Apiorkor Ashong, Ghanaian Poet
 

Death Song

Your lips are blue, almost black, and swollen with yellowish cracks carved into them.
Your cheeks are scorched, deflated tennis balls.
Your stomach is painfully-puffed up, in sharp, awkward contrast to your bony, mutilated, fragile frame.
Your eyelids are thin and sunken with dark discoloration.
Your nails are a putrid, mucous-y yellow.

I should stop looking at you. I can’t look at you anymore. It’s too painful. It’s disgusting. This isn’t you; this CANNOT be you…

Two weeks ago, we strolled, our hands intertwined in a tangled grip, our childish cores prancing through the streets of Accra Central, our stomachs leading the way to Naa Ami’s kenkey table-stall.

You spoke of a new crush and I rattled and chattered and gushed and blushed, with Fiifi’s name itching to roll off of my tongue, every other second.

And we couldn’t smell the freshness of the hot kenkey:
The humongous trenches of gutters gaped at us, their filthy mouths spewing chunks of rotten tomatoes, decomposing plantain peels, black polythene bags and pure water sachets drenched in sticky, gooey brown clots of filth.

These valleys of filth were full of a thick, blackish-brownish, viscous liquid. Flies the size of my palm danced Agbadza, Kpalogo, Adowa, calling one another to come discover the nasty treasures that the so-called intelligent human beings had left for them.

And oh, the stench! It hung heavy in the air and clung to my eyes, my nose, my neck, my back, it clenched my ankles, until I began to lose my balance, faltering forward in a nauseated daze…

And I was disgusted. My insides protested. I doubled over, as intense spasms shook my entire body. I threw up my breakfast in rancid lumps of tea bread, butter, jam and omelet.

And the lumps trickled down to join the chunks of rotten tomatoes, decomposing plantain peels, black polythene bags and pure water sachets drenched in sticky, gooey brown clots of filth.

Anytime I opened my burning eyes, the revolting chunks of rotten tomatoes, decomposing plantain peels, black polythene bags and pure water sachets drenched in sticky, gooey brown clots of filth; the thick, blackish-brownish, viscous liquid; the flies the size of my palm;

They all looked me right in the eye, then I’d continue to throw up my breakfast in rancid lumps of tea bread, butter, jam and omelet.

I said the kenkey was a bad idea. I said that we could not buy food from such a place. You said that the kenkey was tasty, that the best local food joints in Accra were all setup beside gutters. You asked me if I knew what the fancy restaurant chefs did to my food, before it landed on my table, all pretty and delicious-looking…

We bought the kenkey. But I felt too sour to eat it with you.

Last week you began to throw up your breakfast in rancid lumps of tea bread, butter, jam and omelet.
Your skin became sticky and sweaty.
Your face was twisted in pain.
You would not see a doctor…

Then on Thursday, the ambulance came to the office; you had collapsed.
I sobbed my heart out, by your sick bed, I couldn’t bear to look at all the tubes and needles and the nurses buzzing in and out to look at you, to touch you, to refill your drip bag, to tell me that you were gone!

Now…
Your lips are blue, almost black, and swollen with yellowish cracks carved into them.
Your cheeks are scorched, deflated tennis balls.
Your stomach is painfully-puffed up, in sharp, awkward contrast to your bony, mutilated, fragile frame.
Your eyelids are thin and sunken with dark discoloration.
Your nails are a putrid, mucous-y yellow.

I should stop looking at you. I can’t look at you anymore. It’s too painful. It’s disgusting. This isn’t you; this CANNOT be you…
Now I’m here, mourning such an intellectual, a young life wasted. And now, I know that I cannot be protected from the chunks of rotten tomatoes, decomposing plantain peels, black polythene bags and pure water sachets drenched in sticky, gooey brown clots of filth; because they lurk in the open-shadows.
And what should have been a beautiful tribute, is a narrative of pain, filth and
Revolting memories.
©APIORKOR 2016

 

Apiorkor Seyiram Ashong is a Ghanaian-American Poet/Versatile Creative. Her work has a rare narrative-prosaic nature and vivid imagery. Her performances incorporate classical and afro-pop music, contemporary dance, alternative Art; and the poetess, unconventionally, reads stage. Apiorkor is also a producer at Citi 97.3 FM and a presenter on Citi TV.

 

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