I’LL FORGET

I’ll forget you

I’ll forget the cute bits and pieces

I’ll forget the funny things you say

I’ll forget the look in your eyes

I’ll even forget how you made me feel

Maybe I’m lucky that I forget things

I’ll forget the pain

I’ll forget the headlines

I’ll forget the days wasted

I’ll forget my failures

I’ll forget my dreams

I’ll forget myself

Nana Obeng-Koranteng

IG: @nanaobengkoranteng

Advertisements

HARMATTAN CHILD

Harmattan Child

You were born on a cold august night

On a thin piece of cloth, in a lorry park, in the big city

But your seeds were sown in December

On a farm, by a stream, in the village

The dust from the Sahara carried lust into young lovers’ eyes

Its humid in the harmattan just like it was  between their legs

If you didn’t come knocking it would have been their little secret

The gods and the fates have a twisted sense of humour

It was the stigma more than the pregnancy that made her leave

When you don’t want to be seen, one goes where there are too many eyes

The anonymity of the big city came with struggle

Despite the severe malnutrition, she survived your birth

she lived long enough to see your first steps

She saw his eyes staring back at her

She left you to the streets when you were only seven

She was strong but cholera was stronger

Your body riped so young

He lured you with comfort

He gave you a roof over your head and filled you belly

He made you try to uproot his unwanted seed before harvest

You never lived to see another harmattan

You and your unripe fruit were both buried in the June

May you and your seeds fall on more fertile soil in the next life

Harmattan Child

Nana Obeng-Koranteng

IG: @nanaobengkoranteng

AFTER ALL, I’M JUST ANOTHER VOICE IN YOUR HEAD

You are a coward!

I can say that with my chest because I know you.

Every word you write is a mask and every character is a ruse.

You say your poems are a medium but who do you speak for?

Do you speak for the voiceless or do you really speak for yourself?

Is it really your voice or is it just your demons oozing out as ink?

Are these not just the emotions and thoughts you keep bottled inside?

You weave them into pretty words you are too afraid to use out loud

If I’m lying tell me why you rarely ever write about yourself? 

Are you afraid that when people read they will get a glimpse of  you?

You shiver at the thought of others seeing parts of you that make you insecure

Are you afraid they will see the emptiness extends beyond your eyes?

Why are you always highlighting other people’s struggles and weaknesses?

Also, why are your characters mostly ungendered, female or children?

Is it condescending pity, some reverse misogyny or is it true empathy? 

Is it some patriarchal hubris which makes you think you know a woman’s pain?

What makes you think you can speak for others?

What else are you be hiding between these lines?

Why are all your love poems sad or disturbing?

What do you have against happy endings?

Did you not get enough love as a child or have you not found enough growing up?

Are these questions making you uncomfortable?

Inebriation can make me go away for a while

but I’ll be back eventually

After all, I’m just another voice in your head.

Nana Obeng-Koranteng

IG: @nanaobengkoranteng

2 SPOONS OF COCOA POWDER WITH LOTS OF MILK, AND NO SUGAR

She watches till the vapor no longer rises from the cup

2 spoons of special cocoa powder with milk but no sugar just how she likes it

The bitterness has grown on her after years she spends gulping double portions alone in the kitchen

At this point she doesn’t even know why she still bothers anymore

She has come to accept the ritual now and does it more for herself than for him

Her husband doesn’t come back home on Fridays but she glances at the clock out of habit

She empties the cup into the back of her throat and  feels it trickle down into her empty stomach

She is on that new  diet everybody is talking about and her ribs are starting to show

She traces the wrinkles on her face along which show an age she has not reached yet

She barely recognizes his foreign wife now

Somehow her name is too much for their forked tongues to wrap around

She never should have followed her heart here but shame keeps her from going back

She has come a long way even if it proved to be the wrong way

She can already hear her mother say ‘I told you so’

 She still has the empty pride that comes with having his ring, children and surname

At least his girlfriends and mistresses don’t have those yet

She has given up trying to figure it whatever he sees in them that she doesn’t have

She learned their language, her accent is almost gone now and her Jollof isn’t bad either

Nail polish covers the black fingernail she sacrificed to fufu

She has always left him barely able to walk in the morning

But it has all never been enough for him and his family

Her pronunciation will always a little off

Maybe her blood is different but the mosquitoes here don’t seem to notice

She turns the lights out in the kitchen and proceeds to complete her nightly routine

She reaches for the unmarked bottle of special soap and spreads it carefully

It tickles her skin as the chemicals dig in but she kneads it in around the knees and ankles

The melanin lingers stubbornly in those places so she he has to remind him to get more

They aren’t cheap but he was the one who initiated and insists on all this

He  wants her skin looking like 2 spoons of cocoa powder with lots of milk, and no sugar

Just how he likes it.

