Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Conversation with my 40 year old self

This month being December and all I thought I'd look forward 10 years and write a message to myself.

So tell me

Are you smiling now?
Taller from mountains of hope
That fuelled your growth

Are you happy now?
Toned from hurdling over obstacles
That incessantly stalked your path

Are you laughing now?
Brushing cheeks with the elusive ‘one day’
Finally visiting screaming good morning the storm is over

Do you have it now?
Success at the end of a very long lonely tunnel
That promised no end

Did he come?
Dimpled, big smile,
Tall and talking sense

Are you married now?
Mother, Lawyer, Poet
Crazy Superwoman that you always were

Has hindsight flown in happy?
Tickled past pains into non –existence
Does she still have you giggling now?

I wonder

Did you tell them?
Unleash tales of hurricanes that tossed your brown skin beige
And left you broken till God collected and mended the pieces

Did they wonder?
Whether your sanity absconded
Leaving you with wild tales that were far from real

Did you show them?
Reveal battle scars and make them realise
Your sanity strength was fired in long hardship

Are you smiling?
Are you laughing?
Did we make it?

Tell me.

Sunday, 4 November 2012


When words land heavyenough to bruise,
And cause gashes deep enough to peer into the very depths of your soul-
It’s         because           it hurts!
Boils blood crimson red
Clots it black
And then boils it red all over again
To watch a loved one choose to walk off a bridge in the name of freedom
And be powerless to hold them back.

It pains
And it is not a feeling that demands rewind often or at all
There is nothing worse than fighting to save a life
That disregards its own true form in a mirror
And instead reflects an imaginary construct
In the body of which blindness, self-loathing and lack of any perspective
Feel at home

It hurts
To watch a loved one vacillate
Between regression
And remaining
In the pit of their despair
Knowing that the world waits- there at their finger tips
Daring them to clutch and hold on to something greater
But you stay down
You choose to stay down
And somehow delude yourself into thinking you are still fighting

It hurts
To fold back screams
Into neatly packaged phrases
Designed to sink sense into you and your manmade pit
Knowing these words entwined with love and all the wisdom I have
Three pronged and strong as they are
May still not suffice to halt your jump or stop your fall

So when my words cut
Leave scars deep enough to sow seeds of thought
Which yield fruition in the questions
Why do you hate me so much
Why can’t you just let me go
What was all that talk of love in moments not so long ago

I‘ll send a whisper through the wind to tell you
Hate is the brother of love
Often mistaken one for another
But distinguished by context
And clarified by intention
Hate has no home here

But if words are all the armoury I have
To cause dents deep enough to jolt you into right thinking
Fling you against multiple mirrors till your self constructed image cracks
And you finally see your true self
Stop you in your tracks before you walk too far off the ledge

If words are all the armoury that I have
Then I will bruise, cut, gash and dent you
with words coming from a place of love
That refuses to comfort foolishness at the risk of losing you forever

The thing about love is,                     sometimes
You may hate me for it
But sometimes, I will hurt you to save you
Because that’s the kind of risk real love will take
When the prize is worthy like you are to me.

Thursday, 4 October 2012


If you missed me on Vox Africa TV's Manolorgz special, here it is again

If they told you the sky was purple
You wouldn’t eyes closed, no second guessing believe it
You would look
See the sky was blue
Find the basis for their contention
And then go ahead and challenge it

But, they have told you,
There is no need for you to pursue education
That you lack the skills to further ambition
They said your people came from nothing
And had to be taught civilisation
They mandated you control your aspirations
And not ask so many questions
They said slavery was wrong
But it was a symptom of your condition
So you should be grateful
That they gave you your freedom
Gave you a whole month
To celebrate your liberation
They have distorted your history
Fed you lies wrapped in purple sky
Tell me - why do you so easily believe them?

Why not look past what’s been fed to you into your past
Unpack the boxes of history
And let those stories be your guide
Then you would know your ancestry is an achievement mine.

