Please help the Black Earth Institute continue to make art and grow community so needed for our time. Donate now »

a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Section 6

Wale Owoade

Wale Owoade
Refusing to be a Basket of Water
I am not sad when I slice onions but
I cry. My tears don’t fall like onions when
I need them the most. I wait all day until
I get it wrong, want to stumble inside a
poem, invite eyes to touch how twenty-
something-bodies turned to ghosts. I am
in love with a poem that doesn’t take my calls,
a sorrow that won’t ping back, my tears
are dreamers in a train-station, asleep
and waiting. I can’t remember the last time
they fell from their clips since the time of my
father’s last breath. If you don’t like mistakes,
you make them again, which is why I need to
talk to someone who is not talking about Jesus.
I know without thinking how much water
my body drinks and how much it leaks if
you don’t count orgasm. Who will have
faith in my selfishness? An idea says that
trying to be a diehard is refusing to be a
basket of water. Someone said there are
other colours besides blue, I wished him
goodluck with the headlines. The radio said
life is an onion you peel crying. I wish I can tell
it the last time I tried to slice the world like
onions, I slept it off, woke up with a headache,
a blank page and hunger: a capital punishment.
The onion of that night is only for those who can
sleep blank. I am going to teach my stomach a
lesson about weight, cut my onions according
to the size of my kitchen knife. I can cry like that
all day. A heavy stomach will call the poem again,
create a fictional ghost and practice with it.
Wale Owoade’s poems appear in Apogee Journal, Radar Poetry, The Lake Poetry Journal, Elsewhere: New African Poetry Section, The Bombay Review, Yellow Chair Review, Black Mirror Review, The New Black Magazine, Eunoia Review among others. He is a recipient of 2015 Tony Tokunbo Poetry Silver Award and a finalist of 2014 Laura Thomas Poetry Prize. Wale is the Publisher and Managing Editor of EXPOUND: A Magazine of Arts and Aesthetics. He can be reached at


©2024 Black Earth Institute. All rights reserved.  |  ISSN# 2327-784X  |  Site Admin