of peculiar flowers/like sound of laughter/fluid in words you could spell/only after lettering down/libations on territories/virgin with mystic bites/of your footsteps/creating gardens/of hope beyond tales

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Death of a woman at church and the nonsense thereafter

A 30 year old woman dies at church. The media reports it. End of story. No further questions asked and then some of the comments going around:

“She will end up in heaven because she died at church,” “Oh at least she crossed over to 2014 before she died,” “it is better that she died in a church and not a night club…”etc

Really, what in god’s name is wrong with us?

Everybody knows that watch-night services are huge ‘shows’ in Ghana. Religious events in general, for examples, crusades, all night prayers services, and gospel ‘explosions’ can attract an excessive number of people including the infirm. Yet, does nobody take emergency preparedness for crowd-intensive events seriously in Ghana. People who are ill often attend religious programs because in a country where miracles can be bought, you just want to try your luck. The downside to this is that, the potential for health/medical related emergencies on-site increases. But who cares? ‘God will save us if something happens and if God doesn’t save us, God knows best.’ “Give the person sitting close to you a hi-five and say…” We were in this country when the want for ‘anointed TB Joshua water” caused a stampede and killed four people alongside injuring 15 other persons but hey, that was all in God’s big plan for us.

Where do First Aid boxes belong? From getting a headache to passing out; these are things that can happen to anyone on any day at any place. And when you an organizer of events like watch-night services, political rallies, entertainment shows, carnivals, demonstrations… etc. You must have a risk management plan which should cater for emergency health issues. If you are planning a crowd–intensive event and you can’t afford a first aid box/room, professional health care givers, and in some cases, an ambulance, located at a clearly marked out area where the crowd can get help from if there is an emergency, you are not yet ready to be an event organizer. It doesn’t matter if you have organized 3 million events and nothing has ever happened. The same way we think to provide pastors, politicians and the whatnots with bodyguards and police escorts at events even though no one ever tries to slap them ( oh why not ah? ), we should prioritize the health care and security of the crowd. Obia ny3 obia, defused.

I don’t want to ‘take my lack of faith come spoil azonto-for-kristo,’ but is it not just common sense to take precautions and prioritize the health and safety of the masses? Okay, will you do it if I say it is the holy spirit who directed me to say this? Uhm, yeah, the holy spirit asked me, so please, when planning your next crusade, political rally, entertainment show etc, don’t only think about bodyguards and police personnel to protect the ‘big shots.’ Think about the safety of the crowd after all it is their offering you use to feed your family. It is their votes that get you the job, and it is their patronage of your music that gets you the fake bling-bling. Amen.

I am not a health care professional. I am not a risk management expert of any sort. I am just a depressed writer who thinks Ghana should start importing some common sense alongside the tooth picks we import from china despite the many bamboo trees growing in our forests.

Patience Tetteh, who knows if the church was well ventilated? May your soul Rest in Peace.

Monday, January 6, 2014

September, 2053

Like cats lick
their dead kittens
we gather by
your lifeless body
and make promises
with our tongues
brushing against our teeth
We cry for ourselves
knowing you will let
your body smell nasty for once
in the insides of our red sand
and we can not turn the shower on
and tell you ‘it is not too cold’

Your bones will be useless even to dogs
six feet too deep
yet too shallow
to hold up the memories
you created with us
every morning
you shake me awake,
point out the wrinkles on my dress
remove the dirt in my nails
yell at everything
Breakfast will be cold,
I walk too slow,
My hair needs oiling,
do I not see that
my hair needs oiling?

Six feet too shallow
to hold our conversations
on how I need Christ,
how you need me to have money for me,
and then I tell you about my dreams
and you send smiles and say
‘ok, hurry before I get too old’
You yell at me some more
for drinking the milk you left
for the cats whom you understood better than me

You did everything for me
didn’t you?
Now I have to learn to cry
for myself
Because you are not here to do it,
like you did every night
after I told you
that my dreams were not mine.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Red Red Towels

There is an earthquake inside of me
every month,
it clots and drops through me
slowly distributing cramps
on the lower side of things.

Long ago I was an egg
now, I make eggs
and break them
with lost appetite

I used to be a girl
with legs that could part wide on any day
jump ropes , kick balls
and have nothing drop out
slowing, gently, making me crazy
counting the days, rolling blood in my palm...

There is an earthquake happening inside of me
and you want me to say hi?
Look, fetch me a towel and wait

Friday, August 2, 2013


“Remember when we were happy and carefree
and laughed at Eric in class?”

Where did those days go?
or was it us who left?

