Words I Like To Throw Around These Days

 

Tired
Of being tired
Sitting long hours in
My own cage staring at a blank screen
Doing nothing for hours on end
Waiting for the siren so I can go home

Time
That I waste
Sitting long hours in
My own cage staring at a blank screen
Doing nothing for hours on end
Waiting for the siren so I can go home

Pressure
That I feel
Sitting long hours in
My own cage staring at a blank screen
Doing nothing for hours on end
Waiting for the siren so I can go home

Inspiration
The life
That is sucked out of me
Because I am
Sitting long hours in
My own cage staring at a blank screen
Doing nothing for hours on end
Waiting for the siren so I can go home

Excuses
That I make
Because I am
Sitting long hours in
My own cage staring at a blank screen
Doing nothing for hours on end
Waiting for the siren so I can go home

Resilience
Because I endure
Sitting long hours in
My own cage staring at a blank screen
Doing nothing for hours on end
Waiting for the siren so I can go home

Hope
That one day I will get out of
Sitting long hours in
My own cage staring at a blank screen
Doing nothing for hours on end
Waiting for the siren so I can go home

© Sena Frost ’17

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Years

365 and a quarter days spent racing round a gigantic fireball

Revolutions made regularly

Spinning in perpetuity

I would say it runs in circles

Nay

Elliptical tracks are more our style

A top tilting its way round a familiar course

The yardstick called a year

In years

I am born

You grow

We live

They die

Sometimes we leap

A whole day awarded for you

We waste it

Nonetheless this course holds steady

A little blip in the Milky Way

Twinkling merrily in some alien sky

Years

Bring us together

Tear us apart

That even family becomes strangers

As bonds are loosened by the constant spinning

Yesterday’s trusting child becomes a suspecting adult

Years

Tilt me out of the circumference of your life

That a touch made today is a footprint at the beach;

Washed away

Years we’d rather forget

Filled with places we would rather not be and people we no longer are

Death and darkness in them

Years we remember

Filled with life

Sun and growth and all things nice

Where I remain inceptive

Immortal years stop not once for you

Years take the life

You painstakingly crafted something for yourself

A sudden leap sends you out of the cradle

And pop goes the weasel

We convolute

Wax and wane

Bloom then wither

As our own sense of time culls us

All in

365 and a quarter days spent racing round a gigantic fireball

Revolutions made regularly

Spinning in perpetuity

I would say it runs in circles

Nay

Elliptical tracks are more our style

An eternal present

For what exactly?

Who knows,

Go with the flow

Image courtesy google images

© Sena Frost ’17

Undefined

Today marks my 26th year on this earth. The winds blow and buffet me but I refuse to be defined by them. This is to the fullest life I have lived yet. Thank you for being with me every step of the way.

Bottom feeder.

Pariah.

Outcast.

Always the labels you try to put on me

Labels that never stick

I am

Flame dancing in the wind

Daring the rain to put me out

I

Refuse to be put in boxes and stashed away

I demand to be heard

Despite your attempts to mute me

I am blessed with faculties of wit

But I remain idiosyncratically anecdotal

I am the hoarfrost during a Russian winter

Kissing your windows and biting your limbs

Invisible

Intangible

Yet uprooting every warm blooded attempt to staple me down

I transcend the limits placed on me

Because

I am

Jack of trades

Polyhistor

Unmoved by circumstance

Grounded in concrete resolve and unyielding faith

Try as you can

But you can never make me inferior

I may be

A bottom feeder.

Pariah.

Outcast.

According to you that is

Always the labels you try to put me

But they will keep peeling off

I remain unaffected to your studies

Religiously aloof.

Until you stop burning the bridges to understand and cohabit

You will remain stymied by the many faced god in your attempts to corral me

And forever I remain

Undefined

© Sena Frost ’17

Libra

I am

The cardinal of the air

Ruler of the Seventh House

Lover of the finer things

Lord of the element of freedom

I am

The lustful draught of breath sucked from a lover’s lungs

The filled spaces of an empty room

I am the sigil of balance

Scales tipping every now and then

Exotically sensual

Anecdotally factual

A sensorium of cleansing

I am

The blackest white

The clearest night

A knight not

Just a savvy parlay-man

I am

Nought but man

And yet in me

God gives.

