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Getting Down to Business

It is the way the clouds drift, pregnant with
rain and how am I supposed to suspend the
poetry to attend to the prose? That I do not
know. What I know—my midnight coffee lets
the vapour rise a shade of the black matter
turning in vertical whorls against my wall
while I click happenings on the news portals.
It is the way the mind conducts business, the
way it shifts, subject by subject, pregnant with
tales—here is an ideology of an old order,
a vocabulary for what should rather be a call
on the gods at the shrine. Agooooo! There is
the moral of the story and there are the notes
on the edge and all in-between, and who says
we must never rule out the rules? The thing is,
if I have a story, I’ll tell you. Now the devil
knows why you come to mind, Salamatu,
at this juncture, I remember the fury
of your bouncing bottom.



K, You Know Accra Has Its Rain

So I’ll keep myself in this corridor, peeping
out once a while to keep pace with the
reckoning of how you disappear just when
you appear.

You make a picture in my window this wet
June/July. I see the clouds. It is day. It is
afternoon, but you render the sun a shy figure.
It is in the haze of your approach,

like the clouds, and there’s something about
them too, and you! I like to imagine you like
this: the sound of raindrops bouncing off
your body,

nothing more—there’s no story line here.
The weather takes you away, bringing us to
anticlimax—and I’ll be here, listening,
watching you appear in the rain.



Dreaming of Being a Fool

Many a night I have dreamt of being a naked fool
standing before you with my senses far away
from your traces. Oh you’ll not get it.
We may be immersed in the romance along river Volta
with your breasts swelling up against my chest
but I’ll be far away wandering the streets of Abuja
trying to figure out what the hell begot terror in this capital city.
I may be in Aleppo, reclining in a furtive corner,
lighting a pipe a minute away from artillery fire to
smoke out the peace in the Middle East—I’m a man
numbed by the horror of another man. Still, you’ll not get it.
We may well be two busy bodies in a tango:
You woman with desire, I the fool in your eyes
and to advance the trajectory of our interaction—just
for the sake of raising the stakes—
I’ll fetch the question well timed in your eyes: now, indeed,
should I not take you from behind?



Death and Dying

To be busy living is drowning enough.
Someday we will learn how to die and do it well.
My dear, death is a euphemism.
It is the metaphor of unripe mangoes falling at our cold feet
—still—it is what we say in the aftermath—or prior—
our knees grow weak under foreshadows—it is the relay
carrying the message home—say a distant drum of our sorry state
—otherwise who holds rehearsals
for crossing-over from this earth to heaven or hell?
What we do—when we speak of death—we attempt
a one-variable scatter diagram picking only points on the axis of life
—your birthday, your baptism, the day you broke your virginity…
Oh! You must have been a good man by the praise accounts yet we
never know what happens on the other side—the axis of death and
this is where it ends. But examine this: my dear, dying is the act.
It is that moment in the theatre when you’re losing a critical organ
to the surgeon’s hangover, slowly—there’s no way back—dying—
being consumed by a tsunami—water flooding your lungs—if not being
riddled with bullets and left to gasp for breath—and there’s no way back
—dying—and who knows? It might be the sun—finishing off
the earth in a final gust of a scientific flame.



Approximating to a Shape Without a Body

Like the whirlwind erupting into
a shape without a body, gathering
dust and whizzing past this life, this
random sampling life, tomorrow will
be another day full of living and nothing,
and I’ll be removed from this body. But
these words will remain here, taking
different forms in different eyes. They will
attempt to create their own body from the
margins separating the life I have lived.
And this is how I want it to be—to be free.
They may well be here and not travelling
far, but they will belong to the wind and
I will imagine them as I wish—words
gaining freedom in orbit; spinning about
their own axes, collecting in circles, rings,
twirling and morphing into a festival of
bubbles floating in Brownian motion;
making waves and bursting into the
nothing revolving about the affairs of the
living—and of the dead we will only have
memories. You will remember the whispers
punctuating the touch of our bodies, the
point where you closed your eyes. You
will remember the hush, the hush…




Novisi Dzitrie was born to Ghanaian parents in Kakata, Liberia, and he lives in Ghana. Novisi mainly seeks escape in his poems. His poem “Praying Down the Quaff” was included in Prairie Schooner’s Fusion 9. Others are published in the Writers Project of Ghana’s anthologies Look Where You Have Gone To Sit (2011) and According to Sources (2015). His short story “Chi Chi Voices” was published by Lawino Magazine (December 2015).