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In Black Rain Boot, Osonuga interrogates nepotism, poverty

In this breathtaking collection of poems, Osonuga plumbs the depths of the lived and enduring effects of nepotism in his country. In these pages, the writer untangles the complexities of exile

Author: Osonuga Michael Tayo
Publisher: Redletter Crib signature
Reviewer: Wale Okediran
Year of Publication: 2021
Genre: Poetry
Title: Black Rain Boot


In this breathtaking collection of poems, Osonuga plumbs the depths of the lived and enduring effects of nepotism in his country. In these pages, the writer untangles the complexities of exile, and the reckoning of familial love, but also reveals the power of love and desire through the body that yearns to love and be loved.

Osonuga shows the ways in which faith and hope serve as forms of succour and interrogates the nature of home by reclaiming the persistent echoes of trauma. An enthralling blend of evocative poems.

The poem, Stutter, exposes the evil wrought by institutionalised misogyny and poverty and reveals how even the privileged ride on the breaking back of the underserved, wielding rewards with preconditions for their victims before doing anything for them.

Osonuga’s poetry comprises poems of different forms and lengths. The end of a romantic relationship is one of the fragments of this collection and these poems explore the poet’s inner thoughts as much as they bear witness to the writing style, curvaceous syllogism and lyrical vastness of this poet.

Inadvertently, politics, both local and global including George Floyd’s murder and the COVID-19 pandemic, seep into these lyrical poems styled like 90s R&B LP records and punctuated with poetic interlocutions:
Raging reeds
Welcome Macondo,
an awe of looping realism
legs over shoulders,
bikes leaping over hips,
a gin in a pouch,
a boy had shifting dreams,
stole a phone and was torched by ire
this girl found a pregnancy
some days behind a tank of water,
the misty rain bore witness,
a spread of tentacles to reach the poles of wants,
blues in ragged bags and a pile of
journals for soothing rest,
jangling coaches
barbarian scuffles
nothing is given
in this hole of brute.

Osonuga’s poetry exudes emotional heft. The interconnected poems are sobering and uplifting, and leave the reader wanting each account to last a little longer. We see the burden of words laid on us in the poem, Bomb in the park:
Morning sun
filtering through
lush gardens
herdsmen chancing upon the
dew drops into escarpment
in a bucolic environment
with tanned lustre
dusty air arm stung by dizzy
scents of shrubs
legs crunching the stately
dongoyaro trees that dotted the quilt
of landscapes
roll of shadows into a dingy road
Subhanallah,
bodies incinerated beyond form,
scattered torsos
and twitching eyes
lips begging for vinegar
briquette

With an emotional undertow and astute political observations, the writer laces this collection exploring the effects of racism, war and colonialism, love and desire.

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