Burning My Seat At The Table

Poetry by Chrissie Akesi Chinebuah

The one I was never invited to
You just watched me stand
To eat my lunch,
A salad, else scare your body ideals,
While balancing a bottle of water
So my words do not turn to dust
On my dehydrated tongue.

And the quiet existence
You hoped I would live
Is not enthusiastic about tiptoeing
Into the spaces you colonise,
For sake of leaving space
For your breath to terrorise
Others not like you.
I cannot rock your
Fragile, new-born egos
Into the comfort of knowing
My footsteps will disappear as I walk.

My voice has grown restless,
Of knocking against my teeth,
Of ripping the wooden shutters
That embrace your ears,
The ones who throw tantrums
When they catch scent
Of the freedom in my tone.

So I pile wood
On each myopic box
I did not fit into,
I pour kerosene
On the names and shame
I wore like a fraud,
I strike a match
Against the silent battle
To be both seen and heard,
And throw my fiery passion
To garnish this combustible creation
All in hope that it will catch fire –
Or at least someone’s attention.

 

Fast Impressions

In the blink of an eye,
The admiration you shower
On the hairstyles we wear
To tackle our stubborn roots,
Becomes sour disapproval
When the very same cornrows and afros
Infiltrate your tunnel vision.

And at lightning speed,
You imprison the volume
We can liberate the sound
Of the drums and the incantations
Coating our spirited music,
The one that sells you rhythm
At a discounted rate.

As quickly as you marvel
At the harmonious patterns
Swimming in our national dress
Do you race against time
To make desperate replicas
Of the dreams we weave with
The magic in our hands.

You are fast and furious
With your denial of credit
To the spice whisperers
Who seasoned your thoughts,
Even though you awaken your cuisine
From its bland and dormant slumber
With the colourful flavours of our motherland.

Before the ink dries
You try to rewrite in new tongues
Our deep-rooted traditions –
The forgery of illustrious canvases
By forced enthusiasts claiming false ownership.

Bio
Chrissie Chinebuah is an aspiring lawyer who currently lives in Accra, Ghana. She is a lover of all things creative, having tried her hand at painting and DJing in addition to poetry. Her work is forthcoming or has been published in Momaya, AgbowÃ, Through the Eyes of African Women, Feminessay and Journal of African Youth Literature. Aside from her passion for poetry, she also has a travel and lifestyle photography page on Instagram, @theculturedvice.

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About Tampered Press

Tampered press started out as a conversation on creating more platform and visibility for writers and visual artists in Ghana and Africa. While blackness has become more noticeable now than in the past, and more space is gradually being created at the table 

black as an identity is heavily nuanced and has to be dissected and carefully documented. African artists in particular have fewer platforms. Our experiences, mannerisms and culture often have similarities, but our style, design, creation and content are different.