Night Rain & Other Poems
In spite of rumours
mornings are darker than nights.
Lights beam, through the transparence of glass,
to reveal the drugs on the dresser.
the body is reminded of pain,
the fingers, of trembling.
The light spreads—
and illumes the space on the other half of the bed.
The brain is reminded of the dead
or of lovers that left.
Obatala, on his way to create this world,
with a five-toed chicken and a gourd of sand,
stopped by the primordial cool spot
for some hot drinks.
Oduduwa, the sober, took the task in his stead.
I imagine Obatala waking up, the morning after,
to an already created world.
To the lights, the colours, the first song of the mockingbird,
the triggers of the first hangover.
It is never too early to be drunk or lost
So, I’m both already.
The final calls of bus drivers at Mayfair—
junction into hymns hummed at the graves of the long buried.
So that I am forced to remember my long buried—
didn’t speak to anyone but me, an infant,
in the weeks before she died.
I will never understand why the dying seek to be born again.
A motorbike almost crashes into my body
but my grandma’s ghost sees it averted.
The dead never rest.
I call for help at odd hours every night, and the dead are never missing.
I remember the missing—
Head of Olokun
lost in the crypts of the British Museum and the irony
of its being whisked over Olokun’s Atlantic.
I think to rain curses on Frobenius, but my verse is never angry.
No one has ever angered me deeply;
not the government, not the patriarchy.
The only thing that has deeply stirred my soul is—
but even that is always running away.
I try to trap it in my hands, but it escapes as bolts of light.
I keep it in a raffia basket, but it trickles out as water.
I stow it away in a metal tank, but it dies for lack of air.
Martin’s lover says the fire of love always peters out
and I wonder if this is true.
I am always wandering, searching for the—
So, I pursue the moon for answers—
since it is a witness to all that has happened at night.
But the moon hides behind a cloud.
I berate the cloud for being an accomplice to perjury
I berate the wind, that courier of whispers, for merely whistling past.
I berate the rain for trying to wash away tomes of evidence.
I have never seen snow fall, but I feel that, too,
is an attempt by God to hide away the truth.
After J.P Clark
The amateur paintings peddled to me at bars, take up life in their frames. The young drummer with four drums before him, is either indecisive or adept. The old one has either attracted two damsels or the other way around. The woman with a child strapped to her back and a basket of indeterminable items balanced on her head is either leaving home to hawk or for good. Nothing is certain.
Not even the past, which, since already done and dusted, can be looked upon, as far as memory permits, with scrutiny. This landscape, Ifѐ, claims to be the place where life began. That is, the place from which everyone leaves, much like my life (or, to shun drama, let us say much like my room). How did my room get this empty? Did I urge lovers away to seed new lands? Did they leave of their own volition? Nothing is certain.
Not even the sounds of this night. The crickets are either bickering over some injustice or snoring. The rain is either revving up or dying down. The bathroom door, at the mercy of the wind, is either creaking open or slamming shut. The cars outside, either arriving or departing. Nothing is certain.
Over the din of the rain upon aluminium, my neighbours are shouting. Or are those moans?
Is that a knock on the door?
There’s always light at the other side of town.
Yellow bulbs shine from a thousand square holes,
communication masts blink their red eyes,
and in that moment—
earth collapses into sky
and I, ensconced in the darkness of Ìta-Oshìn,
watch the headlamps of night-crawlers shoot across the galaxy.
I think a lot about darkness,
how we come from it—
how someday we must return to it,
but today, my mind makes no half-assed lunges at depth—
I cannot press my shirt!
I cannot charge my phone!
In this number, my flat battery hurts me more;
for all I know, my lover lays dead in faraway Obádá,
ignorance is a secondary darkness.
I look round at comrade-flats,
stoically braving the night with candles,
phone torches and other feeble lights.
Darkness, like misery, is a sucker for company.
But like true comrades, they desert me,
and five Mikanos roar to life—
loneliness is a tertiary darkness.
I look down at my own generator,
a yellow piece of shit lying in a pool of—
its own engine oil.
I contemplate throwing it off the railing,
but remember the thousands of times it has given me light.
Moyosore Orimoloye is a poet and writer from Akure, Nigeria. His poems have appeared in The Ilanot Review, Transition, The Republic, Brittle Paper, Kalahari Review, and Arts and Africa.