30, a collection of poems by Jaachi Anyatonwu banner

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

oftentimes, i ‘ew’ at religion throwing up dogmas
founded in the search of pious repose,
peeling off the sleeves of righteousness
& putting on rags of same self-made.
Teach longing souls how to bare their soles
on the thorns of clergy greed, perhaps, 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,
not a pretentious version of Lucifer,
who haven been threatened with hell many times over,
now dreads grace
& 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 clouds nine feet away from golgotha.

i desire a religion that would engrave poetry into my spine
& 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 raise 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:
igọ̀ mmụọ,
ịwa oji…
sermons in the language of my ancestors.


nothing plastered with condemnation,
doctrinal traditions,
witch hunting prophesies,
mass & rosary,
30 days fasting,
fear of hell & village people,
denominational divide…

nothing fettered with crescent, cross,
wheel of dharma,
om, cowries,
swastika, veve…

nothing tattooed with race, colour,

but one that cuddles me when my flaws show off.
& 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

the texture of faith cannot deepen with the wool of rituals.

faith comes by hearing the word of god,
in swirling wind,
on my lovers lips,
in a piece of poetry,
in alms given,
in peace embraced,
in the beautiful resilience of ocean tides
returning to kiss the shore,
no matter how many times
it is sent back.

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.


  1. Avatar

    This is amazing!

    1. Jaachi Anyatonwu

      Thanks, Jace.
      Happy Sunday to you and yours.

  2. Avatar
    • Chidera Ochuagu

    • 8 months ago

    this is one of the best poems I’ve read this month.
    This is beautiful, striking every part of my being. I love it.

    1. Jaachi Anyatonwu

      Thanks for reading.

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