To All The Women Who Drive

Poetry by Chrissie Chinebuah

We wage wars to drive in Africa,
Just to battle the militant eyes bartering
Discomfort for a meal, for a taste
At the expense of our personal space
Or the headlights whose invasive reach
Tailgate our bodily havens –
We deal with trespassers.

In traffic
Horns catcall after our number-plated derrieres,
Polluting the air with noisy names
Brands, we do not call ourselves,
And street hawkers bombard satisfaction
With unreasonable gluttony,
Causing men to forget that not all goods
Paraded, put on display in open windows,
Are for sale.

So we entrap ourselves in our moving prisons
And steer with caution they critique,
Through minefields of reckless manhood,
As we watch our freedom regress
Into pillars of salt, things that slip between fingers
In the rear-view mirrors of our cars.

What if one of us refused to parallel park
Into the space
that makes
them
comfortable?

Would they then deny us the right to a licence?

 

The Deviants Have Come Home

      we are moving
backwards,
      into the prison piety builds.
      for us – they ask,
who  are  we?
     we are those
     entrusted to safeguard
     f l o w e r s
     for the perusal of others.

 

     they tell
     Gatekeepers
     of lost generations
     to w e e d
                                                              the immoral chaff
     from the cranial sponges
     of their communities,
     to ensure we groom our gardens
     before the proprietors
return.
     w e  m o v e
     quickly
     by day and by night,
     to u
            n
               r
                 a
                   v
                      e
                         l
            the free will
            we weaved with our desires.

 

     so newspapers
travel back in time
     with the spare parts of
     s h a t t e r e d obedience
     and use linguistic weapons
     to SCARE the m
                                 a
                                   s
                                      s
                                        e
                                          s –
  we are warned of
     HORMONES,
      the famished epidemic
     that will corrupt our organs
     if  we  let  it.

 

the rebels have visited
from town                   to                     town;

they have instructed
we must no longer
QUARANTINE
the petals we carry
in the fertile shame of our groins.
they campaign
for the burning of old wives’ tales –
and s  p r e a d a contagion of riot
and start a m o v e m e n t against constraints
that is not of birds, that is of not bees.

we have heard them say
“Africa, is a man’s w o r l d”,
but you live in our homes,
you breathe in our s p a c e s,
you even work in our f i e l d s –
when will you m o v e                                                                     out?

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.