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HUT

I’m all there is in one body, one spirit, one soul: Not man, not woman; not wo-man Not broken, not silenced, not eclipsed I’m just the hue of mankind — Human! That’s all there is It’s all I’ll ever be.

Cattle

Where are we going?, why are we running?, why are we running so fast? “Don’t dawdle Freckles. The smile of dawn is fast rising to cackle at our folly.” I’ve never liked the sun anyway – it burns. It burns! Ish…ish…there’s an itch on where my hump will bulge when I grow. I think there’s a tick in a freckle on my bald milky back. Mother it burns! “Freckles, bite your tongue!” Ha, it’s working, I can’t feel the itch. Shall I keep biting? Mother, mama, ma, maa, mom, moo… “How is he still talking? Shut…blood…Freckles stop biting! We’ll get you some cassava leaves when we get to where we get to.” Where are we going?  “Don’t cry, your tongue will heal. Now hurry!”

It’s been a long walk from Kafanchan Bayan Loco, where I was born, my tiny spindly limbs of cane have poked the muddy backyards before but the firmament always rises like foam, no holes to testify that I was here some. Nothing is familiar anymore because we never stop unless necessity is slapping his whips on our shrivelled stomachs; there’s no time for admiration then unless you are inquisitive like me but you can’t be short like me; I can’t see beyond the fallen udder and empty dangling flaps and oval scrotum and chunks of flabby flesh on thousand stretched legs. I can’t smell beyond the fodder in the rain. I don’t like the sun, it smells like roasting hay. But I listen well, to the sounds of strife, to my mooing for the last stop, to the voices that won’t shut up in my head for me to shut up. So mother, are we there yet?

“Where?” Are we home yet. “Hurry, Freckles hurry!” No I won’t! “Finally it’s quiet! …Freckles…where are you?” I stopped. I have stopped so that you will halt as well, mother. Look for me, look around, look below the thousand herds of our extended family. Grandma must be tired why isn’t she stopping, why isn’t anyone stopping. My hooves have a splitting headache…”My child,  my child, my foolish child. Don’t you see the whip slashing the wind like a bat with its sharp teeth aiming at your back where your hump will grow someday?” Whip-Whip! Moo!! “Moo!!!” Maa, the sun has gone mad and forgotten where she sleeps, see how she has scorched my back this night. I am crying but I will never move! “HEY, OUT OF THE WAY! MOVE ALONG! IDIOT, add lines to the dots on your body and you will marry your reflection in the pool of your blood!” “My child!” Whip-Moo!, Whip-Moo!, Whip…oh no, mother…

“I just killed a man! See what you made me do, child! Foolish child! Oh child, the family will hate us for this. They’re stopping to wringe out the hatred in their eyes smear it on our shame as they headbutt us out of the way. Grandma is crying greener pastures but here lies the Fulani herdsman, his brothers gathered around him on a red pothole garnished road that is not ours. The police on our tail. That is why we are running. Now run, Freckles, and avoid the eyes of others; guilt is as heavy as a hump but not as pleasant to carry.”

So we can stop?! Forever sojourners, who made this misery so important that we commit time to it, to wallow in the folly of another? We are running so much, we are forgetting so much except the present pain which will fade when the rains wash the pastures green. But hatred; it stays, it stays forever especially where we haven’t seen beyond the horizon, beyond ourselves and beyond the one way systems. Who are we? Without a home, who are we?

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Ride

I want to sit behind you

My palms clenched to you strong shoulders

My head peeking from the side of your helmet

where your lips are persuading a dimple

onto my face against the wind,

the golden rays slapping joy on my forehead,

my eyes under warm blankets

dreaming happy dreams,

my nose hoisted like a trunk

Sucking in the manly scent from your evaporating moist neck

trapping you, deducing you from the fumes

Of the highway and exhausted one way traps

trapped in this uptight traffic

that cannot hold our speed.

No, don’t slow down;

Savouring tastes like the end.

Faster, I am embracing your bossom

Tighter, we hold on together

Freer, let’s make the wind jealous

Whisper, I love you!

