Fiction, Poetry, Standalone Poems

No Fishing Tuesday

do we see the stars dying
this wrapping of air
a dirge standing still at midnight

a woman, a man, all of body
and bones trapped under living
this heavy heavy load

do we hear the voices quieting
here the unfeeling of words on lips
leave us stroked

Oh mother Oh daughter
Oh father Oh son
Oh brother Oh sister
Oh friend Oh friend

we must hold the bodies to mourn
but the ocean has them

©Afua Awo Twumwa, 2020

Poetry, Standalone Poems

Your eye top

they does not go with us
he come without us
it look at us

we shone in our head
body is not firewood
but we burns

at the break
she sit with us
“tell your name. tell your name”

i ams who they does not want
does go without, does not look at
ams he. ams she. ams them.

she says oh douglas

it looks at me?
only dog looks at me.

©Afua Awo Twumwa 2020.

PS. This poem is an attempt to reach beyond comfortable language. And try to fit more into the helplessness a language can thrust you into. And the helplessness it can add to yours. Language is a beautiful thing. But when used as a yardstick, language can break us. And into too many fractions.

Poetry, Standalone Poems

PS. This is Not a Love Poem

You would never think this a love poem

Shoes are sitting in their stand,
watching how the fingers will fall
where it would, when.

And the jaw has already insulated itself. Pain must

hurt thinks the bulky brain. Pain hurts. The heart beat is rhythmic against naked chest.

This tune is so used to itself now, it’s bored. The pace starts slow, goes slooooooow then fast, fst, st.

It is always how the toes bend that breaks the shoes.
Like they are bowing.
Where is the audience for this performance

And the tears spill
And then the silence
And you would never think you just witnessed

someone being loved. Brutally.

©Awo Twumwaah 2020

A happy new year! I hope amongst other things we find interesting and life-changing work on here to read and discuss. I pray I write some of those.

Essays, Non-Fiction

Enough Sky For Us All

There are four birds circling the sky. Now, they are on the short wall segregating the grass from the cemented part of the ground. They land in four and pair off, as though playing, as though trying to figure some difficult situation out. Above them, three more birds of a different kind fly in their own directions, or so it seems and then there’s a butterfly. It seems the four birds are on a kind of double date. It seems. Isn’t the world rotating on a whole lot of assumptions? Isn’t our thriving mostly based on what we make out of things? I look up again at the sky and wonder at all the space up there and all that accommodates it. The truth to hold on to at this moment is that there is space for us all in what looks to us like a crowded world. Soon, a plane flies by and there is space for us all to fly, whoever wants to, whatever wants to.

How did it occur to us that to thrive means to undo another’s existence? In some way, in whatever way we can? I do not want to blame it all on the evolution assumptions. But I’ve always found the notion of the survival of the fittest odd. And for a large part of my time in my final year and most of the second years after that, it haunted me, subdued me, made me afraid. What is the measure of how fit I am? And how soon was I going to be taken out of the line? And who was going to take me out of the line? To make space for him or herself? Who was going to ultimately be better than I am because of all the inherent and also adaptive reasons that gave them an edge over me? 

I lose sight of the four birds. Or to put it more honestly, I stop watching them, stop trying to decipher what is going on with their grand double date. I take my thoughts of when we will realize that perhaps the earth is large enough for all of us with me to my office space. I carry it with me home. I eat with it, bathe with it, chat with my family with it and type it out mulling on it. I tell myself to carry out research on how much of the earth-space which is land is not inhabited by humans. And how much of it is crowded because that is where all the resources are.

Before all of it ends, and my new friends slip out of my mind, I look at the big blue sky and the woman throwing her wash water on the dusty road behind the building my work is done in and I wonder if this woman will ever believe there is enough sky on this earth for her too.

©Awo Twumwaah 2019.

Poetry, Standalone Poems

The Construction of A Poem

I want to build a poem I live in
without grappling for air. tonight,
I know what the dream looks like. I am
under water but my lungs do not die. I can breathe
like Jonah in the fishes’ belly and
now I believe in miracles.
When the soil has found you a rebel, shut you out,
a poem without windows. and doors but enough air should be a refuge.
A shelter from sand storms. This is
why I build this poem with stable hands.
Mother’s voice is behind me calling for pepper. I do not move.
Living is a puzzle and I like fixing them in how breathe does not become a commodity only for the rich.
I need stable hands.
Father’s voice is beside me asking for salt. I do not move.
Do you think a poem is an easy thing.
This adventure lays you flat on your broken back and seeks from you your front teeth.
Your mouth must become a weapon and I
am not fond of cutting with open lips.
Suppose sister chances on me and she becomes a casualty.
How do you live with yourself when what must let food in is now a machete?
If my mouth must cut, may it be balm
also – minted, burning because this is healing.
When I come up from this water, it is never for air.
It is to see how the world lived without me, how the soil budded without the seed.
I want to build a poem that lives on
under the ocean and does not need to float to survive
When I build a poem.

