of peculiar flowers/like sound of laughter/fluid in words you could spell/only after lettering down/libations on territories/virgin with mystic bites/of your footsteps/creating gardens/of hope beyond tales

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Beer Bottle

As I walked to the bin with blood trickling down my thighs; I thought, even broken bottle must have a use. In boarding school, I heard if grinded and swallowed, it could kill unwanted babies. And I know if you had no knife to fight it could slice the throat of an opponent. Yet my broken bottles were useless to me, for nothing like a baby grew in me and the only opponent left to fight was me; broken bottles had no use to me.

I drove the mouth of the bottle into me till I bled. It was the only way I could get my mind off the mess I had created. Each drop of blood that stained my sheet was a sacrifice. I hoped the gods would prefer my blood to a fowl’s. I couldn’t afford a fowl. I couldn’t afford a ball of kenkey, I could afford nothing but the metallic salty taste of blood, in my mouth. Moaning, “lord! looord! looooord! take me! dear lord, take me”, l spilled blood as prayer, my blood.

And maybe the metallic smell shall rise as incense until it finds a blessing that would afford me a bar of soap to wash off the stains on my sheet. I drove the bottle deep into me and fed on blood like a tick.

As pangs in my stomach worsened, I intensified the pulse and depth of the beer bottle going in and out of me. The condom I wore the green bottle was not to save me from an STI or unwanted embryos, it was to keep the bottle from eating my blood. Tears followed each orgasm. I got satisfied; the sight and smell of my blood overpowered my hunger, my anger, it was that kind of satisfaction that left you wanting the unusual.

I began to sing; “she who made the bottle put a little joy in it; she who made my fingers put a little joy in it, she who made the lord also made my blood. I am not alone; I have little joys and fingers and the lord”. I shoved the green bottle in me; I drove it deep till it hit my cervix. It fetched pain and a gush of blood, and then I screamed, “loooooord! take me, take….”

A force pulled the green bottle out of me and on my bed room floor was a bottle so green broken and scattered.

“Except love, everything that is anything is also nothing”; my grandmother would say anytime I lost something I cherished and cried when I was a child.

I had escaped from my parents to Grandma in the village after three months of being locked up in a room that continued to stink up from my urine and excrement. Nana, didn’t ask why I had come to her barefooted; perhaps she didn’t see my feet as she was left-eye blind and could hardly see with the right. Grandma pulled me into a hug when I got to her hut; “Abena, welcome, welcome, welcome, I am so happy to see, how are you, how are my grandchildren?”, she asked.

Tears filled my eyes as hers were clouded with joy. “Come, come lay on my lapses” Grandma beckoned. With my dirty body, I bent to rest my head on my grandmother wobbling body. She ran her hands in my hair, she started a song my mother used to sing to me; only now the name in the song had changed, “Abena, Abena, my precious child, would you grow to be a doctor, a banker or a lawyer… Abena, Abena my beautiful child, would I be here when you are old, wealthy and powerful?...”

My grandma, thinking I was my mother; her daughter, “Abena”, stroke her hand from my forehead through my unkempt hair. I realized just how badly my Nana’s memory had gotten. In the first three day of living with Grandma, I bore the discomfort of having to respond to a name not mine. Yet, I felt a strange gratitude for being held, for being stroked with love. After a very long while, I again felt, there was a place to call home.

I didn’t care that my Grandma didn’t remember my name; she would hold my arm and lean her cheek on it. I would carry her chair to the bathroom and stand by her till she was done with her shower. After her shower, she puts powder around her neck and in her armpits, she would put some put some powder on my face as well and then she would sing, “Abena, Abena, my precious child, would you grow to be a doctor, a banker or a lawyer… Abena, Abena my beautiful child, would I be here when you are old, wealthy and powerful?...”

As, I carried the broken bottles to the bin, I met, coming from the bathroom, my grandma with an empty bucket in hand. “Nana, why didn’t you call me”, I asked running to her.

“Brema, my granddaughter, how are you?” she asked. My grandma wore a smile that made me cry. I carried her to her room and put some power around her and in her armpit. I threw some powered on my face and stroke her grey soft hair with my fingers.

Just like my mother used to, my grandmother began to sing, “Brema, Brema, my precious child, would you grow to be a doctor, a banker or a lawyer… Brema, Bream my beautiful child, would I be here when you are old, wealthy and powerful?...”

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sound literacy

Ghana’s cultural soundscape is unquestionably a significant heritage. In speech as in listening, there are sounds that cannot be transcribed. These are sensations that could only be inadequately expressed in words. It is therefore important to be literate in sound as certain sounds are meant to send definite messages.

All our socio-cultural activities are interlaced with peculiar sound waves. Indigenous farmers have their sound codes. Names are not expected to be called out loud on a farm land; the traditional belief is, spirits, both good and evil, reside In nature and calling out one’s name in the forest may unnecessarily expose the bearer of the name to attacks if their name falls in the ears of evil spirits. Instead of calling out a name a “huuuuuuu” sound, among the akans, is made to get the attention of company that may be on the farm.

Beyond normal language we also speak sound. The sound you make blowing a gush of air from your nose when something stinks. Or the click sound you make in your throat to signify (depending on the rhythm of the sound) agreement or disagreement. We instantly comprehend sound made from sucking the teeth, or pressing our lips tightly together while forcing out air. Everybody speaks sound; people from northern Ghana hit their fingers repeatedly on their lips emitting a bubbly sound to call for attention or to complement the excitement in a dance performance. A mother rounds her lips, and lets her uppers set of teeth sit on the lower tightly as she blows out air to produce a sound similarly made of cut onions thrown in hot oil to induce her child to pee before going to bed.

The list is long on the different sound bites that make communication complete. Snap your fingers and someone is bound to turn. Like snakes hiss many Ghanaians (though largely considered rude) would make a prolonged “sssssssssssssss” sound to call the attention of someone on the street whose name they do not know. Men especially like to “sssssssssssssss” at women they find attractive on the street. Ice cream sellers in Ghana “sssssssssssss” or make a prolonged “kiss sound” to advertise their products. To call for silence, the “ssssssssssssssss” or “shooooouuuu” sound can also be made.

