… where sa-tyres never go flat

From Our AlliesPoetry

Where I come from, religion is a screenplay

Where I come from, religion is a screenplay

By: Michelle Nnanyelugo

where I come from

our mothers change prayer houses like fancy clothes

and fathers sometimes ain’t so spiritual

because it’s a woman’s duty to pray for them 

They call them a praying mother or wife

and my people suffer from a common sense pandemic

they have grown fond of the messengers and ignored the message 

partially deaf to hear from the maker of the universe but worship his servants

with their tongues, they would make holy excuses for these deities to exonerate their assorted shortcomings

and crucify anyone who dared tender allegations


clerics are like polaroid portraits

affiliated to a loyal congregation

who censor their characters and flicker between programmes

seeking revival of seasons 

and vague expectations

my people love God but can’t give him a head start in their long-distance relationship

so they fast-track answers from heaven through his clergy 

because God must be sluggish

desperate to genuflect in benediction to any 

but their source 

right here,

intercession is a daily bread 

where worshippers outsource prayer to delegates 

because they are short-sighted to see God 

in the wee hours,

households would dabble in forced devotions

and fabricate reasons to profess fire and brimstone on their enemies

a wholesome lip service to appease their creator

religion is a screenplay where I come from

a comic relief featuring fake prophecies and a stampede of the highest bidders

sit back for a thriller


a cleric would scourge his followers with empty threats and psychological blackmail 

at dusk,

a broken fellowship would take praying lessons 

beseech heaven for miracles

and clap their petitions into deafening applause

my people have an obsession with miracles

tossed by every wind of doctrine

they belittle God

but expect multiple folds when they have not planted any seed

sacrifice their salaries on the altar of extortion

sponsor a pocket-friendly homily

and languish in poverty

next door, 

a crowd would chatter supplications to shake the rooftop of their dome

dent their image 

and cause neighbours to scoff


a cleric would serve half-baked sermons to hungry worshippers with voracious appetites

who scramble for crumbs 

spark pandemonium on the pulpit 

sign an autograph on the lips of intercessors 

and watch them fidget 

wallow in guilt

and chirp in loud tones

my people cannot have a profound dialogue with divinity

but can lift jars of requests 

and offer pockets of condensed sanctimony

in slaughterhouses of prayer

these brethren would instigate a catastrophic public acclaim

with other denominations 

inflecting a noisy tragedy on the streets 

to compete with fervour 

for a slot at the grand finale in heaven

Michelle Nnanyelugo is keen to redefine writing through soft-spoken performance poetry and reflective storytelling. She loves wholesome conversations, handwritten notes, and Häagen-Dazs-salted caramel ice cream. She often sits in a room big enough to drown her worries, doodling, scribbling, and smiling. You can find her on her website dialoguedistrict.com, on X at mtch_elle, and on Instagram at mtch_elle.

4 1 vote
Article Rating

Share this post

Wanna leave a reply?

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x