Saturday, 8 August 2015

Fly! (After Maya Angelou's Phenomenal Woman)

Go ahead!
Seize the Mirror.
Make it captive to your face.
Suck sinkholes
Under cheekbones.
Perhaps dark skin lighter.
Unseat your petite.
Babel tower
Your physique
Contour symmetry
Across facial features
Go crazy!
Becoming the one
They said was perfect
Whilst your soul burns
its stock of happy.
I won’t wait.
Sitting on Maya’s throne
defiant, I’ll happily upset
pretty women
who keep wondering
where my beauty lies
don’t believe when I say:

“Its in the reach of my arms
the span of my hips
the stride of my step
the curl of my lips
I’m a woman
Phenomenal Woman
That’s me”

There’s a seat here
For the woman
You are trying to shed
Fly! Give the mirror
Back its sight
Go ahead.

©Tolulola Agbelusi

Tuesday, 6 January 2015


I met him once.
He bore through my resistance
With a sun bright smile
Tackled laughter from clenched jaws
Made me feel sand grain light
With a dune strapped to my back.
He was spectacular.
Annoying at times 

with an endearing arrogance
I can only describe as odd.
A leader who took pride 

in a higher stride
He spoke only when necessary
and befriended intellect for fun.
He flew on my level
Didn't intimidate when my name consistently
sweetened the lips of excellence
Wore my successes like he earned them too
Making their lustre last twice as long.
When I let my thoughts flow with no filter
Spoke truth that hurt
He would shake his head
Tell me I was hard to love
Yet refuse to move .
I found him 

in moments of rare vulnerability
Where his tears unbuttoned emotions held captive
By some flawed idea of masculinity
It was in those moments my soul welded itself to his heart
In bonds I would always find hard to break.
Bonds made stronger in the knowledge that he saw me all
And loved me anyway through irritation and tears and laughter.
We spoke the same language.
Exactly What I needed, but alas
he was too much her husband to ever be mine.

©Tolulola Agbelusi 2014

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Maya Angelou Tribute by Michelle Obama

I haven't posted for a while.... that will soon change.

Today as we celebrate the home-going of Maya Angelou, a woman whose story and books and poems impacted me beyond poetry;  whose words did a lot for helping me realize it was okay to be me, I  thought it was time I came out of hibernation. I hope I can make half the impact she did. Michelle Obama's tribute at the funeral rings true so i thought i'd share:

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Latest Best Seller (Dami & Seyi's wedding Poem)

If God is an author
Then this must be his latest best seller
8 years in the making it has all the hallmarks of a remarkable story.

Boy spots girl in a crowd and feels legs propelling his body
Towards her quicker than his brain can react in any cohesive manner
He sees only her and loses the words ‘you are God’s best channel of light’
Somewhere in the cave their hands make when they shake
But she lets it go; walks away and marvels at how boy could possibly think that was enough.

I hear it wasn't just a weak chat up line, that boy lost some of himself to her that day
And kept trying to get it back; that circumstance colluded with him and coincidence
Orchestrated a day when his quiet persistence could run straight
into her awakening heart without having to break any barriers.
I hear God exploded possibility into realities so boy stands here today
Tears welling from depths he barely knew existed as girl strangles his hands
With message laced trembling fingers;
words that tongues cant compute but eyes can digest like:

Seyi, you pull laughter from the shards of my brokenness
on days when it is the only healing that will suffice. You are
the push at the back of my swing set when both energy and momentum
have deserted my hemisphere. Your belief in my abilities is a ladder
I keep climbing; I can’t foresee its pinnacle. You are my special dictionary
without the words barrier or cant or betrayal. When your circumstances paint
pictures with too many shadows and not enough light, you refuse to fade
into the background. Your ambition is an elaborate runaway train
that never crashes, I am always glad for the ride. You take me as I am
and interpret my utterances with an eye on the best of me.
You are my miracle.