We must make a conscious effort to explore and comprehend the sounds that live around us. Apart from music, other art expressions like theater, film and dance is affected by sound. In understanding and experimenting with sounds we expand the prospects of Arts. Sound effects in our performing Arts affect our feelings. We for instance tend to get edgy about unfamiliar sound. “What is that?” we may ask, upon hearing a sound unfamiliar.

When you enter a village and you hear the voice of drums you can be sure that something is happening. When you pay attention to the particular sound/rhythm being made by the drum you will be able to, at the very least, gather clues on what exactly could be happening; is it a warning signal?, is it an indication of a celebration? is it a solemn moment? How does the sounds you hear make you feel? When a person clears their throat, can you tell if they communicating disapproval, teasing you, or perhaps just clearing their throat? In another scenario, a fresh student would have to learn and know the different sound codes of their school; from break time to assembly time, all the way through to ‘run now, the headmistress is coming!!!’ there are pinpointing sound signals.

The gong, the talking drum, the horn, the secret sound codes of farmers and hunters in the woods, the messages river music and bird songs carry, the rhythm of our heart beat; these are sounds one must learn to interpret. Days of fluent sound communicators may have passed us by; the variants sounds that converge to form the music of our daily activities have little of our attention now. New influences have sucked out the traditional sound consciousness; natural sounds of market squares; bus stations, the class room, a busy street etc. Could you for instance tell where you are if your eyes were closed? Makola sounds different from Kejetia, Teshie sounds different from East Legon, our emotions; joy, pain, disappointment, relieve are more often communicated in sound than in words. It is time to explore familiar and unusual bites of Ghana’s soundscape, how much sound do you know?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Kwesi and the other kids were allowed to burn the toilet papers but I wasn’t. My mother said I couldn’t go to back of the house to play around fire. She burnt the toilet papers herself whenever it was our turn to burn till I got to JSS 3. I was now a senior, I was 12years old! and I was grown. Burning toilet papers became my favorite chore. Every night I stole toilet papers and burnt them after I took my shower.

I preferred the smell of smoke on my body to the foal odor from the catchiest with the smelly mouth. Sometimes the smoke failed me, the catechist smell was stronger. His order got stuck on my skin, in my nose, in my mouth; but I kept burning, his smell was better mixed with something less revolting like smoke than nothing else.

Kwesi caught me one night as I walked behind the house with stolen toilet paper.
“What are you doing Brema?” he asked.

“I’m just going to burn the papers”, I said, “what are you doing following me?”
“But it’s not your turn!, I’ll tell…”

Before he could end his sentence, I begged, “please Kwesi don’t tell my mother… you can burn the papers if you want”

“No, I don’t want to, it’s late, what if a snake bites you?”

“ah Kwesi, a snake will not bite me, my mother says there are no snakes in this area”.

I lied; my mother and I never discussed snakes or any other reptiles. Maa was sacred of snakes; she would abandon any movie that had snake scenes even if her favorite actor, ‘Araba Stamp’ was lead character.

Kwesi waited for me as I watched the fire burn all the toilet papers into dark ashes.

“I burn every day; do you want to come with me tomorrow?”

“ok”, he said.

Kwesi become my burning partner but he never got close enough to the fire. He didn’t feel what I felt; the fire burning the little hairs on my skin, the smell of my burnt hair blending with the smoke that rose. Kwesi just waited by the side till I was done, always. We walked back home every night with him trying to convince me a snake might sneak up on us one day to bite us hard in the behind. I would laugh at his fears while pretending to kill an imaginary snake. Even though each trip made Kwesi more frightened, each trip was also more fun. He was always at the gate before I got there. He never told my mother about our nightly flames and I learned to trust him.

One evening I took my shower later than usual, it was past, the time we usually met by the gate to go burning. Kwesi came to the bathhouse.


The catechist with the smelly mouth sealed my lips with his palm.

“Brema, I can smell your soap, stop playing” Kwesi said, “are we going to burn today?”

The catechist with the smelly mouth started muttering “shit shit shit!”

Kwesi, snapped the bathroom door open. The catechist with the smelly mouth spoke;

“I have caught you two!, I am reporting you to your parents, you bad children!”

He held Kwesi by his shirt and grabbed my arm, shoving me naked to my mother. Kwesi’s chalewotey slipped of his feet.

“my chalewotey my chalewotey”, he cried.

The catechist with the smelly mouth just dragged us both to our door. He knocked and my mother came out.

“I caught these two in the bath house”, the catechist with the smelly mouth accused.

Kwesi’s cry was intermitted with “my chalewotey, my chalewotey”

“Maa, it’s a lie”, I said.

“shut up! , what do I do with you heh?, she said, “I wish your father were here”.

I was glad my father had gone back to Togo. My mother scolded but she never hit me.

“get inside” she ordered.

I looked at Kwesi. He was still in the grip of the catechist with the smelly mouth. It was all my fault, I thought. I wanted to tell Kwesi, I was sorry but I knew I would cry if I opened my mouth again.

“thank you very much catechist, may God bless!”

My mother thanked the catechist with the smelly mouth and walked him to Kwesi’s parents.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I want nothing

I would gather spittle in my mouth; stretch my hands over my head to reach the coffee stained teacup on the headboard of my bed. My little brother, Kwame always remembered to put the pills under my pillow. Into the coffee stained teacup, I spat. If there was not enough spittle I would gather some more in my mouth, till it was enough for which I could swallow the pills with. No one will come into my room till Sunday night; that is when the pastor said the demons would have left. It was important that I, the possessed, fasted too.

When Kwame left the pills under my pillow he also put a bottle of water by my bed, but my mother came for it. The pastor had said the fasting had to be dry. There were sixty nine male demons and a very powerful queen demon who lead them. The demons had made, my body, my mind and the last particle of food in my teeth their home. I couldn’t be allowed to drink or eat; otherwise my madness will drive me to kill my mother and our last born, Adwoa.

