- Author: Nii Parkes
Book online «The Geez Nii Parkes (best novel books to read TXT) 📖». Author Nii Parkes
Nii Ayikwei Parkes
A Gimbal of Blackness
Ballade for Wested Girls Who Want the Rainbow
One Night We Hold
How I Know
Year AD87: BM14
A Concise Geography of Heartbreak
Kɛ i’tsui aka shwɛ
Oscura y sus obras
yorkshire bath displays
11-Page Letter to (A)nyemi (A)kpa
Tree of the Invisible Man
Our Love is Here to Stay
Crossroad vs Blues
To Be In Love
It might have been one night celebrating
a mother’s birthday in a Paris hotel room,
or some breathless minutes at the in-laws’
whispering like experimenting teenagers – still,
out of the fifty-thousand scent memory we have
there is now the smell of a baby girl, one born
in a war zone less equipped than Syria
but, for a child at the front lines, perhaps
just as damaging as time unravels. You are
her father; she is a cheeky, fragile joy,
but, because you love her, you must leave.
A coin tosses endlessly in your head; sleepless
nights have your heart torn and off-kilter.
You wrestle your selfish urges, find strength
to walk away. You know it is right,
but you have never known pain like this
and how can a suckling baby understand why
a shadow inhabits the space that was her
father? Except, your first time alone with her,
after she has left her mother’s arms, she holds
you doesn’t.let.go for the longest time.
Because I know about green mangoes
more than I know about any woman
I teach my sister about boys, how to
think like one, play one step ahead.
I tell her not to step back, any time
they lunge forward, but to side-step,
stay focused, show no fear; I show her
the same thing works in football, before
the age of positions, they rush like dogs;
that’s when you pass and move, hold on
for a minute, then accelerate. Speed
combined with timing, like a good joke,
and you have beaten the offside trap.
I teach her to punch too, and for good
measure, where. By sixteen maths is play
for her, she has boys rapt for her punch
lines, waiting, hoping for a chance to slip
a line of their own in. She foils them
all. Years later when she has settled,
done her 38 weeks, I get the call. I am told
It’s a boy. It’s a boy, it’s a boy, it’s a boy!
Pretending I can’t find my bi yoo bibioo
simply because she has covered her eyes
gives her as much joy as the silly faces
I sometimes pull. Out of the 43 facial muscles
I should have, I stretch, contract, contort,
conjure shapes that get the desired reaction.
But when she hides she is in control – even
ridicules me for not seeing her: I’m right
here, Daddy, she screams, then runs to hug me.
Already the time is coming when the trick will be
too old. I know so well how soon our pleasures go.
I recall hiding from my grandma. Her dark eyes
imprisoned behind cataracts, I was always stunned
how easily she found me. She didn’t even move;
she just pointed, and my reaction was always – How?
Some quality of those hours with her is how I see God:
something of her certainty that I had my late father’s
physiognomy just from the sound of my voice; how
she hugged this inherited body, this borrowed
shape and hue, close to her, cradled its shifting
face, seeing and loving a grandchild with no eyes.
You know that Kareem Abdul Jabbar hook
shot, right? Drexler’s glide, Pippen knocking
the ball away from someone’s control to send it
up to Air... Something you could always count on
when things got rough. That was Victor for us;
the opponent’s worst enemy. He came on
when games got tight, when pushing, shoving
and trash talk started to creep into the game
plan. We knew the secret; he only played
well when angry. They’d make their own monster.
The more they pushed, the sweeter the song
of his bounce; the harder they shoved, the surer
his aim became, his balance impeccable as he let
his shooting-hand hang limp after each projectile
took flight. He had something we all didn’t, he knew
gravity was a kind of violence too; you had to ride it.
They just reminded him of his father; a short man
who had shredded his mother with his sharp tongue,
slapped his son until the day his six-foot-six seed snapped,
grabbed him by the neck the same way he plucked
a rebound out of the air. We thought Victor was freak
material – a unique beast – until we saw his sister play.
She was good all the time – every quarter of the clock
face – moved like a whispered insult, precise as a second
hand, her fury constant as the force that held us down.
Asked about heartbreak, X might drop
a matchstick and raise a finger to point
at a delivery van rolling heavily past
a home. Let’s say it’s blue as a flame’s heart
and it stops in front of a brick building
where, on the third floor, a boy (Y) is framed
in his window perch by the yellow lamp
light beyond him. Y has headphones like planets
over his ears and is bent over a sheet
of paper, shading blackness into faces.
The window next to his is an animation;
two adult figures gesturing, their mouths black holes.
Because of the galaxy he carries, the window
boy – Y – will not hear his parents’ battle, but
high above the van’s blue, a beat is breaking.
X has not said a word, weary gaze focussed
outside. The match X dropped will grow
into a fire X won’t notice but for its heat,
won’t recognise – for who would call a window
a mirror? Has no one ever told you heartbreak
is always elsewhere? What is Y in the world of Xs?
A Gimbal of Blackness
Night cannot grasp the swift flight
of wind, but blackens every tree
the air moves, paints them darker, pushes
them against the light, the shapeless
light that gives them shape to shift
before my eyes. I am often in the embrace
of night; I am myself a dark thing –
the kind that was once called boy when man
– that was born of a woman descended from hills
and a man delivered from boyhood by the sea,
a man now lifeless though he gave me life.
I am often in the embrace of dark thoughts,
in the dim grasp of memory, a bottle in hand,
reflecting the light of the moon. I recall
a can of Guinness left