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Silver Branch series

Jide Badmus

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Jide Badmus is an engineer, a poet inspired by beauty and destruction; he believes that things in ruins were once beautiful.

He is the author of four books including Obaluaye (FlowerSong Press, 2022) and What Do I Call My Love for Your Body (Roaring Lion Newcastle, 2022) and several chapbooks.


Badmus has curated and edited several anthologies, and his poems have appeared in Agbowo, The Muse, Maroko, Memento Anthology, Jalada Africa, No Tokens, Afrocritik, Black Bough Poetry Anthology and elsewhere.

Jide has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net by Black Bough Poetry.


He is founder of INKspiredng, Poetry Editor for Con-scio Magazine, a mentor in the SprinNG Fellowship, and sits on the board of advisors for Libretto Magazine.


Jide writes from Lagos, Nigeria. He tweets @bardmus

@instajhide (IG)     Jide Badmus (JBard) (Facebook)



A boy searches for God

in swirls of sativa.

He reaches out to be held

by the hands of music—

to be ferried by sacred rhythms.

He will find light in the lyrics of fire

burning at the mouth of a stick

& float out of his sad skin.


Published in the Freedom-Rapture anthology by Black Bough Poetry.


after Beth Brooke's 'Vase'

night is complacent

a plastic sun sits in

a vase of cracked sky

a poem bleeds, runs

down dawn's throat

the red cock yawns

cracked morn voice

beckons virgin light

we pluck a stalk each

a prayer & wild verses

Published in Duet of Ghosts anthology by Black Bough Poetry


There's part of you

shrouded in a mist

of metaphors—an

expression light does

not touch. Your heart

is hidden from view—

a garden in awe

of dew & sunrise.



This poem reaches for

my heart, exhumes

the remains of a song.

There is no sound.


I can't find a worthy

synonym for silence,


or distance, or bitterness.

How do dead things grow?


We tend to forget a leaking roof

until the rains arrive—again.

A grudge isn't wished away,

a grudge isn't washed away.


I'm tired of your blind axe

tearing me to splinters,


of burning in the

hell of your tongue.


there is an unopened

bottle of forgiveness

on my breakfast table

but there's only one glass


& i have lost my appetite.

from Jide's book, Obaluaye, Flowersong Press 2022



I'm a stick

Of cigarette.

Put me between your lips

Take a drag

And feel the flames

Burn inside us both

Feel me explode

Like dynamite.


From Jide's book, Scripture, Sevhage Books, 2018.



etymology of hustle

beaten & exhausted

rugged, you breathe

through the smoke,

through the mist,

through the ghost

of gold streets,

thick black veins

loud on yellow skins

how to kill a man


take away the things

that make him want

to stand from his bed

at dawn. chew his name

& spit it at shame's feet.

break his dream's spine.

incite his shadows.

stir a rebellion

in his blood.

deprive him of things

that make him long

for his bed's bosom

at the death of day.



In multiplication,

negative integers

are predatory.

Grief is polynomial

—a sum of losses.



Darkness is infinite,

vast in vocabulary,

rich in emotions

but a particle of

light is voracious,

impeccably fluent.


Hope is a slice of yam

in a pot of salty tears.

Healing is an active verb.

A Sea of Desire

At dawn, boat of hustle,

I plunge into ebbing traffic.

Tide of wheels & soles

grab at shores,

grab at the heart

of a budding storm.

Mast of dream, I'm

drenched in salt—

tossed by ceaseless waves.

Taking cue from seaweeds,

I learn to stay afloat, survive

another day.

Green Zone



The sun undresses

before lounging waters

as though for a swim.


Today, Lagos is soft.

Dusk fills potholes

with withering smiles

& a sliver of optimism.


But night takes

everything away.

A dream overheats.

A prayer is stranded

on wooden wheels.



Heaven's clock is broken

& time is hungover.



There's no place for tears

in the eyes of war.

No shield

for vocal slugs

from kindred guns.


No place for grief

on this manifest


& where we find repair

is where we call home.

