ABELEMKPE GRINDING MACHINE

Novisi Dzitrie

Martin Egblewogbe: “I chose ‘Abelemkpe Grinding Machine’ by Novisi
Dzitrie because it is a lighthearted piece but quite well written,
which reflects, both in its cosmopolitan attitude and style, the approach
of many young Ghanaian poets to their writing. This piece is
interesting in its unmistakable sense of place (Accra, Ghana) and the
peculiar references to both Okomfo Anokye, Ghanaian mystic of yore,
and of Nahum, a prophet of Old Testament extraction.”

I’ll tell you this but you’ll never know
you got me singing that mid-tempo dancehall in the bathroom;
recalling you grind the lanky fella at the karaoke.
I’ve attempted brain surgery, Abelemkpe babe—
you were in full swing, turning this way and that and yet
looking nowhere like a nonchalant bird—as if
you couldn’t tell if anything was the matter.
We know what you did to us who watched and cheered
through the coloured lights blinking, blinding—yellow, green…
but God knows you left the poor thing mashed in the blue—after
mounting the stage without invitation—as if
the song he chose to sing was in your ownership.
As if from Abelemkpe to Abavana junction, Kotobabi,
you owned the spin in Accra by night
—you owned his body; accentuating his music, but no,
you’ll never know you’ve been such a turbulence of an occurrence.
You instant rogue imitation of a sporadic lover.
You should be summoning the prophets, Okomfo Anokye, Nahum…
but you’ll never know.

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