In the club at Garki, we dance in silence
because we are illegal, because the man
who tastes of gin also tastes of fear,
because the club is hidden in the eye of the night,
in a place where man dancing into another man
is a beautiful song humming deep within my veins,
I want to know heaven in the mouth of a boy
and we are crying because we are free,
because there’s no sin inside dance,
because your father’s voice is a far country
where sadness resides, call it home,
call it a place where boys who taste of flowers
are stolen at night.
You know sanctuary is where you run
into anyone that calls you home.
The drag queen dancing close to you
tastes of whiskey, you want to lie inside her,
close your eyes and walk away into her voice,
you want to fill your bones with wine
till a boy swims into your hands.
The bar sings of freedom, we keep wrecking it
because for once you are a butterfly
fluttering on the tongue of a boy
who called you beautiful.
I’m lying on a sofa because I’m dreaming
of cities filled with freedom,
because I’m free to drink pink gin from a pink bar.
Abuja sleeps because I’m free to raise
a city where boys who love other boys
are free to hold hands on the street.
You are laughing because this is strange,
because the first time you heard about this club
you thought about the boy who met love on Facebook,
who walked through his fear to meet a lynching
in a dark street, who couldn’t report to the police
because a gay man is a fire waiting to happen.
Neon lights run along our limbs as we lose ourselves to dance,
the day is on my tongue, I’m tipsy,
all I want to do is sit before the sun
and drink rainwater on the skin of the boy
who called my mouth a city of refuge.
“Pink Club” from Sacrament of Bodies by Romeo Oriogun. Copyright © 2020 by Romeo Oriogun. Published by University of Nebraska Press. Used with permission of the poet.