Our Playground 

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This morning they cleaned our playground. They do it when it’s dark, so you never know who, or how, or when, but by the time Ma walks us to the school bus at 6, the sand looks nice and fresh like my homework book. I never do my homework.

Today, teacher Kofi sent me home. Yesterday he told us he will give us extra classes because we are foolish and we should be happy to pay him for his kindness. And that we should bring a passport picture for registration. I forgot to tell Ma. Today, he came after assembly to collect the pictures. Kadi and I had to walk all the way home. We didn’t mind; Daavi gave us some of her fat yellow mangoes when we passed her stall. When we reached the playground, Kadi kicked me intentionally and my mango fell in the sand. The playground now has a mango hole in the smooth sand with yellow juice splattered around it.

When I got home, Ma wasn’t around. Da was sitting at the back drinking. He’s always drinking. Now his teeth are yellow like Daavi’s mangoes. I asked him for money for the passport pictures. He said I should sit down so he draws me. Then he laughed with his yellow teeth. I just turned and walked slowly to the empty playground.

Auntie Aggie came by the playground with Kafui. That boy is stubborn. He’s always running around. Even today Auntie Aggie was pulling his hand so he stops running. He looked like a stubborn dog on a leash. He wouldn’t stop pulling. Finally, he broke his leash and run onto the playground and started throwing sand around. You could see his two-year-old footprints deep inside the sand. His mother pulled him by the hair, slapped him and dragged him off the playground.

At lunchtime, Kadi came to find me. His parents had taken him to school and insulted teacher Kofi. Nobody was happy about it, especially not Kadi. We all know what happens to a child after their parents attack teacher Kofi. Kadi showed me the marks on his back and legs when he came. He didn’t want to go back to school today and he couldn’t go home too, otherwise, his parents will attack teacher Kofi again. Then tomorrow, teacher Kofi will kill him. So we sat at the playground.

After school, the children came to play. The sand became messy. When it was getting dark, they stopped playing. Their school uniforms were very dirty and brown. We knew this evening there would be another round of tears and screams of “yes ma I won’t do it again”, but they’ll still be here tomorrow.

Before that normal chorus of screams could start, tonight, we heard a different scream. It was different, but not new. The piercing scream drew closer and closer. It sounded full of pain. We could feel it. It was deep; unlike the one I feel at school when I don’t do my homework. The scream materialised into two figures at the edge of the playground. There was Da, standing upright but swaying slowly as he pushed forward. You could see his red eyes. They sparkled like little rubies in the darkness. Like little evil rubies. His hand was stretched out behind him, and there was Ma holding on to her hair under the part that her husband was using to drag her. Her hair was bleeding from the roots. She was bleeding all over.

I looked at the playground sand. The part where my mango fell was now orange. There was a trail of blood from the edge to the centre. The trail ended in a pool at the centre, right next to Ma. I run to her and knelt at her side. She looked up, smiled weakly, and croaked, “Don’t worry, my child. Tomorrow morning, they’ll clean the playground”.

POEMS from Kpodola 10 Poetry Workshop

KPODOLA

REMINISCENCE by Fafa Macauley

You used to be happy. And in those times I was happy too.
The first time we woke up beside each other,
I remember your smile as you beamed good morning.
I remember the selfies you looked so ugly in.
I remember us laughing at your receding hairline.
Then I remember the rain.
I remember you looking down at the mud,
While I counted the raindrops.
I remember the smile that was supposed to break,
But never did.
And I remember the text that broke my heart,
“I’m sorry. I don’t want to be happy.”

There is a nonchalant, no-nonsense, little feeling air about Fafa, but her writing brings all the feels, every single one of it. – Poetra Asantewa

Processed with VSCOCAGED by Ewurabena

It was the first of many to come-
I find myself where I don’t want to be,
doing what I don’t want to…

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Tomorrow, we leave

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*BASED ON NOTHING . THIS IS COMPLETELY FICTION. NOBODY SHOULD QUOTE THIS AS A SOURCE (as cool as that will be).