Image courtesy google images

© Sena Frost ’17

G.O.A.Ts

I have gained fresh inspiration from two of the greatest hip-hop artists to ever live. They were but men but that’s all we are. Tupac and B.I.G. this one’s for you

Two Crown Jewels

At aphelion and perihelion

Revolutionaries in their own right

Too flawed to be martyrs

Good men trying to be bad

But a whole generation saw shackles loosed by words they spoke

Prophets speaking of a Canaan they’d never set foot in

They were

Cats with their own scratching posts

Spitting bars so juicy

What they did

They did for love

The big Poppa and Makaveli

Moguls of the East and West Coasts

Tossing the rhymes smooth like the sin of window panes

Hip-hop had a voice

They spoke about crack

And babies having babies

The stuff that hit the black and white

Men drowning in their blood

Boys turning their back on their brood

They said

Hard truths

Made immortal

Sadly a reality still today

And even though egos drowned the sound of peace

They left the world aided by Chiron

Riddled with holes they bled

But gods don’t die

Showstoppers

Thug life lovers

Poets on the beat

Our own royalty

They were prime

Indivisible by anyone but themselves and God

I picture them rolling

Rabbit eared bandannas and top hatted shades

They say he whom the gods love die young

But they were above anything true to themselves in song.

Timeless legends

We will never see them grow old

They catch the sun

Shining beautiful

Because

They were

Two Crown Jewels

At aphelion and perihelion

© Sena Frost ’17

Images courtesy google images

The Yawa of Leonidas

Featured Image: Leonidas from Meet the Spartans, 2008

Image courtesy Google Images

 

“Leonidas”
I froze. “Leonidas” the voice spoke again. I gulped. I swiveled away from my friends in the direction of the voice. I looked up into her eyes. For a moment, she looked into mine and then she blinked and looked away. I smiled sheepishly. “Yes, Lorlor.” “Mr. Somuah said I should tell you we should bring the Pre-Tech drawings to the workshop after second break.” I scanned her face again. She held her gaze this time and the edges of her lips curled. “Okay. I will tell the class.” I told her. She turned away from me without a word and went back to her desk.

I watched her go and sighed. A loud harrumph from the boys alerted me to my surroundings. I rose quickly and went to the front of the class. It was free period so everyone was just chatting and playing. Kwame Obeng and his friends were huddled at the end of one of the rows. They were playing paper ball. Kesewa and her girls sat nearby oblivious to the boys’ little grunts below them. Goodness knows who they were talking about this time.

“Excuse me!” I yelled. The chatter muted. “Yes Leonidas, what is it?” shouted Kofi Kumi. “Mr. Somuah said we should bring the pre-tech drawings after second break. If you have finished please put it on the teacher’s table.” I wiggled my ears as a small gasp arose from the paper ball boys. The energetic talk before was replaced with nervous murmurs. There was a collective clatter as people placed their drawing boards on their desks. Mr. Somuah never hesitated to use his cane if we did not submit our drawings. Woe betide us if one person failed to submit his or her work. The whole class would pay for it.

I glanced around the classroom again as it suddenly went quiet. She sat in the front row, black jacket pulled over her blue check uniform. Her auburn hair was cut in a close crop as per school rules. I let out an audible sigh. Kesewa, ever so nosy raised her head quickly. I shuffled away but she had already caught me staring at Lorlor. I quickly went back to my seat dreading the stories she was going to cook up. Quickly I looked at my drawing again. The borderlines were crooked. I loathe drawing borderlines.

Presently the bell for second break rang. A plaintive wail rose from the back. I knew it was Kwame Obeng and his squad. They should know better. We play paper ball after school, behind the form 1 block; not when we had unfinished drawings. I hurriedly drew my borderlines again. I had double lines but I would take a minus 2 over 2 canes any day.

