Friday, September 12, 2008

The Dancer

The Dancer

The dancer moved to the drum beat
His expression full of heat
His neck moved in unison with his feet

His hands told a story
His eyes spoke of things past, present and future
His beauty enough to move you
His feet moved gracefully
His body twisted and turned
Like a piece of leaf in the hot sun

His muscles rolled and jerked
To the pulsating rhythm of the drum beat.

Every so often his cloth slid down his hips
And his graceful fingers pulled it in place
The movement so slight you’d hardly notice.

The drummers drummed in a trance
Their rhythms vibrating up the soles of our feet
The dancer kept on talking with his body
Sweat run down his dark muscular flesh
Only to fly off him when his movements jerked,
Or when he jumped and landed on his feet.

There was silence then a shout when the dance ended
Women with brightly coloured scarves wiped the sweat off the dancer to acknowledge the beauty of the dance

The dancer’s glazed eyes sparkled
His lips turned up in a smile
His spirit came back inside him
The spirits of his forefathers had entered him
During the rhythms of the beautiful dance

Natural Woman

When was the last time you felt the warm scalp of a woman
Run your fingers through her hair
Twisted her natural locks through your fingers
Or walked your fingers through the rows of braids
Just like walking through fields of corn

When did you see the true beauty of your African Woman?
Or saw a flawless dark skin?
Or kissed her natural plump lips?

From the days of slavery black women were told “ You gotta have hair like “Massa” ,
Don't want no nappy haired black as sin gal in the house”
The beautiful black women were kept in the cotton fields
While those that had lighter skin,
The products of the slave master s were kept as house slaves
If your hair was long and straight, without a natural crinkle it was your bonus,
a passport to heaven,
a ticket to the illusion of freedom

Now, I hardly see an original black woman
They all seem to have become Chinese, Brazilian, Indian and European
Flicking about hair that is not their own
That may be from a horse, a yak or plastic factory
Afraid to show their natural beauty
Afraid because their men have been conditioned to think that a perfect woman has straight hair and fair skin
Afraid because their sisters would laugh and tease them for their tight curls

Wake up!
Have you ever really looked at the beauty of a black woman, all natural and dark?
They way her teeth and eyes sparkle in contrast to her skin
The way her hair feels soft like the ends of an ear of corn
Or woolly like that of a new born lamb
Twisting and curling itself through your fingers
True feelings exploding through the shaft of natural hair

Men! Treat a natural woman with respect
Women! rise up for the natural woman who dared
For her inner strength and inner pride have made her able to go against the norm
To show her true self
Just the way God made her-----------------
Perfect
A beautiful black woman

written for launch day of Bless the Mic, Ghana. 9/11/2008

Ebusia - Do the right thing

There are some elders who completely disgrace the title
The elders are supposed to be men or women of dignity
But what do we see?
Bickering over property when death puts its icy hands on a family member
Selling off of family land to make profit rather than thinking of the future generations
Even to the point of cheating the family who actually want to improve the area
Oh how I weep inside with I hear of these actions
The custodians of the family land, of the family property behaving like vultures on a tip.

Oh Ebusia
Why, do you take the nipple from the suckling babe?
Why do you strip them of their future?
Sometimes no one knows who you are except the older generations
You did not show interest when the young were growing up
But now that they are dead you claim first place at every event
You perch yourself at a vantage point and watch with eagle eyes
To see who brought what, who donated what and frighten those who mourn
Not caring what the family want
Just to impose your tyrannical laws upon them
Oh Ebusia

No contribution to anything except to take,
pity is the poor mother, wife or child
If you have anything to do with their life
All you would want to know is where the key to the property was,
nothing about how the children would finish school,
how the wife or mother would live
Oh Ebusia

The dead most probably had the greatest respect for your wisdom
Talked about how you would make everything alright should something happen
But now you have done the opposite
And you wonder why the children ignore you when they grow up
Why the traditions are not being carried on through the generations
The same way you treat them is the same way your children will be treated
You may not be here to see the fruits of your bad labour
But it will happen
Do the right thing Ebusia
Shame the devil
Earn the respect and love of the family
So your name will be carried on down the generations
And people will stand at the mention of your name
People are watching you
The clan is watching you
The spirits are watching you
Ebusia

After the Storm

It is dawn and all is still,
The smell of settled dust and washed leaves fills the air.
The sky, once dark and threatening turns blue
The birds sing and chickens cluck over upturned food.


