August is the coolest month, breeding 

Happiness out of Haggisland, mixing 

merriment & detachment, masking

the wee tick-tock of September…


tolu ogunlesi (2014)


[poem] Signature

by Tolu Ogunlesi

Who sits in your cockpit,
Sweaty hands fixed upon your controls –
God, or Darwin?

Who spins your machine out of the path
Of my buzz-seeking swipe;
Programs you to fly light

On your outbound journey, elusive
As light; and to return loaded
With blood, sluggish, half-doomed?


On the wall beside my bed,
Your bloody memory.

You never said
Much, allowing instead
Those whining wings

That fed on dreams
And darkness
To do all the speaking.


Who will bear your spirit to eternity,
And build a memorial at the site
Where you will lie,

A blood-bearing boeing,
A living signature,
A darkening memory

(c) 2011 

Originally appeared in Istanbul Literary Review

University of Birmingham reading – Tue Mar 1, 2011


University of Birmingham

2nd floor, Arts Building


Tuesday March 1st 2011

at 5.05pm in the Danford Room 

A reading by two distinguished Nigerian poets




FEMI OYEBODE is Professor of Psychiatry at the university of Birmingham. He has also published several books of poems, including a volume of Selected Poems published in the Kraftgriots series in 2003. He has been an Honorary Fellow in CWAS for many years. 

TOLU OGUNLESI is a highly regarded poet and cultural commentator. In 2009 he won the Arts & Culture Award at the CNN African Journalist of the Year Awards for his story, ‘What the Truck?’, which was chosen from among 836 entries from 38 nations across the African continent. He is currently enrolled on the MA in Creative Writing at University of East Anglia.

All are welcome

Links to some of my poems available online…

Poems by Tolu Ogunlesi