Short story from Mike Zone

Husk

By Mike Zone

“Now you talk yourself up. You’re a twenty-nine-year-old college professor, tell me what you have to offer. Sell yourself.”

He swiveled on the stool slapping his hand on the counter with all the confidence of being the prime slice of alpha male pie there was on the societal market, but he wasn’t. French fry crumbs in the corner of his mouth and he knew it , royal blue shirt untucked to show he didn’t care wearing dark denim jeans to accentuate his participation in casual Fridays yet still a black blazer to demonstrate his solemn oath to the world of business in which he made his living primarily through talking and nepotism.

It was supposed to be a typical Tinder date, Christine was horny and not looking to be ridiculed  but perhaps that’s the price you were supposed to pay when seeking organic carnal gratification when you were to afraid to attempt something called love or even just going out. Christine justified her misery quite frequently it was the only way to cope when and thousands of others felt absolutely ravaged by what passed for society.

MEET. DRINK. GO HOME. FUCK. 

 She would need an extra drink tonight. Perhaps two.  Another ritual with a set of steps now with even more steps as things were increasingly becoming more intolerable. All you had to do was swipe left if you found your prospective sexual partner appealing, it wasn’t that complicated, maybe you met for drinks or skipped straight to the bedroom or a love motel, or you swiped right and nothing happened and if you were lucky you never saw that person in the grocery store crying alone while fondling produce…only it was, loneliness and despair seemed to be making itself more apparent and devouring superficial accomplishments and anyone who tried to appear otherwise was so fucking theatrical about it you just wanted to vomit right there or throw yourself into traffic but it was better to be anyone than yourself and project an ideal image, not yours, god no that would be absurd and self-destructive it had to be the selfie sellable self with an added secret value no could quite place their finger on, even if just one hour was needed. You had to get your time’s worth.

“I…well, I.”

He snapped his fingers and chuckled “I knew it Blake this girl needs an upgrade, a big ol’ life improvement. Look, regardless of what happens tonight, I’m here to help you become the best YOU, you want to be.”

“That’s a lot of “yous”

“Only three… which rhymes with “ME” willing to help you three times more than you can or really want to help yourself. I’ve been selling plastic products and services for about seven years all over the United States and other far off places and I’ve met all kinds of different people: shapes, colors, sizes, genders, flavors…the different minded.”

Flavors? How blatant could this guy be?

“Do you know who you are Christine?”

There was a cold shiver of discontent and something that wasn’t her being pulled down internally into another realm starting to make her aware how empty she believed she was. Nothing but a husk, that’s what felt like, a self-aware husk.

“I’m going to tell you who you are girl and we’re going to get out here and explore the real you and how we can improve it. Cause that’s what I do, you wouldn’t believe all the lives I’ve touched. Life isn’t about selling plastic and it’s many beneficial services, it’s about selling people for a better world.”

            “Get your masked face out of here, freak!”

Christine whipped around to see a shaggy haired, scarecrow of man land against the host stand. He wore a disposable medical mask. A hulking figure in a pastel green polo shirt stood over him, fists clenched, his spray on tan accentuating his closely cropped dark hair with a moderately short and thin blonde girl in a denim skirt draped proudly around his arm.

            “I  just wanted to pick up my order.”

            “No one wants your sickness. Just go out in the street and die!”

He took a massive step toward the masked shabbily clothed man who lunged and landed on top of his assailant and pinned him down. He tried to wriggle free and flailed wildly.

            “Let me go, you son of a bitch!”

            “ENOUGH! All my life, people like you before I even got sick bullied me, wanted me out of sight and now you think you have a reason as if now there’s enough difference to blatantly treat us as subhuman, even openly ridicule us, wish us death, well I got news for you…we’re not so different.”

The man tore off his mask revealing his discolored lips, raw yet hardened bruised tumor irritated skin which seemed to have additional eyes sockets forming and teeth growing.

            “For some it appears on the outside as things begins to change and for others on the inside, sometimes both but I think we’ve all got it inside us, in some way or another.”

Everyone was frozen in fear as the deformed figured held his attacker down with one hand and pried open his mouth with the other. He brought something up in his throat and spat into the helpless guy’s mouth making sure he swallowed what was released.

            “Now you for sure have what I have.” He calmly stood up, someone shakily brought the man’s order as he pulled his mask back on.

            “Ryan!” The blonde screamed and fell to her knees crying. The sick man turned to the young woman with his collected order.

            “Go to him. He loves you. You love him. Don’t you?”

Both boyfriend and girlfriend, were shocked and uncomfortably befuddled. Ryan got up  to reach for his girlfriend who shirked away and shook her head, her entire body quivering with fright. Ryan was aghast , he tried taking a step toward his girl who hid behind two other well built polo pastel wearing men, he made way for the infected man who was just opening the door to leave. They faced each other.

            “Now that you’re one of us, you’ll know how we’ve felt even before the sickness.”

The chime of the bell hanging on the door signified his leaving. Everyone stared at Ryan who was on the floor sobbing, who suddenly stopped for the stares were not sympathetic but accusatory, even repulsive. He gradually rose, in a slumped posture, eyes to the ground hopefully never to be seen again by the patrons or even those who served them as no one wanted to be reminded of who and how anyone could be infected and left outside it even if they were in the first place, they all needed  illusion to live.

            Christine thoughtfully watched  unrepelled a defeated and exiled Ryan walk to the end of the block. She even wondered what would happen to him. She looked out the window and could see the man who infected him eating his take-out on a bus stop bench observing Ryan. She wanted to smile but knew it was inappropriate. She shifted back to Blake who seemingly had not broken his stare at her, unaware even of just what happened,  wide eyed, he took her hand, she was about to say something until he cut her off.