When the storm came, all was lost,
Nothing seemed right,
No movement was heard in the night except the beating of rain on every
Available surface like drums beating the war cry.

All night long the rain came down, the once welcomed trickle turned into a nasty storm
What was once beautiful turned into a nightmare
It was a great storm, a turbulent time that one thought would never end

Everything changed the day you died
Eyes lost their sparkle,
Smiles disappeared,
Laughter stopped,
Happiness just faded into a distance.
The dull ache stayed permanently just below the womb
you know the place, that bottomless pit

Now the storm is over,
The calm that followed was a shock
The distruction clearly visible
The effects of the storm showed in various ways.

Things that were up-rooted were things that were washed away.
Others were destroyed
Some so far gone that there was no repair.
Others like the seeds just floated along, settled and started to flourish.
The weak was removed and the strong became stronger.

The rays of light touched the heart, melting away all fear,
The terror that once held one captive disappeared

What was the purpose of the storm?
We'll never know,
but out of it came a certain understanding,
a certain peace,
a certain calm,
a certain strength and a determination to go on and on and on.



written 30th October 2003

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Secret Friend

The touch was tender
The tingles to remember
The kiss so gentle
The feelings high
The rhythm on my thighs
My mouth let out a sigh

The dance was slow
The music turned down low
The light not too bright
In the middle of the night
I wish it would never end
This journey with my secret friend

We met one day in a very strange way
Two lonely souls not really searching
But thrown together for a special reason.
I wish it would never stop
This feeling that makes my heart go hop.

Every time I meet my sweetheart
Nothing else seems to matter
The fear inside disappears
When my lover is close and near
I wish it would never end this feeling for my secret friend

The touch is still tender
The tingles, I don’t have to remember
Cos they are entwined around like the veins inside me
Don’t care about the future as long as this feeling never
Never departs from me
I wish it would never end
This destiny with my secret friend

Friends v Family

Friends that you acquire on the way
Can be discarded at any whim
If they hurt or treat you bad
You just brush them out of your life.

Family, you acquire at birth,
Given freely without choice
Whatever they do you can’t get rid of them
They are stuck to you like superglue
The more you try to get away,
The more they prove that they are here to stay

Friends can be closer than family because you chose them,
You choose ones whose vibes run parallel to yours
You study each other and share their pain
And each knows the ties are by choice and therefore respect them

Family can have opposite and clashing characters
Like boiling water they scrape you raw,
But you can’t get away from them.

Family who love you do so unconditionally
They ask of nothing but care about you
If you have a loving family you are blessed
But if yours is a hateful one, them I’m sorry, you are
cursed

I leave it for you so see
that sometimes things that are given for free
may be a burden rather than a gain
But whatever be the case
I love my family and wouldn’t want to change.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A MOTHERS TOUCH

In the village compound which was cleanly swept and tidy,
a compound not easily accessible by road,
a group of old women sat huddled together.
Sticks and pipes jutted out of their mouths which occasionally moved in unison.
A sigh here and a look to the sky there.
Some sat with their chins in their palms, a look of sadness about them, they spoke:

"This is the time that I should be with my sons and their wives,
with my daughters, and their husbands.
My children should be looking after me now,
after all the blood, sweat and tears that I shed for many days and nights
in their time of illness, their time of pain, their time of sorrow.