I sat in my desk and looked around the class again. Apart from the boys who were playing paper ball everyone else had gone out for break. Everyone except Lorlor. She was writing something in a big book. I swallowed. Lorlor Owusu Debrah was the assistant class prefect. I remember when Madam Kuvie selected her. It was the first day of JSS one. We had come with our new uniforms and sat anywhere we liked. Those of us who knew each other from class 6 sat together. Madam Kuvie changed all of that. “In my class, you will sit boy and girl.” There was a collective giggle. Madam Kuvie frowned. “Who laughed?” she asked. The whole class erupted in laughter. Now Madam Kuvie had a high voice and she was not helped by the fact that she was very short. Her face turned red and she promptly took out a cane from the cupboard and proceeded row by row yelling “All heads on the table.” The crack of the cane went 52 times; a stroke per person. “Next time you will learn not to laugh at your class teacher.” She brought her chair in front of the blackboard and started barking orders.

We went around the class massaging our backs as we found our new places. After all was done, she stood up and announced. “Now we are going to select a new class prefect. I’m sure you think I will ask you to bring names so we vote for them.” She paced among the rows. “You are wrong. I will choose for you since you think I am carrying a dead monkey on my head.”

Right behind her I sniggered. She whirled around, cane in hand. I looked at her face. Madam Kuvie was slim but had a lot of pimples. Even the badly done make up couldn’t hide it. There was a wild look in her eyes and she smiled at me. It was not a friendly smile. “You! What is your name?” she asked. Kesewa with her big mouth just shouted. “Please madam his name is Leonidas” I grimaced. “Ehh? Like the movie 300 eh.” Madam Kuvie pulled me up by the ear none too gently. “Go and stand in front of the class.” I hurried to the front. “Look at him too, he’s fat and he’s laughing at me.” The class giggled again. Clutching my ear, I glowered at Kesewa. She stuck her tongue out at me.

Just then a girl with red hair and freckles just entered the classroom. She was plump and wore a black jacket over her blue check uniform. She looked at me and smiled. “Who are you?” Madam Kuvie’s shrill voice cut the connection. “My name is Lorlor Owusu Debrah. I’m a new student.” She replied, her voice like the wind chimes tinkling at the chapel. I sighed. “Okay. Hurry up and sit down.” Madam snapped at her. She went and sat in my seat.

The class went “Ei!” “Lorlor!” Madam Kuvie yelled. “I’ve changed my mind. Come and stand by this boy here.” Wordlessly she got up and walked up to stand by me. I could feel her warmth by me. If I wasn’t so dark my face would have been as red as Madam Kuvie’s when we laughed at her voice. “These are your class prefects.” I grimaced again. I really didn’t want to be class prefect. All I did was laugh at the wrong time and here I am now.

I stood by the teacher’s table. No one was allowed to sit in the teacher’s chair. Madam Kuvie took delight in beating us. I have never been able to take her canes raw before. The break over bell rang and people came in and submitted their papers in 2 stacks. I helped Lorlor pick up one stack then took the other one. We walked to the Pre-Tech workshop in silence. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. I turned to try to say something. Then Lorlor stubbed her toe against a stone and stumbled. Sheets of paper flew everywhere as she sat on the red earth, “Oh!” was all I could say. I carefully put down my stack on a clump of grass and went over to help her up. ” Are you hurt?” I croaked. She shook her head. “Sorry okay. Give me your hands.” I said and put out mine. She reached for my hands. I felt a current pass through my hands as we clasped them. Her hands were so soft! I gasped and let go. She giggled and started picking up the drawing sheets. I helped her. Mr. Somuah didn’t like the idea of being kept waiting. I watched her as she stooped, my gaze affixed to her bosom. Usually the girls put a handkerchief to cover their chests or used a hand when they swept or had to stoop.

