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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 is a writer, journalist, & Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. The recipient of the inaugural The Future Awards Prize for Literature in 2019, he sits on the judging panels of The Miles Morland Writing Scholarships and of The Gerald Kraak Prize. He is Nonfiction Editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is Curator at The Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His work in queer equality advocacy in literature has been profiled in Literary Hub. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He has an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies/English & Literary Studies, both from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He taught English in a private Nigerian university. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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