with Louise Gluck’s “First Memory”
There - the floor holds them as memories from long ago. Air’s cool as a doorknob
grabbed, a lunchbox I can’t seem to release. I must
be happy, I was celebrating the smile of youth, but the smile was wounded
like cattle locked up behind endless doors. I lived –
beef and all its nutrients. Boobs and bald heads
to make good. Jacket buttons and revenge
zips, precise – behind the doors, mirrors; myself
in the rags of the female Surrealists. Black
against white, my war colors – chosen by my blended softness.
Say to me, like father, like son and I'll repeat back: like father,
not like anything here in this house for years. That thing
between you, what looks like a knife, is a cake answer.
He knows this, he cuts with it. He was cutting with no aim–
pink balloons, blue winds pining for shame. Shape of sadness
defined by skin-edges, indivisible, slated to carry what disguises.
I see the frills, the black floor-bound angel-dog. Was it not pictured?
Was it not wincing from the beginning?
The birthday scene’s set sadly, as of time looking at a boy
massacred. In childhood, the motivations: sweets, fun, not loss. I was different
without choice, I thought - I think. Unmagical hands imagine that pain
when I owned reality. Pain meant growth, which is to say
I can’t run forward, my body was, is, particular,
of particles, uncapturable, not loved on screen. That day -
a ghost’s headache. It bothers me. At first it meant,
I was older. I had lived. I was safe. I
slump now, fall heavily through windows
garlanded. I’m pierced – they were born, they are loved.
Oluwaseun Olayiwola is a dancer, choreographer and poet living in London. He’s currently earning his Master of Fine Arts in Choreography at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance as a 2018-19 Fulbright Scholar to the institution. His current works, choreographic and poetic, deal with themes of childhood, love, and darkness.