“What did you say?”

CoLoUrFuL

You are the rainbow in the storm this wind is bringing

Faster, faster

The traps are coming at your white light with shades,

Taint me before they do

Smile at me in the side mirror

Wink me a reflection of your kiss

ain’t gonna let nobody turn us around

Our way is straight

Featured post

OKWANTU ALBUM FOREWORD AND LYRICS

All you need to know about the Okwantu Album.Okwantu Foreward & Lyrics

Trotro Mate (Part 1)

Already, I am pissed off from the second bus I got down from five minutes ago. It was all quiet in there until the last minute when I was getting down from the bus and my purse fell off me onto the dirty Dubai pavement. There was a sudden uproar, a staggering laughter shortlived by my fiery double-edged cutting gaze. “Sister, your purse…”, I’ve been running this comment in my head, scanning it to find the humour element. I think the mate is an idiot for passing such a comment and for those who laughed, well, I think the same about them too. Magnified idiots is a savoury insult and the reason I am pissed now in this last bus is because I didn’t get to use it.

Actually, I don’t get to do anything in situations like this. I just let things happen then I get angry at myself later. I can’t help it. Even if I could, I wouldn’t. Although I am very evil with words: I don’t say much but I have very perfect timing from years of drama improv and I know just when to drop the nuclear bomb. 

“Who farted?!” I retort in thoughts. It was very airy in the second bus! This one is stuffy and it reaks of the cloudy stench of rotten human skin. The smell boldly grips the linen of my oesophagus  however,  I am not as disgusted as remembering a while ago, while climbing onto this trotro, the right hand of the mate, dipped in his what seems to have been yellow but now faded due to excessive washing of the decay and grease, an Angry Bird boxer shorts, his hand exploring cultures and his lips whistling without a grain of decency and urgency for work or for anyone. That should have been my cue to take another bus but I was too drawn in: He showed me his cute-boy smile, his pubes traced slim from his navel to where his hand was before he took it out to raise his shirt to wipe his face. Those abs and his boyish voice politely  asking me where I was going, is why I am still in this bus. It looks like we’ll be at this bus stop for a while because this bus is barely half full. 

Before I could fidget with the window blades, he had already read my mind and probably concluded what I am craving more than his ripped body in those dirty saggy jeans shorts is fresh air. He jumps swiftly into my row and pulls the window blade back with such force his crouch hits my shoulders. He just smiles unapologetically and gets down to cat-call the next passenger. I am familiar with being flirted with but I have never seen a cosmic joke so humorous and unsettling at the same time.

Just this morning after moping about being broke, I went on my knees, naked and desperate. I asked for protection for my friends and family, then myself, I asked for a job and some money, I prayed for a boyfriend. My words were pretty clear, “To love and be loved in return.” Maybe I should have been more clearer. But wait, if I get a boyfriend who loves me as madly as I would him, where shall I hide him? Under what guise…so that we are not mobbed with tyre and fire?

I cannot keep my eyes off my man. I cannot not look at him and coyly smile. I cannot look into his eyes and not want to kiss him. And where my eyes go, my hands follow. Every fibre of him is my spiritual downfall, where shall I not touch? My thoughts run narrow all of a sudden, towards the disgust in my nerves and happiness in my groin, all angled towards this mate who has set the bus on fire with laughter by calling me his wife. Bra. Mate, is a character, transparent but nothing to be taken seriously. He is perfect for hiding in plain sight! Not forgetting, he is everything I would not touch although my eyes are on him.

The Angry Birds must be angrier being poked by the constantly growing bulge he keeps pulling and grabbing and rubbing. He might as well milk himself since he’s oblivious of the streetlights, honking pipes and screeching tyres and hundred shuffling feet. “Away!” he instructs and we set off as he jumps onto the bus, thrusting his hips forward, holding his shorts up so they don’t fall. 

