Poetry

Strange Ignorance: Poems by Nana Akyempo

knock-knock

Image: Ray MacLean via Flickr (cropped)

STRANGE IGNORANCE

Strange ignorance is knocking at my door
I know it’s him because he’s been here before
Today he comes in 140 characters and more
Wearing hashtags and fake deeps
Screaming at me and waving frantically through the window
The window of free speech has always been treacherous
A very bold Judas
It is through this very window
That vision of the truth has been blurred
And the story of a people left discarded or misbranded

I am agitating this rocking chair with my pacing
I am not confused about what to do
It’s the how
How can I allow my identity
To be forged in history’s counterfeit chambers?
Chambers that think they have trapped the whispers
of my grandfather and grandmother’s stories

Ignorance wants to hand me a clean slate
And tell me to start over
To write my history
As if the sweat of the past does not seep out of these abused pores
As if my name is not an ancient echo
Of an identity brutally disrupted and deliberately retold
But never successfully obliterated
Ignorance tells me to forget
That which I have not known
To become that which I am not
The thing that society’s political correctness can tick as acceptable
As these oppressors feed on my fears and
become thick as ticks filled with melanin-flavoured blood

Strange Ignorance, I know why you are here
To convince me that I am a victim of hate
When really they are the victims
They are victims of unrighteousness
Blinded by an absence of salvation
Driven by the fear of their vulnerabilities
I know you and your kind
Stranger
You are not so strange anymore
Because I know you for who you are
A misguided missile and a broken periscope
You attack with impunity
And hide in the comfort of your whiteness
Your comfort makes my discomfort the more justified
It makes these songs of freedom worth repeating
They beg to be sang
They exist to be told, our stories beyond the fireside
That is why your hard knocking is foolishness
That is why your screaming is trapped in the bell jar of my determination
My determination to ignore you
is borne from a solemn place
A place of realization
that my single focus should be on celebrating my greatness
For that is who I am
That is who we are
So we won’t overcome
No. We already overcame before we came
So keep knocking
Until you relent and return to where you came from
And tell the devil how you failed to do his bidding
As for my resilient soul
It shall remain a house of truth
And the knowledge of its journey
Is a crown that I gracefully wear and defiantly own
Strange Ignorance
How futile your knocking is!

—————

GRAVEYARD

it’s the third time now
the stench is familiar now.
carcass. still-born love.
buried in the shallow trenches of this heart.
the crows don’t fly over the bloody graveyard.
the sun never brings flowers.
so the greyness keeps watch.
it’s such a devil. the greyness.
so black with deadliness. so white with happiness.
these people can’t see the black. they want to believe
that this is a happy place. this is a playground with
sunshine and rain and random giggles. with life.
do you think they will know?
if the crows came…that this is a graveyard…
that still-born love lives here.
this heart this land this grave…
it keeps drawing the dead ones here
i think they like it here. they keep coming back
fear was here yesterday, wanted to know
“what if there is another one?”
“what, today or tomorrow?” asks the greyness
so eager to do duty
maybe. but this is just the third one…
—————
Poems © Nana Akyempo
Image: Ray MacLean via Flickr (cropped)

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