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

Everyday is the same. I wake up in the darkness. I debate whether I truly want to be at work today. 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. I try to avoid the landlord as much as I can because I skip out on scrubbing the bathroom. The co-tenants complain because they saw my girlfriend using it once and think I’m married and hiding it. Sometimes I lope to the railway which is a few hundred metres away. When I’m late (which is most of the time) 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 trosky drivers to park in the middle of the road. 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.

Sometimes I listen to music. Anything to distract me from the gnawing pain in my heart. It’s like an unsettling itch. It was warm and pulsing, like something has moved from its rightful position. Yeah something has. My girlfriend had just left me for another guy. It was only a matter of time. She blamed me for everything, even her cheating. “You’ve become so distant lately. You don’t even do the stuff you used to anymore.” She 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. The sex barely made up for anything. I’d miss her rump though. She was pear shaped and her derriere could move mountains. 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 sighed and 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, those coins are invaluable to me. 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. 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 for my boss to let me go and too desperate to demand a higher wage, I feel stuck here often. All I do is stamp and verify all day; 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 verses 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 could be pretty if she smiled. I don’t remember ever seeing her smile. Her attitude bordered on outright hostility most of the time 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. My friends who are into it are making some serious dough I think. I see it 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 and religious whatsapp BCs which circulate round. I just turn off my data so I hardly ever see all that BS.  I miss the sex. Those moments were the only true distraction I had. 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 wouldn’t 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 till she was ready to go home. She usually leaves at nine pm. I don’t fancy being trapped in a building with that hag any longer than I have to. Travelling back home is my favourite part of my shitty routine. There’s a tranquil beauty that sets in the city after five pm. 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

 

Careful, Son

This is inspired by some early morning banter by friends. I tried to keep it real. Fugly Mofos, thanks!

Careful son
Don’t come at me like you mad at yo daddy
I am yo pappy
Come here son
Smoke some poppy
Lemme tell you something son
The world holds no favours
Come see conquer
Get yo own chocolate factory Willy Wonka
Give it away cos life ain’t about riches
Don’t give it away
Stay away from them bitches
Careful son
If you lay with dogs you rise with fleas
Scrub yo self and wear some fleece
A hater see you he flees
Scared of yo shadow
They freeze
Envy begets lust
Lust gonna dig you a grave like vengeance
Leave it to the Lord
No occult séance
Rest in knowledge like science
Just keep yo head down son
You don’t need nobody
Either they support or you rise alone
Yo friends ain’t yo friends if they can’t be real
Bring you in like fish on a reel
When you going wrong
If they only witchu when you get yo money
Then you need new friends
Fuck day 1
If they don’t help yo one day
Drop them on the wrong side of the one way
Get high like steam
Pushing that locomotive
They see you they go choo choo
You ain’t stopping
Cos the night train rides for the right brain
Careful son
Don’t look down on yo self
Just remember
You ain’t no god
All men must die
Valar Morghulis
Build yo castle
Raise the portcullis
Be modern
Work medieval
That means long tables and laughter throughout the night
Don’t do little and talk more
Be a giver
Ready to take somebody outta fright
Don’t do it for fame
Not riches
Do it cos it right and you loves what  you do
Not for bants or nothing else
People gonna come for you
Yes men
Oliver Twist
Vampires
Leeches that wanna drink yo blood
Let them taste nothing but yo success
When they come to you
Let them talk about how you opened their minds not their breeches
Sealed the breaches
Showed them love not bitches
I love you son
I always gotchu
Stay strong
Stay bold
And when yo can’t go on no more?
Sink on your knees and pray
Rise like the sun
Be good
Be God
Be careful son

© sena frost ‘17
Father & son
Image courtesy google images

Pygmy on a Giraffe

I am a Pygmy riding a giraffe with a nose ring in the polar straits of Antarctica
Yes it's true I defecate gold
Shiny ingots filling the toilet bowl
I only do that after I have taken a sip of tea in my favourite dadesen which I use to brew my apio
Which incidentally I store in Voltic bottles labelled as "Holy Water"
You can ascertain its purity for yourself as we discuss the chaos that is today's inflated market
By the way I own an agouti which eats only lion meat
If you care to know the meat is brought in by specially trained ladybugs which do the killing and preparation l
It's strange you'd think that's absurd
Because my Inuit wife's mother's great grand cousin twice removed on his father's side lives in an igloo in the heart of the Serengeti
See
My house was constructed from the fermented dung of a spider in labour
I can confidently discuss the Darwinian theories of evolution as we relax in my jacuzzi built from the salivary glands of the mosquitoes that inhabit the peaks of the Everest
I am a man of the most logical things
I thus find it very insulting that you would call my notions and living conditions as far fetched and anecdotal
After all a man with a toupee is a star spangled reflection

© sena frost '17

Pygmy on a Giraffe digital art courtesy kofidagher

Familiar

 

Have I ever told you your eyes glint when you’re hungry?