"I felt pain when they were born,
but it was such sweet pain when I looked into the faces of the new life that I had borne,
I felt joy when they were growing up and happiness when they became adults,
I felt pain when they left home to set up their new lives but joy when they came to visit,
sitting and laughing while they enjoyed their mother's cooking,
I felt pain when they were going through difficulties,
but joy when they overcame their hurdles.

"Now I sit alone, some stranger, a prophet, in the name of religion,
put their struggles and problems on my head –
"Your mother is a witch, she wants to destroy you"
Just because I am old, a widow, helpless and defenseless,
just because my poverty and suffering is drawn on my face
I am the scourge of my village.
Would I destroy my life?
Life that came out of me?
I may have lost my youth but not my mind.

"Now I don't see my children,
I don't know some of my grandchildren,
my husband's family don't remember me.
There is a pain that never goes,
it just stays there in the heart, in the womb, and gradually eats away at life itself
- oh the pain.
"When I die it will be too late for anyone to say "I am sorry,
" But I continue to love my children,
I continue to feel them in my arms,
I continue to see their laughter and joy,
I continue to live for the day when I would be called "Maame" again - Aye! The pain.

"Old men don't get called witches,
they just marry younger women and continue with life.
What is it that women do wrong in their lives?
Maybe they love and care too much,
maybe they sacrifice too much, feel too much."
One day, someone somewhere will weep,
because they can no longer get back that mother's touch,
that mother's love,
that mother's smile - oh the pain.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Joy

It is such a joy to be alive
to be able to see the smiles and laughter of those around you
to know that you are alive
and have love around you

It is such a joy to have friends and family who love you
who miss you and care about you
it is such a joy to be able to say thinks and have gratitude for all that you have
what a joy to be alive.

Thank You

Sunday, April 13, 2008

THE DEER HUNT (Aboakyre Festival in Winneba, Ghana)


The night before the deer hunt,
There was excitement in the house,
We stood upstairs looking down onto the courtyard,
While men and women went in and out
Sweat pouring off their brows.

This was my family house,
The meeting place where all the hunters came to prepare,
Fixing their hunting gear and choosing what to wear,
Where women came to cook,
and where the elders assembled to perform their ancient rituals
Not written down in any book.

Sleep would elude us that night,
We sat up eating plantain and groundnuts,
Steamed white corn flour, hot pepper and shrimps
Slices of sugar cane pulled between our teeth,
Drinking cold minerals while the men had their beers and
Something that made them spit.

Dawn was creeping in when the hunters assembled,
They gathered around in their hunting clothes
With sticks, guns, cutlasses, bows and arrows
Looking fierce and frightening to a young child like me.
The noise and drumming, the shouts and scraping of metal cutlasses and
knives on the cement floor sent shivers up my spine.then suddenly they
left, marching and shouting out of the yard , with all the women standing
behind waving their brightly coloured cloths and banging pots with their
wooden spoons.
Then silence!

A different kind of noise arose,
Women laughing, cooking, sweeping,
Children running around playing, shouting,
Trying to get pieces of food out of the pots when mothers were not
looking
Throughout their work they waited to hear
Did our men catch the elusive deer!
For us the children it was now one big party,
The smells going out into the yard made us lick our lips and act like
Scattered chicks,
Our mothers lashed out when we went near the food with
Their sticks shaped like little whips
But we had no fear the men were not here,
What could our mothers do when their hands were full
With pots and pans, and other things too?
Time was getting on and all were anxious,
The silence became like the calm before the storm.

A distant shout, the trampling of feet,
The drumming and shouting swept us off our feet.
The men came jogging with branches so green
The deer held high, looked frightened, with big eyes so brown.
Our colours raised high,
Our men danced full of life
The women gave shouts in the yard,
We were first, we caught it first,
Good luck will be with us the next year,
We all rushed out and followed the crowd
To the chief’s palace to claim our reward
Now the festival gun was fired,
The hunt was over, the men looked tired,
But this was the beginning for us,
Our Company had won the annual prize
Throughout the day we were full of cheer,
Going in and out of each others houses,
While the men sat around and drank beer,
Late in the night we started to doze
As the night brought things to a final close and all around,
the cooking fires, embers gradually flickered out and died.

