my sisters hands

hot like they had spent a lifetime sizzling beneath the sun
nails peeling back at the cuticles of her own insecurities
her own beatings
her own twisted memories
shortcomings
in her palms she carried the weight
weight of the pain
weight of the pressure
weight of this world
weight of the wait
waiting for someone to acknowledge her own scars
she chose to inflict them on me
whip after whip
she slapped and she punched
breaking and breaking me
and anyone who got in her way
through her finger tips she grated me
thought she was twisting me into a better molding
more like her and less and less of me
even her knuckles were scolding
let her tell it she experienced worse things
purple, black and blue faded her golden hue
like weapons she used
my sister, she used her hands for giving tattoos
marking her territory
at times she used them for good
from studying to cooking
to clapping to grabbing
to writing and dancing
to creating and shaping
but most memorable to me, for breaking
for bondage
with the same hands she sought to lead me with
she would slap a smile right off of my face
sweat, tears and a mean mug
my own hands trembling
burning with a silent rage
at how I could let my sister touch me that way
little sisters must stay in little sisters place
if only our mothers knew
how i looked myself in the mirror and couldn’t feel the same
so ashamed
tears ablaze
my own hands became rough like sand paper
a crinkling that even lotion couldn’t soothe
my head bowed
bloody and bruised
mushed to the ground
I learned to fear her hands more than her words
those hands
sometimes they would swing
sometimes they would fly
ball up and blow all over me
even with the lights off
those hands always found a way back
I remember a rare moment of peace
once we held our shaking palms to one another
wrist to wrist
and like puzzle pieces they just fit together
It’s like we saw each other in one another
but her pulse flickered electricity into mine
triggers
the trauma
a shocking thought electrocuted me
how could I be my sisters keeper
to laugh and to love her
To help and encourage
to hold and to heal her
a sister who’s hands held secrets of their own
hands used to mislead me
deceive me
to discipline me into a violent room trapped in dark thoughts
hazy with a lack of care
hands I thought that I once needed
they Inflicted such a pain
Such a grief
I lost sight of what there was to gain
We could have been best friends back then
Using those hands for weaving each others hair
We could have been real family
The kind who hugs and holds and shares whatever their hands touch
we could’ve used those hands to hold mics and to sing old jams together
Or from the same bowl we could have eaten together
she could have used those hands to teach me to read
or to point me in the right directions
And although we tried those things later on
It was much too late
damage done
It was never really the same
Engulfed in shame
Low eyes, a razor tongue and a gut full of guilt
And my own unforgiveness to the fact that she used those hands
to strangle my life from my veins
what kind of sister
Could love you and still seek to change your name
And what kind of sister would I be if I didn’t take part of the blame
twisted convictions reshape our perceptions
But those hands they taught me lessons
Cruel cruel lessons
that my sisters hands, fierce as they were
also had big sisters who used hands on her
hands that influenced what she thought her own hands should be made of

Thirty Roses

It’s been 30 years
but way more than 30 moments
heavens blessings
and twisted rollercoasters
the person you see before you
actually needs an introduction
because whether u remember me as
shy little sua wit the swoop and side ponytails
or maybe super cool swizzle sua wit the converse with the bows at the end
The “is this the same Sua that got crazy-stupid-thick outta no where?”
Or the “Akooswah” who later learned how to pronounce her own name
the loud laughing
Kanye loving
Pepsi drinking
Big red gum chewing
Anime watching
Forever tweeting
Sensitive lover girl
This is your first time meeting me
30 years of journey
Encounters with death
Plenty concoctions of meds
One too many unstable relationships with men
And yet the one person who prided herself on friends
See I planted a home in each of you
So that no matter where you went in the world
I always had a piece of you
But it has been 30 years yall
30 GoodMorning beautifuls
30 haikus
30 wrong turns
30 txts saying “just thinking of you”
30 crippling fears
way more than 30 tears
30 hours spent teaching me that I was the one behind the steering wheel
Wisdoms you only learn by the cruel hand of this world
Dark dark days
Slow walks
Time forever fleeting
There were times I wished my heart would really just stop beating
Imagine that
Bright white smiling
Always dancing
Always joking
Always grateful for life but
There took a death of my ego, for me to survive this
A breaking of my state of mind
Strapped to a bed and going a month without seeing outside
The woman standing before you
Maybe you call her many names
Call her Su or swizzle, she hates “sway”
Wannie Monnie, Coslaw maybe just “the roses”
AB could be a thing if Sua would get out the way
Or maybe you are my family, you call me Akos reminding me of home
You call me sister, you call me babe, you call me friend
Maybe you have many memories from back in the day
Maybe our connection has seen waves
This person, I’ve witness her grow every day
And her heart, my heart it sings this same song
A smooth rhythm with the soul of the color blue
Or is it mahogany
Either way,
God really called on me
I found myself kicking and screaming in his arms
waving my hands frantically at the ocean of life
I thought I was drowning
My feet couldn’t touch the ground
And I couldn’t taste the difference in the salt of life’s water and the salt in the tears in my eyes
I was going blind!
But I wasn’t drowning
I wasn’t falling
God was baby rocking me, walking me closer to shore
All along and
I felt like I just wasted so much time
30 drinks too many
30 drunken nights
30 hot boxes
more than 30 goodbyes
Instead these were the lessons
Life’s mathematics
Curating me
So, I say all of this to say
Hi, my name is Akosua Renee Bamfo
And I Thank you
Thank you for being a love in my life
for witnessing my 30 moon phases
for 30 laughing sessions
more than 30 FaceTimes
30 deep depressions
30 of them real ugly cries
30 long flights
30 deep breaths
30 “just come over’s”
30 and still alive
God crossed our paths for a reason
And I’m so blessed to know you through all these seasons
Im a walking talking miracle
I look in the mirror and see a living vessel
here for the spreading
A narrative
A testimony
An anchor
To the story of the God who created me
And the light and love you feel in me
Remember is just a reflection of Him

