[Poem] – No-man’s Land, by Tolu Ogunlesi

by Tolu Ogunlesi

Slinking away into the corner of the car-park,
Or perhaps it was across the eternal middle
Of the highway; slowly becoming one with the aging
Darkness – until the ultra-violent arrival of light.

This approaching death refuses to be dressed
In dark clothes, but instead in ill-fitting garments
Of light, double-barrelled from the crossed-eyes
Of an approaching car, and full of taunting:

‘Pussycat, Pussycat, where else have you been?’
As you go to your death, my dear,
There will be no drop-down menu asking you
To select which of nine faithful lives

Should step forward first, to bell death.
But there should be no regrets as well.
In the approaching car is a couple tending
A dead marriage. Out of death, therefore, will come

More death, and out of light, a final, silent, bleeding
Darkness, that will not lift, not even at dawn.
We go to death, or it comes to us; never is it
A chance meeting, on a no-man’s land.

Published in The London Magazine; February / March 2008  (print)

8 thoughts on “[Poem] – No-man’s Land, by Tolu Ogunlesi

  1. iLove! ‘Pussycat, Pussycat, where else have you been?’
    As you go to your death, my dear,
    There will be no drop-down menu asking you
    To select which of nine faithful lives”

    Why does this remind me of your earlier poem “Wars, Love and UFO’s” that laughed loudly at death? Are you a nigger or just plain black? What if it’s colourless like white water? Does it die? Does it fall in love? Is it gay..or bisexual? Does it love literature…is she reading this poem? Classic!

  2. This poem speak volume, straight to the reality
    “We go to death, or it comes to us; never is it
    A chance meeting, on a no-man’s land.”

    Where are you friend? I kept coming back to read something new from you.

  3. great poem tolu – just tending my little sick cat this morning, she’s dying of cancer, so apropo. sorry to hear about the Harvard letter, they’ll get it some time soon, I expect, keep mailing them in.

    • Thanks Martha!
      So sorry to hear about your cat. I wonder how animals deal with (terminal) illness … human beings at least would understand that they are ill and dying… but for animals, it must be bewildering…

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