Poetry by Kwame Abrantipa
Women shouldn’t read this poem.
Shouldn’t ask why
Shouldn’t kiss a woman
Shouldn’t found a religion
or want sex
or invent anything her husband can’t take credit for and should be mad only at herself for it.
Should be breakable
She should be her tears and find God in her terror
She should feel and not be felt
She should form man, birth man, nurture him
then have to listen to ‘man’ say ‘woman’ was made from ‘man’ and have to watch ‘man’ deny his maker.
She should be smooth and worship the sandpaper bruises
Should need a man
Should be perfect, her only flaw should be that she’s a woman
Women should cover up
Cover up her thighs, her breasts, her hair, her back,
her face (with make-up),her feet (in heels),
her words (with a silence that will not stop scratching at the walls of an asylum cell),
her pain, her standards (with scripture),
her husband’s transgressions with a smile,
her identity (with marriage) and her eyes (from the truth)
A woman is her God’s then her parent’s
then her husband’s and never her own
Men draw strength from what women are not
because they won’t match up to what women are.
Woman shouldn’t say the above
or read this poem.
. C ha r .
Don’t ask me about pain.
To speak of my pain is to stare into a never-ending pit in whose belly I have received too many burials
Too many last words echoing into an earthquake,
too many tears that burns skin like fire does
It is to tell you, that pain is a power without peers.
I will have to tell you pain is the ringing in your ears after the song is done and pleasure could not conquer time
and “sorry” feels like childbirth
and love takes its mask off to show you its charred face
I’ll have to write every one of my scars into funeral songs
so I can muffle them with melody and chorus for hearts torn down
and the tombstones that stand in their stead.
I’ll have to exhume dead bodies, stir up the stench of rotten flesh,
tell truths that cannot be unheard, say words that aren’t ready,
confess sins nobody’s God knows to forgive without the scorch of punishment.
don’t ask me about pain
if you cannot stomach charred babies.
Kwame abrantipa is a Laboratory Technologist and an Analytical Chemist, but he likes to think writing poetry is what he was to born to do. His favourite things in the entire world are art history and golden tree’s king’s bite chocolate.
Originally published April 19, 2019