And then there was… By Kuukuwa Andam

Kuukuwa Andam
Kuukuwa Andam
You: the bruises inside me that never healed
The day you left, I laughed till I tasted tears in my mouth
I caressed my cheeks and sighed loudly
Shocked to find them devoid of your stinging palm
Stripped my head of the wig I wore for you
Stripped my ears of your baritone voice
Tuned out your I-Am-Sorrys
The next day, I scrubbed my skin with sea water
But even the wooden sponge forgot
That you were an indelible map woven into my skinMe: full of scars that sneered when they whispered “Is she ok?”
The day you arrived, I wept till my heart bubbled with joy
You caressed my cheeks and I moaned silently
Shocked that I existed for 25 years without you
Wore satiation on my face like the multi-colored duku on my head
Wore your eyes on my dark skin- you said you were entranced
Gulped down your You-Are-So-Beautifuls
The next day I bathed with water and lime
But even the black soap forgot
That I could never be washed enough for you

Kuukuwa Andam is a lawyer, human rights activist, feminist and avid blogger.This is her first attempt at poetry.

Melancholy -By Robbie Ajjuah Fantini

Roberta Turkson

He sits from dusk to nightfall sipping whiskey
and dripping lines, sometimes from his eyes
Onto paper, he paints roses with more thorns than petals
He paints trees with stripped barks and gnarly roots protruding
out of the sun-baked ground, it’s leaves cupped,
upturned to the blazing sky as if begging for rain
He dips his pen in the bottle
scratches it across the paper again
and the looks of a rocky dry riverbed emerge,
shaming the sky for withholding rain while permitting the sun
to beat like high noon all day long
It’s so dry
the few bony-hipped cows scattered across the sorry excuse for a meadow hardly move
the flies can have a free ride on their backs
there’s no strength to whisk them off
the poet picks his whiskey glass to take a sip but it’s empty,
the bottle is too
the fountain of his pen and inkwell is all he has left to draw from
and he’s drunk, he must saturate this page with something fluid
and blot the parchedness out of the picture
because the cows will soon come home
thirsty for something to drink.

Robbie Ajjuah Fantini is the author of Talking Robbish, a collection of poems and The Children of Abuta Village, a  folktale styled children’s reader. Visit her website: robertaturkson.com for more information about her work.

Like I Do -By Renee Andam

 

 

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They see that I’m the best
and want the key to being like me

Then just be me
cry all night and hit the walls with your fists until they are sore
watch the fire resurrect from the ashes of your dreams as you spill another chance on it
Desperately watch as it doesn’t put the fire out
watch it go up in smokes with the fumes
Fight fire with a flame
Slice a flame with a blade
Brake a blade with a bullet
suffocating, fighting to breathe
and choke in the pillow case
Only then can you have the determination and desperation that I’ve got

First you have to deliver punches like I do
Know how to smart talk like I do
Have the cheekiness that I’ve got
from that, dare them to try and break your spirit like I have
Then, cautiously look behind your back like I do
Feel like you’re running out of time the way I feel

Stack sadness
on hurt
Hope sandwiched between
hate
and love
Must suffocate love
like I do
They’ll never know who you truly like
They’ll never know what your dreams are
They’ll never know who you truly are
Your Achilles heel will never be exposed
submerge in the water even if it drowns you
Then they can’t break you because you never told
Then, through it all, jump with enthusiasm
And fight like I do

Renee Andam is a 13yr old budding writer. This is her first attempt at poetry.

“To A Silk Shirt In the Sun”—Interview with Ama Ata Aidoo

 

The legendary Ama Ata needs no introduction. She shares her poem, To A Silk Shirt In the Sun, with the Girdblog. Read the poem below and  find out about her writing process and what inspired this poem in a short interview that follows. 

ama-ata-aidoo-

To A Silk Shirt In the Sun
( at Tetteh Quashie Circle, Accra)
By Ama Ata Aidoo

 

It was
one of those glazed-over mornings
with a brittle hardness
and killer-sharp edges.