The globules of pale flesh peeking through the top of her singlet got me suddenly excited. I felt unexpectedly warm in my groin as I went hard. I didn’t want to pee. I quickly picked up my stack of papers and lowered them. I had rooted. “How can this be happening to me at this time?” Beads of sweat trickled down my brow. “Let’s go.” Lorlor spoke. Her tingly voice was dreamy. I broke into step beside her as we quickened the pace.

We snuck into the workshop. It was empty. “Thank God!” Lorlor exclaimed. I let out a sigh of relief. We put down the drawing sheets on the big worktable in the corner. Lorlor went looking for our class marker. She found it and placed it on top of the sheets. I turned to go. Suddenly I felt a warm soft hand slip into mine. “I wanted to say thank you for helping me when I fell down.” She said. I froze and my warm discomfort grew. “It’s fine it’s fine.” I managed to blurt out. “I think I’m hurt though.” She put her leg on one of the benches and lifted the hem of her uniform to her knee. My eyes followed the movement. I saw a little scrape on her knee. “Oh, this sore will die right now.” I blurted out, paralyzed. “Okay.” She started to lower the dress. A sudden wind blew through the windows of the class and pushed her uniform hem further down. I suddenly saw her whole thigh and her underwear. She was wearing pink Hello Kitty undies. A hot wave went through my body and I felt sticky in my underwear. I was confused. “What is happening to me?”

In that moment Mr. Somuah strode into the workshop and saw everything. “Herh!” his voice boomed across the room. “Naughty children! I ask you to bring me your drawing sheets and this is what you are doing because I’m not around.” He came closer, his baritone voice sounding menacing. He had a cane in his hand and flicked it casually in his hand. He marched us out of the workshop and took us to the headmistress’s office. I tried to cover the stain with my hands as I walked sideways beside Lorlor. She had gone unearthly quiet since the incident began. Neither Lorlor nor Mr. Somuah had seen the stain. I prayed fervently to reach the office without any extra fuss. As we passed by the class, Kesewa noticed us and ran to the door. “Herh Leonidas what is that on your shorts? Raise your hand!” she shouted. The sudden sound got teachers and students coming out of their classrooms. Mr. Somuah stopped and motioned for me to take my hands off. “Sir please I beg.” Lorlor stared ahead. She had been very quiet since the beginning of the incident. “Take your hand off boy!” he roared. I resisted. He rapped my wrists with the cane and I let go. He took a look and started guffawing. “Waa see. He has piipi on his shorts.” My face burned with shame as everybody burst into laughter. I could hear Kesewa hooting “Oh Leonidas has done yawa.”

Lorlor could not stifle her giggles and laughed, looking away. I stared at her dumbfounded. The tears began to flow.

 

© Sena Frost ‘17

Dog Days are Shitty Days

Every day is the same. I wake up in the darkness. I debate whether I truly want to be at work today. I then go to the underground tank in the middle of the compound house where I live and draw water. Sometimes it took longer than normal because the rope was too frayed to hold up the bucket we used to draw the water. It meant fetching a big napkin to use as a makeshift rope. Woe betide whoever’s bucket fell inside the underground tank. It would take forever to get it back. When I finally make it to the shared bathhouse I like to take my time, continuing my mental argument. Even in the shower, I am lost in thought as the cold water rains down my belly, puckering up every pore. I’m developing a pot belly. Weird considering how I barely eat these days. I throw on whatever clothes my hands touch first then I sling my bag over my shoulder and head out.

Sometimes I lope to the railway which is a few hundred metres away. When I’m late I take my time to walk to the bus stop, if you can even call it that. The taxis have taken over the place and forced the tro-tro drivers to park in the middle of the road. I like to call them troskies after the parlance of us millennial pidgin speakers. The police who come there sometimes sack them, most other times they just look on; their pallid reflective shirts making them look awkward in the fray. It was a different prospect getting a trosky. I work at Circle, and the troskies going there were regularly irregular. It didn’t matter how early you rose; there is no telling when one would show up or if it was full or not. We’d line up at the roadside, peering expectantly for any sign of a trosky with the swivelling arm of a mate.

