March 1986 (Date Behind a Photograph)

Poetry by Korley Adjaottor

In this memory,
We will always be sitting behind a pile of logs
At Abeka – Lapaz,
Bursting with joy; full grins,
Shouldering one another,
For the best spot in front of the camera.
The motorway will remain, a dusty stretch,
And my right hand, still stretched to wave you goodbye.

The mango tree, the corn mill in the distance,
The puff of smoke that will forever be escaping from its chimney, Caught against red evening skies,
Will forever be in this memory.

I can hear the corn mill clapping,
Screech briefly, and clap away.
In this memory,
There is laughter, there are tears,
There are uncles, and aunts, cousins, sisters, brothers.
You were leaving that evening.

This place no longer holds any memories of you.
We have moved on.
This place has long since moved on.
We do not sell firewood by the motorway anymore;
The motorway is now tarred, with traffic lights and railings.
Very little remains of this memory in this place.

Time has long since fled,
And most of these memories lie dead,
Till we see these photos
Of times once shared,
And wake ghosts.

So when you call and tell those stories;
Those cold, hard, immigrant stories,
I wish I could just say to you,
“Come back home brother,
Come back home, where your blackness has never,
And will never be a stain in any memory.”

 

There Are Horny Cats Everywhere

There are horny cats everywhere,
Some hanging around late nights on my back wall,

Others stirring the bush in my backyard at dawn,
Making eerie cat calls like a baby crying.

Instantly chilling the dawn silence
And dotting me over, stiff with goosebumps.

When first I heard that shrill love cry.
I am horny too and I long for love.

I look out my window
And there are horny cats everywhere,

Calling, hissing viciously, scratching and chasing,
Raging cat love everywhere.
And perhaps I, alone,
Am awake on Bamboo Street, Dansoman,

Horny and missing you
And watching and listening to cats

Loving fiercely behind my window.
And perhaps I, alone,

Will wake you at this time,
Wanting some,

With the excuse that
There are horny cats everywhere

And they are getting some,
And you will laugh and sleep.

And perhaps you alone,
Will call me savagely later in the day

When you remember,
That a cool and horny cat by cat standards;

Bushy tail, and big balls, and fine coat,
poised, ready to pounce,

Hissed wildly at you this dawn
Because there were horny cats everywhere.

 

An Encounter

It was past midnight
And his stomach grumbled and ached.
Having convinced himself
That the night was safe,
Dumping all fears,
Uplifting much courage
As would be found,

He dashed out to the dumps,
Slipped out of his shorts,

Bent into a squat
And eased himself in loud and quick spurts.

Sputtering still,
He caught sight of
A lone figure –
Such as a man’s –
Hunched just by,
Maybe easing himself too
By the dump

Where the town kids did.

What struck the young boy was:
The moon shone bare.
Could he, he would,

Rewind time to prove
None came later,
And there was absolutely no soul there
When he half running, half walking came,
Holding his raging bowels.

He had overeaten Fufu earlier

And he couldn’t just let the thing gush into his pants.

Jesus! The smell,

The squishy – squashy thing

spilled all over his thighs,

Till morning?

In the room shared with his siblings?

Never!
And now, here he was
Rooted in fear beside
Something or someone dreadful.

He held still as the night.

He wished for a sign

Maybe a cough or a sigh
From the stranger,
To assure him
This was no infernal spirit,
That he had come

Blinded by unease,
That he just hadn’t noticed.

Even though he was done

He stayed put

Hoping the stranger would move first.
He remained

Squatting, for torturous minutes,
The figure wouldn’t shift.
So he jolted up once again,
With what courage would be found
And skipped into his shorts

Without cleaning himself,
And walked stiffly off;

Away from the heaviness behind him
Acting his best to look indifferent.
By morning, he was dreadfully ill,

And till weeks after
Words could barely crawl out his lips.

Bio
Korley Adjaottor, is an artist, and a poet from Ada. An avid learner, dog breeder and a tinkerer of sorts, his writing is inspired mostly by life experiences. Mr. Adjaottor balances his creative and literary pursuits with outdoors work on the farm.

No Comments Yet

Comments are closed


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.