what is the point even.

Hi. My name is T. I’m a thought experiment, nice to meet you. How’s your day going? Fine? I’m sure it is, if you haven’t given in to your crippling existential angst. You haven’t, have you?

Have you?

Hello?

Oh my days somebody call an…

Wait, you’re ok? Why didn’t you say anything?

Not cool, man.

Right now I want you to take a deep breath. Fill your lungs to exactly 73% capacity.

I said 73, not 73.4. Sheesh, can’t you do anything right? Oh. My bad. Hope I didn’t trigger any daddy issues. Alright, it doesn’t have to be exact, fill your lungs the best you can, Terry (I’m calling you that because it’s a fairly gender-neutral name).

Alright, are you done? Now imagine you’re the eighth gill of a clawed lobster. Exhale. Feel the carbon dioxide leave your airways and pass into the ocean. Now inhale. Feel the salty ocean water wash over your gills. Draw oxygen into your blue blood.

Repeat.

Right.

How do you feel. What do you feel?

Nothing? Exactly.

What do you mean, what was the point of that? Does it matter?

No? Exactly.

 

 

“What the hell is this supposed to be, Mike?”

“I don’t know, Jenn. Why does it have to be anything? It’s experimental, so it’s ok if you don’t understand.”

“That’s total bull, Mike. You binge-watched Rick and Morty again, didn’t you?”

“…”

 

So I’ll sort of explain the hiatus.

I started this blog with only a vague idea of what I wanted it to be. Matter of fact, I was more certain of what I didn’t want it to be (unconnected posts, as-and-when ramblings, passive aggressive thinkpieces, etc. etc.). My first post was a piece on faith I originally posted to my tumblr. My second was a short story I stayed up late (and enjoyed) writing. I thought this would be how it went; stories or poems, and posts on faith.

I tried to post regularly. I know, 19 posts over two years is by no stretch “regular” but in my defense, I wanted my posts to mean something. I feel my short stories were my most meaningful work, but they took time. I decided to include book reviews and the odd anecdote and before I knew it, I wasn’t sure where this was going. What happened to faith and short stories? Was I becoming an as-and-when, passive aggressive thinkpiece guy who wrote unconnected posts? Ugh.

So I kind of just stopped. It wasn’t a conscious decision, really, I just wasn’t writing what I truly wanted to. I felt my stories were my most meaningful work because I could say the things I wanted, but from behind the veil of characters and the semblance of plot. I let myself explore my weird ideas, my half-formed philosophies and honest opinions. I wrote “confessions” at a time when I was struggling with the thought of what my hopes and dreams meant for me. I wrote “Miles and miles of wire” when I faced the fact that my father is mortal, and won’t be around forever. I could be (ack) vulnerable, and yet not really. Still, that doesn’t explain all of it, like how there’s only the one post on faith (the first).

For a long time my faith has carried an asterisk, a result of my struggle with doubt. I identify with the father in Mark 9:34; “[Lord] I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” I love Jesus, but I’m prone to wander. I’ve seen too much beauty in faith to let cynicism harden my heart, but my heart is not soft. For this reason I’ve felt I have no place talking about faith. I thought, who am I to say, “Trust the Lord” when I’m afraid a day will come when I don’t anymore?

We’re all on different journeys, and I’m beginning to appreciate my own. I’ve had to deal with what I have so I can empathize with the ones like me and understand grace a tiny bit better. I see things differently. I am not perfect. I am not impressive, I am not special. All I have is a heart full of good intentions, and a desire to see others know God’s grace. God has given me my particular set of interests, relationships, pursuits and experiences to shape my unique purpose, and I’ll only find that purpose when my life is laid down. The life laid down is hidden, but not behind excuses, insecurities, and fears. It is hidden in Christ and his glory. If it were up to me to sustain my faith, then yes, I would have every reason to fear losing it, because I am weak. Thankfully, 1 Peter 1 and Hebrews 12 tell me otherwise.

