Jide Badmus
6 min readJul 27, 2021
Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

The Poem:



When he invites you

home for dinner, don’t

forget, men don’t cook

lust. Come dressed as salad

— he’s a brimming bottle

of cream


You come with the

swag of waist beads.

He’s stark, safe for

this apron of desire.

It’s lust O’clock,

spice the night

with chilli charm

O virtuous temptress.

Put knife to skin,

chef of thrill & bliss,

peel mutual yearnings,

chop keen appetites.

Flip this barbecue prick,

roast him on grille of hips

— don’t forget, we don’t

process temptation…


It reads as a pun if this poem titled “Chef” isn’t said to be a delicious meal. The foregrounding use of domestic and visual imageries keep one wondering where the power of conciseness lies in an infinite world of romantic discourse. The poet in this poem doesn’t just jumps into the art of sexual intercourse instead he wets the appetite of his reader through the introduction of a monologue — a machination of some sort. It is at this point, in the first stanza of the poem, that the reader becomes aware of the metaphor title “chef” as that symbolic of a retelling of what sex means, its requirements, the parties involved, the pleasures therein and the vulnerability that comes with the art and act of sexual gratification.

In the feminine persona’s voice, an “invite” to a “dinner” from this chef (a male) swells beyond a meeting. It is a period to look your best as a female — that is, the implied lady needs to up her game sexually in terms of her outlook. She is to appear in her glorified state and not as some objectified tool for pleasure by the obnoxious male gender. The persona continues with an apt conclusion that “men don’t cook/lust” — meaning, food in this context transcends the idea of perishable items as symbolic of “lust” being an emotive state of both the body and the mind. The poet further balms his piece with complementary metaphors in forms of phrasal expressions like “come dressed in salad/ he is a brimming bottle of cream”. What flakes the reader here is the subtle transitioning of food imageries into mental and minimalist sexual appeal.

The poet, then, in the second part of the poem, lunches fully into the crux of the chef’s culinary skills. Note, the narrator doesn’t at any point pins it down that the action is ongoing rather the cinematographic scenes are mentally displayed in such a way that the readers are reflective of the process in view. The use of a universal pronoun “You” generically balances the earlier assertion of collectivism (as both the poet and his monological characters are experiencers of this event). Another necessity is highlighted by the narrator which is “swag of waist beads”. This symbolic phrase sharpens the historical and cultural affiliation of the poet back to his African root, it is at this point that we are aware of the origin of these lovers. A further introspection into the phrase spills to the reader a brand of African contemporariness in the subject of sexual description. It is from here that simple conclusion like these lovers being millennials stems from.

An engraving change of tone injects itself into the monologue when the readers get to the description of the (implied chef) as a “stark”. The English dictionary is quick to interpret this word as being bare and naked but, in the context, the poet’s directness cups a city of meanings that stretch from the “chef” being a brutish, sincere, and bare man to him also being a naturalist. The idea of masculine romance is also screwed to that contemplated by Socrates in his idea of man (in context, male) being animalistic with a high sense physical brutishness — no negative intended. A puzzling dimension to this part of the poem is seen when the psychological state of the parties involved is critically reviewed — why is it that it is only the conception of the male gender that is defined? Why the adornment when it comes to feminine conceptualization? Maybe, maybe not — shove comes to push, the criticalness of the poet is nothing less than an ambiguous emphasis.

The symbolic balance of this poem as a whole reaches its quasi climax in stanza two of the second part of the poem. Here, the metaphoric art of cooking chops itself into the romantic spree. And this is evidential in the copious use of fleshy and pun-suggestive adjectival phrases like “lust o’clock”, “chilli”, “charm”, “spice”, “temptress”. The oxymoronic effect of virtuosity given to a tempter is laudably suggestive of the narrator’s idea of sex as a spiritual action within puritanical qualities as seen in

“it’s lust o’clock/spice the night/with chilli charm/o virtuous temptress./”

As detailed in the succeeding stanza, knifing through a skin is metaphorical. But this possessive metaphor not only engages the readers, it also unnerves their erotic sensibilities. The visual in this part of the art is caressing which blends in with the intensity of tonal change — a bit of forceful enactment. The poet no longer hides under hyperbolic descriptions rather he transmutes into a casualness — a form of association — that brings his artistry back to life. The narrator calls out the chef in the typical African pattern of naming — “chef of thrill & bliss”. The picture of this local motif again re-roots the poet’s origin. But unlike the popular narrative around sex — in term negatives, the persona snappishly shuns out the idea of this consummation being forceful and non-consented via the use of words like “mutual” and “yearnings”. At this point, the reader is morally conditioned to read through the lines that a good sexual meal is devoid of non-consented escapades as typical of rape — singular or group wise. A tonic to this thrilling sensation is the compassionate desire that guns through the parties involved — “chop keen appetites”. That is, there are numerous ways to achieving this sensational mood and all of these ways are to be fully enjoyed — aggressively, as bared through the meaning of “chop”.

The last stanza climaxes the whole art into a munching craft — meaning, the poet nudes himself of reality. He journeys his readers through dramatic engagements wherein they mentally retract and still their sexual experiences. He achieves this through the use of sounds. For example, verbs like “flip” and “roast” physically stirs up orgasm in the readers and for moral decency, the possibility of X-rating the poem might be tenable. The “barbeque prick” and “grille of hip” slice in the physical produces of sexual interactions that is, the release of sperm by the male and the lap dance which is mostly required in the act. In the end, an abrupt rise in tone calls back the parties involved to a reality — that is, the possibility of sex being transient is validly conceivable. This reality is what pushes the poem from a physical to mental and finally to a philosophical discourse as seen in the elliptical sentence — “we don’t/ process temptation….” What becomes clear to the reader is the vulnerability of the human mind when the necessities for such art or act are complete in terms of temptations. Like the biblical character of Joseph, the poet implicitly suggests that one flees at the point of seductive signals if not, the whole episode will sit tall as a past — the same way the narrator is recounting the processes involved in sexual interaction or lust cooking.


In conclusion, the poet has indeed fed his readers to full with his erotic and poetic meal which glides through strategic physical, mental, psychological, spiritual and philosophical underpins. His conciseness, on the surface, might seem to have blanketed the hallowed conceits and alluring metaphors which he stylishly walls his artistry with still, it is impossible to read this work without journeying towards lust — the main course of the chef’s dish.

Damilola Ogunojuwo (Damilink) is a speech impaired literary enthusiast and a graduate of English and Literature from the University of Benin, Nigeria. He’s currently rediscovering himself after years of living behind shadows. He’s the winner of the 2015 Poetry Category for the Festus Iyayi Creative Award for Excellence and other prizes. He picks his literary materials from life and is passionate about PWDS. Lagos is where he lives.



Jide Badmus

Author of 5 Poetry Books (and several chapbooks). Poetry Editor, Con-scio Magazine.