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

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.