Tuesday, August 19, 2008


It's been a while since I blogged and I don't think I will properly for a few weeks yet - way, way too busy! But I recently had a poem Re:configuration published in the PEN International Magazine (the issue is on shelves now and most of it can be seen online at: http://www.internationalpen.org.uk/go/pen-international-magazine), which I'd like to share part of as a post. I'm particularly happy the poem got published for two reasons
  1. It's one of my favourites,
  2. It's one of my more experimental ones.
So, I'm sharing what I call it's second movement, but don't just read - please, let me know what you think...


The story is simple; my father went

with a cancerous light, chasing Swedru

in the shadow of his fat/her for answers

to questions he divined I would ask

forgetting that project/ions dance, shift

like rhythms. In a hot panic he left

before night could come to hurry him

along with songs. My mother bears the scars

but only a fraction of the answers; for

how was she to know she would be the one

I clawed at for maps of my existence – one

in a role meant for absent sound/and/light?

So I am left with darkness; the high

window through which imagination creeps,

the room I at/tempt to enter to evoke

more than fading echoes of footsteps that

haunt me. I am a slave to the hard hold

unable to yield chance to the light/less

of grip that all moments employ for

the velo/city of sand’s passing. Maybe I am

slowly learning that with each green breath

I blow my life away. Rushed, all I want

is for my father to explain what I mean

to my name, how I be/came configured

as Parkes when I don’t harbour its phantom

rhythm beneath my tongue.

I have lost

my way again: did I not hear the tri/angle

and the gankogui tinkling responses into

the vacuum of the drum’s silence? My

father is rest/less again. Please tell him

to open his window for my tear/full chants

have left me hoarse – and my siblings

the thieves too; who took his skin, spirit

and mind, leaving me captive in his body.

We confess our parents never truly told us

their names, we over/heard others calling

them Auntie and Uncle, Mr and Mrs so and so

so we did the same. Did we err? Did I

trap my pa/rents by calling their red shadows

names meant for colours? All I know

is that I am at/tuned to brown like no other

shade, yet cold breath haloes frame me black.


Anonymous said...

Well done Nii - great to get something experimental published and something that's a personal favourite too. I really liked it and as soon as I got to the end I wanted to go back over it again. There seems to be a lot of juice there that could be missed the first time. The last 2 verses hit the deepest for me but I suspect other bits will on reading a few more times. Congrats and thanks for posting something special to chew on.

Unknown said...

thanks, Fran.