Well, he has fallen out of grace for me. My admiration for him has lessened after concluding that the Lord is mocking me. But for some reason he cannot stop smiling at me and I cannot at him either. Many incidents went by on this two hour journey and with each one that ended in laughter, my eyes were his final destination. After a few times, I was feeling uncomfortably shy. My smiles were brief and my eyes immediately shifted to the floor when they met his. It’s clear now that my heart is melting and his confidence is shinning through the bass of his voice.

“Yes!” he stresses and gestures to take my fare. I hand it to him thinking maybe he isn’t what I think he is after all.  I look out the window and I am not sure why I feel so intensely disappointed. I mean is it even possible that a trotro mate could be attracted to the same sex? I exhale intensely to answer my question in the affirmative. But is it possible that he may convey his intensions to his attraction? Even as straight men, mates face a lot of rejection than the average straight man. I feel a tap on my shoulder.

It is more than a tap. It is a tap and gentle brush that immediately resurrects my nipples. Apparently he had called me several times to hand me my change. I must have fallen asleep or perhaps he called me something other than wife. He hands me the money while looking away. Confused, I quickly count the change only to realise it is smaller denomination but the same amount I gave to him earlier. “Mate…” I call, but he just turns and winks at me. I am too overwhelmed to say anything but now it is clear to me why he was looking away when he handed me the money: He had gently scratched the centre of my palm with his finger and it was intentional.

The thief that drowns

We have gathered in holy matrimony, an orgy to purge one of the ills of society. We are dressed in darkness and fire. The fire burns on our foreheads like a gold loreal smacked by the shiny tentacles of the sun and the light is too bright too bright for our eyes.

What can our eyes see in the dark night? The demon the mouth whispered about during the day. There is a demon, it said. He sucks our sweat and gets fat on the toil of our blood. He is hideous and nothing like his father who created him. He lives in his father’s fortified mansion. However, the warrior is too old to protect his son. If we are together, we can capture the monster and bury him in the sea without anyone knowing and if the sea sweeps him out because he is too dangerous a monster, he won’t have the mouth to talk because that privileged would have been taken from him. Now every ear that hears the towncrier crying that the monster’s swept ashore would say he went for a swim and drowned. His father would cry that his shame is gone and if his mother is still alive after the news, she would cry;
“My child,

My suppliant child,

My suffering child,

Poverty came for you like darkness,

Evil came to you like fire,

Salvation lies in the water

but it’s not where you drown in guilt.”
Now we wait in the shadow. Here comes the thief!

Prayer

I have four friends. I do not judge them. I have four friends, they look at me and they strongly believe in heaven and hell because they say they know where I am headed. One day, one of them stopped me right before we ravaged our plates empty in a restaurant. “You pray?!” He asked with such affection that the waiter turned to ask if he had done something wrong. It must have been his first day because he looked tensed and must have misheard. It could also be that he likes to chat, for a good tip. Well, on this table, we don’t give. We take!

We take all the abuse in this world and we mould ourselves into something that attracts more abuse. Then we live on the reputation we build and hope that life throws us opportunities to earn from our big names. Our names can be scary so I won’t say them. But outside our circle, only one name scares us though – God. 

“Yes, I do…I pray…everytime…even when I want to brush my teeth.” I expected someone to throw wine in my face but no one did. It felt like everyone’s tongue was stuck on a cold metal and my only options to release them were a knife and boiling rum. So I chose the boiling rum. “Do you pray?” I asked.

Every hour…Occasionally…It depends…Every weekend, were their answers in chronology. I was sure I had lost their confidence but their answers proved otherwise. They’ve wanted to open up to me about this for years but since I had told them years ago that I am not religious they’ve thought why bother. Strange that they’ve never seen or heard me pray, like I said, I do this even before I brush my teeth and even sometimes, when I remember, before I sit on the toilet seat. I guess I am religious after all- but only with prayer. 

