Suffocating:

II
Model: Audrey Obuobisa-Darko

I.

I am sorry about your abuse. I am sorry that your uncles forced themselves into you. I am sorry you were too young to fight – too naive to recognize your captivity. I am sorry the bedroom walls turned to prison bars. I am sorry they took their turn on you. I am sorry your screams couldn’t shake the trauma — ricocheting back to your ears in surrender. Where was God then? Or Jesus? I am sorry you lost your faith before you even found it.

Your father chose not to believe you. Your father read the newspaper. As you knelt on the floor begging to be heard. Your father flipped the pages. As you spoke of his brothers. As you suffocated to the memories. Your loss of innocence. Your father jaded your soul. With his disbelief. Killing you softly. With his ignorance. Killing you softly. With his silence. Your father chose not to see the scars. Or the blood. Or the torn apart clothes. Or the arch in your back. Or the pain in your large, beautiful Yoruba eyes. Your father called you a “little whore” for lying. For speaking evil on his brothers. Your father. Your father taught you to apologize.

For being raped.

II.

You found out, years later, that your father sold you. He said your body was never yours to begin with. He died without apologizing. He died, and you found the strength to attend his funeral. You refused to give the eulogy. You let the silence sit with his soul.

May his soul burn in eternal hell.

III.

Your lover kisses your forehead. Your lover recites your name like a sensual poem. Akanni – your legs tremble. Akanni – your loins are filled with fire. Your lover kisses your lips. He knows your rhythm. Slow, yet intense. Your lover is a master at loving you. And you love that about him. He parts your legs. Gentle, yet firm. He caresses your thighs with his hands. Your chest arches. Consumed by desire. Consumed by fantasies about to be fulfilled. Yet. Yet you stop him. Before it goes too far. Before the pinnacle of lust. You tell him of your past. Of your uncles. Of your father. He knows. This not the first you have told him this. He knows. And he is tired. Of rejection. Of waiting. Of not being a father.

Your lover begins to rage. Fire rolls off his tongue. Like Satan’s wrath. You place your hand on his chest. You try to consul him. And gloriously fail. He… he calls you an “old whore”. A woman your age should be grateful to find someone – he says. He calls your body a graveyard. Of love. And hopes. And dreams. The bedroom walls turn to prison bars. Your lover escapes. And you remain captive – to a past you could not control.

Burnt.

The face of my forefathers.

men that smoked polygamy once.

and forgot to exhale.

men that –

stirred women.

– like fine wine.

between their tongues.

bitter sweet.

misogyny.

angry black.

women that –

breastfed.

– with both hands.

as if forcing a prayer.

into their children’s existence.

as if our lips.

– knew God.

as if we could empty

– the pain.

of father’s mistakes.

of men like.

– arsonists.

with petroleum for fingers.

women touched –

– between their thighs.

igniting sparks.

– sweaty nights.

deadly fights.

kisses from.

– other women.

– emotional tides.

– sons like.

– fire extinguishers.

– putting out.

– mothers burning.

– from your.

– fuckery.

Lit, a recollection (II)

Read the first of this series here.

White lights queued. I made a new friend, and (much to my frustration) I cannot make his face out. I do, however, recall a sense of belonging; a nervous pain and desire that spoke through our eyes. We wanted to escape, to run with the liquor because childhood doesn’t drink. Adults do, and we wasn’t adults.

The baths were clouding. I wasn’t ready to see reality through a broken filter. The water was colder, saltier, and plenty. I wondered if he was going through the same thing, or maybe worse. Like AIDS? The thought was uncomfortable.

Getting dressed was easy, staggering through the hospital wasn’t. I made it, one stiffed leg at a time; I made it to the corridor. White lights queued. It was quiet, free from the clank of test tubes and needles.

Homie had a plastic ball. He had been waiting. We hit it hard and forgot the pills; we hit it hard to forget the misery. Our focus was on ruining something so beautiful,

And undisturbed.

Just like what life had done to us.

I was discharged six weeks later, Homie wasn’t.

Lit, a recollection…

Tyrone Takawira

PART I:

Moments of pain are so intricate with probability. It’s only when you sit in a 4WD hitting sixty — that you begin to connect the dots.

I got soaked in hot water when I was ten. Quite a prolific moment. If I hadn’t slept in my long PJs the night before, I wouldn’t have tripped. I wouldn’t have let go of the heated pot. All I could do was watch the steam rise, and the water fall.

Onto my skin.

It was a hundred degrees of fucked up; kerosene on the Sun shouldn’t burn this slow. I couldn’t see past the light, the vapour of flesh and pain was blinding. Between crying for help and regaining balance, I couldn’t breathe.

Worse, I was lying right in the center; too dismantled to leap for salvation, too hot to stay.

My mind is blank here, how I got up is for Holmes to solve.

I do, however, remember knocking on mother’s door; she didn’t answer. Mother was pressed in sleep, and I, in boiling melanin. All I could do was blow on my skin, and keep moving.

“Keep moving, sonnie. Gets hella hot if you don’t.”

Blowing spurts of air on myself was like running a garden hose from a kitchen sink — in the hopes of putting out 9-11.

My mind draws another blank, next thing I’m seated in dad’s 4WD, hitting sixty on a highway. He asked if I had ‘cooled off’, which was a bad joke. I nodded. What I meant to say was,

“i’m friggin’ drowning,

in ashes,

save me,”

We stepped into Pari Hospital some minutes past eight. It smelled like detergents and government service, with an attitude. Papers got filed. I slept in on a hospital bed; the first time since 98′.

The next morning was a mess. Puss ran from my blisters, and my skin had crept into the bandages. The nurses tossed me into a tub, like a dead somebody. Two locked my legs, one gripped both arms, and the other tore the bandages off. That son offa’ never counted to three.

It was not a poetic scene; the red and black of tissue in dying skin is as fantabulous as it gets; no kitty glitter anywhere. I buried a kick in someone’s neck, all in the name of pain.

I was scrubbed in salt water, which is something of a pinch in the groin, the kind were the pincher doesn’t let go.

I sat on the bed hours later, with a fresh kit of bandages, ready to bat into dreamscapes.

I stretched a smile,

“i’m glad THAT’S over,”

A nurse turned on the lights. He left a glass of water and said I was real brave today.

He also said I best get a good night’s sleep for another bath tomorrow.

I didn’t say a word.