I try to keep to myself a lot. Most of the time, I listen to music. Anything to distract me from the gnawing pain in my heart. It’s like an unsettling itch. Like something has moved from its rightful position. Yeah something has. My girlfriend just left me for another guy. A photographer who had promised to make her famous. “You’ve become so distant lately. You don’t even do the stuff you used to anymore.” She had wailed over the phone. The stuff she referred to was “gifts”; little wads of cash every other week for her to do her nails and look pretty and stuff. That was the last time we spoke. I could barely tell her anything at all. If I wasn’t talking about her in our conversations she wasn’t interested. I even wonder how we met. I think it was at a party when we were still in school. It was one of those nights where I had had a little too much to drink. She is a looker though. Five foot two, pear shaped with boobs like wild mangoes and a behind like wobbled like water balloons. She was smart, but wasn’t interested in anything intellectual. She’d rather talk about the latest fashion trends and whatever. After a couple of one night stands we hooked up and that was it.

I love her. Or I think I do. Over time she became more and more about the glam and less about us. I think she saw me as a rich kid who had so much money to blow. That was hard to deny. I mean I did live the good life on campus; always stepping everywhere in style, hitting club after club and sorting out any money issues that came with it. I think I was just scared to let her know it wasn’t like that. In making it all about the money, I suppose I had this coming. The sex barely made up for anything. If anything it became less and less till she finally dumped me. I’d miss her rump though. A memory of me stabbing away as she bounced up and down in my dingy room when she came over flitted through my mind. I switched playlists. I’ve developed a taste for loud electronic music. The more tingly the sound, the better.

I probably have the worst of luck. I hardly ever get a good enough trosky to work. Between being perched on the spare tyre or cramped up in the back seat while a stout old lady or cantankerous man spread themselves in the desired edge seat. In the trains, I’d most often stand throughout the journey to my stop. I shouldn’t complain about that but it gets to me every time. I loathe it when the trosky drivers decide to take the untarred shortcuts in a bid to outrace other troskies for more passengers. They jarred my bones and made my cramped plight even more pitiful. I’d dream of owning a car but I don’t even know how to drive. All the potential driving license money going down one frizzy haired drain. Or used to.

The morning traffic on the ride to work could be interesting. Coupled with the music banging on my ear drums I’d see things and imagine them as pictures or poems in my mind’s eye. Even when my eyes watered from the pain from the metal frames pressing against my shins or kneecaps I’d look out the window. I try to keep as much change as possible because the thieving mates never lost an opportunity to increase the fare or withhold small change any chance they got. Never mind the unwashed bodies and smelly armpits, I needed those coins. Their unpredictability was the one thing predictable about them. Looking out sometimes gave away the newest trends in town. Big shiny billboards with all sorts of nonsense scrawled on them; the religious ones anyway. The new buildings with their colourful alucobond frames looking like something out of a Lego movie were particularly interesting. Most of them had the ubiquitous “Space to let” sign draped over their sides. Space which I’d have to sell my kidney to rent for a couple of months.

The new apartment signs rankle me the most. Shiny building blocks with nice views and astronomical prices. Certainly not worth me busting a spleen. I take careful note to see my favourite hated billboard. Hers. Yeah, she modelled for this herbal toothpaste thingy and they loved her for it. For me it was the beginning of the end. Her dimpled smile winked at me, reminding me of how her overnight popularity and need to look the part took her further away. She wasn’t even paid a dime for the billboard; or so she claimed. I sighed heavily and thought of work. Work was in a cramped office space in downtown Accra. I worked as head of outdoor services. It’s just a fancy name for delivery boy. We delivered sanitary items to hotels and corporate offices all over. I’m only the head because I can’t drive. Too smart to let go and too desperate to demand a higher wage, I feel stuck here often. All I did was stamp and verify, stamp and verify.

