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“…beauty exudes from the lips of your hills.

Bare earth is a living brown: trees, seeds,

shrubs & greenery on your dusty chest.”

***

 

Iseyin I

I

You’re the tale of contrasting colours;
your sky is blue and your fields green,
whites are of cows and cassava flakes.

II

I can hear song birds
in my mind’s ear—
see the remains of rusted zincs—
spill from Ibadan—
on roofs of buildings planted
in the belly
of your undulating valley.

III

You wear the radiant smile of nature,
beauty exudes from the lips of your hills.
Bare earth is a living brown: trees, seeds,
shrubs & greenery on your dusty chest,
are always alive.

IV

The drowning sun is
a sign of contentment.
My soul, spirit & body—
for now- are at peace, here.

 

Iseyin II

1

You’re the horizon
that is seldom gazed at,
graced only by a few visitors;
men of valor.

Your hills and mounds
are breath-taking views
witnessed, only
by a courageous few.

2

Your cave is like home
there warmth of embrace float—
gives active life to the near-dead
& frozen hearts.

Your fragrance though
is, a reminder to all and sundry
that, all roads, especially this road—
that lead to and away from you;
away from your core
filled with litters of repercussion.

4

I await dawn and not the rise of sun
with as much apprehension
as the fallen trees, it will come soon.

5

Like souls of men
I do not belong to, or with you
I am only identified with you—
through time.
Like a lost soul in an empty body.
In you, I found a lost part of me.

 

On October 2, we published Enter Naija: The Book of Places, an anthology of writing–non-fiction, poetry, memoir, fiction, commentary–photography and digital art about places in Nigeria created to mark Nigeria’s 56th Independence anniversary. The project, with a delicious Introduction by Ikhide R. Ikheloa, was edited by Otosirieze Obi-Young and features 35 contributors. We are republishing a few highlights from the anthology, and here is our third: two poems titled “Iseyin I” and “Iseyin II,” Olanrewaju Tajudeen’s edible painting of Iseyin, a city in Oyo State.

**************

About the Author:

Olanrewaju Tajudeen is a poet. Because we burn daily and nightly like candles that illuminate, our waxes are the words left behind, even if the light becomes dimmed after our passing, and he, Olanrewaju, would want to leave enough wax behind. He writes in from Ibadan.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young was shortlisted for the 2016 Miles Morland Scholarship. His story, "Mulumba," appears in The Threepenny Review and has been translated into the German. His story, “A Tenderer Blessing,” appears in Transition and was nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize. His story, "You Sing of a Longing," is currently on the 2016 Gerald Kraak Award shortlist. His essays appear in Interdisciplinary Academic Essays and Brittle Paper where he is Submissions Editor. He edited Enter Naija—The Book of Places, an anthology of writing, photography and digital art about places in Nigeria created to mark Nigeria’s 56th Independence anniversary. A lecturer at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, he blogs popular culture at naijakulture.blogspot.com.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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