First published by Afrocritik

The Fabric of Things


Your smile is cotton

wool dipped in spirit

—a miracle, audacious,


There's no molecule of lie

in the velvet of your light.

You laugh like a chandelier—

joyful, buoyant & sometimes,

wild like a rocking chair.


This denim of love,

over erratic seasons,

did not fray nor fade.

We share fluffy memories—

soft song nestled in a shawl

of time, cashmere metaphors,

silk scarf around igneous heart.

first published by The Amistad



I'm at the riverbank,

fishing for memories

but the line comes up empty

—not one moment of a smile


not meant for the camera!

Your love is twilight, tepid


—your anger,

a vibrant waterfall.


Father told me not to read

too much to the sun's temper,


to see light rather than wrath

But you're not the sun,


you are dry wind,

warhorse for sandstorms.


Mother said you are rain,

I should embrace you

like the sea—but

you beat me

with furious tongues

—I ripple in silence.

I'm at the riverbank,

fishing—it's getting late

& not one room of your

memory left a light on.

From Jide's Obaluaye, Flowersong 2022

Paper Plane in the Rain

I wrote my pains—the ones I could

give names to—on a piece of paper

& folded them into a plane—of miseries.

I hurled a prayer into heavenly planes.

But how do you spell salt in aqueous fonts?

How do you carry wilting sighs

on the wings of an ellipsis?

Fear is bad weather for a flight!

How can you tell if god is in a bad mood

& would send rain to crash your kite?

first published in a co-authored chapbook of the same title

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Your Ego as a Therapist


"Tell me about your scars",

She undresses you — 

backs you into

a giant wall of water, into

soft barbs of memories.


Your wounds are self-inflicted,

you confess. The many times you

set home on fire & drowned trying

to escape from yourself. The many

times you allowed abusive lovers roll

back into your bed, beat your dreams

into nightmares. The many times you

let the war in your head run into the

marketplace—keen bullets, bold sins.


Your bruises, like ebony, are evergreen.

Joy is deciduous. Grief is prime timber.

Teeth fall like leaves at autumn's feet

—brown smiles strewn over pebbles.

Knees fall before mahogany altars—

prey to god's jack plane or sandpaper.







Heart is safely tucked

beneath a lockscreen.

Lips persist in prayer

that this phone does

not find its voice.


I live on the outskirts of joy.

There's a hole where the sun

used to be. I fall into myself

each time the phone rings.


A con messiah

promises to forgive my debt.

Just pay the principal, she says.

I ask for grace & a beast leaps

out of her throat.


My boat of sleep is stranded

on an island of nightmares.

Night is a broken propeller.

I'm awake way before

the alarm sounds.


I now live on the outskirts of joy

& going back is proving difficult.

The day drives by & I'm no closer

to salvation.


Heart is still tucked

beneath a lock screen

—hardly safe.

Lips persist in prayer

that this phone does

not find its voice...







time is legal tender

currency for being


but the vault of sky

can't hold the sun


you can't stash the

hour in a bullion van


manage your dream

or squander the night


each man gets to restart

with a coin of dawn


a moment is all you have

in your current account


no investment enriches you

enough to bribe death









I gave everything

to obtain your love



Now that I have,

logic is on airplane



I set everything aside

to be with you on this

runway of hearts,



your hair in the wind,

your smile spreading




Viewed from above

there's a pattern to



Through your window of eyes,

a city cowers beneath giant skies

—chaos morphs into beauty


Desire floats like clouds.

Packets of emotions

surround us.


Love is turbulent—

it shakes us, makes us

vulnerable over again,


swinging on the edge

of ecstasy. I kiss you &

your body shards into

a confetti of lights...




Beautiful Things Come in Pairs


Like poetry & music.

Your lips on the cliff,

reaching for a kiss.


The miracle of beer & banter—

you fall in the crack of laughter

& the hills dance on your chest.


I spill a smile on your thighs,

look into your eyes for consent

& light sucks me into quicksand lust.


Beautiful things come in pairs

—like love & ecstasy—

our bodies fused as one.

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