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Remi Raji

Remi Raji
Remi Raji
is the pen name of Aderemi Raji-Oyelade. He was born in Ibadan, Nigeria. He has won national and international recognition for his writing. His volumes of poetry include A Harvest of Laughters (1997; rpt 2003), Webs of Remembrance (2001), Shuttlesongs America: A Poetic Guided Tour (2003), and Lovesong for my wasteland (2005). Remi's works have been translated into French, German, Ukranian, Swedish, and Catalan. Currently a Research Fellow at the Centre of African Studies, Cambridge University, he is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Ibadan.

I will find you

Tonight my verse will find you dancing alone
a hurricane of desires will pass me, unknown.

And I the anchor, martyr to your trance,
draped, in the absolution of your absence.

You for whom I have wandered in uncertain pines
You for whom I have sacrificed my limbs in open mines.

You for whom I have many names...

What delights me more this very moment:
your laughter, salty as the rain's chemistry
on a parched tongue, or your seismic filament,
which gives fulness to your minted mystery.

Tonight my verse seeks you but I'm a speck of dream.

In the middle of it all, when you are not there
I always find you in the finesse of sand
in the sounds of stones, rivers, and in the clouds' jeer
in the waves, in the foams and dunes of the land.

We will not know the day but the hour will come

in the hurricane and the dance
in the liberty of the trance
in this serration
and that imagination
all mean less than the remembrance of fire.

It is in that hour that my verse will find you
It is in that second that my song will find you.

Somewhere, she shall be stoned to death...
(*for Amina Lawal)

Somewhere, she shall be stoned to death...

Her blood shall water the parched penitence
of perpetual pretenders

She shall be stoned to death
to kill the goitre in a man's reckless groin

She shall be stoned to death
in the denial of a midnight tryst

She shall scream her mortal innocence
and call the name of her lover in vain

She shall be stoned, to death, all her passion wasted
her blood, sweat and milk, soured…

And we shall all be cleansed
when her flesh is splayed in the urine of vampires

On the third day, she shall rise
from the dust, from the ash of our pretence

The stones shall become diamonds
and rumours, rubies around her waist

When she survives the pretender stone
her story shall be distilled
into the land
as the salience
of salt.

I ache with loneliness

I ache with loneliness even though I wanted it.
I keep hoping for the finer air but always remember the smell of home.

I prayed to the gods for the lust of luck
They hauled at my feet the burden of surprise
The gift and the curse of freedom followed me
into the night bright and warm as the lover's glow.
The pain. The pain is real as force-fed waters in Lagos streets.

I stepped out of myself and glided free with birds in tow
From up above I saw the aristocrat's rot, the louts' legacies
The makossa cloud of corruption gathering full...
You may look for me in the whirlwind, or in the open seas
Or in the fire in your eyes, I am your breath who always returns.

Loneliness aches with me for she's always mine
To hold and behold and love away from the maddening rout.

I keep hoping for home but the strange finer air tempts...
Never will return the same, silenced as the lamb
never to be the nameless prisoner in their open field
dead, skinned, without hope, or living like the city beast
Never to be lickspittle of neck-less tyrants loosed upon the land.

My tongue is free, and I hear you speak my words.

Contents: Dec. '05 - Feb. '06


G. K. Wuori

Colin O’Sullivan

Louis Malloy

Jacinta McDevitt
Way to Go, Dad

Seán Gallagher
The Coming Man

Tom Sheehan
The Sentencing of Madrigal Orpic


Todd Swift

Heidi Garnett

Remi Raji


Eli S. Evans
Life Is Amazing I Hate You


Jacinta McDevitt

FRANkly Speaking!

Fran Cartoon

Book Reviews

The Collected Stories
The Collected Stories
William Trevor

Death, Not a Redeemer
Death, Not a Redeemer
Hope Eghagha

Collected Stories
Collected Stories
Frank O'Connor

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