That Africa had 10,000 states and Kingdoms before the Europeans arrived
That slavery did not kill your people’s will to fight
That Claude McKay said they were “pressed to the wall, dying but fighting back”
That first generation sons of slavery didn’t let circumstance hold them back
That here, in the UK, William Cuffay, fought not just for his but for universal suffrage rights
Leading the first mass political movement at a time when Black people weren’t known for having rights
That before there could be an Obama, there was a Shirley Chisolm
First African- American Female to stand for US presidential office in 1972
That before Mo Farrah and Usain Bolt could take world stage
Jessie Owen had to outrun Hitler

You would know that you come from a long line of caring strong men
Who having reached the top of the ladder
Cane down and fixed the missing rungs so others could climb higher
Like Olaudah Equiano who was kidnapped from Nigeria at age 11
Sold into slavery in Virginia and again till he ended up in the UK
Bought his freedom and then became a powerful voice in the abolitionist movement

Like Nelson Mandela who exemplified the mantra ‘no man left behind’
When in 2002 he repatriated the remains of Saartjie Baartman deceased in 1816
A Black woman taken from her homeland and paraded as a freak show in Europe in life as in death

Nelson Mandela,
Who fought apartheid at the expense of 27 years incarceration
And then showed us how to turn brokenness into the highest position
Don’t tell me the doors aren’t open

Imagine if we celebrated true success instead of instant stardom
Acknowledged the achievement in the journey as well as the result
Understood that gold only comes from a fire mould

If you would just take the time to look
you would know that strength pumps through your veins
That untold possibilities can result from your pains
That they have only told you enough to keep you in chains
And it is up to you whether you choose to believe them

When no one opened the doors for our predecessors
It didn’t stop them it just made them fight harder
When they were locked in
They slipped out through cracks determined to triumph
They rode their adversities like horses
Until the world reckoned with them
They stood strong
Fighting for worthy causes
Buying our freedom with their blood

So next time someone tries to put you in a box
Conveniently marked; black, unproductive, always needs a crutch,
Before you consider crawling in,
Think about it!
Remember your history and
Know that what you do, what you achieve, who you become
IS your choice
©Tolu Agbelusi

Monday, 1 October 2012

Manolorgz - Black History Month

I'll be featuring on Manolorgz Black History Month series on Vox Africa TV on 4th October 2012. Channel 218 on sky, tune in to catch me at 7. 25. This is is the promo. Enjoy

Thursday, 20 September 2012


Those that know understand that life's been hard for me recently but now more than ever I am thankful for my blessings cus it can always be worse :). I did a workshop online that asked the participants to think about the worst time in their lives and how they got through it, then write a recipe for happiness. Here's what I came up with. Let me know what you think and by all means share if you like it.

When the sadness strikes
And you find yourself in the middle of a long dark tunnel
With a sudden hint of light
And you know without a shadow of a doubt
That that light is nothing other than another train coming to mow you over
Here’s my recipe for happiness

1. Laugh
Laugh out loud with a big belly laugh
Ignoring everything and everyone around you
Nothing is funny
But trust me it will heal you
So just laugh
Keep going until the madness sets in
And your body gives in
To numbness or to tears
One of them will surely set in.

2. Pray
Like your life depends on it
This is not a time for holy pretentious prayers
There is only one rule
You need to be real
Say what it is you are thinking
Shout, complain, express your anger
Remember to stay respectful
And make requests like you know
You are speaking to someone who is not bound by human limitations

3. Talk
But be careful about who you speak to
Avoid all those good intentioned friends
Who don’t understand or who require way too much explanation
The experience of talking to them will drain you
And their empathy will only frustrate you
So where possible just avoid them
Let them love you from afar
Find a friend in a similar situation
And talk about your woes until you can joke about life’s blows
And get lighter as the sharing momentarily eases your burdens

4. Fight
When that morning comes –
And you feel your world caving in
And your heart craves a dark lonely quiet corner
Or the height of a steep roof
When you feel your strength is waning
And you are about to give in

6. Remember, your story is not yet over

7. Take a break
Stand still,
And just let the world go by
Cry if you need to
Let your soul sigh
Defy those well-meaning fools
Who say sleep is for fools
Tell them sleep is one luxury you can still afford
Then go ahead and enjoy it

8. Wake up refreshed and determine to live on purpose
Remembering that struggles breed progress
And overcoming hardship makes for true success

9. Know who you are
Do not let your circumstances dictate your self perception
Remind yourself you were right when you dreamt you were made for greater
This is just a phase sent to build your character
This is just a phase; things are bound to get brighter

