Kayode Afolabi’s, Every Woman is a Poem, is an authentic poetry book which portrays the identity and nuances of the African woman in her natural habitat. The chapbook reminds one of Shakespeare’s immortal Sonnet, ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day’ ( written to mock Elizabethan poetic tradition) where women and love are presented as intangible phenomena installed (not on the face) but deep inside the heart of man.

The woman elements in Afolabi’s remarkable poetry book read like an account of a young writer whose knowledge of love and the fairer sex is striking, realistic and shocking. Love is likened to the ‘palm fronds shivering gracefully on the bank of the Mono River’, and colourful too ‘ as a voodoo feast in Southern Dahomey’. Lovers themselves walk hand in hand ‘nude’ cleaving unto each other and melting as one forever-’ like locked-up portmanteau’. . . …

About a week ago, my grandma turned 85. I remember I was so fond of her growing up. I would sit around her all day during long vacation and sleep in her room which she kept specially for me when my siblings and I visited.

Mama in Oyo — as I would call her — was (and still is) a great storyteller. I wrote "Abake’s Dream" a poem featured in my chapbook “Every Woman is a Poem” based on some of the stories she had told me about her childhood in Ilaro.

A large ball,
of dreams and memories,
A vicious cycle of profanities.

Needle and Wine cups,
Dirtied eyes and punctured veins,
An unholy communion with the Most High

A wall of glass,
Fragile, bland, uninteresting,
A bowl of radish without its seasoning.

Sometimes even the edges of your life
lose sharpness,
And at the end it dawns,
That in that journey to find yourself,
You might have as well lost yourself.

What is life?
A 9mm Beretta,
And a double tap to the chest.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Jesujuwon Olawuyi (Erebus); a 4th year medical student. He loves reading, writing and playing video games. Though he’s a Nigerian, he hopes to leave Nigeria for his real country someday.

I was nobly born
where ‘ẹdun’ thrives.
Before I die,
I must
print my soul on paper

My bones, sturdy
like Òyìnbó’s giant huts
and his paper cowries
As I slave daily
towards freedom

My soul, the color of words
words, the blue of deep seas
A nubile blu jay
providing nuts
for his soulmate

My spirit, colorless
a howling wind
the browns of igbó aginjù dance
while the small beige grains of aṣálẹ̀
rise to the rhythm of
my song of freedom.

My blood, red, Iyùnadé! …

Life is to be taken
fists clenched & unyielding
and sleep is for the wicked
I sweat at work & in bed

So I succeed or think I do
when I see in cyan & purple
Yet, earth is sometimes brown
devoid of grass, love & sound

Then, life is to be given
hands feeble & freely open
Lots run through empty earths
Fill this void & save my heart

59! Fifty-nine years ago, after a strategically prolonged transition period, our friend — the British Government relinquished her power over Nigeria and the country was declared independent. Sir. Abubakar Tafawa Balewa expressed gratitude for this act of benevolence by our friend and also mentioned, interestingly, something about conflicting emotions (in the simplest of words, we were happy and also unhappy to be independent).

This is an occasion when our hearts are filled with conflicting emotions: we are, indeed, proud to have achieved our independence, and proud that our efforts should have contributed to this happy event. But do not mistake our pride for arrogance. It is tempered by feelings of sincere gratitude to all who have shared in the task of developing Nigeria politically, socially and economically. …

How does it feel to be a big fool?
How does the humor hit?
How do you pay for an extra bottle
Knowing your kids starve?
How do you snore
After beating your woman to a pulp?
How haven’t you choked on your diet?
How haven’t you died yet?

How are you still alive
After forcefully robbing her off her childhood?
How dare you enjoy the warmth in a smile
After ripping her off her innocence?
She is just 13!
How do you close your eyes to sleep
After tearing her up, after damaging her?
How haven’t you choked on your diet? …

Intruding raindrops
make noises over our room
beclouding our moans.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Check out other new Haiku on the BetterthanStarbucks poetry magazine — May 2019 edition.


Too many a time
Butterflies drunken
Stagger in my stomach
As pairs softly snog.
In my pant the other day
I found a frigging salmon
A raging one!
All who got away return
To dampen my dreams.
All the time I want to talk
I wish someone would
Hold my hand
With me dance the kipples
The dance of carnal passion
But I’m by myself.

It takes two to tango.
It takes two to tangle.

© Kayode Afolabi 2016
First published online by Kalahari Review

Read other poems by Kayode Afolabi at

I wonder if you ever think of me,
if I’m on your mind
the way you stay night and day in mine

when the cabman bangs me
in a pothole,
I remember when you drove

down the third hook of my brassier,
let go of the jugs
whispering the warmth of your hugs.

I burnt your portrait
the night you left
but from there where it was, you still leer,

you still snigger so loudly
when I lace my shoes
and when I place orders in twos

there’s still the scent of you
in this bed
and in everything once shared;

there’s still the thought of you
wondering if you think of me.


afokay - thechroniccakehaholic

Medical Doctor / Poet / Public Health Enthusiast / Women's Health and Rights Advocate

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