Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 3,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

5279730828_e88686c9fd_b

…they said a boy once waited at the center of your prayer.

 

[On 17th of February, 2016, the alleged gay, Akinnifesi Olumide Olubunmi, was beaten in Ondo, Nigeria by a group of youths. He died of internal injuries a day after.]

***

For Olumide.

I saw you trembling at the eyes of men and they said a boy once waited at the center of your prayer, and they won’t stop reaching into their bile to throw punches and curses at you but you stayed then you ran then you stopped because you are broken then you started crying not because you will die but because it’s late and your mother is a smoke waiting to hide you and your room is a secret draped in blue and the sky is red like it’s going to rain and it’s not rainbow and they beat you and beat you and your body opened and blood spilled out and you cry and cry and you remember your lover and his soft skin and his soft kiss and his soft voice and the light is blue and the bed is neat and saliva and lube and the crowd thickened and they beat you and beat you because you stink and smell and dirty and crazy and mad and in love and boys don’t love boys and you’re so tired that you could be a pond so you stopped and fell and you start begging and begging and begging and they beat you more and more and more and you don’t want to pray to God because he said boys like you will burn in hell and you don’t want to go to hell because you have been to hell and hell is hell and your body is hell and your body is flower and fire at the same time so you cry and cry and cry and it hurts and hurts not because they are beating you but because you are begging and begging and there are people standing and silent and doing nothing because you gay and dirty and mad and they are watching them beat you and beat you and beat you and you want to see what they are using to beat you but can’t because you are now blind and lonely and bleeding and it’s dark and your body is not dark but red and you know because you feel it and you think of your mother and the smoke and the secrets in your room and rainbows and your lover with a flower and he’s smiling and waiting and you’re dying and you don’t want to die because he is waiting and you’re dying and you want to go home and they beat you and beat you because your heart is beating for a boy and boys don’t love boys and your body took the wrong way home.

 

 

************

Image by Satish Krishnamurthy via Flickr.

About the Author:

C360_2015-12-21-14-46-38-219Wale Owoade is a poet, graphic artist and historian who lives in Nigeria. His works have been published and are forthcoming in: African American Review, Common Ground Review, Pine Hills Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Radar, Spillway, Transition and several others. He has received a Pushcart Prize Nomination and his poems have been translated into Bengali, German and Spanish. Wale is the Founder and Managing Editor of EXPOUND. He is a Research Institute for World History (Tokyo) scholar and is currently polishing his debut manuscript.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

11 Responses to “Because Your Body Took the Wrong Way Home | Wale Owoade | Poetry” Subscribe

  1. Adesewa 2016/11/29 at 14:28 #

    This is beautiful…just beautiful. The deliberateness of your word choice and even the form fill me with awe. I would love to read more of your works Wale. Hope you get published soon.

  2. Gwen S. 2016/12/02 at 16:11 #

    Magnificently moving piece.

  3. Amidat 2016/12/03 at 01:53 #

    A deep piece!

  4. Stan 2016/12/03 at 02:35 #

    Very touching. No one deserves to die because of who they choose to love.

  5. Kay 2016/12/04 at 04:26 #

    *gasp* This just left me breathless.

  6. PJ Wren 2016/12/21 at 18:47 #

    May the world soon find a safe way home for all who dare to love. Thanks, Wale

  7. Izuchukwu 2017/01/23 at 01:42 #

    And I have this chill down my spine. This took my breath away. I died a million times. Thank you for this.

  8. Mary. McCarthy 2017/06/01 at 18:09 #

    So powerful!! Your repetitions pound like their fists and their kicks-I hope voices like yours can make it impossible to “take the wrong way home” that there will be no wrong ways, and homes enough for love in all its many forms!!!

  9. Lara 2017/06/03 at 10:34 #

    *tears** when will it stop? This senseless violence against people who have not wronged others in any way?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Best African Literature on the Net in 2016 - EXPOUND - 2016/12/31

    […] Owoade: Because Your Body Took the Wrong Way Home in Brittle […]

  2. [The JRB Daily] JRB Contributing Editor Bongani Madondo up for Brittle Paper Literary Award – The Johannesburg Review of Books - 2017/08/23

    […] “Because Your Body Took the Wrong Way Home,” Wale Owoade, poetry (Nigeria)  […]

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

On Confessional Schizo-Poetry and Finding Meaning: In Conversation with JK Anowe, Winner of the 2017 Brittle Paper Award for Poetry

jk anowe - graph

JK Anowe, a Nigerian-born poet, holds a BA in French from the University of Benin, Nigeria, where he was awarded […]

Photos | Pages & Palette Hosts Reading of Frankie Edozien’s Lives of Great Men in Abuja

Lives of Great Men - Frankie Edozien at Pages & Palette -- photo by Victor Adewale (9)

Last December, Abuja bookstore Pages & Palette hosted a reading of Chike Frankie Edozien’s memoir Lives of Great Men. Published […]

Mauritanian Blogger Mohamed Mkhaïtir Has Now Been in Jail for 5 Years

mohamed mkhaitir

In December 2013, Mauritanian blogger Mohamed Mkhaïtir wrote a blogpost criticizing his country’s government for using religion to discriminate against minorities. […]

Read Chapter One of Chigozie Obioma’s An Orchestra of Minorities

an orchestra of minorities - graph

Chigozie Obioma’s second novel An Orchestra of Minorities was published this January. As part of The Summer Library’s “selected extracts from […]

Laila Lalami’s Fourth Novel, The Other Americans, Is a Family Saga, a Murder Mystery, and a Love Story

laila lalami - alchetron - graph

Laila Lalami’s new novel is forthcoming on 26 March 2019 from Pantheon, an imprint of Penguin Random House. The 320-page […]

Thursday’s Children: 11 Contributors to Forthcoming Anthology Discuss Experimentation and the Nature of Creative Nonfiction

thursday's children - graph

Thursday’s Children is a forthcoming anthology of personal essays. Co-edited by Adams Adeosun and Bello Damilare, it comes with an […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.