Kris Atta Pappoe

Rookie (Akuse, Ghana)

Tequila - Poem by Kris Atta Pappoe

Nobody said what killed him,
Nor indeed that he had passed away.
Perhaps it was the foreknowledge or rather,
The of- course nature of the happening.
And the way it happened.

We found a small cluster of the comrades,
In the one-roomed compound house
To which he retired after long frays
of active duty.
They were silent and confused as if,
Someone had to blow a whistle
To start what must be done next.
But it was already night and Morning
must rule the Night.

Then more comrades wandered in
As the news spread of his departure.
And the songs became louder
As the bottles and the glasses
Passed from hand to hand and mouth to mouth.
The Revolutionary anthems rang loud and clear
And the High Priest led the faithful
In extolling the achievements
Of the faithful Departed.

He was trenchant in the movement.
Oh yes, he was; and led the numerous charges
Against the little Bastilles of the Time.
Fear was his amour and a name dread was his.
But his friend, sworn and unflinching
Was the fire-drink
and arm in arm,
Neck to throat, they caroused from dawn till dusk.
When his voice was not hoarse in its grip
As he yodeled the mute throngs,
Then, perhaps, he was prostrate
with the fire drink,
Clutching at his entrails,
Demanding its fatal tributes.

Perhaps so it ended,
A life for non payment of a self-imposed tribute.

Sometime at dawn.
We buried him in the Common Yard.
One of his successors officiating.
A swig here and a glass there
And then it was done.
The Sexton smiled as we turned homewards
And waved us Goodbye.
We did not look back to where we had left him.
Friendless, causeless,
With the fire-drink perhaps still
Burning in his entrails.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, December 8, 2009

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