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By Kwaku Darko-Mensah Jnr.

Spirit Guides

Setting out from the northern edges, where rain is prayed for
Into the core where it is found threatening
I am greeted by a gust of ominous city sounds.

I watch a child fetch a ball from the Alajo gutter.
Her friends lower a line,
Their grip the only charter between her skin and the neglect beneath.

Ferried in a stream of peculiar light, drifting along,
A heap of discarded longings brought to the city.
Smell of sewage rises like altar smoke.

Beneath a council of godlike clouds
Her fate passes from one jurisdiction to another;
A new pantheon takes over.

I think about my debut meeting with the sea,
Which happens on the shore of some magnetic dream.
The rugged side of the coast, empties my life of ghosts

Rips the scorn off my flesh

The minute I’m born, I beg to leave;
A chronic longing for far-flung openings.
Our mother, knower of all things, says I’ll one day leave

And grow sick of leaving.

Ink-dense nights awash in mythic dog barks.
Area boys watch the lights from passing cars
Dazzle like Dubai, eyes growing
Reckless and large with leaving,

Scars in their stomachs outweighing the risk.

Because I love you, Kuukua, I carve myself
Into a dinghy and sail in the mist.
In every version of this dream,
The horizon glimpsed through the bars,

Is a challenge to the permanence of the cage.

The sunbaked plot behind our house is spotted with hawkers.

They wail about tiger nuts and corn liquor.
Their voices rival the ivory horns we know
From the courts of kings.

I am caught in the delicate act of restraining
Home in clasped hands
Held to the ear, listening for a way back.

I’ve made a place for myself
Solid as land and bread.
This is the house, it does what I need.

Flesh of my flesh how short-lived a sound;

When bone fragments poke out of teak branches
And flame trees run out of flowers for the drowned,
You remain as you are, a perfect echo.

I learn to wash off, in communal nights,
Dust, always hovering, inhabiting
The skin tethered to the periphery.

The strays are loud but they’re mine,
Fear trips the shadow sometimes,
That too is mine.

The worshippers are fitful,
In temples leaning behind district ruins,
Their notes piercing clean through the night.

The lord is angled up, ascended with foreigners;
The devil casts his lot with the homestead,
Descended from foreigners.

When we speak of good things,
We mustn’t point to the sky.

Flood Season

Flood Season - A book of poetry by Kwaku Darko-Mensah Jnr.

After over a decade working as a musician under the name Kae Sun, Kwaku Darko-Mensah Jnr. makes a full-blooded return to poetry. His début Flood Season explores diasporic lives, the tensions between who we are and the clichés that surround our nation states, and hybridity.

PUBLISHER: Flipped Eye Publishing