10. Repeat steps 1 to 9 in any order
And then Laugh, Pray, Laugh, Laugh, Pray,
And keep going
Until you see the light at the end of the tunnel
And you know that it IS your redemption

©Tolu Agbelusi

Tuesday, 21 August 2012


So I am at that age where everyone around me seems to be getting married or having babies. A sister friend of mine got married on Sunday (19.8.2012) and I was honoured to be asked to write and perform a poem at the wedding. For those who have asked where they can find it, here it is :) Oh if you like what you read, Join the site to keep updated

There shall be no disguising this love
Expressed through manly tears
And trembling petite hands
As rings embrace fingers
And I do’s are flung with vows towards heaven like confetti
As we enjoin in prayers that God catches them
And embraces you in his union so that yours does not fail
And you do not fall

Let time be kind to you
Engulfing you in the mind of this moment
Where feelings match reality and minds are free from torment
This moment where silent gazes shout sweet nothings
Like; you look as beautiful as the first day I saw you
and; I am so glad I found YOU
This moment where every memory breathes love
Till it becomes the lifeblood coursing through your veins
Making hearts pound
Till they race across the divide to catch each other
And begin to beat as one
Let time be kind to you and trap you in the mind of this moment

Take lessons from those who have gone before you
Remembering to choose wisely
Cus not everyone’s counsel is relevant
Or will suit you precisely

Assume nothing
Discern everything
Think in unison
But remember you are not telepathic
So speak always

Tell him
Tell him of your deepest fears
And of dreams that come only in daylight
Cus they make your subconscious scared
Tell him
Tell him when things aren’t going right
Even when he can’t fix them
Sharing will make the load light
And the light at the end of the tunnel brighter
So tell him
Tell him why you admire him
And when he asks you for the umpteenth time why you love him
You better tell him
Write a damn list if you have to but tell him
Say it often
Until the sound of your voice becomes like sticks beating his ear drums
Making his feet move to the sweet rhythm of your love played over and over again

Speak always
Remembering that feelings are not gender specific
Tell her
Tell her of fears you’d like to erase
Of scars
Of dreams
And of expectations that make you feel small
The touch of her hands will make you feel taller
So tell her
Tell her of times you have taken life’s blows in your stride
And times you cried
She will not question your manhood
She will only affirm it
So tell her
Speak often of love
Reciting the words to that well versed Hayley is the light of my world poem that I am yet to hear
Remembering days when eyes traced faces
And lips tried to speak but couldn’t
As throats clenched and then opened only enough
To let out the words you are my perfection

Speak often
But when anger comes
Let hearts speak in tongues that tongues cannot fathom
In silent moments that preserve
As moods subside
And anger resiles

And when friends tease you about being sprung
Admit it with pride
Tell them you can tell his mood from the stroke of his pen
Tell them you can feel her tears before her tear ducts release them
Tell them these are things you only learn when you are planning for eternity
Tell them how she is your very breath
And he your lungs
And when God blesses you with what can only be termed your perfection
Tell them the only way you will have it is sprung,

So live
And love like there is no tomorrow
And when tomorrow comes
find new ways to grow together
Shunning conflict and fighting indifference
Live, Laugh, Love, Trust
And pray that time will be kind to you

©ToluAgbelusi All Rights Reserved

Sunday, 12 August 2012


SO I had to talk about peace in 30 seconds which is
so much harder than i thought it would be because most of my stuff is between 3 and 5 minutes
but I like the end result, Listen and let me know what you think:

Thursday, 2 August 2012


When I no longer have the luxury of time
When hope has disappointed more times than I can count
When words don’t soothe
And food doesn’t calm
When efforts don’t yield and plans are a sham
I guess it’s time to sit and just cry

Monday, 30 July 2012

In exactly 2 days, 12 hours and God Knows how many minutes
My phone will ring
They will either start me rejoicing
Or plunge me into misery
Tell me it’s all been worth it
Or that the last 6 years were a waste
Whatever they say
I just wish Thursday would come in haste
Cus anxiety has me eating comfort
And though I haven’t stopped eating
I am feeling no comfort
In exactly 2 days, 12 hours and God Knows how many minutes
My phone will ring
And a new Chapter will begin

