Poetry by Henneh Kyereh Kwaku
January 2019 has come & gone like the Ghanaian presidential term, like the Accra floods. & like the floods, January took 190 lives through road accidents. I do not want to say the roads are bad anymore—the bads are roads. Do not say potholes, say manholes. Do not say reckless drivers—blame those who ask: anything for the boys? Do not blame because I’ve said so. Do not take yourself from the action & say: they took Gh¢1.00 from me. Say: I bribed the police. Blame yourself. Do not say our flag does not dance when between the French & the American flag—our flag is cotton & shy, not just anything blows it away—so was this country made. This is your country. Our flag is not on any missile meant to wipe half of the world—our presidents are not Thanos to snap & wipe. We’d rather snap & get Noah’s Ark for Accra before the floods
On the rear side of a van, on the glass—a sticker reads:
STOP ROAD ACCIDENTS NOW!
this van shouldn’t be roadworthy, this van is parked
by the roadside, a narrow road—where it reads:
And it seems to me you lived your life // Like a candle in the wind // Never knowing who to cling to // When the rain set in —Elton John (Candle in the Wind)
Here’s a poem that starts with a lie & ends with the truth—
The year is 2019 & two young black kids living close to the refuse dump in their neighborhood have made a time machine from scraps, from the refuse dump. Everyone is proud of them, not just because of what they’ve done but also because we wouldn’t need to look for ways to properly dispose these scraps. Also, because all humans can go back to before the oceans were filled with so much plastic & no one complained of climate change. Before whales, turtles & other sea creatures choked on plastic to death.
These kids are my friends, my bluds, I claim this kinship, wherever I be, trust me. I get to time travel back to 1982, surprise, in 1982, I’m an old man who reads the newspapers everyday with my lenses slightly tilting towards the broadness of my nose. On the TV, three Judges are gone.
The year is 1982. When the year began, there were judges & there were three judges. The year ends & there are no three judges. But there are judges. Gone with the wind. Three judges gone. Not gone—killed but death is responsible for their death. Everyone knows someone pushed the hands of death to take their lives. It wasn’t their time to go. Someone showed them the way to go too early. Justices—Poku Sarkodie, Cecelia Koranteng-Addow and Kwadwo Adjei Agyepong—all gone. News headline: Witness accuses ex-Ghanaian president of killing judges.
Henneh Kyereh Kwaku studied a Bachelor of Public Health, Disease
Control program at the University of Health & Allied Sciences, Ghana. He’s from Gonasua in the Brong Region of Ghana. He has poems & Micro prose published/forthcoming at New South Journal, Three Drops Press, Ghana Writes, Lunaris Review, Kalahari Review, Praxis Magazine & elsewhere. His Chapbook is included in the 2020 boxset of the New-Generation African Poets series edited by Kwame Dawes & Chris Abani.
Originally published October 30, 2019