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Kunle Okesipe: Horoscope for My Homeland


Today, as the sun crosses the turban of Saturn,
A unicorn will run across your midriff,
Avoid violence but do not lower your weapon.
As the planets enter the seventh house of the zodiac,
With the moon approaching the dragon’s tail,
And Venus untangles its hold on Neptune,
Some suitors will offer you a hug;
A knight on a horse in the year of the sword,
Sensing the arrows within their heart,
Will shield you with a cuddle.
He will preen your feathers of shrubs,
And press on you, behind a mystical mask,
       A kiss in plural mouths.
Remember to open your eyes if you yield your lips,
As if on a vigil for the teeth of vampires.



       “And those who ate were five thousand men, not
       counting women and children” (Matt 14:21)

I will count the many ways the city has built its name.
In the morning, I will count the clean barks of automath dogs,
In streets lined with numbered hooves of imperial horses

I will count at the city gates floral patterns that once were flowers,
And the statues of heroes inhabiting the consciences of public eyes,
Snug as a tailor’s dummies in their lunation of waiting.

I will reckon in the squares the ruminant anxiety of stray goats,
Their territorial bleating and their artefacts of droppings;
I will take the census of birds and the Fibonacci leap of caracal;

I will count our blessing of weapons and its windfall of the wounded,
In the renewed violence of love we trade with friendly cities;
I will count the genius of the patriarch that fed a multitude with
       two pieces of digital salmon;

I will count the kitchenware and pots of national stew,
In homes without a wedding gown or a bed out of job,
But neither women nor children would I count.



I want to hang my sorrow on the clothesline of your body,
The body you’ve boosted with layers of silicone gel;
Coming and going through my eyes,
Their lids ajar, like the possibility of your body,
Their hinges swinging with your hips,
Rehearsed like the moth of a smile that flits in half lights,
That assails the world in batches of false teeth.

When in the evening you lead your body afield,
Evident and venereal on the sidewalk,
Like a brand in a showroom,
Or a dolphin holidaying ashore,
Amidst the hip-hop of tyre screeches and helicons of horns,

You and your night sisters,
Holy like your lipstick, or an angel inspired by drugs,
I call on you, to hang my sorrow on the clothesline of your body;
You part the absent hair of my baldness,
And like the street beneath your beauty,
You feel the age of my sorrow.

The two of us, pilgrims to a different Jerusalem
And a different Babylon, each body a holy relic,
In a different heaven, with a different sorrow to hang,
Where a song, amidst the serenade of flutes and drums,
       forgets its sadness.

Poetry © Kunle Okesipe
Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

Kunle Okesipe
Kunle Okesipe
Kunle Okesipe won the Association of Nigerian Authors playwriting contest for his adaptation of Wole Soyinka’s The Interpreters. His poetry has appeared in journals such as The Tiger Moth Review, The Revolution Relaunch, adda, Active Muse, Mediterranean Poetry and others. He lives in Nigeria.

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