I want my light to shine. Maybe it’s in a life lived loud, maybe it’s in a life no one thinks is particularly noteworthy. Whatever the case may be, I want to play my part in the story of grace. This blog is a small part of the journey, and I’m excited to see where it goes.

This doesn’t mean I’m going to post more (lol). Sahrry.

Pokémon No

Pokémon No

Capture

When I found out I could play Pokémon Go here my brain froze for a second. You’re telling me I can freaking catch Pokémon in real life? SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MON – wait, what? I can do this for free?? I think I died briefly. I did not waste time downloading that app (yes, I know Ghana isn’t supposed to have it but this is the Internet era. There are Ways And Means), and I did not waste time beginning my Pokéquest.

Charmander, I choose you!

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After almost a week of playing however, I have uninstalled Pokémon Go, despite being a fan and really enjoying the game. But before I tell you why let me tell you about yesterday.

So, yesterday morning I woke up at 7:30am and was out of the house at 8:00am hunting Pokémon. Thankfully, the servers were behaving (Niantic if your servers dey crash ah wear them seat belt, eh. Logic🙄) and the game ran smoother than it ever has. Armed with a fully charged power bank I took a trotro to the only gym and Pokéstops in my proximity, three churches about six miles away. I roamed in circles for long enough to look like a mad man but it wasn’t my hood so I wasn’t worried. I played for a while, caught quite a few Pokémon, trained at the Valor gym (which was frustrating because it was guarded by a high-CP Pinsir) then headed back to my hood. I knew where I was going. I was going to this place:

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I was going to see if I could catch flying Pokémon at the top of the thing. I mean, flying Pokémon will be in the air, or?

The funny thing is, I’ve been meaning to visit this site for at least six years, but before Pokémon Go I never bothered. This game eh? I saw parts of my hood I didn’t know existed in the eight years I’ve lived here.

To my chagrin (I tried to think of a Pokémon pun for that. How about charman-grin? No? Ok), the security said no one’s allowed up the machine. He did give me a tour though. Now I know how bitumen is made. Yay Pokémon, enabling on-site education!

I wandered around catching Doduos for a while, evolved one into a Dodrio, then headed back to the gym to see if Dodrio could beat that damn Pinsir (he could not).

I checked the time and it was 2:00pm. I had just spent six hours of my life hunting for imaginary pocket monsters. It was at this point that I realized this could not continue. I quietly uninstalled the game, got on a trotro back home, and just reflected on my life choices. I mean, if I had spent the last six hours on something more … productive, I’d have something to show for it. All I had were imaginary pocket monsters. I was kind of torn up inside, because Pokémon really meant a lot to me.

A lot of people who don’t understand the hype never played Pokémon when they were younger. Pokémon was a big deal for me growing up. My earliest memories of it are from third or fourth grade at least, when the other kids with their Gameboy Colors wouldn’t let me play, and I had no clue where to buy the trading cards they brought to school to battle with. I just remember it being the coolest thing my nine-year old brain had ever seen. Later my sister got me Pokémon Stadium for the Nintendo 64. I was addicted by now; I was reading the Tracey West Pokémon chapter books, and I read the Pokémon handbook till the covers fell off.

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In my early teens I figured out how emulators worked and played a lot of the original games on my computer. Pokémon Gold was epic. I remember beating Red on Mt. Silver;

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that was like, the highlight of my year (I’m exaggerating, but you get the point). It’s got a lot of hype because it meant a lot to us when we were younger. We all secretly wished we could travel the land catching Pokémon for realz, and now we can. Sort of.

