Monday, 6 May 2019

Beads & Booze

The odyssey of the drunken lover

Began when Yao was hitherto sober

He would rant all day about love

Boast about escapades with his many lovers  

Till the sun was ashamed and cowered

Awo was no older in age than her teens

Her plot was to find another man she thinks

Would fall prey to the charming beads

She wore appealingly around her waist

Awaiting the dance of the tribesmen to begin

Legend had it that

When the Agbadza dance was in full swing

And titled men broke their backs in dancing

Awo, clad in nothing but waist beads

Would appear and gyrate her hips to the alluring beats

The odyssey of the drunken lover

Persisted when Yao was somewhat sober

He noticed the graceful hips of this erotic dancer

And craved to make of her a bride

This, he thought, would add to his pride  

Awo danced all day to please Yao

Painted his name with the throb of her hips

She would occasionally invite him to join in

For she knew the end was near

Only she could not tell him when

Time came, when Awo must go

She disappeared with the wind

Leaving her waist beads behind  

With a handwritten note and

That was when his woes began

The odyssey of the drunken lover

Abated when Yao was no more sober

He would wear her beads on his stiff waist  

Swallow a bottle of booze - that’s all he ate  

And mimic the sensual dance of his lost lover

A poem by:
Kenneth Atsu Dogbey

Friday, 11 January 2019

Unsung Heroes

Myth has its place in history
Strange thing no one owns up, who placed it there
Legends crafted centuries ago from the memory
Of humans who did a great job of storytelling
Making men in their folklores come alive
Thus convincing mortal women to make their wives

These heroes fought battles with unrivaled forte
Dined with gods – and they evolved into our gods today
Lived like they knew they were making history
Were pious, pure yet sometimes petty

Humans commemorated their pronounced lot
Hardly giving it any much thought
Though no one experienced their glorious existence
Men worshipped and contended any lurking resistance  
It all began innocently as tales
Like the age-old story of humans with tails

Still, there is that one or many
Who hardly achieved one or any
Of the exalted lot of our fĂȘted Heroes
They may even pass in your judgement as morons

Mere mortals who took interest in you
Downtrodden yet fought battles for you
Love and taught you to love another
Value you as the only thing that matter
Streamline your desires and fashion your ego
Losing their pride against their own ethos

They share in your gay moments
Lighten up your grey moments
Big hugs that promised day
Hopeful smiles that lessens the afflictions at night

These mortals appear larger than life
Yet the clock of life is ticking them out
They, bound on earth in constant strife
Hoping that someday you’d bail them out
Better yet acknowledge what they did contribute
Not until its read from bleached pages as tribute

Take a moment to look around you
You’d find your Hero - in many mortal forms
Once you give up the myths and unfounded customs,
You’d find that your Hero was always seated next to you.

Photo Credit: Agyemang Duah Kweku Jr. @Flickartstudios

By: Kenneth Atsu Dogbey 
A Member of TDL

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Vintage Nights

We would gather in a tiny room at sunset – our kitchen
Throats thirsty in anticipation of dinnertime
We sat in an unstructured group of five
Mama and Papa dined on the single table available
My sisters aided in dishing out the rice meal - jollof
Big brother sat all alone – feeling a false sense of seniority
My twin and I solely concentrated on the meal being served
Hardly ever paying attention to anything else
Then sat Grandma and her diverse camp of pets
Papa teased and mocked every one of us
Mama contemplated about who warranted the loftier chunk of meat
Her hardworking husband or last-born twins
The latter always won
Big sister bragged about college life
Late-night parties and no lecture days
Second sister ensured we all ate to our fill
My twin and I knew no satisfaction
We unceasingly asked for more
Big brother overwhelmed us with the names of underground rappers
Majority of whom he claimed were his mates from school
My twin and I merely argued about who ate the most food
Grandma shared her meal and conversations with the pets
We drank cheap juice afterwards
Listened to African folklore
Rehearsed songs composed by Papa
Laughed about fights we had witnessed
Applauded those who came out top in class assessments – I never merited one
We shared in titles of books
Mama constantly quoted a scripture or two
We chatted endlessly
With satisfied bellies and smiles
Mama notices our sleepy eyes
We say grace with one another
To one another, we say goodnight
Tuck ourselves into our antique beds
Allowing the vintage night to fade away
Mama eats all by herself - without Papa
Who, I’m told has embarked on an eternal journey
Desiring no meal on his return - if ever
Big Sister shares her meal with her newborn – my adorable niece
Second sister declines to eat after 6
Big brother feasts on food prepared by his lover
His love for music compels him to leave town – my twin
All but two of our pets are deceased
Leaving Grandma with only two mouths to feed
An indifferent cat and my favorite dog
That delights in troubling the cautious cat
My favorite meal is served but I’m surfeited
Tastes better yet swallowed sour
My portion of meat is larger yet unsatisfactory
For I crave the good old nights
Of many mouths yet fuller bellies
Cheap juice yet contented smiles
Ideal chatter and intermittent teases
Contagious laughter
The songs we sang together
In unison and love for our beautiful family
O’ how I long for those vintage nights

Written by;
Kenneth Atsu Dogbey
[Member of TDL]
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Tuesday, 4 September 2018