Thursday, 28 June 2012


I am surrounded by hoarders
Hoarders of opportunity
Who speak with mouths closed
Shake with hands clasped
And interact with bated breath
Scared to let something go

They are scared
To give away what they perceive
To be an unfair advantage
Help a brother take that next step on the ladder
Share information to make another's future brighter
They are scared

They never learnt to count past ONE
See past I's
Be that ONE
That smiles when another shines

They are hoarders
Of secrets not theirs
Of too many boxes
Of too many boxes of untapped happiness
Which they would expereince
If only they opened their boxes
And just

Friday, 8 June 2012


 I am tired of waiting
For a future that will not come
As tomorrows yield tomorrows
That make today question whether it ever went to sleep
I am tired of dreaming

Its time hope found me

Wednesday, 9 May 2012


Sister, Friend
Stronger than you’ve ever been
That’s how I want to see you
Staring down adversity like it don’t phase you
Teasing challenge to come and test you
Reminding emotions they don’t control you
And tormenting past failures with evidence of true progress

Stronger than you’ve ever been that’s how I want to see you
Not chasing men who are beneath you
Or letting so called friends demean you
But embracing all the strength that’s within you
And being all the greatness God’s put within you

So what if some people are meant
To be the darker side of the moon
Enabling others to shine
If that’s what you think you have been doing
Now it’s your time
The moon has spun all around its axis
It’s now your time to shine

So today, make no excuses
When you call I will not answer the phone
I will just come to you
But today,
I will not hold your hand
I will not wipe your tears
I will just come
Be there
Stand close enough for you to see me
But still far so you can run on your own steam
I will not be too far
I want to see you come into full beam

I can see it now
You will shout for me
But I will not come closer
Today I will just stand here
I will stand here and shout

Please come out of the shadows
Please be as strong as you are
Please stop letting life be like gallows
Please embrace the beauty that you are

And if all this feels too hard
Pretend until strength becomes you
I will not come closer
But sister I can see you
I will not wipe those tears
But I am right here for you
Waiting patiently for you to shine
Like the son of God within you
I will wait until the self-pity leaves you
I will wait until you are stronger
Stronger than you’ve ever been
Cus that’s how I want to see you

Wednesday, 18 April 2012


The best laid plans are best laid on a shelf
Where reality can’t touch them
And life doesn’t get to strike them
The best laid plans are best laid out on a shelf

It’s like these shoes
These are my shoes
I didn’t borrow them
I spent good money on them
They looked so pretty on the shelf
They are meant to fit me
I just had a trip
That invoked flashbacks of the last ankle break
And visions of
A new blue cast
To match the pretty blue skies
That I will only get to see from my pretty blue sheets
If I break this ankle
Because of these shoes

But these are my shoes
I spent years trying to grow into them
Time trying to fill them
Collecting diploma after diploma
Degree after degree
Flying from country to country
Bouncing from continent to continent so fast
They should have called me airplane
All just to
Make a name
Pave a way
Implement a well laid plan
That seems to have found its own way
I thought these were my shoes

It’s like 30
I had plans for 30
We were meant to stroll hand in hand into fun
Having got the basics down
You know the drill
Husband - check  
Career   - check
House - check
Kids, I don’t know let’s say half check

The job centre wasn’t on my list when I made those plans but...
I had plans for 30
But now I see her a week off
And my heart beats so fast
Till my chest can’t hold it
But my eyes behold it
Racing down the street
To beg time to slow down & stand still
Just for one moment
One moment long enough to let me breath
One moment long enough to realise one dream
One moment where clarity marries me
And gives me a clue
About the genesis to my exodus
From what I thought was a well laid plan

 Lot got what he wanted
Abraham looked like he didn't
But eventually he  got what God had promised
Look who fared better
These are my shoes
I don’t understand why they still don’t fit
But I know these are my shoes
So channelling Abraham
I am just going to stand here, sit here, and wait here
Kneel here, until God hears
And fills my shoes

written on 17th April 2012


Sunday, 8 April 2012


If they told me death was the destination
I’d turn around, find another way instead
If they said my blood would suffice
I’d renegotiate, everything has another price
If I could choose gain and just skip the pain
They won’t have to ask me twice

If I was God looking down
Would I really come down to this?
Beautiful people acting ugly
Transient emotions trapping freed people
Brothers killing brothers just for money
Prosperity preachers getting richer of the poor’s pocket money
I would not come down to this
But he did

Seeing the cross he kept going
Perceiving their thirst for blood
He was forgiving
Seeing me as I am
He was accepting
There was no negotiating
No relenting
He just took the pain
Said I was worth it as his gain

So my Easter is everyday
I know I can’t repay him
My Easter is everyday
I’m thanking God Jesus saved me.