Everything cracked
Nothing opened.

Not even
the wonder of spatial travel
consoled:

assuming
we could have traversed
the rain and the mud,
the “is-there-an-oven-nearby?”
sunsheat,
the germs
the bugs
the viruses and worms
non-performing phones
powerless power
leaky roofs and sinking floors.

As for our life,
It’s turned into a ball of
hairy/spiky juju
the sasabonsam*that
rolled ahead of us,
no matter how fast we ran.

I drowned, or nearly.

Then I saw you,
Silk Shirt:
embroidered and elegantly tailored into
a perfect comfy fit
a reminder of
easier places and softer times.

I could not believe such boldness amidst the muck.

Then I saw her too.

As you ambled from the east and she from the west
Towards some definition-defying space
Eyes dancing, lips a-quiver with
Joy that may be dares not name its source,

I breathed, and
Pinched myself:
Happy to be alive
Because you are.


Here is a short interview with Ama Ata Aidoo about her poem, To A Silk Shirt In The Sun

Girdblog: What inspired the poem?

Aidoo: I was passing by Tetteh Quarshie Circle before it became the new interchange about seven years ago. I was coming from Spintex Road and heading to North Legon. As we were driving towards the circle, I saw this man in a silk shirt. I also saw a woman walking towards the man. Both the man and the woman were smiling warmly to each other. They could have been brother and sister, but I thought they were lovers and decided to weave a poem about them.

The shirt could have been rayon, imitation silk or some other artificial fabric but it was very nice. It became a symbol of the man’s mood as if unwittingly he was cheering us all up.

Girdblog: Is this inspiration typical?

Aidoo: No, it depends. Sometimes a word or an argument will trigger a poem. I’ve written poems about gifts. Life is inspirational; sometimes it comes from the most unlikely places.

Girdblog: How long did it take to write the poem?

Aidoo: I drafted it that same morning. It must have taken an hour, at least the initial draft. I will then go back and work over it at other times.

Girdblog: Do you find it easy to write poetry?

Aidoo: Yes. Once an interesting idea or theme occurs to me then I would want to write a poem about it. The rest, frankly, is not difficult. I always wanted to write poetry, even when I was very young.

Girdblog: What is your favorite poem?

Aidoo: That’s an unfair question! But Soyinka’s Death at Dawn, Auden’s Musée des Beaux Arts, Stevie Smith’s Not Waving but Drowning and Wislawa Szymborska’s Some People come to mind immediately. But there are plenty, plenty more that I enjoy.

 

 

WHEN A CHILD FEELS ~By Kwabena Agyare Yeboah

When a child feels,

he  looks to the Buddha inside,

tries hard to let go chakra

And reach for nirvana

His heart is Pagodas

fit for the monks

He is a free soul

His smiles stretch

Like the ocean

He is a child

When a child feels,

he loves closing his eyes

to the other side

and he feels the magic of life

He runs through the fields

laughing and following his kite in the air

He looks to the skies with hope

He is a child

When a child feels,

you feel his warmth

His laughter that infects

He is of amazing thinking

He seems to be careless

Yet no orator can

Describes perfectly

The feeling of being a child

When a child feels,

his might pulls smiles

His little smiles

makes life better

He is a child

Slack from Feeding ~Monique Kwachou

When the belly is full, we are meek
We cannot see our feet, much less
march to fight the just war
Our mouths only burp in satisfaction,
slack from feeding
We cannot, need not debate over our plight
Nor cry for our rights,
when the belly is full

When the belly is full, we are weak,
Our bodies sluggish from appetite sufficed
Our senses numbed
we cannot feel the leech poaching on our back
Nor sense the ever looming dark
We cannot, need not be concerned with our neighbors’ worries
or tomorrow’s cares,
Not when the belly is full

So then, maybe we should all starve a little
And let the pangs of hunger sharpen our minds,
tune our senses….
Go without and make ourselves light,
that we could glibly fight the good fight…
Fast a little more and find our souls,
that we may our neighbors’ plight to know

From A Million More Nights to Go- The poetry of Monique Kwachou. Coal & Femficatio, 2013

Para mi Pueblo

image

we starting to catch feelings,
like our fathers didn’t teach
the truth behind stealin’ things

that weren’t ours,
and burdens with
other people’s labels on ‘em.