I’m back with a poem. And I also want to know; what are some of the reasons you write, even if it’s just Journaling?

© Awo Twumwaah 2019.

Poetry, Standalone Poems

beyond epidermis

I do not hug mother. Often.
Mother loves me.
My bag hugs me. My bag does not love me. My bag cannot love me.
I have seen hugs last years between enemies. A love
that should not be. That is not. There is love that does not
have to need to touch. And it is love.
God hugged me. On the day I should have one: there were no hands.
How do you see hands that are Spirit and Body and Spirit?
How do you feel hands that fold around the world sunshine on a rainy day?
I have known it cannot be felt like I have skins staying on mine.
A divine hug from arms that spread continents and have some loose would
make me lost in burning love.
There is a love that does not touch skins. It holds souls, carries spirits.
I want a love that leaves me lost
and found. Like God’s.
Like mother’s –
While we do not hug not often.

And that’s this week’s post. Also, find the books I read in 2018. I am working on a 2019 reading list that I’d be updating live on this blog. Find it in the menu under Books and Reading.

©Awo Twumwaah 2019

Fiction, Short Stories

This Thing In Our Chests

They are friends again; now that the traffic has turned that sleepy green, allowing cars pass and there are no customers on the pedestrian walk to juggle over.

“How much did you make?”

He smiles into her face.

“You first”

She chooses their normal route of conversation. He twitches his lips. His almost empty blue bowl begins to dance on his head. He tips it, reaches for and bites the corner off one of the two unsold sachets, showing his half broken front tooth. As he downs the water, he studies her, like he does every morning before their goodbyes. Her small beautiful feet in the charlewote meant for a girl a year older, her rounded lips, freshly licked.
He would remember every line, skin texture, even into his oldest age; he can swear. His watching her doesn’t end, even as she faces him with her own empty bowl beating lightly on her hips, rhythm to the words she only can hear.

“I said you first.”

She teases. She enjoys how he suddenly stops looking and truly struggles with keeping this truth from her. She understands. The decision to tell or not to tell is a hard one. She sees it, in her own truth she’s keeping from him. This afternoon, her Aunt says she must be sent for the cutting; a mark of all the women she comes from. She, her Aunt, says it will pain her but she cannot stop her going. She knows it too. She heard the loud barking from the clan messengers when her Aunt mentioned rescheduling, the need for her not missing her first exams. That hasn’t bothered her like the gnawing dreams she’s woken from each night. The present knowing that her goodbyes said today will be the last she’d ever say.

She sees now that they are only a few feet from her turn. She steps in front of him, kisses her palms and places it on his budding chest. The two lovers said goodbye this way, in the Korean series she watched last night. Only he doesn’t understand. He once said he only watches the fight in the rings like boxing. That is for men. He looks silent at her, knowing nothing of the sand storm she’s holding in her own chest, afraid to let free against their always finding each other here. Especially on days like this, days with less sun. She remembers how he whispered you are beautiful their second walk down together. It was a soft ball rolling gently from his tongue into her heart. Then always caged. She will always remember. This kind of love does not die with a goodbye.
Before she can be sad, she smiles, watching the sun rise.

PS. I’d like to make this story more complicated. Add some more layers to it later. So, feel free to suggest any. For now, I hope you liked it. 


© Awo Twumwaah 2019


The Way Home


The time on the road is the best part when traveling between Accra and Suhum most Friday evenings, as I do. They are full of cars trying to find their way home. Like me.


The sun sets about this time and leaves the earth an orange dream – nothing is more magical. And yet it’s unknown to the sun, maybe, of what this break in the monotone darkness and light means; what this tinge of both worlds do for us.


Midway through the journey, it’s getting darker. The chatter of street hawkers fill the air, travels with the wind to your ears. You’re left wondering about their loud laughter – about what could feed a tongue so much it bursts into such joy. After this is the silent travel along settlements too tiny to be visible from the thick forests that shroud them. But soon, with most of these forests being predated by various industries for various reasons, I suspect you can see them; a family of five perhaps, with their small concrete house hoping tomorrow will bring better yield from the travelers their wares are made for. If it was morning, you’d have understood this better; you’d find by these forests that are lone and abandoned at night women, children and men with their wares.


When I see the lights of the first homes bordering the town I grew up in and the last of the towns with names I’ve never mastered to name, I sigh. I’ve come home alive on this dreary night road I’m beginning to love.

PS. Sharing with you the draft of my first creative non-fiction work I submitted for a free IOWA University course I took part in. I hope you liked it.

©Awo Twumwaah 2019