His name, Oladele Taiwo Oluwaseyi. He won the poetry leg of the Write for Love contest I organised for Valentine 2018.
After the Write for Love competition, Taiwo and I got talking one evening – and we got to the point where he said we should choose a theme and co-write a poem, alternating by a stanza each. As poetry isn’t exactly what I might call my ‘comfort zone’, I opted for prose.
So, here’s the offspring of that session. Taiwo did the poetry; I wrote the prose. But it’s one piece.
Also, this kind of writing is quite unusually cool, and I think I should do more of it. (So, heeey, if anyone is up for it, reach out to me on social media – @MichaelAfenfia).
Do leave a comment—or two—after reading.
11 o’clock. That’s when she calls. Every night for 4 months straight I’ve waited to hear her voice. It’s always “hey baby,” and then I’m all butter, colourful and mushy.
I know she’d call tonight. There’s no protocol; none whatsoever. The minute Sia announces the in-coming call, I know it’s my secret. The phone is already in my hands so I don’t have to stretch. It must be Damilara, the woman of the phone – my internet queen.
In the wee hours of the day and the roo of the night
In the glee of merry and in the gloom of misery
I have hampered a mystery in the creeks of my heart
Of the class behind glass
And of what lurks beneath the keys
Guarded with locks of the dragons jaws…
Dinner was great. She made Amala and Ewedu. Everything I liked accompanying each morsel was in the soup – fish, shaki, pomo, liver and kidney. She even had shrimps, and everyone knows I could kill for shrimps. I swear I don’t how she does it, but Bisi is blessed in the kitchen. If only she was just as adventurous in other things, especially in that one thing that makes my body tingle and quell my raging fire, then maybe my 11pm calls wouldn’t have been necessary.
“Sogo, you should have one more wrap of amala. This one is particularly smooth and soft, just the way you like it.” I complied without much persuasion and she was right.
I wore the face of the joker and the sense of the spider
I have waged war with the peace in my heart
To share the ecstasy of my fantasy
For home is far from the walls I built
And a call on my cell is a call of home
That I have traded the love of my betrothed
for the warmth of my beloved
Then another “hey baby,” and more silence, the kind that makes you tingle with fear, the fear of being found out.
“Sogo?” The voice on the other end of phone was weak, uncertain. She gathered some courage and tried again. “Sogo?”
Out of the cages of my ribs leapt my heart
Darkness engulfed the white cloud in my eyes
The little voice in the heart of man grinned and laughed
And its reprimand grew in deafening decibels
O ground, hide me from my sins
O chariots of fire, come, take me away
O cyclone, take me far from reality
Where I’d dance not to the music of my deeds
Somewhere between here and wherever that other place is, I heard her faintly. Her voice was measured and controlled. It didn’t sound anything like Bisi, my Bisi of the warm smile and big heart.
“His blood is on you. Well, technically there’s no blood.”
“He called you his agbalumo; he called me that too – until he found out I couldn’t give him children. He questioned what the point of intimacy was if we’d never have children. He lived for your calls. He died because of your calls.”
I didn’t hear what she said next but I saw her drop my phone on the table. Bisi of the cold stare and the folded arms will take my secret to the grave.
The grasshopper has no loyalty even to the King Grass
And when this bush burns
He flutters across the yard to the lushness of the green garden
But the hiker who lived through an avalanche
Will know how cold the handshake of death is
Till my dying day, I’d set free the genie in my phone
To have and to hold you till my soul is ripe to pluck
For I have walked the path near the plunge
And seen what stares, brazen redness of the evil
On the lean side of the end
That I have made a bow out of the cobra and I have been bitten
And never again will I dare to die without you by my side
For life is only worth living with you in it.