From Lagos with Love: two gay poets

ZP_Pastor Macaulay leading a House of Rainbow gathering of conversation and loving prayer


Rowland Jide Macaulay (born 1966) is an openly gay Nigerian poet and pastor who – as of tomorrow (June 30th 2013) will also be an ordained preacher in The Church of England. He begins duties as a curate in London this July and says that his will be “an inclusive parish ministry – and I cannot wait!”

Macaulay’s involvement in church activity has deep roots. He was raised Pentecostal in Lagos, where his father, Professor Augustus Kunle Macaulay, is the principal of Nigeria’s United Bible University.

But the truth of his sexuality needed telling and Rowland reached a juncture in the spiritual road, founding House of Rainbow Fellowship which gives pastoral care to sexual minorities in Nigeria, and includes sister fellowships in Ghana, Lesotho and several other African states.

The Easter story holds great power for Macaulay; the following is a poem he wrote in 1999:


Rowland Jide Macaulay

In Just Three Days”

For a life time
He came that we may have life
He died that we may have life in abundance.

In Just Three Days
Better known than ever before
Crowned King of kings
Tired but never gave up
Alone, forsaken and frightened
The world is coming to a close
Doors closing, wall to wall thickening.

In Just Three Days
Prophecies have been fulfilled
Unto us a child is born…
Destroy the world and build the kingdom
Followers deny His existence
His betrayer will accompany the enemy.

In Just Three Days
The world had Him and lost Him
Chaos in the enemies’ camp
Death could not hold Him prisoner
In the grave, Jesus is Lord.

Bethany, the house of Simon the leper,
Alabaster box of precious oil
Ointment for my body
Gethsemane, place of my refuge
Watch and pray.

In Just Three Days
Destruction, Rebuilding
Chastisement, Loving, Caring
Killing, Survival
Mockery, Praises
Passover, Betrayal
The people, The high priest
Crucify him, crown of thorns
Hail him, Strip him, bury him.

In Just Three Days
He is risen
Come and see the place where the Lord lay
His arrival in the clouds of heaven.

In Just Three Days
He was dead and buried
My resurrection, my hope, my dream
Hopelessness, helplessness turned around
In Just Three Days
In Just Three Days.

.     .     .   

Nigerian Abayomi Animashaun, now living in the U.S.A., completed a university degree in mathematics and chemistry but then took that precise quantum leap into the ever-expanding universe that is Poetry. He teaches at The University of Wisconsin (Oshkosh).

The following poem is from his 2008 collection, The Giving of Pears.


Abayomi Animashaun

In bed with Cavafy”


After pleasing each other,
We laid in bed a long time…

Curtains drawn,
Bolt fastened,

We’d been cautious,

Had made a show for others—

We ordered meat and wine
From the local restaurant.

And, like other guys, we talked loud
About politics into the night,

But whispered about young men
We’d bent in the dark.

At midnight, when from the bars drunks
Staggered onto the streets,

We shook hands the way they did,
Laughed their prolonged laughs,

And warned each other to steer clear
From loose girls and diseases—

All the while knowing
He’ll circle round as planned,

Sit in the unused shack behind my house
Till my neighbours’ candles are blown out.

And, after his soft knock,

I’ll slowly release the latch

As I did last night.

.     .     .

Editor’s note: “In bed with Cavafy” captures the mood, nuance, and subtle tone of the poetic voice of Constantine Cavafy (1863-1933), the homosexual Greek poet who was a native of Alexandria, Egypt. Animashaun updates this Cavafy-an “voice”, making it heard in his description of two bisexual lovers in Lagos who are caught up in strategies of social hypocrisy and secret honesty in a place where sexual open-ness means great personal risk.


Special Thanks to Duane Taylor (York University, Toronto) for his editorial assistance!

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