Even as we recount this story boy looks at girl sheepishly
Capturing the journey to the alter, remembering the first times
First gazes, first kisses, first words and he mutters
You are God’s best channel of light
And this time, her smile is the key to every door
An invitation to keep going and his words keep flowing as he says

Dami, I left heaven just to be with you. You are part God.
I have seen lilies open prematurely on your approach
trying to catch a glimpse of the beauty to which they aspire
and it astounds me that you don’t even know it.
When I fall hard, you don’t pull me up in haste disconcerted
By my weaknesses. You come down and sit with me, wrap your body
around me like a glove and speak life into me. You challenge me to find
the wisdom in dark places all the while kneading laughter into bitterness
and making sure contentment rises. You crawl, then walk, then run with me
till we are both standing effortlessly
you make me feel that I matter every single day
and that is a gift I intend to keep giving back. It was always you.
This and many more sweet utterings feature in this story

I hear this is just the beginning
That this best seller has a sequel that the couple writes as they wish
I hear script writing for eternity is a hard task
That somewhere in between courting God and speaking to each other always and honestly about everything you can build forever slowly. I hear outsiders often try to help.
Parents and siblings and friends all with their own ideas and often with the best of intentions
Trying to direct what happens next – I pray you, let heaven sent discernment
Be the sieve you pass their words through before adapting it to your story.
Take each day as it comes being strong enough to be vulnerable knowing
That is where bonds are forged and memories are made. Resurrect laughter
As often as possible knowing that it heals more than it will ever cost you
If ever the going gets hard, remember the time of sweet utterings, the reasons you came together, how well you fit like question to answer, remember today
and the God who brought you here. This is just the beginning.
If God is the author I know he is
Then I’m convinced you are his latest best seller.
May your journey be smooth.


Wednesday, 18 September 2013


There’s no music for this dance
This left to right wiggle waltz hands
Rolling unrolling stretching beyond
Tendons as the urge creeps over
Me like a Tsunami as I sit on
An unsuspecting bus in
The middle of nowhere
There is too much
Base in this heart
Beat my left hand is
Leading my forehead in
A dance of rocking abandon
Butt cheeks are clenched so close
They might as well be clapping
Face twisting into contorted
Grimaces my words have
Been stolen by an urge
That forbids
There’s a hand
Hugging my stomach
I think it’s mine can’t hold
Too tight might unlatch the dam
Within and cause the bus to flood
The bus has fallen in love
With speed bumps
And potholes
My muscles are
Stretched to breaking
But the next stop is mine
Little steps move me of the bus
It’s the waltz again there are no lyrics
To this song no rhythm to this skank
This quick quick slow run walk
Pulling me closer home
My zip sees the door
Before my eyes
It is already
Down maybe I’ll
Make it my trousers
Are at my ankles way before
I collapse onto the toilet
I am safe now
It’s over until the next time
I don’t listen when the toilet calls

©2013Tolulola Agbelusi

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Home Series (1)

I was honoured to do some take away poetry for the refugee council in July. Some ladies told me they miss the West Midlands where they came from. We spoke for a few minutes and then I had to come with a poem on the spot. This was the end result.

The air is different here. Nothing stifles
silence adorns my neck like a choker
just tight enough to make me breath
in the air like the first time. At the height
of this hill my soul is as high as the top
of the sky, the leaves dance uncontrollably
in a rhythm of their own and I join in
just let their beauty wash over me.

I know a place like this
Where the lilt of the accent
Spins me deeper into my own skin
And the faces are all mine
With generations apart.
When home is a place
Too far away to hold me
I think of Sunday afternoons
Around grandma’s table
Where laughter exchanges lips
Like a relay and bodies double
Over like trees swaying in the wind
As memories are re-established
And sweet tasting food makes its way
to the part of my body where laughter
was just born. Those days are in my heart.
They are air that rejuvenates
when I need to find my way back home.

©2013 ToluAgbelusi