 

So we crying every night,
over pain that isn’t ours, and
burdens that ain’t got our
names sewn in them

Crying every night,
because someone lied,
and gave us too much
hope

~ Deborah Frempong

You Be Good, Not Me ~By Mercy Ananeh-Frempong

I want to talk to you

But i want you to start first.

Talk to me,

And i’ll talk to you.

Say you’re sorry —again.

Say it like you mean it.

Hell, mean it;

Then I’ll talk to you.

I want to talk to you,

But I think I’ll save it.

Till you open that trap;

Then I’ll talk to you.

Mercy Ananeh-Frempong is a freelance writer and communication consultant from Ghana. She is an outspoken writer and a fresh breeze in her chosen opinions. Mercy says, “I do not write words, I craft thoughts.”

I’ve seen the future ~By Dela Nyamuame

I’ve seen the future,

I painted it in a vivid picture.

It was,

Wilted roses and bloody skies,

Miles and miles of wheat field destroyed by blight,

Many dead seas and dying lands,

Nations in despair untouched by light.

It was,

Gardens of hope overrun by thistles and thorns,

Battle axes and split skulls,

Great battles won but no victory songs.

I saw Today in the mirror of truth,

Emaciated and disfigured,

and though she fed on the choicest meal,

The nothingness nibbled at her from inside.

I’ve seen the future, Ignoramus,

I’ve seen the future, Nostradamus.

I saw Tomorrow die,

Slowly,

Painfully,

Her lungs filled with Today’s fume,

Her tar covered skin glistering under scorching sun,

Her muffled whimpers,

Drowned by the thunderous tides.

I’ve seen the future, because I dare,

I’ve seen the future, it seemed so blur.

I’ve seen the future,

and Gaia,

She was curled up in her own blood,

having been gang raped

by politicians and men of religion

and we stood by doing nothing.

I’ve seen the future, apocalyptic,

I’ve seen the future and I’m no mystic.

I saw the blind holding lamps,

in lands of light men walked in the dark,

I saw whores dressed in virgin white,

and I saw Ignorami with power rule the land.

I’ve seen the future draped in gray,

I’ve seen the future but can not say.

I’ve seen it,

the Present and the Future,

Pitted against each other in a chess match,

Checkmate, Checkmate…

Dela Nyamuame is a poet and a Computer Engineer.  He says, “I’ve always loved reading and writing but only started poetry in 2002 after some encouragement from friends.” Michael Crichton is his favorite writer. In 2011, two of his poems, “The Palm Wine Sellers Daughter” & “Our Brother Was An Idiot” received quite a lot of attention on the Poetry Foundation Ghana Website and were voted the second best poems of the year.

My intensity ~ By Anguah Abbey

My intensity is not obvious

It will not jump at you at a glance

It cannot be read on my forehead at a meet

I have wrapped it in clothing

I value it more than anything in my life

It is my self-respect and my resilience

It is the definition of my true self

My intensity is my soft parts

The places that make me swoon and quiver

The words that make me tear at the thought

The one thing that can be used to un-break me

It belongs to me alone

I expect you not, to understand it

Nor to accept it

But you must respect it

It is the definition of my true self

My intensity is the lump at the base of my throat

The tightness around the walls of my heart

The bags of restlessness under my eyes

It is the despair and helplessness when I look in the mirror

It is not an over-reaction

Not a desire to take things too seriously

It is the person within me, being me

It is the definition of my true self

My intensity is my pride

The strength I feel in the pit of my stomach

The reason I survive every fall

The wakening voice in my head when I succumb to slumber

It is my Thor’s Mallet

And I wield it with pride and honour

I will not let it go

It is a Picasso depiction of the person within

It is the definition of my true self