Nana Obeng-Koranteng

IG: @nanaobengkoranteng

U + I = ?

U + I = ?

Your parents say it’s against the statistics

Our tribal affiliations don’t have a common multiple

To them our love might be rocket science but

I have a theorem

I’m tired of us being a variable

Why don’t we make us a constant

I don’t mean to be improper like a fraction

but accept my heart like a hypothesis

I like lying parallel to you

Let’s intersect at acute angles

If we meet at the right angles

Our love will never slope like a hypotenuse

Sine here opposite my aorta

I’ll sine right adjacent your vena cava

Run your finger along my perimeter

You’ll discover the area of each centimeter

I don’t know Y you should find your X’s

They will never love you > than I do

Please don’t divide your attention

Don’t subtract any of the affection

Don’t factor our differences

Let’s find our common denominators

Let’s come together and multiply

You plus me is an irreversible balanced equation

You plus me is equal to infinity

You plus me is always equal to love

Nana Obeng-Koranteng

IG: @nanaobengkoranteng

WINTER CHILD

Winter child

You were born a stranger in a cold and foreign land

The nurses giggled as they misspelled your last name in the record books

It was a few vowels or consonants too much for their tongues

Blood is supposedly thicker than water but you didn’t completely fit in even at home

It was as if your father had stained you with the melanin in his blood

The police and shop clerks paid you that extra attention the recruiters did not

It was as if your mother had diluted your melanin too much

Your paternal aunties and cousins called you a half-caste

People from both sides of the family changed accents when talking to you

The stereotypes followed you wherever you went

So after college you went back across the Atlantic in hopes of finding home

But the people there giggled and imitated your foreign accent

The vendors took one look at you and charged you the unofficial foreigner tax

You felt very welcome there but only as one entertains a visitor

You never completely felt accepted

The stereotypes followed you wherever you went

The difference must have run deep because even the mosquitoes seemed to notice

The red bite marks were a constant and soon malaria came for you

You died a lost and lonely stranger in a foreign land

The nurses frowned as they misspelled your first name the record books

Both sides of the family couldn’t decide where to lay your weary head to rest

in your next life, may you find a home wherever you find yourself.

Winter Child

Nana Obeng-Koranteng

IG: @nanaobengkoranteng

RAIN CHILD

Rain Child

You were made on a sunny day

Like something out of a fairy-tale, it was their honeymoon

But you were born under a dark cloud

Like something from a horror movie, they had to cut you out

Maybe if your mother hadn’t lost too much blood along with her sanity in that ambulance,

Maybe both of you would have made it safely into this world and into her eager arms ,

Maybe the hospital staff would have sold the second baby to the highest bidder anyway

Maybe your sister was lucky and ended up living lavishly with some wealthy strangers

Maybe she ended up being sacrificed for her twin power fatally in a some horror shrine

Maybe if the nurses weren’t on strike then somebody would have been there to watch over mother

Maybe, then, your mother couldn’t have fled the hospital with you hidden under her skirts

Maybe, your mother had miscarried too many before to go back home to another empty crib

Maybe people did nothing because a mentally ill woman with a baby was too common a sight in the big city

Maybe the rhythmic drumming of rain drops was the beat as she danced half-naked in the street

Maybe she danced in honour of her allegedly stillborn child

Maybe the crowd was too busy cheering to notice the tears being diluted by the rain

Maybe the lightning and thunder whispered empty promises into your mother’s ear

Maybe that’s why she wrapped you carefully in layers of discarded polyethylene that same night

She knelt beside the bridge and hummed to you softly

 She lowered you carefully into the gutter and let the water consume you

She smiled when the dark cloud finally disappeared around you

They say every cloud has one but you didn’t live long enough to see your silver lining

Maybe, next time, you will be born under rainbow in a clear sky

Rain Child.

Nana Obeng-Koranteng

IG: @nanaobengkoranteng