Here’s to thirty Roses.

Laugh Til We Cry

A, bb appreciation prose 🌹

The Life of The Band-Aid

Recently, I have been showered in words of affirmation
As if I’m a magical being, from a magical space
People have poured out beautiful words
that have completely elevated my appreciation for who I am
I have been told anything between “you have a beautiful mind” to “I wish I had a you”
This has touched me, deeply
Not in a “this is new to me” sort of way more so a “you see me”
-Sort of way
It is easy to feel invisible when you feel that your life’s purpose is to help others
Be there
Aid others
And it seems that when they see you all they tend to see you for is how you can help
________________________________________________
This is the life of a band-aid
A natural supporter of anything good and everything they love
We are the band aid’s
The ones who show up
The ones who spend countless of unaccounted hours holding on
Pouring
And listening
Always listening
We are the band aid’s
the one’s you keep behind your mirror in the bathroom
For the just “in case’s”
But do you ever wonder, that band-aid’s might need band aid’s too?
As much of an honor it is to be one- we all need one
To be there
To kiss and make things all better
To receive love that they don’t have to ask for
To be held without having to instruct on how to hold
We, the band-aid’s
We do not need to be told
We identify pain
We offer support
We do not wait
_________________________________________
Can you imagine how much pain, and breaking and ripping and tearing
Shedding and molding and failing that it took for that band aid to even become?
How many times did the adhesive fall off
How many times did the water wash us away
The band aid is a blend of all the things people wish they could be
Society holds band-aids in the highest of esteem
But much like public school teachers
so few ever choose to remain
Because it is a thankless position
You are celebrated for being there, because the need is endless
Things get really tough a lot
and it is the band aid that does the hard work
The ugly work
The heavy lifting
But all cuts
Both in the deep and in the shallow-all heal in time
They all stop bleeding, eventually
And for a few moments, that band aid mends anything that may have tried to break you
It quite literally supports you so fiercely that it helps you to piece yourself back together
But what happens to the band aid?
It gets dirty
It gets soggy
It gets old
And then it gets discarded
Often before the cut even fully heals it gets replaced
__________________________________________________________
I am the band aid
I have always been the band-aid
It costs me nothing to love you
I find it easy to be there for you
I neither gain nor lose anything I have within me by doing so
I am a giver.
In this life, it is important to identify what it is you practice
Because you get really good at anything you practice
As a band aid, I practice giving and gratitude
I practice unconditional love
Whether that love is reciprocal or not, it is what I practice
And I practice for free.
So that I can give for free.
I believe that you get what you give
I want unconditional love
It is all I have ever wanted
I practice vulnerability
It is all I have every wanted
I practice empathy
It is all I have ever wanted
I practice transparency
It is all I have ever wanted
I practice honesty
It is all I have every wanted
And most of all I practice joy

It is everything.

