Dear Construction Man cat calling me, “big booty girl” “shake that ass baby”
Dear bad-odour-guy-from-the-queue who finds humour in pressing his member against my backside
Dear Internet Weirdo wanting to show me his “six-inch thickness” and gag me with it if I wish
How dare you
How dare you come before this altar with such impurity
How dare you try to dirty this gown
Do you not know to hold your tongue before deity?
this body is not a playground for your fantasies
it is not a genie to wish your lust upon
it is not liquor to absolve your iniquities
it is not an ashtray to stub your sins
it is not one more Israelite to enslave
this body is not yours to raid
My body is Sacred
this is a Holy ground
my body carries three generations of arthritis and heart diseases
my body has seen the smirk on death’s face
I am a lineage:
a long line of preachers and poets
priests and orators
linguists and storytellers…
a reverberation of their holy acoustics.
I am a tribe:
of midnight’s mourn of loss
of chests heaving in sorrow
of shoulders leaning on each other
of hands held together in prayer.
My body is a trinket in a collection of scrap metal…
it is years of struggle crammed into love
it is stories yet to be told
gospels yet to be written
God resides in this body.
I wear my grand mere in the soft of my speak
and the power of my write
I wear her in the opening of my chest
the loving. the giving. the sacrifice.
the soft. the soft.
On my face I wear my parents
my father blesses my face in the crinkle of my squint
his blessings flow down the sides of my face
gathering at my chin
forming the perfect arrow for cupid’s shot into my mama’s heart
the full of my lips,
an inkling of my mother’s pucker as she leaned in for their first kiss
the asthma in my chest,
a monogram of the merge of their hearts…
the beating as one.
My sisters are present in my frame:
Kakra in my slouch
Panyin in my walk.
My brother Joshua
his voice is nostalgia
culling me out of oblivion
a window to my life before
my twin deferred.
Aunty Sophie in my defiance
Uncle Kelly in the ring of my laugh
Aunty Baby in the round of my back
and the reach for my dreams.
Jude’s poems are the “welcome home” mat at my feet
the saints I pray my sins too.
this body is a churchyard
a confession box
it is everything holy and unholy
This body is a tribute.
Dear Construction Man raining vulgarities down this body
this body is not burnt offering
do not chant.do not chant.
Dear Guy behind me in the queue, pressing your member against my body
do not touch the hem of this gown
do not suck the Holy out of this body
Dear Internet Weirdo swearing his “six inch thickness” allegiance
to the temple between my thighs
your rod is not Moses’
it cannot part this sea.
This body is sacred
in all arthritic and obese holiness
it is poems that work like prayers born before church altars
it is a walking cathedral with knees for altars
it is moons for mouths perfect for speaking miracle’s into existence
it is wings for wrists perfect for gathering dreams and broken people.
My body is a long line of preachers and poets
of priests and orators
of linguists and storytellers
this body is a welcome-home-let-me-wash-you-clean hug
it is the River Jordan
a grand declaration of love
This body is “hallelujah!look what the lord has done”
God resides in this body.
ABOUT Z. Afua
My name is Woedem Afua Parku and I am a storyteller. My work is a project of documentation, preservation of experiences and creation of safe spaces. I write to heal from and pay homage to the tradition of silence and constructs that have been warped into the fabric of our daily existence. I write for the girls with saggy breasts and stretch marks who sometimes struggle with self love and acceptance. I am drawn to the experiences of women who carry a whole lineage on their backs and somehow pass on gold plated spines to their kin. I am drawn to everyday experiences of individuals beating the odds, ignoring constructs and living their best lives. These are the stories I want to tell. I want to inspire a new crop of artists to fearlessly curate and tell their stories. To move mountains,to create healing – by themselves, for themselves.