With my spittle, I swallowed the pills. In the night I felt someone looking at me from the window, I knew it was Kwame. He knew exactly when I run out of pills and he replaced it when he thought I was asleep, in the middle of the night, when my dad was snoring. Sometimes he puts a slice of bread under the pillow. When I tried to eat it, I could taste nothing, so I didn’t eat it. I would pick the bread up to my nose and smell it. It offered a different smell from the stench of urine in my room. The piece of bread kept me company, it invited ants. When the ants walked on my skin, I imagined I was earth. When the ants bit me, I believed I was food. I didn’t care what the ants did to me or with me, I was just glad I could feel them.

I started screaming, an ant had entered my left ear. It walked deep into my ear. “Nooooo! Lawd!”, I screamed. My family gathered behind my door, it wasn’t time for them to come in yet, it was a Thursday, they had to wait till Sunday night. My mother was repeating herself, “yesu, awuradi, yesu awuradi yesu…”

My father ordered Kwame to bring his phone. My father became a reporter, “osofo she is having a spiritual attack.., ” “osofo, nobody has touched her ooo, she is screaming” “osofo, she is slapping herself” “osofo her finger in her ear… osofo…”

I heard my father direct my family to move away from my door. He said the osofo said, I was receiving instructions from the demons. He said, the osofo said it was important that they stayed away from me, or the demon would enter another person in the family and multiply.

“Osofo will come in the evening to rebuke and tie the demons up, everybody should go to their rooms”, papa said.

About 3mins later something was dragged on the floor and placed behind my door. I imagined it was the bookshelf as it was the closest heaviest thing by my door. My room became totally dark. The darkness calmed my nerves. Apart from the sound of water, darkness also calms my nerves. The ant had stopped moving in my ears. I wanted to take another pill so I could fall asleep but I had only three pills left. I was afraid I would run out before Kwame could replace it. I wondered if Kwame would go through the trouble of removing whatever my parent had place behind my door to get to my room. I wonder why they thought I would try to get out when I had never tried to; or was it to prevent the demons from getting out of my room?

I remembered one of the poems I wrote when I had the mind to write;

Wants on a Tuesday morning
I want music in a language I don't understand.
I want the possibilities in mystery.
I want the freedom in uncertainty
I want pieces of my forgotten self
I want meaningless laughter
I want nothing

Do demons like poetry? Perhaps ants do… “I want nothing” I yelled anytime I heard footsteps, “I want nothing”. “I want nothing” I began to mumble when I run out of yelling energy. I began to laugh, and then I cried, I cried in my sleep, and woke up to cry.

The thing behind my door was pulled away. A ray of light stole its way into my room. The pastor entered and blocked the light. “I want nothing” I mumbled and then I yelled, “I want nothing”. He started praying in tongues, it was “music in a language I didn’t understand”, I began to laugh, he prayed louder, I laughed louder. I broke into tears, I cried like a little girl. I went back to yelling “I want nothing” but my tears were not ready to dry, I cried some more, anytime I cried, osofo, slapped me, the pastor slapped me with his bible.

My mother began to cry too, osofo shut her up. Kwame tried to hold my hands, I didn’t let him; I was slapping myself and laughing.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

When men bite dogs

The line is sometimes difficult to draw; high mysteries and concocted protective devices. My grandmother calls last Tuesday with news about being sued by the palace court. Her offence is keeping a dog in a village which forbids entry of dogs. Granny was fined 200 cedis and two sheep. My want for reason is discontent with a less perceptive response as: “dogs are a taboo here”. Why are dogs a taboo? Why should my lonely grandmother be fined for wanting some company as all humans do?

For the same reason mosquitoes nets were made, taboos are essentially protective devices. I would learn that this provocative taboo against keeping dogs as pets is not exclusive to Maabang, my village in Ashanti region. Our dear canine friends managed to get themselves in trouble also in many other communities across the central region. What did dogs ever do? A taboo, in its pompous free-floating capacity, may be useful for as long as it doesn’t get eroded by pointlessness. Let the palace elders in my village stick to their story of high mystery on the adversity dogs will bring to Maabang if allowed to live there. My research holds much comprehensible findings; not that I love taboos less but I love reason more.

Today’s dogs are paying for a spate ill-health of their ancestry. Rabies, a rather nasty disease, hit many communities in Ghana in the early days. This taboo, needless as it is today, saved lives yesteryear. Although unfair to my grandmother’s rabies-free dog as it is to groom jilted because his family has a history of poor mental health, people can be excused for panicking. I admire my ancestors for their astuteness in managing the outbreak and their inclination to prevent such future crises. Yet the time to let go a taboo is when it is bankrupt of reason for present justification. I trust health professionals and veterinary officers in Ghana to handle any case of rabies.

Why do Krobos not eat snail? I wonder. Our customs, believes and traditional practices make us, I know this. Upholding culture and traditional systems is essential to our continuity. Yet, it amazes me how our generation finds it easier to cling to what is petty like taboos against fluffy dogs whereas we watch our heroes, artists, festivals, songs and names and dance disappear. We are clearly unwilling to invest our time, energy and perhaps money when it comes to planning the festivals that tell our story, celebrating heroes who prepared the way, teaching indigenous songs that will uplift us and cross checking the right spelling of royal names. We are busy, we are modern, we are too advanced to pay attention to the core of our being. There is however time to propagate ethnocentrism, to discard indigenous dishes like “mpohonomu”, “apiti”, “akankye”, “adibiankyinwom”, “tumbani” and “mpotompoto”.

Perhaps it is time we employ taboos to meet challenges of our current social setup. Let us make "new taboos” against leaving elderly persons to be partly submerged in loneliness and partly in boredom. Let us make "new taboos" against forgetting our arts, our artists and our culture. We can use damage from offenders to build “canopy art centers” in communities. We must create space in the Arts for our elderly. My grandmother always has a new story. Why are we not encouraging the elderly to draw, play an instrument, write poetry and just tells stories as they wait around with nothing to do? Should it not be our business spending time with our grandparents so to enrich our life experience with whichever tales are yet to be shared? Should it be part of our school curriculum that we gather stories from time before us?