Togbui Tamaklo The First stood before his army of hundred, a living symbol of power and strength. He was heavily clad. The royal warrior skins he wore were frightening enough, but the many charms and fortifications the priestess had given him, and every warrior in his troop, made him positively fearsome to behold. He glared at the opposing army. They were similarly clad with all the charms their human frames could carry.
“These are the so-called conquerors who dared cross the Volta to attack the Ewe” he sneered. They indeed were the Asante; the people from that land far beyond the lake and the plains and embedded deep within the forest.  ‘The conquerors of kingdoms’, they called themselves. “Not this kingdom.” Togbui snarled, “Not now. Not ever.” Then he lifted a war cry and charged.

That was the battle that tore my life apart. With every jab and stab, my fate was sealed. It was a fierce war. They crossed swords and spears in that open sandy field for three intense days. Not a drop of blood was shed. Every thrust from either army was dodged with surreal agility. Each fighter was endowed with inconceivable power and supernatural strength; it seemed the very gods were at war. The charm pouches on every man flew in every direction as the soldiers leapt and bent in the demoniac dance of war for three long days. Then it happened; the moment that decided the rest of my life.

On the third day, just as the peach sun slowly dipped below the horizon to herald the evening moon, one Asante warrior threw his sword at an opponent. The blade missed the man’s left rib by a fraction and sliced through the flax cord that held the charms around his torso. It happened so fast. His sole source of protection tumbled to the floor. The groans and grunts of the surrounding tussle were broken by the piercing scream that tore through the air as a sword slit through the skin of the unprotected man and punctured his lower spine.  He managed to cut the charms off and strike a retaliatory blow at his attacker. And then they both fell.

Every soul froze in bewilderment as blood dripped from the wounded; blood they’d been fighting to shed for three days, but didn’t expect to see. Togbui let out an emasculate cry when he realized who from his army had fallen. He run and knelt by the side of the fallen man. The dead warrior was none other than the Mawuga Tamaklo; the younger brother of the Togbui, a great warrior of the land, and the man to officiate my wedding in three days… My father.

In the confusion that followed, a ceasefire was called. Togbui told me all these things. Both kingdoms came to a peace agreement. As living proof of the peace pact, my six younger siblings and I are to be sent to live in Kumasi among the Eblu; in the royal family of the Asante.  They too will bring some royal children to live with our family.

So tomorrow we leave. We leave for that land far away, beyond the lake and the plains and embedded deep within the forest.

Tomorrow we leave, never to return.

~Fafa

“The only prison we need to escape from is the prison of our own minds…”

I want to be free.

Take it away,

the one track train,

the cliche

the one way — the same way —

the inhibition, the chain;

Then we no longer know

Who we are

What we are

Nor what to do.

I want to be free.

From the colonialism of the mind

The hindrance

the pressure to be

not different, but all of one kind

In accordance

to all that comes before

And leave the same trail

For the thousands of restrained minds that come after.

I want to be free.

Free from fitting into someone’s shoes.

Free from being another footprint on a sandy beach

Rather than the only feet on uncharted plains.

I want to be free.

Free to learn

Free to move

Free to live

Free to just

DO.

I want to be free.

I’m going to be free.

I will be free.

I am free.

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The Lark’s Song

In the war and its after

All was in dismay;

Black light and no laughter

All night and no day.

Streets were stained

with blood, spark powder and fear:

no rat, no scuttle,

not a cry could we hear.

Then a melody so pleasant

flowed out of a crevice;

A fluid so mellifluous:

Each crescendo an unpayable service.

So sorrowful, so intriguing

piercing our very souls;

the clear message of despair and destruction

And the compounding of our woes.

All at once! A change in tempo!

the rhythm did rise,

going higher. getting stronger

Lifting our hearts to the very skies.

A new song it sang.

A new hope it rang.

A new life did bud

and in our hearts it flowered.

