles.

And Mother,

You made me understand the pain of others before my own.

And Mother,

You taught me to sooth the wounds on the backs of my foes.

And Mother,

You showed me that wisdom would always dwell in the rows of cornrows that lay upon my head.

And Mother,

You sang the hymns on the misery of wars un-fought.

And Mother,

You decorated my childhood with stories of the evils of men.

But Mother,

You taught me to be silent too soon and

too often.

The beauty of creation

Pulling him to her breast,
She realized what she feared was the newness.
The feeling that perhaps
This moment had never occurred before and so,
the burden of creating something completely new had been given to them:
these young reckless lovers.
Who knew nothing more than to give of themselves,
Hungry, not to conquer but to be conquered.
They reeked of passion,
blinding and burning.
But even in the midst of passion,
She found herself gasping and wondering if the burden was too heavy.
As she moulded her body alongside his,
would this be enough?
She realized what she feared was the newness.
The beauty of creation that lay in the sandy horizon
And the failure of never reaching it,
blanketed her naked statue.

Familiar

I’ve met you before.
Somewhere between the conversing streets of death and life,
we met behind a forgotten alleyway.
Discussing our dreams and failed attempts to climb the moon,
and define the way the sun shone across our souls.

I’ve met you before.
When I met that full outburst of laughter, I wept.
Feeling the waves of familiarity and comfort wash over me anew.
I could live and die many times over to hear that laughter.
SO full of life, pain and strength.

I’ve met you before.
Carrying your brokeness in a little tin jar.
And painting your portrait of pain so beautifully.
As I sit and contemplate,
Only now do I see the unshed tears under your heart.

Nameless man

I fell in love
with his words,
That draped comfort
over the damp walls of my
solitude.
He was without a face,
but his voice echoed rhythms
that drummed resurrection within me.
He fell between the cracks,
He stepped over the broken shards
of a fragile identity.
Painting portraits upon my lips,
He
loved
me
slowly.
He curtained sunshine over my heart
and wrote peace under the soles of my feet.
We moved in melodies in midnight whispers.
caressing the complex knots of sorrow
between these legs,
he forgave the confusion of love.
Kissing life into the emptiness of my past.
He dwelled deep within me.

The women underwater

I speak for
The women underwater.
Those who have not drowned
But have adopted the art of sinking
Beneath.
Beneath themselves
And
Below the world.
They stand like unmoved pillars.
Waiting with no expectation.
Who are these women?
They that navigate the dark ocean depths,
with the familiarity of a well known story.

I speak for
The women who have studied the art of invisibility
and apologize their identities,
over their spread legs and wetness.
Who have learnt guilt to be synonymous with happiness.
They lurk between themselves
and around concrete walls.
Holding their breath
and wishing drops of joy
to fall above them.
On their way to nowhere,
They move silently.
These are the women underwater.