On Names…Addo

Poetry by Reinfred Dziedzorm Addo

(In celebration of my parents and my siblings. Also in celebration of the extended Addo family; even if your name does not necessarily have ‘Addo’ in it, you know who you are)

Part 1
Last name, please?
Addo.
Addu?
No, ma’am, Addo: ay-dee-dee-oh. Alpha-Delta-Delta-Oscar, sir!
That name is not quite from around here.
Addo.
Addu?
No, don’t add a ‘u’,
not “Addu” with a ‘u’.
It’s Addo,
rhymes with “dough” and “doe”,
as in Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do, Do Ti La So Fa Mi Re Do. “Add-o”,
literally, add ‘o’,
the letter ‘o’.

But of course it doesn’t actually mean
“to add ‘o'”, no.
It means “king of the road”,
or “king of the path”.
It’s the surname of a family from a faraway
country called Ghana (this particular family
being from Volta), in ancient Africus’s continent.
King of the road, king of the path.
Those born into this family must be kings
of their destinies, kings of the roads on which they
choose to travel in life. They get to rule
where their path leads and not be subjected to the
whims of the machina. A luxury afforded
to only a few other names.

Part 2
In this family there have been many
different types of kings. There is the seamstress,
sewer of the durable work clothes and tailor of safety for the
farmers, who grow the food and income of the
grocer. She in turn supplies the rations and morale boost to the
soldiers, who fight for everyone’s right to exist. Having
come close to death’s scythe many times, they upon
returning home from battle, seek to find spiritual
renewal and meaning from the
reverend, he bringing healing to their hearts and minds.
The reverend is able to do this because he has the
police officers, who uphold and protect the law,
which contains the reverend’s right to help others
find spiritual and religious fulfillment. There is the
brewer, who concocts the magical drinks and the release
the police officers need when things become lawless
and the level of corruption becomes oppressive.
The brewer at times turns to the reverend, discussing
whether wine was the right thing to drink on the night
of His betrayal (they both agree that wine is good, for
each in his own way, benefits from the events that
happened long ago in the Upper Room).

Part 3
In that family, there are also the occupational
therapist and social worker, who make sure all have
the wherewithal and resources to practice their craft.
There is the nurse, who heals all back to health in
order for them to keep the blood line flowing in
addition to giving them the strength and endurance
to work and play. There are also the
teachers, who first taught everyone else their
respective employ and disseminated wisdom,
that which is higher than even knowledge.
And many more are the kings in that family,
each ruling a chosen road in the world.
These are the kings, these are the Addos,
long shall their name live.

Bio
Reinfred Dziedzorm Addo is a Ghanaian-American writer/speech-language pathologist residing in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, USA. His medical poetry has been published by the National Foundation of Swallowing Disorders (of the United States).

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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.