Issue V – Out of Sight, Deep Inside Our Hearts

Literary genres in simplified ways help us to mitigate silence. What we can not say, we write. From everywhere around the world, we are faced with the enemy of humanity – humanity itself. Under its own construct, it proclaims hegemony, forgetting that that construct is just a product of the human agency. Whilst we were on break, we heard about the Ferguson shooting and many needless others in the US, the Charlie Hebdo shooting, the thousands who fell at Baga and the continuous assault of ISIL. Our collective response as a people to these atrocities, even more, exposed our attitudes to bodies as metaphors. We saw certain bodies as mournable; others as unmournable.

It is at juncture that our literary voices matter. It is here that we need to be bold to confront ourselves. Like the writers in this issue, our voices matter. We should speak against evil not because it relates to us but because it threatens our every existence as human beings. You will find in this issue many ways that these writers lead us to confront injustices, even as in, injustice  of nostalgia as seen in ”Igloo”. Or, confronting the physical space, of what we know in ”Drawing For Survival”. Even, breaking verbal taboo in ” I Am Looking For A Wife” and ”Fatwa/Vendetta?”  Here is the full issue:

1. I Am Looking For A Wife                                –   Sena Kodjokuma

2. Drawing For Survival                                    –    Kwame Aidoo

3. Fatwa/ Vendetta?                                         –    Michael Aseidu-Siaw

4. Lucid                                                            –    Seth Boss Kay

5. Igloo                                                             –    Nikhil Nath

6.On Third Worldedness Verse 3 To Komla      –   Dr. Teddy Totimeh

Kind regards,

Kwabena Agyare Yeboah & Aisha Nelson.

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On Third Worldedness Verse 3 To Komla

by Dr. Teddy Totimeh

It is difficult to live here
It is much easier to die
Here
Life passes on in starts and stops
Meaningful flow belongs nowhere
Here
It is difficult to keep going
It makes sense to stop and sit
And think
That nothing good could emerge
Not here
Problems persist
In the land of the living dead
Nobody solves problems
When everybody has given up

Basic health needs overlooked
Necessity smothered in luxury’s clothes
Here
A cry of need is lost in corruption’s slipstream
The traffic of life’s busyness passes by
Here
Standing for something good
Standing up for a better future
Is odd
There is a huge crowd press
Directionless existence for the now
Blurs future aspirations
And life is lived
Like death
Doing the same thing
Over and over and over again

And yet a little light
In the land of the living dead
Here
Glows in the darkness
A life, lived how it should be
Here
Wakes up some dead people
Points in directions hitherto obscured
By the fog of despondency
Persistent amnesia
Success locked up in the good old days
Embodied once more
Substance peeking through clouds of doubt
In the land of the living dead
A candle light
Can be bright as the sun
On a harmattan day

I want batteries

Lucid

by Seth Boss Kay

Luxury of time eludes.

Immortality is mirage;
A dream far-too-away from manifestation.

Integral to the totality
of all humanity is trans-personality.

Mortals incomparable to immortals in physical.
Yet the two worlds overlap,
Interacting with usually unnoticeable constancy.

The reality of the unseen,
As real as the actuality of the seen.

But never is forever;
All that is natural shall see mortality.

Fatwa/Vendetta?

by Michael Aseidu-Siaw

It’s Friday,
Almost time for the evening prayer.
Fix  your Cilices,
Tighten them around your thighs;
Wear your chastity belts
Or better still, tear them off!

We need them as weapons,
We need them as instruments
For we are attending a confession-
A reverend father
Is going to tell us
Why he fucked my 8-year-old nephew
In his butt.

Michael Aseidu-Siaw is a graduate of the University of Ghana.

Drawing For Survival:

by Kwame Aidoo

The caustic arms of fire-breathers bearing
the bald bones of creeds
dropping cold ash into our bleeding eyes blinking
between the gun and the pencil;
I ask, which of the two would inspire a dream
as the barrel does the opposite of dropping blanks

Do they hear the reverberating anguish
or dread not our immortal art and consciences?

