Growing pains


There is too much softness in me.

I wrote that sentence 6 days ago. There’s always too much happening in my head and some days I successfully navigate my way around the disarray. Somedays there’s a lot I want to write but I stay stuck on one sentence. I will most likely end up writing a small fraction of what’s floating in my head.

There’s too much softness in me; there’s too much passion in me, there’s too much of everything in me. It digs inside me, bores into me with urgency and has made me overzealous in order to appease this overflowing trait.

In a fairly functional world this should be a fairly good thing, – and most days it is, but it means everything I’m into engulfs me, I obsess over every detail, I adopt it intimately, I ought to know its contours, its limits, its deficiencies, its triggers, its potential, its future. And so I always have a chorus of amens and questions and resentments talking at and over each other in my brain. There should be a constant monologue in my head but there’s a whole play with different characters talking in the same voice. I feel crippled under the weight of my own brain.

I am learning how to use this too muchness for my own benefit – I know I can. I know I can do anything if I put my heart to it; it’s just that I haven’t had the will. I’m tired. My tired is tired. My tired has been tired for a long time. I want a long pause of nothingness for a while.

 

My birthday is in 7 days. This has to be the first time I have wanted to avoid it. I wish I could skip the day and just move to the next, but my friends aren’t having any of that.

Friends. I’m eternally grateful for them.

I think there’s so much we don’t say as people, for different reasons, – could be because of timing, or the headspace you’re in or fear or just being tired of having to spoon feed love language to people who should know better. There’s almost always a residue of things left unsaid. But I never want to miss an opportunity to love my friends fiercely. No matter how upset or disappointed I get, I don’t want to be an inconsistent flickering light. And I’ve been blessed to have friends who are exactly that for me. And for that, I’m going to stick my chin up and look forward to a new year.

 

 

30/30


There’s something about the way people leave

that makes you want to bottle who you are

and keep it safe from the world.

You have a brave face that only lets you rent it

for public appearances and old relationships

you plough the road of failing friendships

where awkwardness is an easy language.

And forgive everybody but yourself.

Forgive yourself for convincing yourself

you will never know a greater love;

for creating this architecture of doom

and living underneath its leaking truth

forgive yourself,

for there is overflowing love

lining up to engulf you.

29/30


The city is known

for looking like a work in progress;

For making therapists out of passengers

For the benefit of taxi drivers

For protesting and dismissing issues

in the time it takes for a baby to take a nap,

For telling fortunes and sending warning messages

disguised as public signs on the back of public transport:

God is good,

dzi wo fie asem,

no where cool,

nipa yɛ bad,

for sale,

dabi dabi ɛbɛyɛ yie.

 

27


I could write about how bodies are the most malleable things

I could fill a page with how pain leaves words hanging in your throat

I could write a poem about the way people soften up

when their lovers kiss the small of their back

I tried to write something musical about my city and I did not know where to start

When I walk through south of Labadi, the streets are bursting with an abundance of heritage;

I can tell from the way the dark-skinned woman with the y-shaped scar on her left leg

scrubs her baby, that she is a woman who believes in redemption.

Two boys are moving like they’ve got too much rhythm in their bodies

and not enough time to dance it out

A little girl sucks on a lollipop, spits in her hand and offers it

to her small sister who gleefully licks it up

They have a look on their face that tells that they know

what they’re doing is ridiculous and sweet and terrible;

they know wrong isn’t right, but they do it anyway

On the pavement, a porridge seller is giving out smiles

like they are Amens to needy requests

A man is telling a stranger that he doesn’t even like porridge,

but the way she throws her head back when she drinks it down, does things to him.

And her laughter tumbles down like the hollow echo of a djembe

What he doesn’t know is that this her first laugh in days.

Old Ms. Atta has a tight lipped smile as if

her mouth is holding on to sins yet to be forgotten

And when she sings Awaaba Ɔdo, she means it.

These people teach me,

that if you are from Accra and you placed anywhere in the world,

there’s no way you won’t know how to bloom

 

26/30


With a scream and spittle

The pastor stands in the trotro and condemns women

For sitting in church with hands clasped fervently

As if they didn’t bleed out a baby two weeks ago

When the passengers utter a feeble amen to his halleluiah

He tells them they can do better

than to offer God sick Amens.

I smile at him in pity.

He’s missed countless opportunities to meet God,

because he’s been too busy condemning her

in exchange for currency notes

25/30


Your happiness used to have a front seat in my life

I have stretched myself wide to make space

for you to have a smile that lasts

One day you’ll look back

and ask how you could’ve been so foolish

to let me slip away

and use me as a template

to teach your children how to be gold