Four questions pretending to be two: what can arts do for our senior citizens and what can our senior citizens do for the arts? And beyond relevance of taboos and letting lonely grannies keep fluffy dog, what makes a people and what does not?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wants on a Tuesday morning

I want music in a language I don't understand.
I want the possibilities in mystery.
I want the freedom in uncertainty
I want pieces of my forgotten self
I want meaningless laughter
I want nothing

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Homophobia: Our ancestors knew better!

The tired excuse for homophobia in Ghana is that homosexuality is against our culture, and it’s a new thing young people are copying from the west. An “evil new thing” that ought to be condemned! People go ahead to emphasize how our ancestors punished any individual who had shown the slightest sexual interest in a person of the same sex by death or banishment. Is that so?

Openness to discussion and knowledge sharing on our individual sexual journeys, our sexual evolution and the truth on the stands of our ancestors on sexual preferences has been clamored by cultural and religious spasms from people who have obviously not taken the time to learn from our ancestors by the language they handed down to us on the matter of sex and sexuality.

Such words as Homosexual, Lesbian and Heterosexual do not exist in our indigenous languages. (e.g. Twi, Ga, Ewe, etc...) Why are these words missing in our indigenous vocabulary? One’s sexual preference was obviously not a thing our ancestors found a need to tag.

A sex offender on the other hand, example the rapist is “monaatofo” and the pedophile/child molester is “awengaa” in twi, which is by the way my mother tongue. Let me again point out, sex offenders and sexual offences have specific tags, rightful derogatory in our various indigenous Ghanaian languages. Here is my question; did our ancestor consider homosexuality an offence as today’s Africa wants us to believe?

The emphasis is on the fact that a word will arise when the concept or thing is deemed necessary to name in a community or when the community finds a concept or thing unacceptable. I wondered what my ancestors called homosexuality and so I kept in search for a word.

It shouldn’t be necessary that we find equivalent words for homosexuality or heterosexuality in our indigenous vocabulary. As old as homosexuality is our ancestors obviously didn’t think a person’s sexual preference formed any basis to be identified by, most of all to be discriminated against.

Contrary to what people would like us to believe today, homosexuality has long existed, it is no “new evil thing”. Ancient African Arts has shown women touching each other and men kissing. If there are no tags for homosexuality in our indigenous Ghanaian languages, it because there are also no tags for people based of their taste for food for instance. Since when did people get tags for their preference in anything for that matter? You can tell me when this started if you know but I know my ancestors did not find the need to name people based on ‘how they want it’. Don’t you dare blame your pointless fears, insecurity and cruelty on the ancestors!

Monday, June 13, 2011

things not done to us

We have had things
not done to us, all three of me.
I closed the door
it wasn't locked
You could have come in
You could have turned the knob

We shared one pillow, all three of me,
I didn’t have one dream
never on any night
I howl at faces I should forget
You should have come in
You should have turned the knob

We had big heads, all three of me,
I stained my memory with sleep,
my dreams lied
you cannot come in
you cannot turn the knob

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mystery woman

I am the mystery woman
I am the hard to please mystery woman
I am the crying hard to please mystery woman
I am the touch me now crying hard to please mystery woman
I am the brain tumor hiding touch me now crying hard to please mystery woman
I am the growing brain tumor hiding touch me now crying hard to please mystery woman
I am the silent growing brain tumor hiding touch me now crying hard to please mystery woman

I am the forgotten silent growing brain tumor hiding touch me now crying hard to please mystery woman
I am the hairless forgotten silent growing brain tumor touch me now crying hard to please mystery woman
I am the dead illness, waking madness, pleasure seeking, laughing loudly, sassy mystery woman

I am mystery, I am woman, I am now , I am touch, I am me, I am growing, I am hard to please and drunk
I am drunk thirsty, I am love hungry, I am a lair, lying with you, lying alone, you lying, we lie for fluids that flow, I am a fluid lover, I am a walking fluid lover, I am a let it rain fluid lover. I am a mockery of a happy seizure

I am a semibreve, I am a minim , I am a dotted semibreve , I am music. I am broken strings of a new guitar. I am mystery.

I am clueless. I am tired. I am tired clueless sexy empty. I am full, I am a fool.I am restless, I am more, I am mystery woman. I am all I am. I am sick. I am hurt. I am bleeding. I am singing mystery. I am hurried. I am love. I am hated. I am mystery. I am a man I am a woman. I am you.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I have needs I can’t tell anyone about

Anytime I cry, you slap me. Anytime I cried you slapped me. Now that you are not here, I am slapping myself and laughing. Crying and dancing. waking to dream. eating my nails. washing my ears of the lies you spoke. “I do, I do…”
I do not know why I let you slap me till I could feel no pain. no love for you or for me. And now slaps is my music. The music that drives me away. Stop.
I stopped. I stopped loving lies. I stopped believing in tomorrow. I just stopped and held today by hair. She disappeared. She was not today. She was what I let today hide behind. She was invisible sharp broken glass scattered everywhere. She will cut you. She doesn’t mean to, she just cuts.
Cuts that won’t heal. I don’t mean her, the fake today. Cuts I didn’t allow winds to kiss. So many cuts crying thick dark red.
Wailing cuts are hard to get. Now I stop to listen. Kiss them air, they want kisses. Touch them sun they want warmth. As for me, I want today, the real today.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


my feeling. aided. by wetness. the sound. my nerves. calms. i drink. much. just so. to hear. the sound. of pee. mine. in the middle. of the night. i drink. some more. because. i like. that. sound. also. in the morning. i am all. for wetness. the sound. so i sit. by. the ocean. a fountain. my pee. the neighbors bathroom. blind. bliss. wetness. speaks. say it. when. wet. you. say it. with. my tears. running. i like. the feel. of wetness. down. my cheek. i taste. wetness. my throat. grateful. complete. wetness. hand. me. a glass. of. peace.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


I wrote this piece about four years ago. It got me into some trouble when I first performed it. The vibe for the Ghanaian crowd just pushed me to stash it somewhere far from daylight. I really didn’t fancy random people feeling they had earned the right to save me for eternal damnation for the simple reason that I wrote Bi-cycle. It’s just outrageous to find so many people convinced that anything a writer writes is about the writer. If you are one such person, I sincerely think you are just being featherbrained.

