Olatunde Osinaike

What the Itis is Not

It interrupts nothing.


The itis is not power or when it all
falls down to earth:
snowballs, jumpshots,
or dreams.


It is not a game of thrones,
in crowded dining
rooms, where spades and
seconds are sovereign.


Do not renege.


It is not a spectacle
or the Olympics tumbling
onto Tumblr or a tweet.

It is neither pure,
nor pumped full of
promises and leniency.



It is not soda, pop, or hip hop.

It is not popping and locking

the stubbornness stinging

in our throats.


It is not uncommon, yet it is
exclusive like a tear.
It will come as it pleases.

It is not fasting
It takes no days off
and all yawns are bribes.


It is not patient.
It is not kind.


It is unforgiving
during every season.
Alzheimer’s and a rubix cube.
It is my brothers longing in Lagos
or in homeless shelters in our land of the free.


As the itis is undisputed,
it is an interrogation from an elder.
It is not harsh, rather it is believing
that God forgives

our stomachs and choices.
It is not taking advantage of that.


Do not renege.


It is Kente cloth and white cotton shirt
stains, training for our taste buds
without wavering.

It is neither a marathon,
nor a sprint. Instead, the itis is

abiding    in the inhale, as
it is    breathtaking,
isn’t      it