            “Some people say we have a pandemic  but I say it’s really a pandemic of loneliness.”

Something broke inside her. Christine tried to put a hand over her eyes as she felt a few tears fall and nodded. She was sold for the evening, Blake was going to be it.

They were just a couple of  husks.

Back at her place. Skin bags holding together meat and bone, grinding, going at it, secreting various liquids no one wanted to talk about with lack of genuine personalities or rather the façade of the person they were trying to be in order not to be who they really were afraid to be.

            “Moisten up, girl.” Blake pumped away not completely getting inside, clenching his teeth in pain. He refused to use lubricant, and Christine flat on her back not the least bit turned on closed her eyes pretending it was just the darkness on top of her as she mechanically answered each thrust, picturing flowers blooming.

            “Blake’s about to go baby, and I want to go inside you…you’re so special.” He whimpered and lied.

Christine sweated profusely and not from physical exertion, something was inside her upsetting her nerves causing them to catch fire. She pictured the flowers, remembered what her grandmother said to do when confronted with unwanted or stomaching churning situations. “Just picture flowers blooming dear. It’s what made my forty three year old marriage with your grandfather work.” The advice she gave Christine when she lost her virginity in the back seat of a car to someone she really wasn’t attracted to but wanted to know why she did what she did and how she could help it. Her grandmother shrugged and did the best she could.

Blake was a continuation of this no matter how many books Christine read, how much she excelled in her career, something was missing and none it felt right at all even though she was hitting all the marks for a woman at her age with a degree she wanted in the career she dreamed of yet none of it felt real. She remembered Georgia O’Keefe paintings as Blake was finally entering her, panting manically and spouting all sorts of romantic nonsense he got from cheesy rom-coms. She didn’t have to listen, she knew, pictured those tortured yet fully blooming desert flowers.

Desert flowers. Was she a desert flower? Was the world she lived in a desert and was she struggling to bloom? Something clicked, there was a wet snap and a splash inside the bed, two husks slumped flat on the mattress. Blake clutched a skin-sack of bone and held it close, stroking it’s flat, disheveled blonde hair. He whispered in its ear, looking into the dark at the wet pillow with a proud smirk on his face.

            “Baby girl, thank you for letting me share that with you.” He took his index finger and began to run it down her spinal column. Chicks like that, he remembered to tell himself that in his mind as he worked his way down to a moist slit which wasn’t quite right. He stopped and dropped the body which wasn’t a body but a an empty husk. Devoid of eyes, guts and tongue. Even the bones were shells, powder among the queer transparent liquid saturating the bed. Something gold, more blonde than blonde appeared in his peripheral vision followed by the tiny click the thought he heard during climax, followed by a raspy gurgle.

            “Baby girl?”  Blake took in the vision of something almost plant-like and insectoid, her mandibles silently opening and closing with piercing shining gold eyes matching her hair. Sprinkled in a distorted spiral design on her hard exoskeleton primarily shaped cylinder body with  certain human curves were a series of buds beating like a score of miniature hearts akin to vibrational thunderous song of storms to be brought upon the realm.

Christine clung to the ceiling, not really sure what was happening as she seemed to be moving instinctually, like watching a movie through a golden sheathed screen with a spectrum of colors running up and down all around her eyes as if she was seeing for the first time. She saw her old skin,  soiled by Blake’s cum, losing form around crumbling bone, anguished mouth hole agape and eyeball sockets enlarged.

 It was her husk.

It illustrated pain. A withered flower in the suburban digitally enhanced landscape veiling the desert of the real. A barely living creature leaned over it,  huffing and puffing, staring dumbly at it’s limp sex and the husk it had ruined. Was it a man or just another husk of something that had to be removed from this world? She dropped down from the ceiling landing on her feet, mandible’s clamped around the ape-thing’s neck, her web hands across its paunch, her talons sunk, the creatures limp sex suddenly erected as it winced and moaned. Was it pain? She did not care, it had soiled her husk. Disrespected its perceived persona. She would consume this creature, use its purposeless energy to sustain her own growth.  

A branch sprouted from her forearm and entered the beast, it shook and climaxed a second time. Christine took a single talon from her free hand, jabbed it in the base of the creature’s neck and started it running it down the length of its body, to see what resided inside such a base existence. Her mandible let go of his neck unleashing a song of chirps and clicking, a soothing electric sensation around her body to ease the discomfort of skin ripping similar to the memory of a blue sequined dress being unzipped in the back after too much drink at an after prom party but flowers bloomed to dissipate the memory no more and she knew that what she was now, what had happened before was never her fault nor would it ever be again. The buds unfurled, erupting into yellowed and blue brightness as lightning bugs of blue and green were released illuminating the room in a soothing combination of light dancing in a variety of swirling angles to the tune of Christine’s song.

This is what it was to truly bloom.

Suddenly there was a splash and another wet snapping noise. Christine felt warm liquid seep underneath her. The creature in her hand had gone limp, sagging like it’s pathetic sex. Her mandibles shut putting an end to her cooing scraping song as the lightning bugs swirled around Christine’s prey and exploded into an acidic toxin, nearly disintegrating the husk except for a few scraps of skin-sack and bone powder. A hole had been hastily torn and burrowed through the memory foam mattress and the bamboo panels of the bed broken. Something slid and rolled out from under the bed, the creature from its trauma had evolved into its true form.

            Blake shook all over. He felt himself shudder and slip out of what he was and operated on pure instinct, uncertain of what was going to happen, he had to get out from underneath the bed, back up against the wall to get his bearings together, head to the bathroom he spied , shut the door, possibly call the police or at least find a razor blade or plunger to kill this bitch that so violated him. Why was he thinking this way? