Speaking in Tongues with Enyonam - Darko Antwi

It was still winter in England. And I saw Enyonam,
At Shepherd Bush, walking briskly to a train station

Getting into each other’s way, we took several turns
To my house: 294 Highbury Avenue, West London

After dinner, steamy bath, warm hugs and all that,
She asked with her eyes if she could stay overnight

I held her plump brown cheek in reply. So she stayed,
As fresh as an Akomadan tomato in a season basket

A few hours before bedtime, we conversed endlessly:
I spoke about blackmagic, spells, and fortune-tellers

She spoke about men with broad hairy chest
And then, Valentine cards and favourite colours

Then I spoke about Jah Houphouet nous parle,
And Hypocrite, and other whips of the Ivorian singer

Together, we spoke about our tribes and birthplaces,
And wooden lorries, cocoa farms and rural folk

She spoke about dowries, hairstyles and photographs
And then, honeymoon, childbirth and contraception

And I spoke about history teachers and Mansa Musa
And the sawdust and fracas of the 1966 coup

Together we spoke about Nana Kwaku Bonsam
And then, the glorious feet of Kejetia preachers

She spoke about fabric, textiles and jewel boxes
And the goddess frame of Asabea Cropper

And I spoke about freekick missiles and offside traps
And the assassination of goalkeeper Robert Mensah

Together we spoke about our proud Alma Mater,
And Sabbath, and the might of Corpus Christi

She spoke about housewives and groundnut soup
And then, the estate and franchise of Kofi Wayo

And I spoke about the endangered species of poetry
And poets who die young – and poets who die poor

Again she spoke about men with broad hairy chest,
And then, Valentine cards and favourite colours

And I spoke about the clattering beads around her waist
And her dimples and her sharp olive eyes…

I wish I could – yet I can’t remember her last words
But it was near midnight when our mouths got closer…

And we finally locked tongues, and spoke no more

14 comments:

Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

The beauty of this piece lies in its universality and truthfulness so that even if it weren't a true story the author is narrating one is bound to have experienced, been told or seen it in movies. The general trend of the conversation, not taking any logical path but yet still coordinated in a way to direct one's mind onto events that were to happen. For instance, as the girl talked about what she loves - and here let not the feminists jumped in to say that jewels and housewifery and childbirth degrades the woman - the man also talked about what things that men usually talk about. It could also be seen that perhaps the persona was afraid of towing the path the lady was towing and would always deviate in order to be sure of the way.

Nice piece of writing.

Rob Taylor said...

For the record, OGOV's position is that feminists can say whatever they want on this site, and are encouraged to do so (just like everyone else!).

And considering that a "feminist" is one who believe in the equality of the sexes, I hope it's the case that most, if not all, readers and commenters on OGOV are, in fact, feminists.

Prince Mensah said...

A classic has been created! I have digest more before I comment. This is a superb poem.

Nana Agyemang Ofosu said...

The originality of the work is important than what a feminist may want to say. it is lovely to imagine such a sight when you read such tale. Though might not be real, yet the writer puts the reader into a space to fully imagine.
But will a man divert a conversation when a girls starts talking about men with broad hairy chest, that is really surprising.

Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

I guess I am hardly understood for most of my comments I make here. If I say 'Let not the feminist ....' I am not by this saying that they should 'say whatever they want on this site ...'

I am tempted to believe that the nuance of the language I speak when translated into English is the cause. However, I would leave it as it stands and thanks for the correction. Perhaps the less I comment the less the problem would occur.

Thanks again!

Rob Taylor said...

Nana F-A,

To be clear, I know that you didn't intend to silence feminists with your original comment, you only meant to rebut a particular argument before it was made.

I only wished to be cautious, and make the comment I made, in case readers interpreted your comment to be silencing them - the last thing I (and, I suspect, you) want is for someone to hold back on commenting under the fear that their comment isn't wanted or encouraged.

In other words, you were less misinterpreted than you thought - and I certainly hope that your concerns over misinterpretation don't hold you back from commenting in the future! It's important that everyone lends their voice and perspective - and your comments have always been thoughtful and productive additions to the site.

So please, keep the comments coming, Nana!

Rob Taylor said...

My other main point (and this applies to a number of comments on the site of late, not just Nana F-A's) is that I think that most, if not all, of us, are feminists (people who believe in the equality of men and women). Because of this, I question when anyone describes "feminists" as a foreign entity that they are not a part of.

Too often, I find people use the word "feminist" as a derogatory term meaning "people who I disagree with when it comes to gender issues". This would be like turning "Ghanaians" into a derogatory term meaning "Ghanaians who I disagree with politically". It would be ridiculous.

When someone says "feminists say X" or "feminists do Y", as though feminists are an "other", they are inherently suggesting that they don't believe in the equality of the sexes. I don't think that's what most people mean to communicate, is it?

Rob Taylor said...

Nana A-O:

"But will a man divert a conversation when a girls starts talking about men with broad hairy chest, that is really surprising."

Ha! Depends on who the men are, doesn't it?

Darko Antwi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adjei Agyei-Baah said...

A poet pouring out what happened behind the closet.I guess only few people will share such an intimate encounter.Thanks Darko for spicing up the show this great poem. I love the universality and truthfulness just as Nana pointed out.I will love more of such poetry stuff and will encourage Rob to publish more of such love verses as it comes out to spice up the show.

Darko Antwi said...

Many many thanks to you Nana Fredua, Rob, Nana Agyemang and Adjei for your inspiring comments. I'm so encouraged for the years ahead.
-----------------------------------

When I read Rob's comments that came immediate to Nana's first comment, I thought the same as Rob; as to what he (Rob) means.

As addressed by Rob, Nana you meant good: 'you only meant to rebut a particular argument before it was made'. And as an editor, he wants to state the position of the magazine, lest someone misunderstands you.

Nana it's been more than 18 months since we talked. Will call you just in time to wish you a merry christmas

JABULANI MZINYATHI said...

i love this style man. out of simplicity comes greatness.wonderful creation my brother. the way the two people in the poem are portrayed is just exceptional. i can see the two as i read and re-read this poem. thanks man for this style!

Darko Antwi said...

Just as I'm about to thank Prince, who I forgetfully left out, I saw Jabulani's praise. Thank you so much Prince and Jabulani, and all friends who may dive into the archive and comment someday in the future.