©2003

Superiority


Down the forest path,
The man swung his cutlass with his right hand to the left and to the right.
His look was intense,
The pipe in his mouth, unlit, was clenched between his teeth.
Occasionally he stood still, looking ahead or listening for sounds,
from his left shoulder hung his gun.
He acted strong and brave, and walked like a man
muttering under his breath and glancing behind at something.
Sweat gleamed off his bare chest,
dropping off him like beads of crystal clear glass.
What was causing his distraction?
What was the problem?
Why the muttering and kissing of teeth?
The grass in front of him parted as he swung the cutlass,
and closed together as he passed through.
Suddenly a clearing, edged by palm trees appeared.
The man entered this sandy area and stood staring at the disturbed grass.
A woman appeared shortly after him.
She was muscular but pain showed in her face.
On her head was a three feet high pile of wood.
On her back was a baby fast asleep.
Besides her was a toddler holding a banana leaf and in her right hand
a small jerry can of water.
"Woman!" He shouted, "do you think I’ve got all day?"
"Stupid useless woman!!"
Who really was the superior?

THE WARRIOR



How can I ever forget the softness of your skin?
The rippling muscles glistening in the rain,
The darkness of the skin, like pure African chocolate.
Powerful and strong you stood on the hill challenging the warriors of your clan,
the ones who dared face the strength of the lion.
Your eyes sparkled with anticipation,
Your lips turned upward in a happy smile.
This was no war or fight,
Just the dance of courtship, that went long into the night.
The drums beat and the sound pulsated through my feet as I watched
The dance of the warrior,
The warrior who stole my heart.
© MTD2003


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

IF I COULD FLY

If I could fly
Oh what would life be like if I could fly.
Not be a fly but be able to fly.
I would soar over the hills and watch life below me
Moving about like ants viewed from above.

If I could fly I wouldn’t need to stop at check points or
Face the men with big bellies asking “papers please”
Sometimes forgetting the please and rubbing their
Greedy hands in glee because they know that no matter what
You have to get to the other side, so they get ready for their bribes.

If I could fly I would visit places I had read about in books,
Seen on the news and watched in films,
Money would be no object
I would just go until I dropped
If only I could fly.

If I could fly I wouldn’t be stuck in traffic jams
Wouldn’t have to pay ridiculous fares to get from A to B
I would just put on my protective clothes and away I would go
Arriving on time.

If I could fly, I wonder how I would feel
after going through the fog or,
After being burnt by the suns rays going through the depleted ozone layer,
After breathing the fumes of the industrial cities,
How would I really feel?
I might just leave the flying to the birds who have no choice but to fly,
Think of what we non fliers have created for them
Pollution, fumes,
Think of what would happen to them if they could not fly,
They would live and we who could fly would die.
copyright MTD

Behind Closed Doors


Behind the red door
The family sat silently watching TV,
No words passed between them
This was the family all the neighbours admired,
They seemed organized, rich, happy and full of smiles,
But the silence, anger and unconcern just stayed hidden behind the red door.

Behind the blue door sat Mrs. Y,
Alone with her dogs, and some bottles of wine.
Known to her neighbours as the successful lawyer
Her family were gone and were not coming back
She spent more time climbing up the corporate ladder
No kind word for another,
And now alone in her house she sat
Waiting for something, I don’t know what,
Her loneliness stayed behind the blue door.

Behind the white door a poor family sat,
Not much money but rich in love,
The happiness filled the house like a light.
The other neighbours felt sorry for them.
The only ones without a car,
So many children dressed in rags
But theirs was a joy to behold
The love they shared was beyond compare
Behind the white door.