My boss is an asshole. She was a portly woman in her late forties. Never married and always had a scowl on her face. She strung insults from her thin lips like toothpaste being squeezed dry. Every conversation with her had a dollop of biblical quotes in them. I suspect she really hopes to get married. We break every Wednesday because she goes to midweek service at one of the churches in the neighbourhood. Every third Friday of the month was a half-day because she had to go to Kasoa for a special deliverance session from some new-fangled pastor there. She would be pretty if she smiled. I don’t remember ever seeing her smile. Her attitude bordered on outright hostility though.  I always wonder how she kept getting clients. News through the grapevine said she got her best clients from gay people and regularly gave them all sorts of jobs if they came around. All I had to do was listen when the godawful music from the radio in her office went very high. Judging by its frequency when we had female clients visiting, I think it’s true.

The pay stinks. I’ve come close to quitting so many time but my mom tells me to stay “because there are no jobs anymore.” The ex-girlfriend used to take up half the amount every month. I remember having to deal with money launderers because she wanted an iPhone 7 for her birthday. I still haven’t been able to pay off that debt. The scars crisscrossing my potbelly remind me every time it gets cold. Rent and food and transportation take up the rest. I don’t remember the last time I saw my friends or went to the movies or had a drink. It’s virtually impossible to. I subsist every single month. Most of the time I look good so my poverty hardly shows on my face. My mom (bless her soul) brings me new clothes every month from when she goes shopping for things for her boutique. I haven’t been to church in forever. I’m just too tired from working six days a week. I need money. Trouble is I need money to make money

I have a dream. My dream is to be a photographer. Not because of her or the fact that her new boyfriend is one. My friends who are into it are making some serious dough I think. I see the posts on Instagram sometimes. Seeing the smiling pretty girls I’m hardly ever going to talk to was nice sometimes.

Going on social media drains whatever credit I manage to buy on my phone so I keep it to a minimum. It’s also a good check so I don’t see the ex’s smiling visage splattered everywhere. I hate those motivational WhatsApp BCs which circulate round. They remind me of a time when I had tried to be very religious and tried the supposed straight and narrow path. I just turn off my data so I hardly ever see all that BS. I think she’s blocked me on WhatsApp. My messages don’t go through anymore. I miss sexting her and the nudes she used to send me in. Those moments were the only true distraction I had. The nudes always preceded her coming over for a booty call. I’d let go as we drummed away, sweaty palms tracing her curves and tickling her back. I remember the taste of her mouth and the way she wound her waist as we congressed on the wall. She rose pale in the light streaming in from the streetlight as we wordlessly made love over and over again. We never used any protection even when she was cheating on me. Forgive me. It’s the only thing I have any appetite for. I would never eat my toffee in its wrapper. I pushed the door to the office open and set my bag down.

Stamp and verify. Stamp and verify. Ten hours later I picked up my bag and stole out of the office. If you don’t leave quietly my boss would make you stay in and pray with her till she was ready to go home. She usually leaves at nine pm.

Travelling back home is my favourite part of my shitty routine. There’s a tranquil beauty that sets in the city after five pm. The orange hues reflected on the fancy buildings and silhouetted others. Mentally I’d frame them in pictures ready to be shot. I remember I used to take pictures with my phone until I was mugged while doing that. It was funny. I felt a knife between my ribs and a hand pulling the phone away. I didn’t bother to resist. I haven’t attempted taking photos since. Sometimes the beauty is lost on me while I’m waiting in a queue at the station. I wonder what keeps the troskies so long. It gets annoying when people try to cut the queue or when the silly station masters break it up on the premise of double queueing. It never fails to throw me back to secondary school. Another negative collection of memories I would rather not recollect. When the trosky comes in though I try my best to get a window seat.

Perched at the window, I’d listen to my heartbreak music while letting my mind drift in the kilometres being eaten away. I would not have that pleasure this evening. My phone buzzed and I lifted it to my face. In the quasi darkness of the trosky a single text message notification illuminated my face. “I think I’m HIV positive.”

I screamed.

 

© Sena Frost ‘17

image courtesy google images