Joy born into sorrow
Not by choice or the will of men
But the love in his heart made him gay

Fellow men said
Joy made God sad
Cos his love was male
Joy goes to hell
A room filled with hate
For brothers loving brothers

Shower him shame
Heaped with hate
Mangle his mind
His love is artificial
But enjoy his art
Songs of his heart
Source of his soul

Steal his soil
For he has no right to
Pass property to his partner
It must remain in the family
According to African traditions

Death for love, heart imprisoned
Honey was taboo, joy unapproved
A crime for two consenting adults
Or two similar minors
To love and be free


If God is love
Love is godly
If man loves men
Man is godly

Pastors of hate
Terrorists of joy
Poachers of love
Shooting happy men

Is love by force?
Can I love a God?
Who can’t love my man?
And my love for men

Oh Benevolent Destroyer
Pillar of bearded prophets
Heavenly host of killers
Paradise is bed for bigots
Cornucopia of chauvinists
Christ returns for his take away
Men raptured into banquet of fire
I pray to remain here with my lover


My son loved a man and hate filled my heart
I love God and must kill them at first sight
I pray they change because I can never change
Not for love, not at the risk of death

Are you coming to church, my brother?
No love for the Lord! He broke my heart
His people hate my love and killed my man
Can’t be with a God who wants me dead and
I don’t wanna live in heaven without my man

Come my brother, God loves you still
You sound like God is doing favours
Love is not a favour, not to me, brother
I don’t want to be tolerated or forgiven
I have done no wrong by loving a man
I just need more grace to love him more

Why should I commit suicide, bro!
Because a nigga loves a man
Because a nigga sucks like God
Because a nigga fucks like mad
Joy is a gift to pretty fellas, bro!
It makes you gay and happy

Are you gay during Ramadan?
Are you straight during Lent?
Cross and Crescent in love
My baby is a sweet date palm
We lay on the mat under the
Dogonyaro tree facing the West
His feet made me forget my faith
My meat made him accept our fate
Fourteen years to death, you and I
Forever living joy can’t expire



Post image via Manufactoriel
About the Author:
Portrait - AmatesiroAmatesiro Dore is a 2009 alumnus of the Farafina Trust Creative Writing Workshop; former Managing Editor of Vanguard Spark, imprint of Vanguard Newspapers; and 2015 Fellow of the Ebedi International Writers Residency. He has been published by Kwani?, Farafina, YNaija, The ScoopNG, Vanguard Newspaper, The Brittle Paper, Bakwa Magazine and The Kalahari Review.

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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.

10 Responses to “Joy | By Amatesiro Dore | A Queer African Poem” Subscribe

  1. Pearl Osibu 2015/09/21 at 1:47 am #

    Ewooooo blasphemy. I love it. Way to go Tesiro. Way to go. Lovely poem this.

  2. Klaus Nyong'o 2015/09/21 at 4:37 am #

    Beautiful… I love it!

  3. Ime Edem-Nse 2015/09/21 at 12:55 pm #


  4. Kanife 2015/09/22 at 5:29 am #

    I pray they change because I can never change.

    They pray you change too. Because they can never change.

    Very deep one Amatesiro. Thank you.

  5. Nana Darkoa 2015/09/22 at 6:53 am #


  6. ada 2015/09/22 at 9:01 am #

    Powerful one. Thanks for this perspective.

  7. Celestine Chimmumunefenwuanya Victorson 2015/09/23 at 10:24 am #

    Flows in a way of a celo…are u a celoist?

  8. chinenye 2015/09/25 at 10:47 am #

    Apt and nice

  9. Aventurine 2015/09/29 at 2:30 pm #

    Deep and Queer, an Ungainly Pair.

  10. Senan Murray 2016/06/13 at 7:29 am #

    First fear, then respect and admiration when I realised I was actually reading a creed. Just powerful and really beautiful.

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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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