the thing about this place by Oppong Clifford Benjamin
the thing about this place
boys at this place wake up in the middle of our prayers to plant misery in our hearts.
they become characters of the stories beneath our mother’s tongue. they raise their hands
simultaneously in a night’s dance among things that dance at nights.
i’ve learnt to hold together all harsh touches in between my thighs whenever i use the pavements.
i close my eyes and pretend to be here and happy. at least, that’s the shape of survival at this
place. also, that’s how a girl endures slap, her clothes torn apart, being dragged on concrete
pavements. the one thing mothers tell their daughters to remember of this place is the darkness
of sky which always betray its victims.
most often, i imagine my brother and i cum.
these boys have no sundays in their world just like they have no shame carrying their manhood
on their shoulders at night.
and in the morning, i swear that you will be greeted in smiles. school boys will smile at you as if
saying you did well yesterday night. street gangs, with sticks of cigarette in their teeth, will mix
your name with smoke as if your name suddenly became a thing on screens that made only boys
pieces of us decorate this street. pieces of dresses. pieces of our tears. pieces of our dreams.
©2018 Oppong Clifford Benjamin
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Oppong Clifford Benjamin is a civil engineer by profession and award-winning poet. His poems have appeared in KWEE magazine in Liberia, the Portor Portor (an anthology which featured six contemporary poets and six established poets across the world), Brittle paper, WRR, Ghana Writes Literary Journal, the UK poetry library. In 2013, WRR poetry in Nigeria honoured Clifford as the Ghana Poet of the year. Clifford has read his poems in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Russia. He has authored a collection of short stories titled The Virgin Mother and other short stories, published by Forte Publishing house in Monrovia, Liberia.