Stanley O. Ayodeji

(poems 1-8  from ‘I Only Hate You Because I Love You’)


Short Stories Told
In the Rhythm
Of Poetry

(poems 1-8  from ‘I Only Hate You Because I Love You’)

Stanley O. Ayodeji

Amazon Forest (a poem about war)

As ancient trees twist ravaged,
Gasping to produce life-giving air,
Helpless hour by hour strangles
What’s left of Earth’s community.

In milliseconds, each split tick of time 
Splinters splendid ancestral rows by the stalk,
Unceremoniously hacked from long roots 
Like foremothers and forefathers one hopes
Are not buried and forgotten.

The Amazon Rainforest bleeds dry, 
So the order of nature follows, anticipatory, 
Dismantled by heaviest hands of Man -
His boundless efforts to strip each leaf,
Killing last glints of seed one by one.

The Rainforest’s fire-embers smoke protest 
As it bravely keels to a plot of earth, 
Kneels to its last; ashes to ashes, 
Despite its might, silently returns to dust, 
No more fighting, virtually overnight
Igniting on the cusp of irreversible extinction,
Like moments ancient past and lost.

Lifelines culled in unnatural disorder 
As each strong stalk falls
In no particular order, piled up 
Like dying soldiers
  			Moved out of the sun.

As Luck Would Have It.

This poor soul of a girl 
Turns to sigh on her own,
Hidden in a desolate street
That looks like any other.

She inhales the air, just 
Enough to make one last breath
Before death says she should no longer
Suffer through the motions.

Then she toys with the idea of staying put
But exhales effortlessly instead,
Joining hands with the dead,

Allowing her inaudible sigh 
To reach up high 
And mingle with the sky, 

As luck would have it.

A to Z of Militancy.


Ball ache (a poem cut short).

“What a ball-ache!” he squeezes,
Manipulating and caressing
Each testicle whilst undressing,
Guilty at first as if he really shouldn’t be.

He fondles his little ‘seed sack’
Along the front and round the back,
Keeps the lump he’s found “Top secret!”
Because “It couldn’t be.”

The organ plays a sombre hymn.
Six men carry his coffin in 
At the funeral. Unbeknownst to him, 
If he’d said something, it wouldn’t be.

Bargaining Tool.

Coming from his world of
Pervading trouble and strife
He chose to stab his enemy
With a kitchen knife,

Never thinking the intended victim
Would be shopping with his wife
New-born baby in his arms
Representing life.

He looked upon the weapon
Held tight in his own bitter hand
At the carelessly unsuspecting victim
He was soon to callously reprimand,

But in an act of REALisation
He did not altogether understand
He (somehow) walked away 
Knife tucked into his waistband.


                                   The walk begins the moment the hour sings.

                                 Bloodthirsty fans rage and scream
          For the fulfilled prediction of a staked dream.

                                 Tensions rise. The P.A. system blasts out each song. 
          “I want a good, clean fight. Protect yourselves at all times.” 
          “Seconds out. Round One.”

                                Gritted teeth bite into hardboiled rubber-plastic
          Moulded to complement the jawline like a glove.
          Shoved, battered with every hit,
          Making the perfect protective fit.

                                 Lurking behind a shell of soft cladding 
          Bound in treated leather, folded fingers 
          Hide controlled anger of death-giving fury, 
          Formed fists poised to pounce (left fist, Judge) 
          Wrapped by the ounce (right fist, Jury).

                                 Slick boots glint with silver tassels,
           Laced tight, comfortable thin soles,                   
           Ready-made to slide, tap, glide over a canvas
           Squared off by rope pulled taut.
           Crafted shorts out-shimmer embroidered gowns
           Embossed by nicknames in the spotlight glimmer.


                                  From a tempered skull
           Misshaped by a boxer’s dreams 
           Invaded by just one whack too many, 
           Sweat outpours in bucketloads absolute, 
           Washing over old war wounds which never heal
           Or go away, gushing as if from a red rock 
           Rained upon until softened permanently by water. 

                                  Golden rich beads, sweat, emotion, blood,
                                  Dark depths of dedication, dolls for ring-girls, 
           Ambition topped with brand new money,
           Branded old money, fat promoters, spongers,
           Black dresses linking tuxedos waggling top tails, 
           Tricks playing tricks with stiff dicks and chancers,
Ringside security, paramedics, cops, exotic dancers, stars,                                     Sportscars over speedbumps. Media. Ex-champs. Chumps.

                       Echoing shouts of ticket touts
                                  As ringside seats exchange in thick hands
            At three times the going price for a single, 
            Four times for a pair, in this game anything’s fair.
            Alcohol permitted, steaming chips, warm pies,
            Hotdogs, burgers, corn on the cob, two for one,
            All-day Breakfast in a Bun, on the go eating,
            A bottle of coke @ 40% off is no joke to be sniffed at. 
            The odds and sods at the top tables duped by cheating.                                

The Golden Moment: 
                                  Two majestic emperors 
            Enter the arena chiselled and erect
            Nod in respect as gloves touch
            For a sense of weakness,
            Unable to relinquish
            By even this much
            Or be vanquished.                    
            Majestic statues, face-to-face,
            Sculpted from rock, god-like eye-to-eye.

                                   Bull-like necks are built 
                                   To withstand the impact  
             Of accumulative head trauma.
             Almost scripted, expressions gnarl on cue
             Into a flurry of distorted menace
             Legally hand-delivered in precise combinations
             That aren’t (as an understatement) very nice.
             Finely-tuned, rehearsed over and over 
             Until released by memory, bad intention, 
             Each pinpoint hit crunches with carnage 
             Like the head-on collision of two high-speed trains.

                                    As new bruises grimace
             Old wounds frown and recoil,
             Pounding fearfully with relish, 
             The challenge of a twist of a fist against bone
             As faces swell until broken blow by blow.
             Eyelids stretch discoloured 
             Weeping over closing eyes.
             Still the heart goes on.
             An emperor tumbles heavily                
  Against the canvas floor, semi-conscious.
             An unconscious crowd screams. 
  He was majestic once, but no more.

Calm, But No Oasis.

It is calm
But no oasis.
This shell of hers
Discarded brutally
Like nothing.
A flicker of any life at all 
Is spilled easily 
Like ebbing water.

It is calm
But no oasis.
This hell of hers
Regarded posthumously
Worth nothing.
Life no longer flickers 
Like an innocent lamb to the slaughter.

Checking Out.

  			As I check out, let the flags out
By silently unpeeling every creased fold.
Send someone to go knocking on each door,
To cover every inch of floor, within reason.
Ensure nobody is missed, everyone gets told
That I have grown old, and now, my friend,
Have reached the end of my season.

Ask them all to gather in a square
One morning. Or take up space in a disused hall.
When the idea of my absence is dawning,
Here, in a random place somewhere
They should tell each other funny stories,
Recite unrehearsed poems into the night
That rhyme, or not. Be oblivious of time!

As their poetic chatter whispers in the air
 			Even for just one morning, it will not
Be that I have gone and that is that.
I will no longer be reciting, but listening
From a comfortable seat there at the back
Not soon to be forgot. For every season, 
As you know, does come and go.

Stanley Ayodeji (C) 2020