I am committed to healing myself
My nurturing and healing qualities allow me to be there
And I neither gain nor lose anything I have within me by doing so
Anyone that I love and believe in, it is easy to love you
It is easy math for me to be there
I manifested the person I want to be

And I know that I will receive everything I need and deserve, eventually

Dialing: The Golden Birthday

I am a story teller. Because i believe that we all have a story worthy of being told. To be here still, after all these years, is a miracle. I’m very blessed. I’m very thankful. Life is so so precious. And our time here is fleeting. I choose to enjoy every moment. I choose to cherish everyone I hold near to me. I choose to not live in fear. I choose to lead with love. I choose to only be surrounded by love. I choose to forgive. I choose to keep learning. Keep growing. I choose. And we are all a reflection of our choices. This year proved to me that my growth and strength have really increased. The storm always comes, but my ability to adapt- I must say. I impress myself. I’ve recovered from things that just a few years ago would have completely debilitated me. For that, I’m grateful. So anyways, I reflect on a daily basis but especially on my birthday. It’s an opportunity for new life and better things. I wish myself more of the good things. More discernment with how I spend my time and with who. I wish myself more discipline to achieve more goals. More travels! More memories with my loves. I wish myself even more peace of mind. Kindness to my reflection. Less “sorry’s” for being who I am. More appreciation of my life’s challenges. More wisdom to navigate the ups and downs. And most importantly a deeper acceptance of the fact that i am so deserving of joy, love and compassion from myself and from others.

I’m so blessed to see the day I turned 28 on the 28th on a Sunday. The symmetry and significance is too important. Who would’ve thought.

Way We Love

“we love the way we do because we tell the truth”
a beautiful affirmation sent between brown lips
the same lips they used to defile us
the same lips that we heal wounds with
our hugs are like Scriptures
reflections of the love of our creator
this bond is proof of black existence
we pull up to a red light and laugh and dance with black girls in the cars on the left
in those same cars, wave hi and flash our white tiles at black boys in the cars to the right
we love and we fight
our words are powerful but they are not the only things that heal us
we are who we say we are
even when we disagree, we end the night with a tight embrace
pouring our love back into one another
in a flicker of rage, an outburst of displaced emotion
we do not hesitate to not only apologize but acknowledge where we made the mistake
we take our time
time means a lot to us so we do not waste
yes we go in between time, days, sometimes months
our communication style is not conventional
still, a love like ours is unconditional
we pick back up right where we left off
like continuing a Netflix show
and we rarely have to rochambeaux to work through our differences
because the grace that lives within us requires no thing of the sort
it is not always sweet-and it is almost never easy
but we have practiced
failed again and practiced
we are still growing but
“we love the way we do because we tell the truth”
there is no hiding
no suppressed passive aggression, or silent competition between one another
we are lovers, and we are friends
always friends, always lovers
there is no mask suffocating who we really are
in fact, I know you like I know my name
we keep no secrets
even the things we do not yet know
are just that much more we have to explore, together
and when we look in the mirror
there we are, reflecting that blinding light
we don’t walk in this world projecting our insecurities on others
searching for someone to blame
we recognize and work through our pain
we know we have more growth to go, but ultimately we surrender to the sky above
meditating with “I am not who I once was”
plenty of journey to go
no paralyzing fear can keep us from being seen
because we love
the way we love, we love
because we really do
the beautiful parts and all the darkness
we see it all and we love it all
we stand and sometimes we fall, we miss calls, txts
regress with an ex, sometimes we lose money
with some of the wrong people we have slept
but still we own it
we all have the right to be who we are
“we love the way we do because we tell the truth”
that is the common thread
good, bad, ugly or ashamed
we’re honest
we have always been who we say we are

 

