Rigorous
Volume Two, Issue 4



Jacob Kobina Ayiah Mensah


Attrition, Up North Hills

God entered my grandpa's inn from a fat book
I was reading with more than 3 pointers to show me
how to name the nouns in brackets for blubber,
it was raining heavily & the whole house had one
hurricane lamp for the eyes filled with soft soil.
He asked for food & a place to sleep for the night.
I, the lanky paddy, prepared his supper & bed in the corridor.
Two stout men, one in a red scarf & the other
in a black bandanna, who’d recently joined
the front runners across the land sliding,
remembered him to pay for the services,
by forcing him into the role of leading actor.
God stood up & told them, having taken
a few sips of his hot coffee, “Have you forgotten
a bright idea to construct a gift from a kit
I’m advertising? You shouldn't leave
the pins hanging on the wall really acting
like they were supposed to. I fix you your kidneys.”
The two missed their lines & left the act,
still keeping their hands hanging on at their back.
Who were tottering around the terraces
in high swatting, God winked at them.
In a corner, in the bedroom where I was
wearing away gradually under the shadows
painted on the wall, I heard a shot
from imagination, smashing through glass,
the sound splintering with smoke whining
across the valley behind this building,
I felt a small crowd yelling from a newspaper
page I’d kept in the apple barrel
I shared with a metal box rusting
before the morning & that carried
our memories in translucent papers,
very dull in taste, I heard grandpa saying, “Please,
carry that ragamuffin boy away when you're
goin' tomorrow. He oughta know the heaven.”
August cough in the distance was clear & noisy swig.
I tucked a hand in someone's armpits & slouched
lower on the wall to keep my scatterbrained ways
in order to solitaire with every day's barometer,
the old man let out a sigh & took his hat off.
In the mirror in the reception room, I saw the roofer,
that bony, plated-looking scalp, welcoming
the wedging between arthritis & actual weight on
my head damaged by the nursing home,
I turned onto the concrete apron,
I moulded my assault course to aspirate,
avoiding seizures that required hospitalisation.
“I ain’t goin’ anywhere. Here’s my home,” he told God
in a low tone & pricking out on his trembling face.




Stopping down the Footbridge

A few electric light bulbs are shaded
with brown papers, creating a collage,
I look up at the young officer
in a new mufti, the pièce de résistance,
the children laugh at the inconsequent way
I’ve become in appearing casual
at the end of the street.
However, I’ve the callous effrontery
to stand here when half of you come
sniveling to be watched by others,
I see the morning in his breathing.
If I’m to crush out his bitterness,
then I’m tapping blood that runs
faster than it seems as if now,
he leaves eyes flattened by age behind
& descending down & down into
the voice I’m hearing & blown away
like the smoke of floating about the boulder.
I rig up for myself a sole of watching
this bar across the hills in an elongated.
I hear his responses in replies
being hypnotized by their slow ascension.
I cobbler reflections to one sentence
within a few yards from him without
his knowing anything to cut marauders
off at angles in order to get out.
The children walk in the garden
to identify the dig that hold up the gin
in patterns considering to be the peaches
for a nearer observation engaged.




Conjugal Fruit

It’s getting darker in an album.
The mind jogs too & fro
as if I was abashed at having
made another mistake
to change the door to the hall,
I hear someone bathing in the pool.

It’s dusk with a carelessness & lightness
that are your own to stop us
at the old brick house
on the summit of the hill,
I frame the pieces we’re
& leave the river lying
in the distance like water vapour,
I find myself discolouring
an old scar in black eyes.

At a table we sit waiting.
We sit counting the spaces above
by controlling sense of awe,
the refreshing supper remains
with our hostess, feeling
the brilliant fire in her eyes.

My spirit seems to hasten
to live within the carving,
where your fragrant is the mist,
I begin my portion making up
the equal parts of a moth’s wing.

We end the session, making a room
for you & I to run away.
They want intensely to be alone,
I feel a wave of tenderness
for staying up in the house,
waging bright new pains across
the apples with fungoid decay.
I name the profits in breaking
the gap between us effortlessly.




Leaping Clear

1

The ricefield has many doors and windows
& they all look straight into the eyes, into
the dark corridors between the gutters,
their limit of the time has arrived. The visitor
has arrived, the visitor is a scarecrow, who delivers
his voice to your doorstep all year long,

I win the war & lose the pieces of my bit.
I know that I’ve to remain wide awake & alert.
You refer to the shade that looks like apparition,
I neglect the laces that divide us among the individuals
who’re tied behind him for their unprotected heads,
the smaller boys select a body for the butcher
by appointment in the public as a promising folk.
Who’s this new butcher, I don’t want to know,
because I hardly know myself
in such a tangle & tussle.

                                                      I name individuals
among us & cut the knuckles open.
At I’m awake & see nothing at all.
For this reason I resolve to come back
to find him in less imposed gentleman,
who disparage the smaller boys.

It’s a summer evening down the barnyard,
I’m surprised to find the visitor, staging
across the ploughed mounds
& not to join in the likeness,
his self-denying influence,
the growth & looks remain
in conjunction with the ring.
I keep busy on the potter’s wheel
building marsh marigolds from marjoram,
I marinate my hands,
the nascent mongrel returns
as monkey business. I rename
the monolith the bearded visitor.
Here, we come home following the doors floating.


2

The wounded visitor becomes a subscriber
to his own body for nearly a decade,
his body of clayey soil in the stream
of imagination for a place
in a reverential respect
to maintain any place upon
its weight taking off from the mind
by finishing a whole structure,
his formidable smiles
in the mist of August
complete building the eyes
owned by the passersby,
I relieve the silent gliding
on that flowing water.
A step across the brook
in the main use of his tongue,
I’m taken home
in a mixed-feeling plight.