“We are not laughing enough”

Laughter can hurt
so it doesn't come around if there is already pain

“We started paying rent”

Yes we did and we started measuring our dreams
with our hands
the (wo)man of our dreams had appeared and left and appeared and left and appeared and left and still it wasn't them

we felt our dreams had lied to us
and had the nerve to stay on in our face
telling us that it was our fault
that we didn’t dream new dreams

and when we dreamt new dreams
it was a dream in the old dream
and we cut our hair
grew it
hated it
and loved it the next day

we confuse our dreams
as our dreams play with our freedom

maybe we stopped laughing because we stopped dreaming
maybe we stopped laughing because we stopped looking for Eric

Monday, July 22, 2013

Closed eyes

It grew,
this thing we felt,
it was whole
you were
Lover, loved, love
and then you saw questions
that wouldn’t end
it annoyed you,
every time
with my fist in you it was harder to reach you
and you frowned sometimes
spark in my eyes hid
I thought
you unlike the others
but like them
came with a lesson
so I sit here calling you
love lover beloved
but my heart has forgotten
how to break

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Not Love

It was the line both kindness and idiocy shared—that was what confused our meetings. I took my action for kindness and she saw idiocy, the kind imposed by love. A love that didn’t exist between us, at least not until I said “I could easily love her…” and she told everybody I had said that and in her mind we were in some kind of a relationship already. What she didn’t know was that my ‘idiocy’ extended to everyone else in that same measure. So, I became a flirt and unfaithful in her manic eyes. She needed me to be hers. I cared as deeply for women less beautiful, less educated, and less complicated as she and that offended her. If she could make me crave her and only her, then maybe then will be the time to dump me in our imaginary relationship. It was all confusing, this woman and what she was doing in my life or me in hers.

She complained if I called often, she cried when I didn’t. I was wrong in every action I took, until I decided I would let her have what she wanted but she didn’t want anything from me. That was what she said when I asked her, “nothing.”

“Then you should have no use for me,” I said.

“What do you mean? How about me, don’t you want anything from me? Don’t you want me in your life?”


Before I could finish my sentence, she had grabbed me by the arm and thrown me on her chest. I had no idea, she was that strong. Why did she act so girly for someone bearing such strength? If she could pull me, and I was twice as heavy as her, why did she scream in a high-pitched voice when she saw a wall gecko? Her lips were pressed hard on mine. All adults should have “don’t stop” in their vocabulary and it should belong to the ‘overly used words’ bit of the vocabulary. That was what I was thinking but,

“stop, what are you doing?!”

Is what came out of my mouth instead, I know I am such a jellyfish. The good thing is that she didn't stop.
She tried to push me on her couch but she missed. My ass hit hard on the floor before my head did. The sound of my head crashing to her tiled living room floor must have echoed in the neighbor’s flat. She pounced on me with a giggle and tore my shirt open.

“I’ll fuck you and make you mine.” She said.

I was in some sort of a twilight zone at that point; her voice sounded ten blocks away. I could feel the moist from the back of my head. I knew I had cut my skin, I could smell blood. I finally lifted my hand to touch hers on my chest and that is all I can remember.

According to her, everything I have just told you is made up. She didn't kiss me, ‘she would never do that without my permission’. She couldn't push me to the ground, where was she going to get that kind of strength from?

I had come to her flat with milk she had requested for. I had brought one for myself and was drinking from the bottle when I got there. I spilled my milk and in rush to get a mob, I slipped and fell. That was her story.

Maybe the fall has affected the way my memory, she said. I knew she was lying but it was my word against hers, right? And I had no plans of telling anybody anyway, especially my girlfriend. I had promised my girlfriend I was never going to see this woman anymore. So why was I sending her milk? If I wasn't sending her milk as I remember of what happened, what was I doing there?
She was sitting by my bedside holding my hands. Her’s were sweaty. I asked her to go, she said she wouldn't go. My girlfriend had called that she was on her way over. We needed a good story to tell before she got here.

“I got a phone call from you, your stomach was upset and you were dehydrated. You asked me to get you pills from the pharmacy. When I got to you house, you had puked all over, I didn't see it, I slipped and fell, hitting my head hard to the ground.”
“But that’s not true,” she said.

“Nobody knows the truth. That is what we are going to say.”

"Is your girlfriend an idiot? She will know I haven’t been sick, look at me, do I look sick to you?"

"Do you have a better suggestion?" I asked taking my hand from her sweaty hands.

"Why don’t you just tell her the truth?"

"What truth? I am lactose intolerant; I don’t take milk. I will not be caught drinking milk especially in the afternoon. We both know your story is fiction."

“Baby, are you okay?” My girlfriend walks in and hugs me on the hospital bed.

“oh my god I was so worried when you weren't picking up my calls, are you okay, are you going to be okay, what happened?” she hadn't yet said a word to her.

“I slipped and broke a little skin at the back of my head, nothing to worry about.”

“Oh my god where?”

“the back of my head”

“no, I mean where did you slip?”

“Oh by the road side, I was buying phone credit and she called me, pointing at the unwanted guest in the room, I was trying to jump the gutter to say hello to her at the other side of the road and I slipped on a pure water sachet.

“Aw, my poor baby, I am so sorry, what are the doctors saying?”

"I lost a little blood but I’ll live."

“Hi, thanks for being here for us, but you can go now, I’m sure you would like to rest” she finally spoke to the other human being in the room.

“You don’t have to say thanks, it was my fault in a way, if I didn't ask for the milk… I mean the phone credit, there would have been no falling into the gutter”

“Baby, you fell into a gutter?”

“No, yes, I mean I don’t remember”

“oh my poor baby, are you hurt anywhere else apart from your head?”

“yeah, I hit my ass hard on the tile”

“Which tile?”

“I mean the tarred road, I am a bit confused about the whole thing now, my love, I am not sure exactly what happened I am just happy you are here.”

“I know” she leaned in a kissed me.

She tried to button up my shirt but there were no buttons left on to work with.

“what happened to your shirt?”

I looked at her and she looked at her.

We knew she knew.