Heaven’s Hotlines: Summer 2020

The masses frantically buying toilet paper clorox is scarce. hand sanitizer is even more rare.
everywhere there are masks, hiding my favorite feature
on every channel, every story, every tweet
an affirmation:
black lives matter
And it’s true
changing my fb profile picture to the same black square I protested with in 2014 reminds me
I’ve been here before
a whole lot of heartache, headaches now too
and i just long for outside
the release of the mask from behind my ears
makes me wish for a space to feel full again
I’ve been blowing bubbles
I’ve been reading
I’ve been cooking
And sometimes not eating
I’ve been walking
I’ve been teaching
I’ve been taking baths
Drinking green tea
And I’ve spent hours talking to my dad
And Netflix binging
but isn’t there more?
more than this?
Connecting from cellphones and WiFi and TV
I miss the street
I miss the ground that reminds me that I belong here
Solid and safe
my size 4.5’s walked confidently
now sometimes my ankles buckle at the thought that
this earth is cracking
crumbling into oblivion
and that I could lose the me that i’ve worked so tirelessly at creating
now I’m just looking for something to hold on to
I’d like for someone to hold on to me too
my security blanket, a harness just in case
I’ve been looking for a smile in my smile
mirroring the me I used to know but can’t see
So I’d like a pair of brand new eyes
And a new view too
Cause it took a lot to get here
A lot of building, A lot of falling
A lot of growing, A lot of trauma
A lot of consistency, A lot of pain
A lot of rising from the rubble
And yet, life’s mysteries never fail to remind me of the delicacy of my brain
rushing water over brown hands
I have a new scar there too
these hands can’t wash away the memories
A wise man said, the memories remember me
and for me-they play on a reel
they just keep going-and so I can’t keep still
i am in need of something real
something that I can feel
because the peace I need, I’ve only found in pieces
through voice notes
through facetimes
through twitter rants
and through dreaming
I remember as a child I’d play make believe
because discovering an alternate world just made it easier to breathe
I am in need
And while it’s getting harder to swallow these pills
I promised myself, “I will not neglect me”
I choose to live
and while a major shift in my relationship feels hard to forgive
I choose to love, I choose to build
In need of a little romance and maybe even a good cry
There is so much left I’d like to do here
But taking things day by day is the only way I have managed to survive
It’s been almost 100 days like this
And sometimes the sun doesn’t shine
Still- there’s light
The rain endures for days
Still- there’s water
The clarity I hope for is like driving with wipers
I can see better
And bit by bit I hope to feel better
But today is just a day. And yeah, I’m Okay. For tomorrow? There’s really no tellin

10k hours and 10k memories

The black, curly, windshield lashes of my eyes-wiping tears away

Each and every time I drove past my uncles street for months I could never hold it in

Triggered-

Some years ago, I wrote one of my favorite pieces called “Life’s Nutrients” it was inspired by a visit to my uncles place and his showing my dad and I around his blossoming garden-full of peppers and melons. Okra and strawberries. Tomatoes and berries. He nurtured and grew in his back yard every year. He’d always share not only with us but also with his neighbors.

Every time I saw him I would always laugh, eat and enjoy good conversation. That day was one of my favorite visits to his home and there were many.

My dad always tells the story about when my siblings and I were all very young. Like babies. there was a very bad blizzard but we needed milk and diapers;

My uncle walked I think like 30 minutes each way there and back in the blizzard to get what we needed

I love this story because it’s just a snapshot memory of the essence of the sort of person he was

Last year, end of May, his life ended

In his home

A home he’s lived in for over 25 years

A home I always admired the ceilings in because they had sparkly spikes and it was mesmerizing

A home I ate so many plantain, Yam and stew in

A home my dad found shelter and safety in

On many occasions

I know what it’s like to lose

To miss someone who isn’t coming back

Last year I experienced what it felt like to lose someone so very close

Feels like just yesterday chilling in his house in his Gucci sweatshirt and sweats and slippers cracking jokes about the current president

That was the last day I saw him

I remember my uncle used to alter a lot of my clothes and for free

Always for free

He teared up and thanked me in Twi, the day I gave him a thank you card when I picked up my things

I thought it was the least I could do

He taught me so much about how important it is to be grateful

And to be a good person

One of integrity

Last year, some of my closest friends organized some time

To spend with a deeply grieving me

I was so sad

Buried in grief

So unlike myself

And they surrounded me in love

We never talked about why we were all there that day

And we didn’t need to

We danced and laughed

I still wish I had the appetite to eat all that seafood

We shared drinks

And we just plugged into the moment

That helped launch me out of the pits

And it meant a lot to me that I knew people

Who chose to spend their time on me

Time we will never get back

It’s urgent to me

To spend time

Not just physical time

minimum time

required time

obligated time

scheduled time

planned time

but intentional and quality time

with people I love

It means the most to me

Because we don’t know what will happen

in any other moment than the moment that we are in

Anything can happen

So I don’t take it for granted

Often, I reflect on my journey

journey of self love, self care, healing, growth and awareness

and sometimes I feel like the only one

The only one who can feel the changes

The only one who felt the bandages fall away

The only one who can see the scars

The only one who experienced such a great pain

The only one doing it on her own

The only one who’ll even acknowledge the progress and growth at all

Life gets really hard

Sometimes we will grow weary

But I’ve grown to keep love and only love near me

The thing about grief is that it never ends really

You just shift through cycles

It just becomes a part of you

So please excuse me when I’m in a bad mood

And I can’t quite explain it

And please, show me love even when it’s not my birthday

Cause I see things differently

If you’re important

I need you to feel special and loved

Especially by me

I thought my uncle would live forever

He survived so much already

But man, anything can happen!

And I don’t wanna die all alone

This world is so cruel

So take the time to say your grace

Take the time to hug your friends

Take the time

Until there’s no more time left