                                                      I’m myself half-sleeping
& half-waking-up,
I occupy myself,
where every Saturday morning,
I assembly my first remains
over several heads
in a few eating walnuts.
I insert your name
behind the guest,
I, a visitor,
being your propitious husk,
I’m not doubtful
being the indignation
the next day
by pervading the theme
among the boys & girls
who’re still staring
at a body with doors & windows
when they feel that
these are appropriate to
any regular shade,
hard to crack.

You say nothing tender
with your round head
& curly flaxen hair,

                                                      I manage your mind
when the choristers chant
under the chatelaine’s care,
a difficult to pick yourself
into a parcel in the room doors.

The choristers chant & I feel repaired
like soft biscuits, or the white chalk
we carve in the hard rocks,
I bring teapot that contains
all my belongings,
you’re pensive
a few minutes
& then you’re rousing yourself,
I’m struck with wonder.
Farming this ricefield,
the visitor brings his bell
& the birds are indeed
a privilege to hear
& refine this propriety

in a language still
under reconstruction.
I kindle first, how we glow
to be blackened in bright tint,
the swelling spurs like fervid eloquence,
we maintain the shape to its own level
to match the visitor’s sweat.
This scarecrow in our lives,
we burn the back to get the black stuff.


3

Yours is the spoil.
Yours is your rank,
& your rank is here,
here in this ruins.
Stormdust,
& you say
Philip laughs without
giving you a mask?
30 villagers are airlifted to safety.
Let anyone who can buy shines do so
& buy them.
I draw a line
between you
& your image
behind the wall.
With your eyes
full of fires in his play,
the first 5 lines end up
like hawk emerging from the wet hills,
I endure your wraith
that keeps breaking in
almost certainly existing
in these waste mornings,
I sit down & try to rest
when there’s no resting,
we leave the visitor’s head
& shoulders taller than
you in breadth,
we’re always calling you nightmare
for the rice farmers,
still sloughing
from few lines
from the plough.
I peep the outside
through your big eyes.
I peg your post.


4

I’ve bought you many tales
from El Dorado
& I’m going
to her wedding.
I fling 23 feet up the aisle
between the cement seats
to be alive to my own blood
someone glances swiftly at it
when he gets to his knees again,
he’s momentarily distressed to have taken
it under the blanket, carrying the maps
& designs for fixing the machine emerging from the mud.
I circle his teeth & carry our candle houses with your weight
when you’ve refused to rush back down the aisle & assist him, lying there in paralysis
I remain thoughtless, finding a way to cross the trap & turn to the left
for more gently shrieking faces burning away from their contains
I strip the plaster from his longer breath
we order his faith in the next
contention I build.







I’ve embraced
your singing from the opera
after bewailing the perfidy in a strange dimensions
but in very good taste that points your false nights at the ball
I resolve to meet your false childhood by the gaiety in an appropriateness
I measure the sounds from the drift
I drop your dialogue
in blues for good.
I remain a sole
arithmetic
in a head
for May.


5

Is there any strength in your beard?
They ask me to shave & this beard
get me to a new place,
fairly in my absence,
where everything is
accustomed to an idea,
this idea is greater than man,
this idea is divine.
I enclose your strength
for nearly an hour to feel
the pulses throbbing in my hands,
these delightful sounds in the hollow
between your accomplishments.
I tell nothing.
Because I’ve nothing to say,
nothing about this advertising,
the post is always
this visitor.
I go over it twice,
thrice a day to complete
you at your post,
I direct my satisfaction
toward you to undertake
your guidance that has remained
locked in my drawer
till now as work habits
& notions, or voices,
or faces, or phrases of body,
or costumes, or friends,
or preferences with uttering
ribs & guts,
everything scatters
& who occupies the same room
to which I long to recur,
let him wish himself a welfare
at the post office.
I’ve it in a clear
with your earliest day.




Above the Chaffinch Barnyard

I resume the interrupted chain,
the same as the routine in one afternoon,
the feverish labourers win the cold
in bed by prolonged effusion,
I’ve ordered my brain to find
the gate in your resource,
I feel the heart beat in the chaos,
the response comes quickly
the landlady drops the curtain.
I get up & take a turn in the sitting room,
I examine the walls in a position
to give her what she wants from a painter,
her circumstance is satisfactory.
I paint the maps, both in shire
& glare with a hoax in its delights,
the whole sibilance replaces
the young you’re from its smugness.
This space is apparently unpossessed
by its contents to be obfuscated,
I man the mannered speech use here
so much so that I ‘ve learnt its elegant
those who’re confused to affirm
their cliffs formed largely by
eschewing broken images
behind the mirrors released
from dissociation near scansion.
If the heat from this culture
is debased now, try its whimsy
& indulge her ease in the music.
I brush up my plans for a neat spot
when I fix your socket with candlelight
to be a good way from the complete change.
I run the risk to find out where I’m
against this match between a little fellow
& a character, whose name is signed
by inspectors, who’ve always conducted
themselves well relinquishing all in my affairs.
I dare not say the heads on shoulders
preferring to sidle over your breath,
I keep your side in beneath your looking
for another complexion with black hair
beside the second look in a wide arch
for everything getting so damp in its interior.


Jacob Kobina Ayiah Mensah: "I am the author the of new hybrid collections, The Sun of a Solid Torus, Conductor 5, Genus for L Loci and Handlebody. I live in the southern part of Ghana."




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