Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 5,000 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 November 29, 2016 at 2:28 pm #

    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. December 2, 2016 at 4:11 pm #

    Magnificently moving piece.

  3. Amidat December 3, 2016 at 1:53 am #

    A deep piece!

  4. Stan December 3, 2016 at 2:35 am #

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

  5. Kay December 4, 2016 at 4:26 am #

    *gasp* This just left me breathless.

  6. PJ Wren December 21, 2016 at 6:47 pm #

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

  7. Izuchukwu January 23, 2017 at 1:42 am #

    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 June 1, 2017 at 6:09 pm #

    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 June 3, 2017 at 10:34 am #

    *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 - December 31, 2016

    […] 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 - August 23, 2017

    […] “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

Chika Unigwe Speaks About Igbo Identity at Centre for Memories Monthly Distinguished Speaker Series

Photo credit: woman.ng

Nigerian author and professor Chika Unigwe recently spoke at the Centre for Memories, Enugu Sports Club, Enugu State, Nigeria, as […]

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi’s Second Novel Acquired by Booker Prize-Winning Publisher, Oneworld

10288785_10152345455529486_3443296343730493266_n

Oneworld has acquired the rights to Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi’s second novel. Titled The First Woman, the novel is the third […]

African Literati React to Oscars Disqualification of Nigeria’s First Ever Entry, Lionheart, with Conversation on Language, Colonial Legacy

Photo credit: Lionheart still, Netflix

On November 5, 2019, African Twitter was abuzz with the news that Lionheart (2018), Nigeria’s first ever submission to the Academy […]

Opportunity for African Writers | Submit Your Work for the 2020 K & L Prize

k-l_poster_2020_final

The 2020 K & L Prize is open for submissions. Currently in its second year, the $1000 NZ prize was […]

South African Literary Awards 2019: All the Winners

Photo credit: Litnet

The winners of the 2019 South African Literary Awards (SALA) were announced on Thursday, November 7, at a ceremony held […]

“A Hymen is Where Angels Live”: Chika Unigwe, Molara Wood, Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún, and the Definitions of Hymen You Never Knew Existed

Image credit: William Blake, Jacob's Dream

Yesterday started off as an ordinary day on African literary Twitter. There was the usual announcement of newly published books […]

Thanks for signing up!

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

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.