Behind the yellow door a lady sat crying
Her husband just came and gave her a beating,
The first of the day but not the last,
He was a man of great standing
Loved by his followers and supporters, always ready to help
His wife always looked smart,
A perfect wife in all respect
But no one knew what happened behind the yellow door.

Behind the purple door a young man sat,
With a gun and a bottle of pills,
His parents had nagged him to carry on the tradition
To be a doctor or a lawyer but it was not in him
Nothing he said would make them understand that his love was to be a musician
After a family fight at home last night he decided to take his life
This is the one thing they can’t control
Now I will decide what to do with my life
The gunshot rung out!
Behind the purple door.

Behind the brown door
Two old people sat
They had been together over fifty years
Their children all grown and grandchildren too
They loved life and were full of joy
Every moment the phone rang it was a child
Asking how they were and showing love
You get what you give and it shows
From the happy family that sat behind the brown door.

Never look at people with envy,
You don’t know what burdens they carry,
And even if you judge them harshly.
Your problems may be more than theirs
But if you look with envy and hate
You attract the same to you
Your life may not seem good to you
But someone outside is envying you
Behind every door the story will unfold
And one day it will all be told
© MTDFebruary 2005

OVERSEAS


From an early age we hear the phrase,
"When you grow up you should do well
and then you could go overseas."
What is this overseas that we hear so much about?
Those who come from there seem to have so much money to spend,
they buy cars and build houses,
but, in the end, do they tell the truth about this overseas?
From morning to night, if you are lucky,
you get to work like a stupid monkey,
you are at their beck and call,
afraid of losing that bad job at all,
because the next one would be harder to get
because your skin is not the right shade, or your
words don't sound right or you just don't fit.
No time to rest, no time to play,
no time to see your children,
no time
no money to send, but you do it anyway,
after all what would your friends and family say?
You are lucky, You have a permit,
hell is for those who don't,
dodging police, and sleeping on friend's floors,
when there are guests around you are sent outdoors.
Finding all means to marry a woman to stay,
a woman who will make hell a better place to be.
After many years when you finally get settled,
someone dear to you dies over the seas from where you came,
you take a bank loan; make the trip, and come back home,
and the cycle starts again.
They think you are rich, you pay the bills,
you smile and laugh but you know the
hell you will go back to when the plane lands
overseas.
The bills are waiting for you,
the debt collector is on your door,
a delayed plane means no job.
You owe more than when you came
and yet people here look with envy.
When you fly away on a plane,
to the place of their dreams…..
overseas.
©MTD

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Old Tin Roof


The rain fell hard on the old tin roof

And sounded like pearls dropping on a glass table.

The sound was muffled and deep,

The air was heavy and damp, warming the room,

Through the window the sun's rays came in at an angle

Leaving warmth upon our feet.

As I lay on the bed, my eyes scanned the room,

How can that precious moment end so soon?

You lay by my side watching me,

A smile formed across your face as our eyes met,

No words were spoken but we both knew what happened to me

Certainly happened to you.

You weren't tender or slow,

The passion brought on an unexpected glow,

Your thighs entwined with mine,

Covered in sweat,

It was as though we had just met.

The rhythms of your moves made me feel the groove

The grip of your arms made me feel so safe,

The kiss of your lips on my cheek made me feel high,

The caresses of your fingers on my thighs- oh my,

Nothing, not even the rain on the old tin roof,

Could stop that moment when time stood still,

That time that revealed the moment of truth.

©MTD

The Dancer

The dancer moved to the drum beat
His expression full of heat
His neck moved in unison with his feet
His hands told a story
His eyes spoke of things past, present and future
The beauty enough to move you
His feet moved gracefully
His body twisted and turned
Like a leaf in the hot sun
His muscles rolled and jerked
To the pulsating rhythm of the drum beat.
Every so often his cloth slid down his hips
And graceful fingers pulled it back in place
The movement so slight you hardly noticed.
The drummers drummed in trance
Their rhythms vibrating up the soles of our feet
The dancer kept on talking with his body
Sweat ran down his dark muscular flesh
Only to fly off him and land at his feet when his movements jerked
There was a silence, then a shout when the dance ended
Women with brightly coloured scarves wiped the sweat off the dancer
To acknowledge the beauty of the dance
The dancer's glazed eyes sparkled
His lips turned up in a smile
His spirit came back inside him.
The spirits of his forefathers came to him
During the rhythms of the beautiful dance.