But I can’t justify playing this game. First off it takes way too much dedication. Yes, it gets you to exercise, but I have a running app for that. Yes, it gets you to go outside and (maybe) socialize, but I have a social life. I leave the house two whole times a week, like a party animal. I just think it’s a little too escapist for twenty- and thirty-year olds to be so invested in this game. Trying to recapture the nostalgia of ten years ago and live out a childhood fantasy is not enough motivation for me to continue playing; I have present-day goals, and I gotta catch ‘em all. This is not a knock on any of those playing, far from it. I’m talking about my own experience. Feel free to walk around in circles trying to find Caterpie, it’s your life.

Also, this girl I’m into thinks it’s really lame.

Pokémon Go is a fun experience, but until they release Pokémon Stay-In-Your-House-And-Have-A-Life, I think I’m done.

This post makes some great points too. Check it.

Kanshie Trotro

So this was me, sitting in the trotro, waiting to go home. I was ruefully weighing the pros and cons of my latest crush, telling myself all the reasons for which it was a bad idea when this lady in the trotro came and sat next to me. I paid her no mind until she started talking. At first I was just intrigued by her accent, like “Whoa, where is this lady from,” because I’ve never heard anyone who sounds like her before, but I didn’t ask. My guess is she’s either from somewhere up north, or Tanzania. What a Tanzanian is doing in a Kaneshie trotro, I have no clue.

So she tells me she’s Roman Catholic, says some other things I don’t remember, and then tells me she’s a messenger from God. Now, this got me excited, because this stuff doesn’t happen to me often. Even in church I almost never get called on when the shpirid is moving, so I thought this would be dope.

So apparently I’m one of 2000 males created immediately after Jesus was, whom God has set aside to be his special people in the earth. We will be among the first to be taken up into heaven too. At this point I got even more excited, because after the whole disappointment with Jericho’s prophecies I was really beginning to doubt that I’d ever have the chance to save the world from a zombie apocalypse, but this was giving me hope! I began to visualize all the special ways I would do special things because of the special powers God would obviously have to give me. At this point I was too busy being excited about the laser vision God would give me for zombie-smiting to really pay attention to her, but then I heard her say that because of my special destiny I was not supposed to marry; I was supposed to stay celibate and do God’s work.

I was like:

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Wollop, wollop, wollop
gerrarahere
Gerrarahere for real mehn!

I’m supposed to stay what now? At this point I was cry-laughing in my soul because, uh uh boo-boo, ain’t gonna happen. I should stay what? Anka take your laser eyes. Take! My heroic destiny will have to wait till after my honeymoon. I know, not very heroic and self-sacrificing but fam, this touched a nerve. This crossed the line! I could give up an arm and a leg if it was the only way to defeat the demon ninja army; I could give up both eyes if that was the only way to defeat Medusa’s Cabal; I could sit through ten thousand hours of Hannah Montana if that’s what would stop the Girl Guides from taking over the world (they will, mark my words), but not marry? Anka the world should burn.

With a heavy heart I listened to the rest of her message. I nodded as she casually mentioned that God had also told her to ask me for 10 cedis to go do his work at Kanshie, and tearfully negotiated a discount. God knew I was sad, so He would spare me 5 cedis to buy khebab as I mourn. It’s been too much disappointment. First Jericho, now Kaneshie-trotro-lady. My little heart just can’t.

I tried to get a picture of her, but the angles in trotros don’t favour sneak photography. If you see her around, go the other way before she shatters your dreams of being a special snowflake too.

kaneshie_trotro

She.

She stands at the kerb
Watches light and shadow shake hands,
Exchange their “How do you do”s, and laughs.
She laughs at the dark
Till the shadows cower before her, naked and afraid,
And the light strives to catch her face.
She is many parts shade and many more flame
She screams greyed reds and laughs at the rules
She loves just like talking in her sleep
Her palms are a dare to turn from the truth between the lines.
I cannot read her
Her palms are mirrors
I only see my own naivety.