Saturday, 24 March 2012


The moon shines bright outside my window
It dances on the ocean
And comes increasingly into view with every passing moment
It does not hide
It is not shy
It walks out bold unashamed
As though daring the world to find fault in its apparent perfection

I want to be like that moon
I want to walk with my head held high
Not in pride but with certitude
Certitude that to the best of my ability
I have lived as I should
I have loved as I should
And knowing that when it was hardest
I walked away when it was the only right thing to do

I want to; I know I can
But I keep telling myself I have tried
Deceiving myself into believing trying and doing are somehow on the same plane
But I live in fear of being found out
I sit and wait knowing I’ll soon be caught out
I come alive in the shadows
All the while knowing I am truly dead
We exist only in hiding
Yet still pretending our souls are being fed

I want what I do behind closed doors not to fear the light of day
I want to live right on purpose
No matter how hard that makes my day
I want the me you see to really be me
I want to shine bright
Walk bold

Just like that moon.

©2009 TolulolaAgbelusi

Thursday, 15 March 2012


It was never hard to see your charm and the beauty innate within you

It was sun kissed people of all ages, hue and size beaming life and boasting culture
It was big fat women dancing bare feet moving buttocks at the speed of light
It was big outdoor parties where the women cooked and laughed for hours and my mother always told me it was the sweat dripping into the pounded yam that made it taste better
It was days spent on beaches watching Atlantic waves big enough to carry me away
It was swimming in warm springs where hot met cold and the beauty of life was there but inexplicable
It was boarding school days with Yoruba, Hausa and Ibo laughing at our similarities and shaking heads at our differences
It was time spent with family when there was always family and there was always time

It was never hard for my young mind to see your charm and what I didn’t see they taught me
They taught me of oil wells running deep in the Niger Delta
 Enough so we would not have to beg borrow or steal
They taught me of gas reserves, of coal, lead, limestone, tin and gold
They taught me of mining possibilities that could eradicate poverties atrocities
They taught me about fertile lands and how we were once the world’s largest exporter of groundnuts, coconuts, cocoa, palm oil, yams, citrus, and sugar cane
They taught me of a country with over 250 ethnic groups, 4000 dialects and at least 520 living languages, now isn’t that wealth
They taught me of a tropical paradise with rain forests, savannah grasslands, mangrove swamps, waterfalls, rivers, beaches, rocks and wonders that would make an atheist thank/see God
They taught me of a nation rich with people, customs, endless natural resources
And hearts like the sun which keep shining even when monsoon rains fall

If I knew nothing else I knew we were blessed
So how is it
That these days I only see your beauty as one looking through rose tinted glasses
What we exported we import
What we have in abundance we lack
After so many rulers whose only leadership qualities entailed
Leading us to the mouth of the abyss
where we now hang tilting dangerously
Threatening to fall and never return
I can’t see you

What was, has now been looted by corruption, greed and mismanagement
Using your sons and daughters as foot soldiers
Where they should have built they have broken down everything but their castles
Flourishing in stolen prosperity mansions
Enjoying the sight of their brothers begging for crumbs
They handed in their souls for states
And stakes in the stock market
Trading blood for oil
Our futures for private jets
Our education for material wealth stored in hard to reach places
And having debased us
They exchanged
Food for subservience
Money for votes
Jobs for silence
And morals for status

So these days when I picture you, I see you clearly but teary eyed
Emaciated from all those who constantly take and give nothing back
Violated by your own children coming to power just to rape you
And then mutilate you enough so they still get to leave with a little piece of you

I think of you
I’m picturing fish filled waters now emptied from oil spills too many too count
And unjust executions of the Ken Saro Wiwa’s and  the Dele Giwa’s who made their voices count