©MTD

SWAY

Sway, Sway,
The movement the young girls made when going down the street,
Their cloth tied around their waists could not hide the beauty of the movement and swaying of their hips and juggling of young breasts.
The shape of their bodies, the outline of their waist beads,
Youthful as they came, young, immature and fresh.
Sway, Sway.

Their chests heaved up and down in unison with their walking,
with their laughter with their singing.
Sweat glistened on their exposed skin giving them a glossy look.
They were girls in their prime.
Suddenly they stopped.

A beautiful full-bodied woman came towards them.
She was very curvaceous; her breasts hung lower, her hips broader,
Her stomach was much rounder, but there was something about her movement that was different.
Her waist was thicker with ripples and mounds,
Her arms fuller and her back firmer.
She was a woman in her prime.
Who could beat that?
The girls look on as she passed by and said to themselves "one day we will be like her"
The envy showed in their eyes as the proud woman went by,
Balancing her goods on her head.

She was the most sought after woman in the village,
Widowed two years ago she had mourned deeply and now blossomed as the dark clothes were removed from her.
She had confidence, knowledge, wisdom and the experience of love, pain and loss.
She could weather all storms that came her way,
But right now she just lived for herself and loved her family.
When she walked by there was something erotic about her.

That was the mystery about her that got the young girls staring,
The young men anxious and the old men nodding their heads as the beautiful woman passed by swaying, swaying, swaying.

©MTD

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Wedding


The families sat in a circle

His to one side, hers to the other

This was the day she made a husband of my brother.

The elders sat in anticipation while our Father gave his speech

Our proud mother looked around her

While the young ones sat at her feet.

Words of wisdom came from around

The dowry was passed around

The groom sat twisting his hand

Worried, in case there would be a change of plan.

The elders nodded with approval

At the things set out on the table.

Bring her in they said

And we all turned our heads

To look at the girl who took my brothers love

The game to break the ice started,

She came in with her head and face covered

Her friend and sister behind her

Their faces covered too

Is this the one you want to wed

Pointing to the friend instead

No said my brother,

They pointed to her sister too

Is this the one you want to marry

No said my brother,

Pointing to the bride they said

Is this the one you what to wed

Yes my elders, my brother said.

He takes a step towards his queen

Lifts the veil and his face beams

The real bride is here, this is my wife to be

He pulls her close for all to see

We now accept your proposition,

Our families have made their investigations

Will you accept this man today?

She blushed and turned to them to say

It is my wish dear fathers of mine

To be the wife of this kind man.

Rings were exchanged

Libation poured

Gifts exchanged

And the crowd roared.

Dondoo dondoo dondoo

Aware so aware so aware so

They sat together with their parents

Not knowing what the future holds

Music played

People danced

This was the beginning of their trip

Into the unknown world

©MTD

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I Smile

I want to dedicate this poem to someone not here today……….



When I hear the crickets in the night, and see the twinkling of the stars,

When I feel the breeze on my cheeks and in my hair

I smile


The leaves rustle gently, the distant sound of a car going fast down the lane, the sudden quietness for a moment

Makes me smile


I hear the drumbeat far away

A group of dancers probably at play,

The tears filling the eyes quickly blinked away,

I smile


Your love is eternal,

It never faded away,

I still feel it in me

Every minute of the day.


I stare into the distance

See the mist on the hill darkened by shadows of trees,

Swaying in the gentle breeze

And I smile


Your touch kept me going

Your moves kept me in the groove

Your smell kept me intoxicated

That is why I still smile

©MTD


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