30, a collection of poems by Jaachi Anyatonwu banner

i don’t want a religion defined

the texture of faith thickens as rituals spools it

they often say faith comes by hearing the word of god,
yet they bore holes in my purse with constant taxes,
with different phrases and faces and phases

oftentimes i ‘ew’ at religion throwing up dogmas
founded in the search of pious repose
peeling off the sleeves of righteousness
and putting on rags of same self-made,
teaching longing souls how to bare their soles
on the thorns of clergy greed, maybe salvation
from the highs and lows, with each exhales and inhale
of prophetic proclamations shall evoke divine blessings

but i don’t want a religion defined

i desire a religion that absorbs my willfully surrendered parts
i desire a religion that discards the shallow to reach my deepest parts
make me strong enough to be fragile, human,
not a pretentious version of Lucifer,
who having been threatened with hell many times ov,
now dreads grace and buys salvation with deeds of love faux

i desire a religion that would turn my body to a cathedral of love,
a shrine of peace where i strip bare the frailty of me
before he who crossed himself for me
when his father slept in the clouds nine feet away from golgotha

i desire a religion that would engrave poetry into my spine
and teach my limbs the dance-steps of gods
while i tickle the most high with hilarious punchlines
fused in the letters of my prayers

i desire a religion that spells love as g i v e
from the clergy to the starving laity
who raises holy hands in praises to jah singing ‘kumbaya’
whilst the empty drums of his bowels grumble ‘in the sweet bye and bye’

i desire a religion made of culture; ofo, ogene, igo mmuo, oji,
sermons in the language of my ancestors


nothing plastered with condemnation, fear, denominational divide,
nothing fettered with crescent, cross, wheel of dharma, om, swastika, veve,
nothing tattooed with race, colour, people, tongue, tribe

but one that cuddles me when my flaws show off
and when my imperfections crack open
it holds me in with the strings of love

so do not look upon me with disdain
as to wave my pagan soul away into hades,
whenever i throw up at your constant threats of hell
because, the texture of faith cannot deepen with the wool of rituals,
rather faith comes by hearing the word of god,
in swirling wind, in my lovers lips, in a piece of poetry

#Pengician #SSA


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Jaachi Anyatonwu
Jaachi Anyatonwu is a poet, editor, and publisher living in the suburbs of Aba. He is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks and collections, and the Editor-In-Chief of Poemify Publishers Inc. Jaachi is passionate about discovering new voices and mentoring emerging poets. He is also a fierce advocate for the boy child and sexually molested.

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