5th September Anniversaries

Today I bury two souls,
One lost and the other not
In immense pain do I lay to rest;
A great man and an unsure lover
I resign,

I resign myself to losses that be
In future, of the past and present still
For life heeds no mercy plea
Regardless of what the predicament may be
I refrain,

I refrain from the options of hope,
That rides on wings of uncertainty
I’d rather prepare to cope,
And grind painfully through the mills of certainty
I remain,

I remain, to one soul an unending source of misery,
The other was to me a mystery - an untold story.
A man whose invitation to my future is a persona non grata
A woman whose presence was to me - magic like no other
I regret,

I regret, as I say goodbye to my first Hero
A man who will forever reside in me
I recount, that goodbye was my lover’s last hello
A closure that will forever daunt me.
I resolve,

I resolved to desperate measures,
Late night longings and perpetual fear
My tears - our tears
The priceless moments we both shared,
Will, as long as I remain,
Be buried in tranquility,
In the depths of my arching heart.

Till I meet you both someday;
Fare thee well, Father.
I wish you well, Babe.

Kenneth Atsu Dogbey

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Whisky! Waiter, Water Wouldn’t Win!

Guts! Gosh, Gluttons Got Guts!
A politician bellowed out of frustration
Less heed is paid to our calls in opposition
Our ideas were sound and ideals right!
Their talk is loud and embezzlement of heaven’s height!
He went on and on… and on he went
I wondered why wisdom isn’t rare once power is spent
He ironically referred to the incumbent as greedy
As each passing glass marked his thinning face mercilessly
I hesitated; tonight’s beer cost will not be borne by me
Coins he counted and placed reluctantly on the table
Outside in the cold he turned to look at me - and assured;
I will honor you when I return to that power stable! - For that, I'm sure!
I slammed the door repeatedly in his face
Guts! Gosh, Gluttons Got Guts!
He said, and sustained a fatal fall on his face

Hush! Homies, Heaven’s Here!
Don’t bother looking up expecting manna
I have been voted for! Right here,
To serve and bring back our due, in honor
Your thumb chose me; not all fingers but one
You’d be damned to want more figures than one!
I will, I promise to cater for your needs
Do your will; share T-shirts and what you’d eat
Look at that glutton who had fallen on his face
He who condemns me will suffer a similar fate
He threw at them, fresh notes of cash
But retained a thousand more in his stash
All but the Waiter, stood up to cheer
All he did was to look on and jeer
Hush! Homies, Heaven’s Here!
Hush! Citizens, Christmas' near!

Waiter! Whisky, Water Wouldn’t Win!
For I cannot comprehend a lost war sober
Now is the time to say, I quit!
As folly embraces ignorance like a brother
Give me two shots, dry and burning hot
In the absence of that, I’d prefer a scotch
I’m undone! For I have witnessed my last
I’d drink to reminisce about times past
Of great leaders and relentless sacrifice
Not coldblooded men of gluttonous edifice
Whisky! Waiter, Water Wouldn’t Win!
I’d rather drink till my head spins!

Atsu Dogbey

Friday, 10 August 2018

Dreams & Confessions

In my sleep,
Familiar scenes playback in a rush
Interwoven with feelings of fear
I perceive myself in the most fragile of states
A broken tear and I could lose it all
I yell for help – that comes out real
I am pursued by the darkest of my pleasures
So serpentine is my fate that I avoid dilemmas

I spoke the truth; I someday cheated
I held on still; I never showed you the exit
I endured the kill; although it was multi-faceted
I bet my lips were easily tempted
As I spoke words that could have waited

So serpentine is my fate that I avoid dilemmas
Like; Who and why?
When and how?
Who was I?
I asked then and now,
With an eventual sigh

As I spoke words that could have waited,
My options of exit grew limitless
I look back at love that tasted sour
And find myself wanting more
In dreamland, it is a love-not-to-loose
Realistically, this love-did-me-no-good

I must go,
For I have confessions to make in my sleep
Truths I’d rather not keep
As darkness steals through light unnoticed,
So was my love pained but left unnoticed.

Atsu Dogbey

Monday, 25 June 2018

Late Letters

It is nighttime in my affairs
Darker dawns, late afternoons
Old pictures of memories I hate to keep
Torments I find myself in - still
The very urge to fight, I’ve lost
Like a tossed coin with both sides loss
My soul is but wandering several miles away
Mind drifting in similar shades unknown
I’m beat. Damn! I’m alone and troubled
Who can read between these lines to save me?
Who understands enough to tend for me?
I am losing my sanity practicing ‘sanity’
A war of parallel odds do I contest,
with all uncertainty - an unpleasant quest!
I am unsure as I carve this note,
that I may find resolve,
in what life paints next on its canvas;

A darker image - spells doom
A lost cause - frustrates life
Tarnished integrity - threatens self
An embittered soul – heightens reality
I write these words to communicate a message
As an empty canvas tells no future,
So will it be vague to whom it’s not intended
For even the bearer comprehends it not
Merely to carry out the will of the communicator
I hope it doesn’t take too long to decipher
As pleasant words mean zilch to a soul - gone.

Atsu Dogbey