 

© 2015 k.amoh

Jericho’s Walls

Jericho’s Walls

When I was in high school I remember I saw a ton of scribbles in chalk and charcoal on many walls in my neighbourhood. I thought it was strange, but paid no mind. A few weeks later I saw a man holding a piece of chalk, scribbling on a wall. He wore dirty clothes, was barefoot and looked like what we in Ghana call a madman. I remember I had a subconscious, superstitious fear that if I ever read his scribbles I’d go mad too, so I stayed away from any walls he’d written on. I got to calling him Jericho—get it? He wrote on walls, so they were Jericho’s walls? I’m punny, I know—and thought I’d like to make him a character in a comic who covered the walls of his city with scribbling that no one knew were prophecies of an impending doom, and how they might be saved, apart from an intrepid young lad who cracked his code *wink, wink*.

I thought Jericho was cool, but after a while, I saw Jericho’s scribbles around less and less. Rain washed the walls of his chalk and charcoal prophecies, so I never got to find out whether it was a meteorite or zombie apocalypse that would wipe out my city, or how to find the secret bunker in which he had stashed his supply of phantom-repellent and kaiju poison.

A few days ago on my way to a SASA meeting I saw Jericho scribbling on the pavement at a traffic light. I was immediately seized with a feeling I can’t quite describe. It began as a mildly surprised “Oh! It’s Jericho,” bubbled into an excited “Damn, Jericho! Back at it again with the prophecies!” before petering out into a guilty “Aw man. He’s still not healthy.” My trotro took off soon after, and I made a mental note to get over my damn fear of my heroic destiny and read his prophecies so I know what to wear the day the lizard-people come.

Sitting in the trotro, I kept thinking about Jericho and the mentally ill in general. There is a fundamental hatred for and fear of them in our society. We’ve all been kids who ran away from the neighbourhood madman (you had yours, I’m sure), deathly scared he would eat us. We’re afraid of them because we don’t understand them, and we shun them because we think they’re beyond helping. Frankly, I don’t believe we even want to help them.

There’s a joke we throw about like it’s nothing but I swear it’s dripping with truth; “Many are mad, but few are naked.” We hear that and laugh, because it’s often used to snidely imply that someone’s behavior marks them as a crazy person. Either that, or we think “mad” applies only to the subset of our society that is homeless and has unkempt hair, and we assume the joke is saying something about degrees of madness, some kind of “madder-ness” that’s extra insane and goes about naked, but that is missing the point. I think that’s not all the joke is saying, but I’ll address that in another post. Back to Jericho. This isn’t meant to be heavy. Well, not that heavy.

After my meeting, I got on a trotro and headed straight home. I got off at the traffic light, and walked over to where I’d seen him writing. I had to see what he found so important that he had to write it everywhere. I whipped out my phone, ready to capture the ingredients of the secret formula that would turn me into Captain West Africa. Instead, I saw:

ADABRAKA PRIMARY SCHOOL

KNOCKOUT COCAO NOUNTEEE

UR STILL ATTACH REINHARDBONNZE

KUMAWO SR KIEGGGG OH SAY MOKOLA PUEGEOT

ATTACH GOVERNMENT PROPERTY

and more gibberish that I guess he saw on signs around the city. Maybe it’s a code, but I don’t have the Robert Langdon level skills required to crack this code. Is he saying advertising is evil? Some tool employed by the aliens to lull us into a consumerist stupor that makes us unprepared for their invasion? Maybe there’s something to be said about how flooded our society is with advertising that it’s all that runs through a madman’s mind, but that’s also for another post. Like I said, this is not meant to be heavy.

It was cool to finally read his scribbles, to finally know I’ll have to look elsewhere for instructions on how to survive the attack of the Donald Trump clones. There’s something else I want to unpack here but I don’t know how to do it without being fake-deep. Maybe some other time. Or maybe, I’m the crazy person for thinking there was some deep truth in the scribbling of a madman, but I don’t think that’s likely. Is it? Nah.

Is it?

Maybe Jericho should have written this post. He’d probably make more sense than I did 😀

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