I never really worked on the piece more, I think I should now, I mean, it’s one of my babies, how dare I abandon it? If Bi-cycle will take me to hell, what the hell, let it! :D


I paddle it like a being
soul for passion
sprit for cosmos
flesh for goodness -
I don’t have to explain

this bi-cycle,
happy gay thing
ain’t some game

I need no deliverance
as my bi-focal can’t trace rapture
I'm so strong my bi-ceps won't rupture

My Sistah straight
and bi-the-way bi-lingual
hypocrisy and fopidity at one fell swoop
“d” screaming nation should stop….!!!
but homo sapiens can’t be homo!!!”

folks say homophobia is bi-blical,
society got to be homogeneous,
so, let us all be

there is more to this cruise
than homographic words
and homonyms like
sex and sex

walk by
queer garden

forbidden uncreated

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

the fan

it blows
your smell
out my window
would a man
or woman
like wet clothes on a line
be touched
by the sun, the wind
for another wet day
into a dance
let this wind blow us
and now I am wet
from my cheek to my chest
for what is not fun
out my window no woman
or man
my door open, never locked, never looked in
I touch for fun
while the walls speak blue and ash
sleep will come in the morning with the sun
sleep will die with memory
it comes up to my throat and slides back down
as I sit under the fan

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

National running day

walking the streets of Bamako
looking for shawls to buy

light of day too long
I stayed in masked from the sun
more generous then Accra’s can be
hot hot air kisses even at night

walking the streets of Bamako
looking for shawls to buy

I took two shawls with me
to show just what I want
“where do I get this to buy,
where can I get a shawl? ”
they smile and hold my shawl
“no speak english” they say

walking the streets of Bamako
looking for shawls to buy

is it national running day?
“bonsoir, bonsoir”
some turn to say
as feet run by and more
women and men and kids
jogging way past eight

walking the streets of Bamako
looking for shawls to buy

bamako runs at night
maybe I too should run

running the streets of bamako
looking to identify

I run more than I should
now tired without any french
and when I stop to pant
I am found by an open store
“do you have shawls here?”
I grabbed a can of malt
“no speak English”
but how come you have lingerie?

running the street of Bamako
missing my red old car

he says something in french
and packs his bike by me
“do you speak english sir?”
he wears the Mali smile
he says something in French
and mumbles the usual thing
“no speak english”
I rub my forehead and stare

walking the streets of Bamako
looking for shawls to buy

we both are stroke with laughter
me out of mere frustration
If only I couldn’t ask
why he too laughed so hard

walking the streets of Bamako
looking for shawls to buy

maybe he speaks Twi or Ga or Ewe or Hausa
should I just say, “Charley!…
I need a ride to my hotel”

walking the street of Bamako
looking for shawls to buy

I get on his bike
“slow sir, not fast, not fast !”
he doesn’t know where to head
“Azalai Nord-Sud” I try.
but my finger speak clearer
somewhere in the air it points
“Azalai Nord-Sud”

Riding on the street of Bamako
saying “yesu kristo!”

“take this turn sir”
I hit and hold his shoulder
he nods and turns to me
“Azalai Nord-Sud”
the lights encircling the sign
looks prettier than usual
“Azalai Nord-Sud”
he take his time to say
like a tired hopeful teacher
who wants me to made the grade
“Azalai Nord-Sud”

“Oui Oui”,
I jumped off his bike
just like I would at home
“thanks for bringing me sir”
“merci, merci merci”

I wave my purse at him
“how much please sir?”
“d’accord d’accord”
he takes my hand for his
“why sir, how much please?”
he rubs my hand and smiles
“d’accord d’accord”
he leaves

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A thing we will forget

fathers who wash
from their pants
and wipe one
that made child
from their memory

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Why I sit in the dark

Against popular notion, I think darkness is the brightest light. I used to sit in absolute darkness at night when I was a little girl. It’s hard to do that these days because well, I have a laptop now…:D

You would probably agree when they say darkness blurs your vision. I can’t say that’s my truth, because it doesn’t, from where I sit. In darkness, I see. I see everything and whatever I want to see.

I see monsters and then angels and my grandmother and uncle who teams up to beat the monsters. I giggle. For some strange reason, my angles never have wings, they are just really huge and they smile a lot. My grandma is a whole lot stronger that she carries me. My angels like to walk, around me, behind me, beside me in front of me… I have walking angels.

Darkness is where I gather my vision. In a really dark place when I am alone, I am almost sure I am not alone. There is a sound that I hear that I didn’t make. There is energy following and forward. Sometimes it is easier to look back for greater fear of what is in front. Sometimes I fear to look back because maybe what I don’t see won’t see me? LOL... I have learnt that wherever you look/whatever you see that keeps you going is where and what you should be seeing.

When a prayer, a kiss, or maybe just the fear of seeing what is hurtful, ugly, creepy, true gets you to close your eyes, you see the brightest light, darkness.

And there is

A cup of tea
at the end of the world
sugar by the side
tasteless and hot
it freezes your tongue
the smell,
like ice
on pepper
pinching your nostrils
for a sneeze
hard till it become laugher
and abscond tears
running out your eyes

Monday, April 4, 2011

the poet’s inspiration

the poet’s inspiration
falls like an eye lash
and punches her core
till a line sits last
with grace
over images stringed
to hold her voice
in retaliatory quest
to spark you
like the lash did her

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The gurl who says 'yes' to the annoying guy becomes the annoying gurl

Have you ever felt you are having an internal party? Your intestines, kidneys, lungs, your heart jumps hurray and your blood runs all over the place screaming in a language better than Spanish whispered into your ears in the middle of great… uhm, fill in the blank. Your eyes open a little wider when you smile, searching for the source of the music playing so loudly within you.

