Joladé Olusanya

Joladé Olusanya

southern piety.

I think about the blues often 
and when I say blues
    I mean
boiled seafood in a bag
bricks graffitied with soul

french quarters and congo squares
    the bookstore lady 
who says my name
the way I think grandma would’ve said it
    comfort at the end of every block
where a heavy plate is a hug

under a street light
next to a bronze Louis Armstrong 
sat outside a church with a wall 
bearing names of the dearly departed
I called my mother to tell her I’m
far from where she was

I found the jazz
and when I say the jazz
    I mean
first bite of a Cafe du Monde beignet
crunch of a shrimp po’boy

Piety Street
    cadence of Black saints
Black processions and brass overtures
    soul food portions as spirited as 
I hear grandma was

and when I say spirited
    I mean
the jazz Tribe spoke about
a sound more gut than genre
    we know no other way to be

here I’m a vinyl record
at home with fellow classics
who love their scratches too
    here I have no need to soar

here I am a simple man
and when I say simple
    I mean

JOLADÉ OLUSANYA is a British Nigerian artist, writer, filmmaker and photographer based in London. He is a member of UK collective SXWKS, a Barbican Young Poet alumni and Obsidian Foundation alumni. His book, currently ‘untitled’, is due to be published in 2023 by otherother.