Introducing Young Poet Efe Imoyin-Omene from Norwich

Our next young poet is Emoefeoghene Imoyin-Omene from Norwich who tells us, “because you’re cool, you can call me Efe.” Efe is a 19-year-old author and poet whose describes her work as “romantic, socially conscious and weaves elements of fantasy and music”. She continues by telling us “For as long as I can remember writing has been a home away from the uninhabitable, leading me to release my debut anthology last year called How Far?: A Series of Complicated Answers, which I formatted, sequenced and edited in three weeks during the summer of 2021.

During the pandemic (March to September 2020) I wrote my debut YA novel Ese: The Misadventures of Moving Forward, which is out now everywhere books are sold.

The poem I am going to share with you is an updated version of ‘Corinthians Said’, a poem I wrote at 16. While religion is beautifully transformative, in the greedy hands of those who seek to destroy, it can be distorted beyond recognition.  This version of my poem will be included in my next anthology So Sweet It Stings and it invites you to abandon black and white thinking and explore undulating shades of grey. How do we reconcile the beauty of faith with the ugliness of how it is used?”

Trigger warning: Efe’s poem below ultimately leaves the reader with interesting questions about religion but please be aware that ‘Corinthians Said’ contains some violent scenes and challenging images which some readers may find very uncomfortable.

Corinthians Said

Love keeps no record of wrong, yet I can’t help but remember everything with my photographic memory
I remember the battle scars you called beauty marks
When the lies- you called protection- brought bruises darker than all my stormy nights 
When your iron fist bastardized my reflection
I remember
The truth of our Shakespearian tragedy
But there is no final act
No catharsis or reprieve
The only resolution is the ephemeral hope of tomorrow

Love keeps no record of wrong
Don’t worry
I remember
When your sweet kisses started to sting
I remember
When you told me I was the burden
I remember
When you threatened to kick me out, knowing I had nowhere to go
You wield your authority like a bleached whip

Love keeps no record of wrong 
You would chant after your ritual of throwing me to back of our communion room
I remember that day well. A sinful Sunday.

Love keeps no record of wrong, you would croon as you seduced the phone out of my hand 
It will be better one day
I believed you, knowing that no one would believe me, and I prayed one day I could forget

Love keeps no record of wrong I whispered, conditioning myself to your divine dominion
Creeping up behind me was you, thief of my joy, reprobate and miracle, torturer and my only remedy
You kissed your gritty masterpieces all over my body, marvelling at your magnificent creations
You grabbed me lovingly, tugged at the dissonant remains of my dignity
And made us bow to you
I transcended the physical by your third lashing 
Descended to the pits our hell by the fourth slam on the pews 
And by the fifth slashing, I screeched and promised you
I will always remember LOVE KEEPS NO RECORD OF WRONG

Love keeps no record of wrong, you swooned the next day
Decadent and Dapper
Delicate and Deceitful
Delicious and Demonic

You have never looked so amazing 
You exalted me mercilessly while nursing my bruises with spiteful ice
You took pride in me
You and your perfect Doll
I fell for you all over again and vowed to discard Sunday

You cried and baptized me in your unconditional oceans of despair
Soaking in your trauma and floating on your memories
I remember washing our hair
I remind you of your father and your mother and you forced me to
Massage their gritty masterpieces invading the small of your back as 
I packed my bag and mustered the strength to find peace of mind
You told me everything you could remember

Emoefeoghene Imoyin-Omene

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