Life is about moments really, isn’t it? You spend time with people who can make you laugh and the strangest word become ‘stranger’. There are no strangers. The woman who makes laugh is the woman who makes you laugh even before you ask of her name. The warm guy is a warm guy though he bears a name you don’t know yet.

Smiles are contagious and sometimes it can whip up laughter only because you have no idea why a smile on another person makes you want to try yours on.

So this really nice guy sitting opposite me has an amazing smile and then he sticks his finger in his mouth, removes some slimy sticky particle and rubs it in his shirt. Absolutely disgusting!

Alcohol is a good friend, no, I’m serious. I don’t know how I would have survived the sight if I didn’t have my good old friend on ice.

I kind of lost truck of what I was saying didn’t I? Well, laugh now cos, I can’t find my way back. So you are stuck with me about to get ridiculously random. Do you yawn more when you are hungry or sleepy? Really, I love you too much to do this to you, I’ll write again, when I can make some sense, did you notice my title is not at all connected to this piece? yep! that was a whole different moment. I might tell you about that some day... :-D

Thursday, March 31, 2011

A lazy lover is a thing painful to be

It is hard to come back to her; I cheat on her, I use her, but I run to her in the middle of the night because I love her and I never lie to her.

No matter the distance created it feels like it is I who left her, but how could I ever be such a fast runner? She must have run too or maybe she walked but she must accept we neglected each other. She left me too! Yet somehow it’s never her fault, how could she have left me when I was already gone? It is I who feels too much and decides to keep to myself. It is I who begins to doubt that she would understand and take me as I am; all of me.

So when I shut the doors of my imagination and feelings and reach for clearer pictures and sounds in movies and music.

She watches me from a distance with tears in lines left unwritten. I don’t know how she finds me again every time and learns to trust me every time. I don’t know why she lets me hold her anytime I have nothing else to hold. I don’t know where she learned to touch me so deep. I fucking don’t know why she holds me when I rub my heart and try to hit the hurt to stay in if it won’t disappear.

If I could trust me like she does. If I could hear myself out and show me the other things that exit like she does. I won’t be sitting here feeling alone and empty. Why do I cut her out so often? Why do I forget how we met, how she saved me and collected my tears until the sheet was wet and I felt listened to and freed.

When I cheat on her, writing lousy reports and proposals, she sits assured that I will run back to her but when it takes too long to get back, how does she feel?

Dear poetry,

Would you forgive me yet another time, would you come back this night? I carry my old sores with me, they are beginning to stink, would you heal them? Would you point to the intact skin surrounding the sore you nurse with love? I brought new sheets. Please walk with me again till we get to the last line. I need you, just you.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lines crossed

Lines crossed

we have wrinkles on our foreheads
we are young
we have wrinkles on our foreheads
it shows when we smile
it pushes up
when we remember
when we forget
our childhood troubles
our wrinkles are waves of the ocean
our forehead laughs like the sea

I know I've been away for long. too long. I will write to explain soon. I hope you like the poem. I miss you. Can't wait to get back home- Beyond Tales.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Answers are questions

Today is one of the days when I wish I run on batteries, and then someone can just hit my ass open, take the batteries out, and let me lie quiet with nothing to worry about. Everything feels like bubbles, bubbles that won’t break. I am just very confused! well, here is a poem I was writing some time ago, I think both the poem and I need help, right now...:(

Answers are questions

I hang by my navel
find grounds
to replace
will change
pictures tables
I grow taller
than beds
made for me―
believes in
painting breath― in out
such tokens
seal our matrix
it matters much
keeps cuts revives
smell of rain
in harmattan

Monday, February 28, 2011

Why do we dance the way we do?

Pounding harder than is good for a heart; I had to put down my pen to cool off. I was clearly not in darling mood some eight months ago to tackle this issue of ignorance; some Ghanaians called for the abolishment of chieftaincy. If you follow Ghanaian news, you would probably recall, the backward and forward discussions that was engendered. I can say now that, there won’t come a day when I would consider chiefs as super humans and so take an exception to they being chastised for their wrong doings, of course not! Irresponsible chiefs like irresponsible leaders at every level of our social structure ought to be dethroned. But I was shocked and a little angry not for what I heard but much for what we do not know. Do we really think that chieftaincy is a thing we can just abolish?

Does it not matter that our ancestors found the need for royalty? Royalty as meant to be the highest quality of life, thoughts and spirits at service to the masses. Royalty is intended to be an inspiration for development and unity. Royals are ordinary women and men who learn to act in a distinct progressive way. The essence of royalty is not in the display of wealth and elegance. It is a tool intended for the continuity of wealth and wholeness. People who feel worthy of their person; of leadership, give themselves power to think higher of their existence and to affect change. It is from an inner source that royals are made. It may be troublesome that blood gets in the way of things but people who learn to align themselves with higher discovery and adventure are royals in their own rights.

The reverence and respect royals earn should match theirs resourcefulness and regards for progressive continuity of the human race in peace. We cannot detach ourselves from our culture and expect to matter. It won’t happen. So, where are we going now; to abolish chieftaincy? If we dare try, there is going to be such a huge vacuum and tell me, which one of us is prepared to take over from our chiefs?

Let us by no means belittle the power of our chiefs: Chiefs as political leaders, Chiefs as cultural leaders, Chiefs as spirit stewards, Chiefs as humans, Chiefs as steward of history, and Royalty, as an inversion of chaos and total extinction of our heritage.

When was the last time you heard the poetry of linguists, when was the last time you danced to our ingenuous music, when was the last time you attended a traditional festival in your area, when was the last time you joined in giving thanks to your ancestors and the gods for not giving up on us yet?

Standards from the west, standards from the west often leave us with nothing to stand on, we slip, we fall hard, we may never get up.