I think of you
And extra judicial killings come to mind
Like the Odi Massacre in 1999
A whole town burnt to the ground
With 2500 civilians losing their lives
At the hands of police
Doing everything but protect or serve

I think of the absence of accountability
And I think of greed
And a people crippled by poverty
Allowing themselves to be used by those who pretend to have their best interests at heart
Whilst simply inflicting terror
In the name of God
In the name of ethnicity
In the name of justice

Where is justice
When we fail to prosecute those who have sucked the nation dry
Of its hope, its promise its bank accounts
Where is justice
When Boko Haram bombs persistently and the government does nothing?
Where is justice
When the majority live on a dollar a day
And the presidential food budget for a year is one billion naira
Where is justice
When instead of fixing roads, the president’s priority is naming a district after himself
Where is justice when clearly our lives have no value unless they can be bartered like currency?

My country
Land of my birth
I think of you
And water falls from my eyes like waterfalls in Cross River State
But these don’t fall pretty

Struggling to see through the tears
I lift my rose tinted glasses
Trying to spot hope on the horizon
Hoping to see people possessed with that Gani Fawehinmi spirit
That stood uncompromisingly for justice
And undiluted democracy
Instead of just fools demonstrating crazy

Occasionally I see hope
I see her jump
Like January 2012 mass protests
When the people said you may kill me
But I will not be silenced

I keep watching
I watch in hope
And I hope in time
Corruption will be ostracised
Potential will be realised
And my country will again awaken to all its beauty that lies within.

©2012 TolulolaAgbelusi 


Is this the future?
Age 13 –convicted of Robbery he said
We used to be friends
Then his girl became my girl
And he started acting funny
Called me a prick
I didn’t get why he was so angry
But I know no one disrespects me
So to pay him back, I decided, I’ll rob him.

I can still see the milk in this boy’s face
As he recounted exploits that made my head race
I remember the look on his mother‘s face
When speaking of his victim, he said he shouldn’t get upset over a gyal, there are bare girls everywhere,
I can have whoever I want; it’s JUST a girl innit

Flanked by his mother on one side and his sister on the other
This little boy convinced of his manhood
Could not fathom the disrespect in treating their femininity as a commodity
He demanded respect in the same breath as he abused it
Failing to see that his concept of it was a falsehood
And BESIDES, to properly arrive at manhood
You had to allow room for childhood
But can I blame him,
When clearly someone reneged on fatherhood

Is this our future?
Age 14 – convicted of Assault
He called me an Irish ginger cunt
And I can’t take kindly to insults or people disrespecting me
So I set him on fire
No I don’t find that dire
I have no problems with anger
It provoked much laughter
He got what he deserved
Messing with a gangster

I was meant to ask probing questions
Speak words of wisdom
Provoke targeted self searching
But momentarily dumbfounded and sitting silently I wondered
When did a good punch up become outdated?
Setting someone alight or stabbing them up become highly rated
And any opportunity for common sense become frustrated
By egos too big for the bodies that they weigh down

Maybe it’s the age creeping up on me
Or maybe it just is what it is
But when I consider the exploits of this generation
Wonder dumbfounds me into hopelessness
As I ponder what aspect of apparent stupidity
Beguiles with such intensity
That they are converted to a religion
That promises only jail or death.

I ponder with every passing breath
Till Perspective breaks into my thoughts to remind me
This is the plague of humanity
Always in pursuit of an exaggerated sense of importance
We chase celebrity
Trying to be or be with the mighty
The young come in tow with errant individuality
Acting tough but betraying delicate sensitivity
Watching and copying as we devoid respect of its mutuality
Chasing misplaced goals with myopic intensity
Seeking contentment through the lenses of a world that never has enough
We make a mockery of our freedom
As though calling God’s bluff

So is it really a surprise
This proclivity for criminality
When looking all around
Our standards denote nothing but futility

If this is not to be our future
Then there must be a re-education
That takes foundation in you and me
Spreading its roots till it gains proliferation
In the youth of our generation
Infecting humanity with the disease of true liberation
So that understanding our equality
We strive for true community
so looking at the next generation
There won’t be a question
It will be just be statement
Affirmed with pride

©Tolulola Agbelusi 2012