When you bite your lips and fidget nervously

It never fails to surprise me

You look like a child right before a tantrum

All cuddly and cute and all sorts of intense

A starved teddy-bear ready to ravage anything and everything in its path.

 

Did you know you leave flowers in your wake?

When your hand slinks in mine as we take a walk

It always begins awkwardly 

Then our hands do the thing and fit in each other

There

See you smiling

That’s the flower I’m talking about.

 

Did I tell you that you sleep like a statue?

Perfectly carved in stillness

You

Hewn from the wood of Father’s own likeness

Ebony

Touched with the graceful tendrils of gold

A flower in a field

Swaying rhythmically

A metronome of beauty

Beautifully timed to your steady breathing.

 

You are so beautiful when you wake.

Your elegance is in the tousled locks of hair that frame the lustrous sheen of your high forehead adorning the pearly orbs of your eyes

And your succulent garnet lips which demand a good morning kiss

Stolen just as you rise from the couple of the sleep lover into the fragrant day rise.

 

I am aware of your being in the dark

I am intimate with the shape of you

I draw your outlines in the furore of chaos

And you stand out

As

I imagine you in the light

Hallucinations wrought by the soporific daze that is you

Overwhelming my senses

I’m high

With the thought of you.

 

I know your little details

The scars patterning your legs

The slant of your eyes when you smile

The wrinkle thing your nose does

When you furrow your brow in concentration

Or giggle unashamedly

Wiggling like a bauble in the hands of a toddler

Your occasional prattle

When your voice jingles in my brain

And your uncomfortable steely silence

Where nothing creases your impassive face.

I am familiar with you

In spirit and in being

Feeling your heart throb as you touch mine

We are made of the God-stuff

On the cosmic plain where the lines blur

And planes shift

And bodies cascade in chocolate resplendence

As stars fall and galaxies collide

As our minds meld

Forming black holes and leaving nebulae in our wake.

 

hand in hand, image courtesy google images

© Sena Frost ‘17

 

Two Little Boys

​Two little boys watching the world race by

Watching hills grow and suns rise

Catching wanderlust for the first time

Two little boys full of colour and personality

One red one yellow

Colourcoded and sacrosanct in possession 

Two little boys peering into a catalogue 

Imagining a future filled with toys

Fuelling an imagination without limits

Two little boys running the streets and alleyways

With new cars in tow 

Hoods smashed open to make “open top” cars

Two little boys sharing a love for reading

Plying voyages printed in the pages of a book

Opening their minds to a world in the past, future and present

Two little boys taking everything apart

Putting them back together but hardly ever getting them to work

And then hailing because they found a spark

Two little boys ever so restless

Roaming the territory

Sharing a bicycle and with a dog in tow

Two little boys fighting

One doing what the other cannot

So different yet so similar

Two little boys on the ride back home

Cramped into too-small seats

Yet filled with the pride of men grown 

Two little boys who never grew up

Even if they are no longer little boys

Reliving the days of future past

Where men were gods

And they were watching the world race by

Watching hills grow and suns rise

Catching wanderlust for the first time
-Enyonam


© Sena Frost ‘17

White Raven

Cawing

Perched in the rafters

Keen eyes watching

Always watching

After all you’re the messenger of the All Father

At least to some

You’re just a trouble maker

Warmonger

Uncomfortable with any truth that is not yours.
Harbinger of death

Omen of ill fortune

You soar the skies

Harassing the kites

Harrying the eagles even

Mob justice at its finest

When you steal kills

And tell stories of a hunt you never made.
You preen golden feathers from your plumage

Dancing in scarlet blood

When you proclaim judgement on carrion

Preaching injustice and prejudice

Sowing discord and reaping chaos

Carry on!

Douse yourself with dust.
Mock the jays

Rob the cocks

Stab the robins

Swallow the sparrows

Clean up with the bustards and buzzards

Unwanted one

Not fit for anything but gossip.
You see nothing good

Except for you

At least your brethren do not hide themselves in their inky blackness

Your magpie cousins love the shiny things

But you?

You stand out in full colour

You’re an apostate

Conspicuous in the harangue of your self proclaimed enlightenment.
Your duty to religion will be the death of you

It snows not here

And while you glide the thermals for the latest gossip

Some trigger happy kid will shoot you out of the sky with a sling

His daddy will stuff you and put you in a display case for quick cash

You’re your own ill omen

Life is the harbinger of your doom

False prophet

Freak of nature!

Be consumed by your own lies

Oh one more thing

Next time be born black.

 

image courtesy @archillects on twitter
© sena frost ’17