By Olabisi Abiodun Akinwale:
We met at the nightfall where art meet bodies with desires. All i wanted was you, a place my heart could sing and the world around me would feel like the dancing of butterflies. And when the slowness of your voice hastened up my heartbeat, i swear i thought i had bumped into a sonnet falling straight from the mouth of God, and i do not want to let go of this marvellous for i am nothing but a grieving thing, and your being is a mouth calling boys to tenderness, i know this by the way you love, the way you spoke of the men before me, how they forget their hearts in your life and return like drought seeking the wonder of water.
I laid my otherness before you, you said i cannot be bigger than the idea of your insecurities. You made excuses for my love, say they fit in your heart, same sizes of your longing, that my words know too much about sweeping you off your feet. You made excuses for my strangeness, say how do you creep into a place, lend a stranger your voice and listen to her tell tales of her terror and beauty. You asked that i tame the dog running wild in my heart. You do not know even with chains you cannot stop a man from mimicking God, from loving something so much he could lay down his life.
Like a sea carrying the dreams of nomads across continents, i carry you in my mouth, said i want to be stuck with you and i do not lie; there was no memory beneath my words, no face hidden in the corridors of my voice, just you- your smile an outstretched arm calling me into the divinity of things, your bloated cheek a room keeping my heartbeats in music, do not blame me, a man in love is one who sees the world from the eye of a child, and to see the world from the eye of a child is to be naive enough to put your hand in fire believing it will not hurt you.
But your heart is far from you, and to love again is to walk a thousand mile to yourself with a stranger by your side, something you do not want to do because you want to meet the woman inside you at home when you come home to you, this too is love. Your heart still roams the memory of the one whose hands carved your breaking during the pandemic. You said no piece of you is whole enough for the theatrics of emotions, so you turn every feeling into a sword, bend love into a room where hand touching a body is arrow aimed at your soul.
I’ll set forth at dawn, let the rhythms and melody of life walk me away, I’ll sing at the night of my journey, write at every crossroad, I’ll make poetry of things that could have been as though they were, anything to fill my body with songs- like this poem, like the ache in your eyes, because something must take the place of another, because sometimes love is no place to throw your body on the couch, not a place to litter your vulnerability on the floor for the salvation of hand, sometimes it’s a wall you build to protect your heart from breaking.
© Olabisi Abiodun Akinwale