Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 3,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

These Are No Tombs

i held your tongue
thinking it would reveal
how a sea runs into a boat
where you lay on breasts

this is how
lovers’ days are measured
break the silence that sits silently on nights
the moon is a stranger
walk your fears on the lips of shadows
let them watch you sleeping on a stormy sea
life never builds you home when
your heart is abroad
—wake, the future is at the train station
let’s race it before it leaves us behind
or we look ourselves behind
to hold memories
you sail into my eyes and become a poll
of thoughts living dreams in my heart
you become memories that fight for survival
in my fist.




About the Author:

13055491_1030009397073461_8275634260997837356_nAyinla Olawale “Wale Ayinla” Joseph is a young Nigerian poet who is vast with the definition of life in things that surround him. His works have featured on several blogs and magazines, amongst which are Brittle Paper, Prachya Review, Peregrine Reads, Dwartonline, Tuck Magazine, PenEgg, amongst others. He is the Editor-in-chief at He tweets @Wale_ayinla and blogs at


Photo credit: Michael E. Umoh.

Photo title: These Are No Tombs.

Tags: ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

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.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."


The Nervous Conditions of the Mother Tongue | Mapule Mohulatsi

Selves - An Afro Anthology of Creative Nonfiction (2)

We are republishing select pieces from Selves: An Afro Anthology of Creative Nonfiction, curated by Basit Jamiu and introduced by […]

Introducing Brittle Paper’s Brunel Prize Poems Review Series

brunel 2018 shortlist

The entry of African Poetry Book Fund (APBF) expanded in more than one way the African literary scene. With its […]

WATCH | Jalada Mobile Literary and Arts Festival in Kampala and Kabale

jalada psmag

In 2017, the pan-African collective Jalada Africa announced a mega-step: a mobile literary festival covering five countries in East Africa. The Jalada […]

Review | Cassava Republic’s “She Called Me Woman: Nigeria’s Queer Women Speak” | Cisi Eze


Anthology: She Called Me Woman: Nigeria’s Queer Women Speak. Curators: Azeenarh Mohammed, Chitra Nagarajan, and Rafeeat Aliyu. Genre: Non-Fiction, LBTQ […]

The Caine Prize Is Alright. Right?


Something is happening at the Caine Prize. Here at Brittle Paper, our role has been to support African literary institutions […]

Chike Frankie Edozien’s Lives of Great Men Is a Finalist for the 2018 Publishing Triangle Awards

lives of great men copies

Chike Frankie Edozien’s Lives of Great Men is a finalist for the Publishing Triangle Awards, in the Randy Shilts Award […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.