We didn’t even notice that the waiter was still standing there. I looked up at him. It was as if he wanted to remind me of something. My wrists are limp so I find it easier and less rude using them. I flick him away. I bow my head and shake it in disbelief and then I think, what a perfect opportunity to pour another round of boiling rum. “What do you say when you pray?”
Dear master of all things,

I am  master of just one thing. I profit in coins but my day begins from the first call of the cockrel to the silent drops of stars on these hard black streets. Make it hot and let it burn, build the traffic and let heads turn, towards me to let them see, from my pan and to their hand, is my burden against their sweat.
Dear God,

It’s one of those days, the police have raided the usual base so I’ve had to move to another spot. Thank you, I wasn’t caught. I need new customers. My unsuccessful abortions are waiting to be fed. I hope I find a husband through this lot!
You in heaven,

I do not want to be killed or kill anybody. If they are calm during the raid, no one will be shot. 
Father-mother God,

My design is done and it needs to be buried. Who is dead and who is buying this weekend?
Now the tongues are free and the steam is cooling fast. Dessert was lovely I think. “Your bill, Kwame!” Nobody calls me Kwame these days. I am too infamous for such a glorious name. This waiter wants something. He wants me to remember that he was once my boyfriend. The one who left without a word, not even goodbye. 

My life is a lot of unsaid goodbyes. People come and go as they please. In so many years I haven’t had any friends. These ones sitting at my table are new, we haven’t really know each other for years. It’s just something I say when we drink, to earn their trust and make them lower their shields. Money and wine are my true allies but prayer tops them all and occasionally, these three bring me a whole town to party. It’s why these new friends are at my table, it’s why I’ve bought this lounge and why this waiter is here. It’s a celebration of being a nobody. 

We are all nobodies until we get money. When we do, secret committees are formed to spend with us or investigate how we came by so much money. For me it’s pretty simple. They’d conclude their investigation on the theory that I am gay. As if being gay is a job or a vice that brings one quick money. I am thinking about all of this in a private bathroom and my ex – boyfriend, now waiter, is touching me, squeezing me, fingering me in places I shouldn’t allow him to. 

“Why?” I kiss him. “Why did you leave?” I stop him.

“Because…because you pray…too much. People like us, I don’t know…it’s weird. You confuse me…are you gay, are you Christian…are you both? I don’t know…It’s uncomfortable and now I am flaccid.” 

Now I will go to work on Monday, sit naked behind my computer, click to welcome my first client, and say, remembering this naughty thought planted in my angry head, “let’s bow our heads and pray!”

Queen’s Burial

You are drowning in the imagery of the last pool of crimson you saw. It was accompanied by foaming lips and teeth like pegs hammered into the foundation of a dying tongue. But someone has to feed her, you think. What if you get the last bite? You won’t see it coming. I didn’t. I didn’t either! 

I remember looking at the iron cooking pot and laughing at how the sun was smacking its buttocks. I could hear it glisten a crackling gold. Then I heard the door creak. I knew it was time for me to go. I could see the nose of her walking stick revealing its crooked face in the scar under the plywood door where the termites have chipped. This hole is getting wide and if her hands weren’t wobbling and aching everytime, she would have fixed it. We’ll just have to wait for the carpenter. Now, its time to go. I go. I sit. My hand rested on the white bed sheet soiled with a year of disgust and shame. It’s been like this after her confession a year ago. Witches do have a sad ending. She won’t hear the word change. She won’t see anyone, any pastor,  and even when she agrees to after persuasion, she’ll be sure to grovel her body in her rotten egg watery, blood clotted green, faeces. 

Her eyes just stare and shine like the silent reflection of a flame. Like a wild cat, they tear like claws shredding the skin of a cobra. She needs to be kept alive. I thought so. I thought so too! It is customary for the weak and dying, whether wicked or good, to be shown kindness. It is the duty of the strong and alive. Every animal before slaughter gets water; so mother, here is your rice water. I scoop a morsel but her eyes do not follow the silver spoon in the dim light. I’ve never liked long gazes, especially ones from a blank long pale plain straight face. My hand trembles, the rice water drifts and drips off the spoon onto fresh blood laced yellow soils. I breathe! I could feel her eyes standing on my neck, such heavy weight for my boney shoulders to carry. My shoulders shivered in attempt to shake off the terror climbing my nerves and to warm the chills in my veins. 