Friday, February 25, 2011

One last jot to freedom

6.15pm on my wall cock. 3.19pm on my computer. 3.23pm on my phone. I guess it’s really up to me to decide what time it is. Obviously my wall clock could use some new batteries but I also feel something new in my today would be useful. A new assurance, maybe the old assurance in a new utterance, I don’t know.

It’s morning, at 3. whatever pm, I decide it’s morning. The old sun will bring a new day. The old tree will rehearse a new song. The Makola women will sell fresh vegetable in their old pans. It is morning; I have decided it is morning.

I want to breath deep, my time says breathe deep o’nana!, I have been “breathing shallow/ stuck in my past where death is awake” right after the time I learnt it was only a dream and I wasn’t actually learning the snake dance, with P. Diddy and Oprah Winfrey. Weird dream, funny too.

I will share another poem today before I head for Ghana Voice Series, our monthly book reading at the Goethe Institute, every last Friday of the month.
“In between your fingers”, not a particularly strong poem or quite related to what I am feeling today but it is a poem (if I can call it a poem) birth out of an sms to a friend who at a point felt there was no point in trying harder. Today, my own words feed me and I feel I should share it because I quoted these lines from it “breathing shallow/ stuck in (my) past where death is awake” .

In between your fingers

as you speak
of quitting
your job
by nostrils
you make smoke walk
in traffic

you jump
on the shoulder
of a bad road
and get caught
for moving

we laugh get drunk
and dance our ashes
to glimmering floors
of night clubs

you say drought―

drought is when to learn
dance for rains

but before I could
to hear your heartbeat

you fill your urn
and put down
your smile
laying here
breathing shallow
stuck in your past
where death is awake

Come to Goethe if you can, I am collecting as many hugs as I can today… :-) see you soon, yes?

A point where there is no point

I am sad, not oh my gum fell out of my mouth sad, but sad. it’s a kind of, no one can hear that I am saying my gum fell out of my mouth even when I’m screaming and pointing at it sad. Contagiously, not even my gum knows it is out of my mouth sad. Now I want to change the channel, I need to change this damn channel but the remote lies by my feet and not my hand. I try to drag it with my feet to my waist where I can get hold of it but it falls, under the bed, it falls and breaks open. I stretch out to pick it up, hit my head on the coffee table in the process but I get hold of the remote anyway.

I touch the burn on my forehead and sit my thumb on channel 1. The remote battery dies on me. I want to change the channel, so I crawl out of bed, reach for the knob on the t.v and puff.

Power cut!

All I can do now is to watch the rivers I make on my face fall on my breast. All I can do now is to imagine who I wish was here but is not. All I hear is what I did not say.

The thing I find with sorrow is that it doesn’t go away until you defuse it. sometimes you let pieces of it walk away through your tears, sometimes the people who love you make chain saws of their love and try to cut through your sorrow with simple words like “I love you”, “it’s ok” “come here” “cry all you can” and gestures like a hug, a kiss on your forehead, a gentle touch on your hand till sorrow begins to tire, slowly into diffusion.

Today it feels like I wrote this poem for me; “Come sit by me in today”. I wish I would have someone read it to me and mean it like I meant it when I wrote it for her. I miss her, we spoken poetry when we were lost, we spoken poetry. We spoken poetry when we were sorry, we spoke poetry. We spoke poetry when we were alone, we spoke poetry, because we believe in poetry and poetry takes care of us in the middle of the night when everyone is asleep, poetry holds us and rocks us and believes us and judges us not when we tell her what we feel. Poetry is never cold. Poetry listens every day, she listens. She is not a god. She just is.

Come sit by me in today
passing on the unbroken calabash
that floats atop waters
take my chest
If yours is up to fill with hurt

let us make streams on our faces
as we split our sorrow
and salt our souls

we can swim
to the other side
of this sensation
because shores here
are too cold

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The day for beating the chief

The ewes!, my next favorite people apart from the Ga’s have a proverb… oh wait a minute, this is no ethnic bull shit thing, I will be the last person to serve a bowl of ethnocentrism on any day, besides I am neither Ewe nor Ga but then again I am Ghanaian which by my definition makes me Ewe, Ga, Fante, Asante, Dagomba, Guan, Nzema, etc etc…. I mean who knows who my ancestors, loved, kissed... actually did the thing with heh? And so I am everything and these days, I have been speaking Ga papa, I won’t tell you why, my dear kokonsa friends…;-)

So, I was saying, the ewes say, the day for beating the chief never comes so when a tsetse fly lands on him, you hit him hard!

Ok, here is a confession; I have no idea why I am quoting this proverb. Obviously, I like it but shouldn’t there be a point to my quoting it? Give me a second I will make up something…

Ha! no luck.not at all...uhm let’s try this, I wanted to teach you a proverb. Do you buy that? Oh keep your “No”, if you don’t buy it, see if I care! I am not even selling, anyway!…:-(

(hitting my lips with my fingers, looking up at the sky, thinking oh why didn’t god make me a hiplife artist? people actually like their nonsense! god, the woman with the big boobs, had to make me a writer, a fumbling poet…. now I am just humming, of course not a hiplife song! how do you hum that?... *snap snap*)

E-PI-PHA-NY!! E-PI-PHA-NY!!!! I am a poet! I have poetry, yep, yepiiiiii!

Moonlight or no light

Sixteen hands on one calabash
we sip pito on Wukuada
savor palm wine on Jufo,
Afelika will taste asaana today

gathered lore whispered clues
to broods by-the-fireside

In our light
each one of us to a glass
coca cola and pepsi and sprite
we splinter vows of ancestral pots
talk long winded talks
to induce what we are not

we bypass blood without a word
erase childhood games
elude first light songs
exclude twilight proverbs
misspell royal names

In our light
we do not know fibers of our kente
rhythm of our music
lessons in our dance steps
nutrients from our earth pots
life from breath, death from corpse
Hogbetsotso, Akwesidea, Hommowo and Damba

In our light
we thirst for water
along the Boti falls
dash to the next settlement
to find nothing

In our light
we call on bats to lead the way
upside down they watch our pot

“And so therefore”, crop rotation is a system of farming “whereby” omg!, do they still make students write shit like, lol! very entertaining. (seriously I can’t believe I passed through that system, yesu!)

