Three Poems by Toni Kan

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I sit by the sea shore
And dilute the ocean with my tears
Salt becomes sea becomes salt
Choice is a burden heavier than death
And this broken heart knows it well
But Bar Beach is insouciant
Coming and going these waves do not care
So, I sit and listen to my heart splinter
My broken heart bleeds, my eyes burn
Salt becomes sea becomes salt
But no matter how long I cry
Bar beach will stay the same
This frothing thing with no end
Because you cannot dilute the ocean
With your tears.

Bar beach laps at my feet like a happy dog
I run and it gives chase
I jump and it froths
There is a roar in its rage, a whisper in its caress
This ocean that persists like a determined suitor
The wind is a lover’s caress that ruffles my tresses
I sit away, I listen to the waves
What do they say, what do they whisper?
I watch the waves roll to shore
Now full of vigor, now bashful
This beast that can snatch you by the ankles
This one that can swallow you whole
Bar Beach is a lover with a temper
So, love him jeje, love him tender.

Oyenusi. Oyenusi. Oyenusi
Those are not men chanting praise
These are spectators baying for blood
As I arrive the arena in a Black Maria
A benighted gladiator shackled like a slave
I blink at the bright glare as we exit the catacomb
Then I baulk at the baying crowd, at the tumult
I take a step forward, my legs fail me. I flail and arms steady me
This is real, today, I die at the Bar Beach show
My dashiki is suddenly wet, sweat dribbles down from my pits
I spot a face in the crowd, an old friend. He smiles and waves and makes my heart break
Instinct kicks in but I cannot wave back. My hands are shackled. I am Spartacus out of favour
I feign a smile and feel the tear drop. This is happening, finally;
Today I die at the Bar Beach show


Toni Kan’s most recent book is the novel, The Carnivorous City.


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