Oloyede Michael Taiwo’s work leaps off the pages of the book and cups your nape before sucking you into a haven of imageries, metaphors and a delightsome narrative of everyday life. His writing is a call to dance, hop, spin and bask in the liberating power of words. His evocations in the poem, ‘I remember you,’ are not just captivating, but also cleansing. You are the contour of Mississippi, / the texture of chance, / a lonely running road.
The poem explains the emotions of a migrant about his home. He likens his home country to a lover. Taiwo is that piece, emoted in an alluring style. The book, Lagos is killing me, depicts life in Lagos and how people struggle everyday to make ends meet. It describes the shenanigans of a glittering city flanked by economic wilding, ostentatious rogues, decent paupers, promising opportunities and the vicious circus of wolves and sheep.
His collection of poems has a potpourri of poignant works which covers the expanse of human life. We all know the hurdles of life are overwhelming and people try to coping mechanisms or just adopt functional toolkits for enduring or surviving the hurdles. The author wrote on the importance of being smart and nimble in the city of Lagos.
In the poem, Lagos is killing me, the poet wrote: …her pinches I whistled in loud whispers, of men in economic diapers, / Manhood an allegory of blunt clippers / This Lagos explodes in my head like the thud of a million crackers. / Lagos is killing me… The poet employed anthropomorphism and apostrophe in driving home his feelings about Lagos. He wrote passionately about every nano second experiences of Lagosians.
Taiwo, in this prismatic collection, unfurls the ebb and flow of the issues of life. He showed an in-depth knowledge of poetry devices and wove words with the lilt of a master craftsman; beating words into shape to illustrate the many issues of life. In the poem, Curly smoke; the writer announces the global relevance of African herbs and posits the need for Africans to take pleasure in exploring traditional medicines and optimising its benefits for global relevance. The poet, in the poem, festooned, wrote about a woman in an abusive relationship who was later forced to eliminate her lover as a result of constant abuse with irreparable damage to her mental health.
He also wrote against police brutality and banditry and also emphasised the need for hope and courage and togetherness of Nigerians against political vermin and economic saboteurs in the poem, Ibirikembiri. Taiwo’s collection is a marvel and a robust read for all poetry lovers with taste buds for something esoteric and nostalgic.
The author also explored the theme of motherhood and Black Lives Matter. He wrote about the case of George Floyd who was irritably murdered in broad daylight at the glare of the whole wide world, hence, the outburst across social media platforms to condemn the dastardly act and get justice for the innocent man. In one of his canticles for motherhood, the author wrote: …this Convener of my frame is the most famous of all being of fame for my soul on the sands of time, she compelled to stay.
Taiwo also wrote a poem for children with special needs: We pray to God for blessings, / but he gave us more than our yearnings / Lips caressing words like fingers on rosaries… He elaborated the experiences of autistic and other special children to solicit compassion and inclusion in policy formulation from decision makers in the society and every person with a good heart. The poet has impressively delivered an amazingly exciting body of artwork. Lagos is killing me is a book every literati should have on the shelf.