And so therefore, the day for beating the chief never comes so when the tsetsefly lands on her, you hit her hard!, whereby you read a poem, now there is the connection!, catch me if you can!…;-)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Trying to catch my mind out of the margins of my fears

I found this “thing” not sure I want to call it a poem yet. I spent the whole night trying to remember what stage I was in my life, gosh my me memory stalls or maybe I just don’t want to tell you…;-) I will share this “thing” as I found it in my old and I must add favorite notebook. Be the judge or more beneficently be a seer and tell me what the hell I was feeling in my girlhood. It had no title so let’s call it “this thing”, no I think we should call it “Let’s call it this thing” what do you think? Yes!

Let’s call it this thing

Forgive me, remember me not for leaving but for the time I stayed.

I am eating my fear of loneliness so I can be with you when you are with me.

What I eat is not baked, it is lithe salty of my tears, that is the only reason why you are not invited.

Forgive me, remember me not for being certain of the length of your hair or did it grow longer?

I see my crony plant hedges and I know it grows like my shamelessness

Last night, I told the man I slept with that it is you I love.

Forgive me, forget me, I foretell how we would meet in poems again and again, sometimes at the mall, confused toward a hug or a handshake.

You know we kiss even when we stand apart we kiss, you know we kiss when the ocean laughs loud with the night on her bust I see you too.

Forgive me, forsake him, he is just our fear,

We always walked side by side even when we weren’t sure…

This “thing” is certainly deficient of attention and craft but even as raw as it stands it affects me… maybe someday I will spend some time with it, connect with that feeling that prompted my writing and then we will see what becomes of it. For all the things I am unsure of, I know this “things” makes me feel a little uneasy, I am afraid I might open up a few hidden sores if I try too hard to remember.

Today, fear would win any marathon because I don’t have the energy to cripple it speedily as it runs. Maybe tomorrow, I can and I will.

If life were a cup, a clock, iced block or a car with a new engine. Then we would have a clear index to measure when it’s full, half past the hour, melting, or cruising right. I am not making sense because again, I am coping from my note book. Nothing in my not book makes sense…:D

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Birds of a feather are different birds

Maybe not such a brilliant title for a poem which if you look at closely does not quite underpin any differences between a team of birds. Yet my somewhat listless mind settles on “Birds of a feather are different birds”. Talk me into changing it if you can (ha!). A writer friends saw the title and thought “oh but Nana, it doesn’t even make sense”. Making Sense! god I am too stressed to beck a debate. “ok!” was all the energy in me could come back with. Not making sense is only a peaceful protest of a warring mind. And I think Artists are birds of a feather yet we are different. We thrive on diversity.

When I use my senses to reach the different tastes, feels, moans, smell of beauty, I worry less about making sense. Anybody who know me also knows I like people who disagree with me…;-).

Multifariousness is what is left to conform to. Trying to do ten million things at a time is not what I mean, that is what is causing my stress in the first place. Depression is not a good friend but it is faithful, it will stick by you, until you make some sunny changes. Don’t ever bump into Depression; it might fall in love with you! (everlastingly!)

Writing for me is home, and sometimes we just need to get away from home. My writer friend says “Writing is too serious, someone can point out your mistakes you need to find another way to unwind, learn to play an instrument, paint or something”. So, feel lucky that you are not my neighbor, when I hit into my drum, xylophone and most recently my guitar, it is not pretty! Don’t worry I won’t record any of my music session, I love you that much...;-). But I can inflict my painting on you as I have. Thank god for cameras! I wonder what my friend would have said if I were a painter or a musician who needed to leave home? I guess then writing won’t be that serious. Art is so fat you can’t sew pants for her!

Birds of a feather are different birds

I stare up high at birds
in my dreams
I fly
when I do
I ‘m not sure
I leave
or go
I try
to sing
or scratch my beak
to earth
but I am a bird
I lose feathers
on trees and rivers
I travel
without bags
sing ocean songs
walk mountains
into beds I nest
I am bird
with in-grown wings

Monday, February 21, 2011

A third try

I am a serial killer. This would be a third try at blogging towards me. I usually give up after three posts, I let my blogs die. I would all of a sudden feel omg! these people are reading into my life; the exactitude of imperfection, my thoughts; the only true asylum, my HEAD, a scared temple! No Nana don't allow it, they will judge you, they will try to define you, they will tie you up with words and throw you into a match box. Run into your scared temple where no one can step onto your altar with unwelcome feet.

And so I run to my note book. Writing is important to me more than blood is to the human body. I need to keep writing to feel the temperature of my breath. I write, when you ask me who I am or what I do, "I Write" is all I am sure of.

For someone who stays in her head a lot, it is a difficult thing for me to keep a blog. I have 10 million images as thoughts at every second. I don't find it needful to tell you what I am thinking...I like to think alone, I enjoy the splash of images in my fashionably big head.

And when I write, I like to think the words are not mine. I am in a struggle to find a way to feel less vulnerable when I blog towards me. I keep several blogs on different sites, and I am active on each one of them because I write under a penname and on specific subjects. Here, I am Nana Nyarko Boateng and I am afraid to be surprised by the boundlessness of all of whom I am. I fear that I may contradict myself or step on your shadow. I am absolutely inefficient at sculpting out a part of me to hang as all the edges you will find in my being.

I ramble on and forward because on this third try I need your help. In my go Beyond Tales

don't expect me to please you, it is as unnecessary as praying for snow in accra.
don't trouble yourself with trying to define me, you can't, damn it , I can't!
expect poetry, I love her and really I can't live without her.
don't try to please me with nice comments. (I wan't to hear what you think from where you sit, forget about hurting my feelings, lying to me would be worse).
as you can see in my photo I am not a man, now stop referring to me as Mr. Boateng!

Ok, so I will try to connect with you as often as possible. simplicity, love and beauty can never be overrated. Theses are my goals.