I bent my head and scooped another, I turned my head to say mothe…my mouth was in her mouth, my lips between her clasped horse bone-cracking teeth. Her eyes are a mad bull that’s lost its way. Her hands clamped like tentacles around my biceps, except they had sloth claws for suckers. Hot porridge found its way into my urethra. My throat gagged on my blood and her rusty drool. I yanked her off my face and my upper lip came off with her. She lies back in bed, innocently smiling. The blood on her face washes away her guilt, she glows like she rose out of Jordan. 

Hahaa, I laughed; why, was sister trying to kiss mother?; I thought, when I rushed into the room and saw her shouting her last half-lipped muffled scream for help. I wondered why she liked mother so much. I suspected she was a witch too. When the wheel barrow came to drive sister to the mortuary, I had to be sad; I forced down a stream of tears and pulled on sister’s limp legs that were spread and hanging from the metal ridge. All was covered except her legs and it was good that way because that lip would have given my character away but the thought of her leaving with my slippers on ensured consistency. The more I thought about it, the bigger the spring of apathy ruptured. But crying always stops just like wheels always bump. Bump! and out came flying her right limb in a fist. I was fast, clever enough to fall into the gravels and hide my laughter behind her fist which fell reasonably close to my face. Maybe I should have taken that physical blow because when the spoon fell out of that fist, I could feel my sister’s spirit sitting on my shoulders and laughing into my head.

The fear of mother was the beginning of my use of wisdom: I fed her only at night because she was too blind. I managed this strategy for only one night when fear and darkness seemed to work well together: what if she turns into a snake, or a cat, or an owl…a hungry witch is an antsy mother but mine was just indifferent, I thought. After starving her for two days, she just lay there. I took her meekness for weakness and decided to surprise her with stale fish soup. She hates stale fish soup. Before I noticed her bed was empty, urine was fleeing down my staggering legs and I could see the soup spluttered on the once painted white ceiling, my hands were everywhere but she was nowhere and her teeth were plunged into my neck. I tripped and snap! My chin hit the bedpost and down came her weight that broke my back into two. 

I didn’t see her coming. I didn’t either. Good, you are hesitating, no one has to feed her,  use that adrenaline to run…run…no don’t…

…she lives!

But why are there four caskets? If that’s me, and that’s me, and that’s mother, who is that?

You! But you survived, I saw you walk out whole and mother’s spirit slithered into the dry tamarind tree in the backyard. Me too!

I…don’t remember…I remember she wanted some milk so I let her have a bite.

Revolutionary, Reflection And Rebirth

The excerpt in the picture is written by Miriam Makeba  in a time of revolutionaries when she didn’t even see herself as one. 

Revolutionary, radical change,  however could be found also in the subtleness and loudness of a woman, of any race, of any culture, religion, people or individuals who feel their right to being human is on an invisible or visible galvanized iron leash. But where there’s iron, there’ll surely be rust, it takes time, but how long can we wait for the chains to wear out and break? We have waited enough, we’ve seen revolutionaries come and go and when they are gone, things return to normal; a normal state uncomfortable for the oppressed, the pig in the middle and the proclaimed weak. 

My time is not like before, it seems safe but the soil ins’t as rich as before, in the times where the great farmers were held captive, physically. The roots can’t take firm ground and seedlings won’t grow tall against the wind because the soil is loose and leached. 

We have a quest as a people, as artists, as votaries of our ancestors and living clots of the toil and blood of fathers and mothers who were revolutionary, whom in their loudness and subtleness managed to free the light from darkness. We must find our paths, it’s going to be a long spiritual journey to reach and be in the light. Yes we all see the light, but we are not all in it. 

We are children of revolutionaries and we do not conform to the double standards of this world because our minds are opening, and yours can open too.

“Who’s teaching boys to be men?”