I stepped unto the street

And out of the dark,

Saw others just like me

hearing the song of the lark.

On that quiver we decided

to find what was lost

to build what was broken

and restore at all cost

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A Caution to the Nation

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*To Ghana and its People; a lesson on the 57th Independence anniversary

The last thing i saw, was that the black veil that had been hovering for a while had finally come to rest. The once beautiful stretch of evergreen wonder, the sight that soothed the heart and enshrouded the mind in awe and Joy, the melange of hues, shades and tints, from the bubbling crystal blue waterfalls and sea to the lime green pastures and shocking green forests; all dimmed drastically to a dauntingly depressing dark shade of despair. A blessed land had fallen to shambles.

The last thing i saw was a people with all love lost and no gain. A people whose respect, security and compassion had turned into the wildest form of survival; the rebirth of Jurassic caveman. Once upon a time, a little child scoured the streets, excited and safe and happy as can be. The last time I saw, two kids stepped unto the street, careful not to make a sound, their frightened pale knuckles groped in the dark as they stuck to the shadows. The little one’s feet struck a tin. The sound echoed in the pitch blackness. And the last thing they did before the filthy long fingers shot out of the blackness and flew onto their necks, was look at each other, terror flashing in their eyes, pity and recognition written clearly on their faces as they sank into the darkness to the fate they knew awaited them.

The last thing I saw, as I, goodwill, I, honour,  I, respect, I, kindheartedness, I, security, left the once-blessed country Ghana, was a dream killed, lives broken and Peace fall off the cliff and shatter to shreds on the jagged rocks below.

My name is Morality.

Welcome to a gruesome life without me.

The Innocent

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I saw it with my very eyes:
A melange of emotions splattered across his face;
Fear. Nervousness. Shock. Disbelief.
A thousand and one more feelings shown in his downtrodden eyes.
He stood rigid before the blood-stained stacked sacs
And the bulls-eye… Its eye seemed to encircle his heart.
The executioner stepped up. His body glided as the hooded dark robe moved across the platform.
He heard his moments of breath slip away with the tick of the clock.
Tick. Tock.
Tick. Tock.
As the first bullet pierced its target organ, the executed bellowed
“Forget not, the Innocent whom you kill!
Truth
Will be revealed”

All The Things She Said

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Jake

 

I said he was my friend. From the day I met him, my ice cold heart knew it had hit the inferno that would melt it forever. I took an instant liking to him. Every other colloquy we had was a mood lifter. He was the highlight of my days and the twinkling of my nights. A solid friendship was built from that first day when he whispered, ‘You have a beautiful smile…’

I said I didn’t like him. Truth is, I was jealous. Although he took a special liking to me, he was a teeny bit too popular. Especially with the ladies. Not that it was shocking; he was a talented writer, singer, basketball player, and physically a dream come true. He had the personality that could brighten the darkest soul and even make Frankenstein feel like Miss World. I didn’t see why any other should have his attention. My very being turned a dark shade of green as envy spread and soaked through me like gangrene.

 

I said he was the worst thing that happened to me. I almost regretted blurting that out as soon as I said it, but my pride tied me to the wall. We had just fought. It was a trivial matter, really, but I took the opportunity to vent out my frustration. Pent up feelings of anger, jealousy and anxiety came rushing like a waterfall stained with malicious words. The falls fell too strongly. I could literally feel a gorge growing between us… growing deeper and wider into a chasm as deep as the Grand Canyon. His beautiful almond eyes stared pain stricken into my very soul. And then it hit…

 

 I said he should get out of my life. And he did. He took one long sorrowful look at me that moment and turned his back to me, never to be seen again. Next thing I heard, he had flown out of the country to some exotic Eastern African island (Zanzibar, i think) to finish school and start a new life with new people. I had lost my greatest friend to some Kikuyu speaking girl with a bald head and oversized hoops.

 

I said I would never forget him. And I never have. And I never will.

~ She