Under the umbrella of vision of eternal paradise,
if a benevolent god or karma perhaps
would resurrect common consciousness
we could live amongst ourselves
and not bite the arm of another
but here the tongue is forced at day
to dip into the bile of death’s philosophy

at night we’re here
staring at bloody portraits in a dark gallery,
suddenly, there’s satire in the air that laughter cannot be addressed to
not to make mention of,
broiling flesh
wailing guts too
due to the putrid venom of extremism

We’re not human enough to shake hands
at home,
thousands fall at Baga
but the bartender is busy
rehearsing whisky-blooded speeches

I marched in my heart
I was a pedestrian when the streets went gay with agony
I saw the ripe hypocrisy when hands held contact long like
a randy photog’s gaze
the lens of cameras captured camouflaged faces
forgetting feet keep fighting..

Do they hear the reverberating anguish
or dread not the sharpened ivories of our teeth?

When there’s true freedom of speech
I will frog-leap and chant
Je suis human!
Kwame Aidoo is a 28 year old writer, cultural director and environmental activist who lives in Tema. He was long listed for the 2014 Golden Baobab Awards for Children’s Literature. He received a BSc Biochemistry and Biotechnology degree at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in 2009 and went on to found Inkfluent which produces the Vocal Portraits series of compilations featuring poets around the world, organizes slams for teenagers, poetry festivals, open mics, flash mobs and workshops. Currently, if he’s not working on his ‘spoken rap’ album; Public Verses Announcement, he’s either teaching poetry to teens or gallivanting about looking for interesting local spaces, art and independent musicians to blog about.

I Am Looking For A Wife

by Sena Kodjokuma

Papa I have come to you this morning,
With my cloth around my waist and ash in my hair,
Hands clasped in mourning.
Papa I dreamed a dream and it was a night-mare!
I dreamed that my manhood was ripped from my loins as I watched,
The long tendrils of my babymaker watering the ground,
And the cruel jibe of my maimers as the pain latched.
“He who fetches firewood for his hearth needs not the strength of his loins.”
I woke doused in a lagoon of sweat,
And touched my self tentatively down there,
At the place where the branches of my legs meet my meat,
And calmed I come to you,
Papa I am looking for a wife.
I am two and forty harvests old,
The erstwhile pride of the clan,
Now the butt of all jokes told.
I stare at the maidens deadpan,
For the songs in my mouth go mouldy and cold,
And the seed in them is not fit to be chicken feed,
While my heart labours and strains with the ache of my loins’ need.
I am looking for a wife,
She need not be tall and waiflike,
Graceful and mysterious like the women of the fire tribe,
Their stories hidden in the scars on their cheeks,
Or petite and full of curve,
The ovals of their necks carrying the royalty of the forest tribe,
Trinkets jingling
Enhancing the wobble of their assets,
For these are the first daughters of the gods,
The ones to whom only the chosen have a claim to assert.
She need only catch the eye of this mortal man,
And choose me as I choose her.
I am looking for a wife,
One who will light up my hut,
While I crack logs open,
For my sons to fetch and keep the night cold shut.
One who bakes pots in her own oven,
And draws my morning water,
With the dainty steps of a deer.
I am looking for a wife.
One to be my dear,
Who will chide me in the darkness of my hut,
Hold me to her breast when my eye threatens to spill a tear.
She needs not be chosen by the gods,
And though my songs may be mouldy and cold,
She will ignite them with her passion,
For as I choose her she chooses me.
I am looking for a wife,
A woman who never fails to remind me that morning has broken,
And when Asaase Yaa offers her gifts,
She whispers in my ear,
“Agya I have changed the beads on my waist.”
And when we fumble and wrestle in the dark,
She shows me that you don’t need light to see their beauty.
A wife who will take me into her,
And not judge from the strength of my loins,
When the flower of my youth withers,
For the fruit slowly ripening.
Then we will eat it together.
So Papa I have come to you this morning,
With my cloth around my waist and ash in my hair,
Hands clasped in mourning.
Papa I dreamed a dream and it was a night-mare!
I dreamed that my manhood was ripped from my loins as I watched,
The long tendrils of my babymaker watering the ground,
And the cruel jibe of my maimers as the pain latched.
“He who fetches firewood for his hearth needs not the strength of his loins.”
I woke doused in a lagoon of sweat,
And touched my self tentatively down there,
At the place where the branches of my legs meet my meat,
And calmed I come to you,
Papa I am looking for a wife.
Sena Kodjokuma is a graduate of the University of Education, Winneba. Writing is an art and a skill he is constantly looking to hone. He writes as an artist and as such his themes are varied but similar. People, emotions and situations define what he writes.