Zach Tanimola

The Rhetoric of Persecution: An Essay with Quotes from John 16:2

Quoting Paul, this pastor
says he doesn’t mind
being cancelled

for declaring people
like me an abomination.
He’s ready to die,

be persecuted for this:
his right to keep me a secret,
locked up, or, if merciful,

have me corrected via therapy.
There are about two
Christians in the world.

Some queer, afraid, Nigerian.
The handful of us, prey. Tell me
a boy kissing another boy

is persecution.

They will put you out, Jesus
his eyes on mine as he spoke

in Gethsemane. O Christ,
your children have made a mess
of Love, killing in your name,

tyres around necks,

bodies aflame.
They have built Hell

in your honour, made
the gospel a horror.

Zeal, when sharper than

God, will lead to lynchings.

…in fact, the time is coming
when anyone who kills you

will think they are offering
a service to God.

I kiss you, my boy,

in the name of the Lord,

my boy, I kiss you.


Prayer for Queer Abandoned

Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me. Teach me your way,
LORD; lead me along a safe path because of my oppressors. (Psalm 27:10-11)

God will direct you into laughter.
She loves you.

Resist the Nigerian suggestion
a Divine Apartheid. God is not

a man.
Not a pastor, priest, bishop, deacon.
She loves you, will tend to your wounds.

God will direct you
into laughter.
She will direct you.

God will direct you into freedom.


Zach Tanimola is a queer poet and teacher from Nigeria. When not reading, he is birdwatching.