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