Stagnant

I never saw her cry,
maybe she didn’t know how.
Always dry-eyed
wide
waiting for the next blow.

I never heard her cry,
she probably didn’t know how.
Her matriarch to be mirrored
strong
unmoved by each blow.

I’d teach her how to cry,
but I have no idea how.
Without crumbling her fortress
fragile
rebuilt with each blow.

If only she’d learn to cry,
let them rain on her now.
Her dry eyes will soften
freed
with the knock of each blow.

© LaYinka Sanni, May 2015

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Eyes that Speak

It was less about the words.
Less about the way your voice
was gritty and earthy
like the remains of a grave
discarded.
It really wasn’t about what you said.
Not about the hiss
and the way the syllables cut
as you spat them out;
a bitter taste stinging your tongue.
No,
it was the look.
The lack of
acknowledgment
like you’d rather me not there.
A stain to be scrubbed
a fly to be swatted
a nuisance to be dashed.
It was your stare
at other than me;
the eye rolling at my shadow
on the periphery.
And that’s where I’ll be.
Until you want me again
look at me with eyes that shine
tell me without speaking
that I’m wanted and needed
and not just a filler
of a vacant space.

© LaYinka Sanni, December 2014.

Smile.

Smile.
And allow memories of joys gone by
to tickle your belly.
Don’t be afraid to laugh.
The shadow cast across your today
may very well shift tomorrow.
Look up.
The sky is a testimony that things
don’t have to remain the same.
Liberate change.
Ignite life into your toes
and get your feet moving.
Shake out the sadness.
You told yourself there wouldn’t be a today
and here you are.
Remember to smile.
And let laughter tickle warmth
into your bones.
Sway to the tingle of your laughter,
and watch how the tips of your fingers
will be coloured with life once again.
Smile.

© LaYinka Sanni, October 2014.

Don’t Swallow My Name [freewriting]

Performed at Pen Powered Mic II on 1 August 2014.

Don’t swallow my name.
Don’t bite on the vowels
and spit out consonants
you feel should remain.
As though only a minute
part of me is worthy to linger
on the tip of your tongue;
the rest discarded to the land of the unwanted.

Don’t shorten my name.
My birthright was not given to be
dismantled upon the lips
of the receiver. Crucified unreligiously
to a ring that’s
palatable; manageable
as though my whole name
is too heavy to deal with;
a weight to be lightened and a
burden to be lifted.

Don’t anglo-ruin my name.
The melody is to be sung
not simply shoved upon an ear
that’s forced to listen.
Ola is wealth to be spoken
coined with Yinka for all it surrounds.
My parents crowned me a name
encompassing their vision;
not a seed to be recreated
in the image of others.

Don’t swallow my name.
Say it whole. Unshortened. Untainted.
And please don’t ask if you can call me something else
or if there’s another name I go by.
The answer is no.
Far too much wealth surrounds me
to be subtracted for the ease of your tongue.

© LaYinka Sanni, July 2014.