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

Wednesday, 3 July 2013


I was so angry all I could do to stop myself from kicking her was erupt. Kick shoes, keel over and laugh till the sound of my laughter puffed into this ball of tension that she cradled uncomfortably in her arms, weighing her down and extinguishing the light from her face. Apparently my tonneric laughter delivered the blow my hands had been itching to render with the subtlety of an elephant trampling a cat. Her face hastened my realisation that anger laced laughter was roaring away every ounce of self-assurance she had mustered. It was David and Goliath. Little flies harmonising sweetly on a lion’s carcass. Victory without effort.

©Tolulola Agbelusi

Monday, 3 June 2013

Seeming is But a Garment

My friend, I am not what I seem. Seeming is but a garment I wear – a care-woven garment that protects me from thy questioning…”Kahlil Gibran

Dressed in a pinned smile and enough
Appropriate laughter, I will sit at the meet
Of champions encircling the dinner table
And hope the lamb is succulent enough
To steer the conversation away
From what we have become.

Thirteen years ago, we were strangers
In search of ourselves, builders pulling
Together the foundations of our currency,
At the tail end of teenage bliss. Early
Lectures and intermittent exams
Were the height of our qualms,
We thought we knew stress like
The lines in our palms.

Who knew the storms were coming
Arm in arm to push us out of our
Houses and see who stands.
The jobless years, the tears
And fears, the marriages
That almost were, the friends

Who actually never were, the journeys
That brought us here, to a newly bought
House, where we celebrate progression
From the sum of our pasts. They speak
Of the twenty-years; a wilderness
Of searching and angst, wondering
And wandering into a future they
Planned and I nod like I - am - there

Like my present was planned, they
Speak of the future like an extension
To a loft, as though we all stand on stairs
At the height of top, I think
of a future that escapes
The slums and I bury my thoughts

With a wreath of smiles. How
Do I begin to explain the start
Of angst that the thirties dragged
In with pomp? Should I say it is a storm
That broke down my houses
That my dreams are a pack of wingless
Birds that stay on my back
That a sadness looms over me

Larger than the sun, that it’s rays
Are in compartments behind my breast
That sometimes all the locks break
At once and I feel my sanity
Slip - away, my body becomes
A heavy weight and it has happened

So many times, that I have learnt
There is power in a good song, like
Screaming out loud, it is well
with my soul at the edge of a cliff
can keep me my feet firmly on the ground
I could tell them so much but instead I
Laugh and smile. I don’t want to break, but

My Friends, I am not what I seem. Seeming
Is but a garment I wear – a care- woven
Garment that protects me from questioning
And saves others from the sear
Of a sincere answer.

©Tolulola Agbelusi

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Whispers of Spring

Spring is slow but coming
Every morning outside my
Window, a naked stem
Dresses itself with a brand
New bud. It almost looks
Like nothing but it’s there
Just like I know
Redemption is near.

©2013 Tolulola Agbelusi

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Thank you to everyone who followed me on the 30/30 journey. I missed about 6 days which was an achievement because I was mad busy in April. I have now retired the 30/30 page so I can do more work on the poems.

Have a lovely May.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

A Future of Your Making

One day, someone may visit
Dressed up as assistance.
They may speak of your
Potential as though their
Discovery is your beginning,
Map out your future and praise
Who you will be, squeeze your
Hand and lead you to places
You‘ve never been. Take

In the sights, watch how
The sky’s blue so easily
Blackens, how a sunny spring
Sky can suddenly throw snow
At unsuspecting pavements
How life busies itself with
Changing and staying the same

Be the same. Reclaim your hands
Carry as much of their light
As you need, maintain a thread
of your story through the changes
Embrace their ideas if you need
To but remember; you’re your own
Discovery so draw your own map, lest
Assistance takes over and you never
Find the way back to yourself.

©2013Tolulola Agbelusi

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

So I'm challenging myself to write 30 poems in 30 days.
See how I get on on the "30 Poems for 30 Days" page above.

Monday, 4 March 2013

My Becoming

Pinned to my mother’s side
Condemned to watch
When too young to cook
Cook when too old to watch
She watches me now

Moving to an anthem of gasps
That strangle the air
As my outstretched hands
Unleash tong like bare
Fingers, hugging the shoulders
Of a boiling pot to safety

With waving hands
And concrete words she
Rescues the air
From a pack of startled women
“My daughter can handle it”
She says.
Something in my mother’s tone

Unclipped my wings.
Was that pride she wore like skin?
The assurance of a teacher who
Laid down the tracks of my becoming
And watched the foundations rise
Beyond her humble classroom

Watching her face
I am 5 again
Tracing the road to 30
Viewing the sites

Stilted by 4 wooden legs
Pounding laughter from cookie dough
Moulding her face into smiles

Mentally minuting
The water before the rice
The boil before the rise
The wisdom in her eyes
The guests before the husband before myself

Sweeping tears away,
Finding obligation scratched
Onto kitchen floors, reducing
Parental commentary into
Sauce, pounding sibling rivalry
Into yam, understanding nothing

Carving independence
The flower of her words
Finally blossom in a soil of
Experience. In foreign lands
But kitchens always
Call in my mother’s voice.

My kitchen now
Memories buried in every pot
I hold my mother’s eyes
And smile, letting myself
On the wings of her pride

©Tolulola Agbelusi

Monday, 4 February 2013

WE ARE (For the Year 11 Girls at Haggeerston School)

This poem is generated from the words and feelings expressed by a group of girls who attended my workshop on 25th January.

Our mothers told us we were beautiful, smart,
brave, passionate; a gift to the world. We wore
her smiles bright. Chasing the dreams she had for
us on chariots of her pride. On the first day of school,
she kissed her words into our cheeks so we would
never forget. But the wind blew them away until we
found worth only in other’s opinions, in boy’s arms
In fabricated personalities, in dumbing down.
Another wind is blowing; a piece of paper
littered with words that will determine our

futures. We smell hints of our mother’s words
and piece together our stories like armour
for battle; discarding the insecurities the world
gave to us. We are not the sum of opinions.
We are beauty in shoulders people bow into,
offering sacrifices of tears as burdens float away.
We are hands that carry and care for a world that
cries for the tenderness of our perfect imperfections.
We are brains manufacturing talent, tomorrow’s leaders.
Wombs unashamed of failings that help us conceive our

true selves. We are bees stinging laughter into bitter
Situations. Forts of secrets that seam your
worlds together. We are anger that sparks
revolutions out of stagnation. Truth that
requires no explanation. We are perfect
futures in construction, slaying negativity in a once
forgotten chariot. We are our mother’s daughters
slowly becoming Women our daughters will be proud
of. We are girls on the brink of womanhood
claiming our rights to succeed.

©ToluAgbelusi 2013

Friday, 4 January 2013

Life is Lived Forwards but Learned Backwards

Life is an adventure and I plan to live it
Speech is a gift and I plan to use it
So that tomorrow doesn’t tell stories of what should have would have could have been
If only I had lived outside my box
If only I had said and done
If only’s I don’t want at all

So with my voice
I’ll lead you down corridors unknown
Where you can learn things untold
From questions asked
And times I laughed
From dreams I’d share if you’d care to ask
From cares I embrace
And fears I’d like to erase

I’d show you a me unimaginary
But only if you’ll let me.

©Tolulola Agbelusi