Poetry by Coby Daniels
This is a one-sided phone conversation but at the tone,
Please leave a reply-
This is your son’s voice sounding mechanical over your fax machine
I know without missing a beat
That you have to be at work
But is thirty minutes too much to ask?
I have grown up learning to abide by principles
Especially one from scripture that says:
Obey thine Ma and Pa
Yes, because I want to have grand children before I lay down to sleep
I sometimes wonder what goes on, on your side of our existence
Do you feel the elements the way I do?
You say I love you son but my brain processes it
With a twist
The last time we met,
Did you realize I am an attestation of your spitting image?
So if you ever want a decoy, I’m your double
Please just dont spit so many promises to swell my head
Because I can’t afford to lose it
I wonder if you would have wanted to share any moment with me
Will there ever be a chance to see you behind my steering wheel?
I want to come of age with your counsel burned into my foot prints
To keep me on the right path so I shall not trespass
I want to know your mistakes and never repeat them
I want to draw strength from your worthy examples
I want to wake to the cock-crow with you under one roof
I want to ask you questions
With deep rooted answers
Who are you and where are you from?
What do you want out of this life?
How did I get to be here?
By accident or according to plan?
Why did we never play ball together?
Have you been so busy all your life?
I have a dream but I’m afraid they may be right
Those people that say you don’t care about my dreams
But you haunt my dreams, a silent vision
So I spend sleepless nights reviewing things we could do between us
And when morning comes, I just hope nobody notices the strained look in my eyes
I anticipate hearing you talk about memories
Of boyhood days and growing up
And of wooing or falling in love
I cannot remember clearly the images of your going away
But the truth remains, that beneath the grudgingly murmured ‘How are you?’ There lies a deeply rooted ‘I miss you’
I would give anything to be telepathic
Just so I could read your mind
I would love to hear you talk of dreams you had
On your way to your mother’s farm
Did you like to blank out in a corner like I do sometimes?
I see grey haired Sirs on an evening walk with sons
And all I think is, damn,
This could be me at thirty and you on a pension
I miss the birthday post cards with cartoon characters
And that familiar scrawl, your name
The R with the loop that always caught my attention
I take a trip down memory lane once in a blue moon
To see my six year old self in the sofa with you
Talking about future careers I wanted to try out
But when you left, I stopped day dreaming
Rescheduling so I could dream at night
And bring it to fruition in day light
I want to know about family traditions you would want me to keep
About those taboos you would advise me not to break
What of the fears? Your worst nightmare?
Time runs out for those who wish when they grow old
To sit in the warmth of family circles
I want to be by your bedside when you’re ready to go
Not to read you bedtime stories
But to hear you tell me life stories
Before then, I want to believe there will be time
To share a few bottles of beer
While we catch up on the lost years between us
There is so much more left unsaid
But you and I know, there is no luxury of time
I wait to hear your voice over the line as soon as possible
Please call back,
At the click of the line.
Coby Daniels is a young Ghanaian poet, novelist and spoken word artiste. He tweets at @coby_daniels and blogs at cobysthinktank.wordpress.com
Originally published November 22, 2019