“Who’s teaching boys to be men?” @angrytherapist https://medium.com/@angrytherapist/whos-teaching-boys-to-be-men-f746540df74a

Someway bi

Sometimes I am happy and sometimes I can’t express how I am feeling. It is someway bi. I have always been someway bi, from the first time I heard the word Òbaa-barima to the first time I had a crush on a boy and the first time I kissed a boy and other stamps that sticks on the heart, painfully and joyfully but makes you silent for so long that it rusts the neurons so somehow they can’t send the mail or they do but it’s just that my post emotional office never receives them, receives them well enough to put them up for collection.

I am happy now; I can tell by how my shoulders are arched backwards as if to hoist my breasts so he notices how tensed and succulent they are…oh I have no breasts just a flat boiling chest and two stiffened nipples. I am boiling with happiness and I can tell by how scattered my hands flutter in the wind like mad seagulls. It’s a wind of love and I hope it’s warming his body like it is mine.

This would be easier in a trotro, to check his temperature and see if he feels the darts permeating the pores of the wind into his milky skin, hairy too! 

Scenario one, I will unintentionally toss a coin to his back if he’s in the row in front and then coyly tap his shoulder with my middle finger, or graze his back if I am feeling confident and say, “Hi, I think I dropped my coin at your back” and that split second he exclaims, “Oh”, I will fill my ears with resounding and imagined late night and early morning moans. His teeth will be sacred stepping stones into the firmament blue room of green reeds and white lilies and hovering yellow butterflies. He’ll toss left and right and I’ll leave my fingers draped over the cold leather, his hair sweeping my skin and neck kissing my claws. “Here”, he’ll say but the coin will not be dropped in my palm, my heart forbid! I will touch him, make sure my thumb and index unabashedly kiss his thumb and index, blood meets blood just to know how warm he feels. 

Scenario two I will enjoy much because our bodies are only separated by thin linen and cotton and colours wired together to draw raw and strong currents that are not imagined, skin meets skin and life goes on and on, push, shift, graze, smear, wriggle – thighs, arms, “Oops, I drops mi coin”, head on his laps, hair tickles his thighs, hands brush his feet…and on and on…

Scenario three, he’s behind me and his ears are snuffed out from noise. He would listen to my voice hum because clearly he enjoys music but Kendrick was in his ears first so “Yay, Lamar…b****”. But how my face is too strong like a hangover: My oyster shell jawline, my Cleopatra eyes, my Ethiopian pointed nose, my Fulani black hair, my Yaa Asantewaa proud lips, I can paint a beautiful portfolio in his head if I tilt my head to the left a bit, then a little to the right, then blink slowly and widen my eyes and let them do the smiling. Music makes slideshows beautiful and this will blow his mind…but we all get to our bus stops, if I get down first, I will steal a glance and his eyes will already be waiting to hold my shy gaze and to wink to me “You’re hired”…Haa, I dream too much, maybe I should shut up before someone’s armpit enters my mouth — And this is real.

In reality, this is the first time we’ve met. He’s sitting a breath away and I am panting right now because he has taken my breath. His eyes are sinking down my soul and in the last 3 minutes, beautiful predicates all his statements. His hands want to hold me but we are in the eyes of religion and it could start a world war. He slides his hand to meet mine on the table. My hands are dead and they’ve just felt the best news the ears have heard. “Say something.” I always know how I am feeling but I have never come down to saying this statement to anyone. My shoulders are frozen, my eyes drop with my chin. “Are you going to cry?”, he laughs and I chuckle. “No.” I breath. My heart is in Botswana right now, leaping like a gazelle fleeing the… “You are beautiful.” There he goes again. It’s as if he doesn’t want me to think that the Lions… “I love you. Check your phone.” A heart. “It’s beautiful. I am seriou— ” . I look up…oh my gosh! “Your nose is bleeding.” If I lose you, I think. I fret.

“Say something!”, he requests. “I love you” I mutter to myself. “What?”, he wants to be sure what I said. I pause, my eyes dart but my gaze stays, lying is hard in love. I pause to the lions around, the blood, the wind, everything… “It’s someway bi!”.

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