tumblr_nlat1tbJlZ1qagn9ao1_1280If family meetings were assembled to discuss your arrival, under sombre atmospheres, and the parents were ashamed of their naked dance, and the father wasn’t sure of his fatherhood, and the mother was questioned about her mornings, and you were born and not aborted, and the parents didn’t wear fancy clothes to eat and drink with their families in a fancy ceremony: you’re a bastard! But don’t despair. You have some rights. 

You have the right to reject rejection. You’re a child of natural implication despite the modest intentions of your parents. Whatsoever was placed inside the pouch was designed to produce you even if they interacted with latex or non-latex circles.

The cast followed the story, as best as they could, but you were a bad script. The actors got involved in other productions. They tried to fit you into new narratives but it didn’t work out despite the goodness of intentions. You were a story without an editor, a character without a plot. Their choice made you bloom and break. You lived without knowing why.

You understood the basics. The father believed he deserved a Booker for paying your tuition but was unaware that haircuts and socks require currency. The mother periodically reminded you that she deserves a Nobel for publishing an unwanted script. And you should be grateful that a wayward sperm fertilized an unguarded egg because you somehow aided their decision to copulate. You never complained about been tossed from mouth to mouth like an Itsekiri proverb—a fowl with two owners sleeps outside—because you were the ball kicked into the goalpost kept by God.

God was the talisman of the parents. Even though their copulation wasn’t God approved, it was the will of God that you were born, so they said. And he commanded you to obey the parents: so your days may be long. So though you wanted to be a writer, you studied law because it helped the pride of the parents and you honoured their pride because God said you should. In fact you kept getting rejection letters from fiction editors until you obeyed the parents and people didn’t patronize your art because they sensed the parents’ disapproval in your work. The parents were powerful. God was power.

It was wise that you avoided advice on bastardship from non-bastards and non-producers of bastards. They thought the best for you but were expertly clueless of the shit around your birth. You were polite and nodded at all they said. You were grateful because they cared. If the parents cared after your birth, you were born in a manger. So you stopped crying seas over trips to foreign lands because summer holidays were Heirs Only, No Bastards Allowed. But your prose went abroad and your bad poem swam across the Atlantic.

You child of contraceptives
Dance of naked actors
Song of forgotten bliss
A leak in oven

Remember your bastardship
Sailing to shore
Drink morning pills
Push coldest fork
Inside the yoke

You remembered the warning of the father about expecting an inheritance: you were twelve and never cared about his will. You remembered the mother’s threats of expulsion from her matrimonial nest because you broke a cup. Because your presence produces pain, so she said. You remembered not to think about their words, because they loved you, they proved it when they favoured you with life. The rest was irrelevant.

You prayed. You prayed the father nurtures other male heirs, that he tolerates your tastes and appreciates your weaknesses. You prayed the mother’s nonbastard children graduates and earn fat figures, seven zeros; that the mother may let you write in peace. You prayed to cease being their buried bone, that they forget their 1987 mistake or metamorphose into your first readers. You prayed forgiveness for abandoning the fortress of friendships, for worshipping art and forgetting to pray.

You were the beloved bastard, separated from birth, Baby 87; you wrote your rights.


Image by Walter Henry Williams via Manufactoriel

About the Author:

Portrait - DoreAmatesiro Dore writes and edits for a living. He attended the Igbinedion University Okada and the Nigerian Law School. His works has been published by Kwani?, Farafina, YNaija, Vanguard Newspapers and The ScoopNG.

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I'm finishing up a phd at Duke University where I study African novels, which I believe are some of the loveliest things ever written. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

9 Responses to “Writes of a Bastard | by Amatesiro Dore | African Flash Fiction” Subscribe

  1. Oluwadunni 2015/04/15 at 4:06 am #

    Beautiful. Gripping. And the best part is the poetic feel to it.

  2. Gbolahan 2015/04/16 at 6:01 am #

    Wow. Wow. Reads like an autobiography. Beautiful play on words. Remembered your Lagos work again…

  3. Basit 2015/04/16 at 12:15 pm #

    Nice story.

  4. Khadijah Muhammad 2015/04/17 at 11:35 am #

    The flow of the work is beautiful.

  5. Rukayat 2015/04/18 at 3:54 am #

    Wow! Amatesiro, wow!

  6. CAMBABOOKS 2015/04/22 at 10:05 pm #

    Absolutely awesome. A masterpiece.I like the pun in the use of words and the poetic interjection in prose. Great job! Keep writing

  7. suleiman 2015/10/01 at 6:30 am #

    superb, incredible, every word.

  8. Ogor 2015/10/02 at 5:55 am #

    Well done. This was honest.
    We are all separated from birth. It ceases to matter what anyone, even your parents call you, when you know what you were called even before you were born. SetApart.

    Bastard is a human word. Not a God-word.
    This was thought evoking. Thank you.

  9. Omotola 2015/11/06 at 3:19 pm #

    Wow beautifully written Ooomotola

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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