Gaana & Other Poems

Henneh Kyereh Kwaku

playing god in old love skin

tonight we rehearse, again –
you’re god
i’m the boy whose posters
dance in the wind

the boy whose black face
in the picture
on the posters makes him a crow

you, god – have given
the crow the wind
& here’s the crow flying against
the gift & not gliding with it –

you say take a bit more of white
& give me some black
but your wind won’t stop

& only the drowned hears
stay calm –
& obeys, not the drowning

The magician

for Adedayo Agarau

he points to a spot on the enclosed
glass casing     he says direct the sound here, it’ll break
the blacksmith hammers where it is most important
to him, not to break
the metal         he tests the strength of his creation
he sharpens the metal so he gets a quick death
if he’s impaled on it    one day
i was writing a poem once      about a dream where i am inside
the glass casing – where i was mastering the illusion
& the strength of my voice     i hammered it
at all the edges, i wanted it sharp enough to cut god’s breath
i poured my voice out like ore & hit & hit & hit –
the glass never broke         in another dream         i’m the glass
& here’s a man determined to break me 

Gaana 

”…he (soldier) […] pointed the rifle at the throat of Eric Ofotsu. 
He shot without hesitation…”
– Eyewitness, On the murdering of Eric Ofotsu  

I  want to get a pet one day – a cat, maybe or a dog –
& name it after my country so each poem I write for it,
is also for my country. I want a messy pet – a beautiful pet
a pet that’s a metaphor for my country. That when I say
my pet tore my life apart today, I also mean – my country
tore my life apart. When I say my pet is beautiful, I also am
saying – my country is beautiful. When it steals my fish,
I say what I say. When it brings me fish, I know there’s
a bargain – something taken, something I won’t know of.
When it breaks my heart, I know it is my country
& I cannot unlove it – when it kills me, I won’t know.

Henneh Kyereh Kwaku is a poet from Gonasua in the Bono Region of Ghana. He’s the author of Revolution of the Scavengers, selected by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani for the APBF New Generation African Poets Chapbook Series. He studied Public Health at the University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ghana. His poems/essays/hybrids have appeared in Agbowó, Tupelo Quarterly, Tampered Press, Poetry Society of America, Praxis Magazine, IceFloe Press, Random Photo Journal, Lunaris Review, CGWS, New South Journal & elsewhere. Find him on Twitter/IG: @kwaku_kyereh.

 

*Image by NeONBRAND on Unsplash