Blood on The Dancefloor elevates the girl-child to a higher pedestal

Reviewed by Creative Titan.


Writing about the plight of the girl child, the abuse and rape issues deserve the utmost care and attention because of the sensitive nature of these issues. Who best to bring these to the fore than a writer? Writers have been known to write about the mundane and the heart-wrenching like war, genocide, and issues like gender-based violence are also not out of sight.


John Akerele’s debut poetry collection aims to lend credence to a battalion of voices that seeks to propagate the rights of the girl child using writing as a tool. The collection begins with a poem on the origins of love:

Love begins with me in my mother’s arms

Her nipple, dripping milk of kindness into my mouth


Love begins with me in the air

My father throws me up to share the sky with birds and angels

And catches me from the grip of gravity


Love begins with me on my knees

Praying for peace in lands that lick and leak lives


In further stanzas, we are treated to sanctimonious lines that speak on the origins of love and end with the line admonishing us to find the many ways we can love ourselves. The next poem “How to love me” begins with a punchy starting verse:

“Do not love me in stereotypes

For this is our love story

Not theirs”


This verse paints a rare kind of love that is not stained by the bandwagon effect. Further stanzas show the persona asking for a love different from the norm.

The poem “a broken world” paints the story of all that’s wrong with society and sometimes left me broken and seething with rage at the same time. The duality of emotions, a reflection of the agony that rape victims face and the lack of empathy which shows they are always likely to take a larger part of the blame.

In the poem “a broken woman” it starts with the lines:

How do you teach a woman to reclaim her body?

Or undo her endless moments of pain and of the emptiness that follows?


And ends with the verse:


We will no longer bury our truths beneath our tongues,

Or remove our eyes from these taboos

So that woman is now crowned God,

From whom no one takes forcefully


By equating woman to God, the poet elevates the woman from the state of brokenness to a realm where she can do no wrong.

Sad as it might seem, In the poem “These facts are fat lies” some lines do not read like the reality. With the murder of Sarah Everard by Wayne Couzens, who kidnapped her in a hire car as she walked home alone from a friend’s house and went on to rape and strangle the 33-year-old marketing executive. This is evidence that more work needs to be done in propagating women’s rights and the narratives of abuse and shared experiences by women are not fat lies to be waved away.

John Akerele’s debut is timely to add to the ongoing narratives that aim to elevate the girl child and ensure she is not regressed to the back-burner. Some poems ditch the language of poetry and the author delivered this in prose style, using storytelling as a technique. The messages in this collection are varied with a unifying theme, wrapped in simplicity.

This a timely read that addresses a topical issue in society and, like the author has said, there is no end to this conversation and the awareness of girl-child issues.



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