Jacob Kobina Ayiah Mensah

from The Joy of Safety


Doubled Play/Tune 

Beyond a water buffalo                                                   the earth is pulling itself.
Beyond a largest city                                               the traffic bustling.
Beyond our footing                                       we build our space.
We go straight ahead
and it is two streets down.
I am not sure how long                                     you am staying,
I smell the sour milk left                          in the metal bucket where  
this city ends,                     we turn left at the next corner
and we wait for everybody to close his space 
and cross to the right.                                     
Here we take one foot forward and two steps backward
we look like kitchen smoke around a bottle,
we jump over the gutter, Cool Luke stops
and looks elsewhere, his eyes are locked
with the blizzard, I bend the morning.       
                                    Living outside elsewhere in a special
                               (s  e   t    t    l    e  m e n  t  )     from the reserves called
location, a chain of days spent in the thruway.
                                                        The truck driver                                         
                 A distant part of the archipelago is sold with his head full of wonder and this port the 
seamen have lifted it with their shoulders and heads to where your end begins,
the vehicles hugging to the enlarged impression that has struck the driver

your cellphone rings. It is MTN message.

MTN MESSAGE: Y’ello, Sundays are always
SPECIAL on MTN. With just 50p,
talk & SMS all day on MTN till
5:59pm on Sundays. Simply dial
*5050# to activate MTN Sunday
Special now

A tremble of fear is passing through the crowd still waiting for your arrival

                                      I join the people shifting their gaze from the fence 


I Want to Buy the Weight of the Cemented Woman

In front of the town library                                      a woman sits in cement, she wears a blue 
jacket and brown                        knickerbocker with a Youngman’s eyes, a busybody enough to remember 
 where she has lived for all                 these years. I sit in some way to commit myself. I touch her 
                                                                                                   mind settling to my new vision,                    
                                                                                                   with a mere strained smile I face,                                                                                                 
                                                                                                 perhaps to draw a shade to complete 
                                                                                  my imagination, a pretext for an appreciative 
                                                                              invitation any schoolboy wishing not to miss 
                                                                         before the curtain falls   


Complexities of the Sighting  

A home begins to dissolve away 
within the same space,                                                                                                                                                                            

a long way from Jefferson to Wright, between the ranch house & the ford. It is a long way from the salt beach, we design its places to flow.

A gopher for honeycomb.

We stand in the past listening to a waterfall splashing

on your face, its height we can’t measure in the room

fed with spider web & darkness we put on the contents of a lost

hummingbird & wear visor & we’re lost again. Wo ist das Krankenhaus? He says to us still seizing the map. Wo haben Sie Schmerzen? Is it the ear, the eye, the hand, the nose, the tongue? Verstopfung. Can I switch on the light & see your full length? Can I switch on the light & see your complete life? Please wait. I want to distinguish questions from answers which have remained the same size from the beginning, I must catch the full length. Paying for this phase girding in advance we reserve a lively bustling traffic. With her look I paint as mine, passersby—the long procession— the boys & the girls I have seen one of the hands near the edge 8. Vigil Abevy atthejun ctionto oheavy withbiasb Indingto bideeverystep wewaitfo rthemidnightw hipourshadow skeeptheired gesfromidleness wheretheda yhasbeenstoleninatress thesehoursareopen forabusinesswewaitforherbodytobetaken fromherballad &givenitbacktoherfirstlad

Jacob Kobina Ayiah Mensah is an algebraist and artist who works in mixed media. His poetry, songs, prose, art and hybrids have appeared in numerous journals. He lives in the southern part of Ghana, in Spain, and the Turtle Mountains, North Dakota.
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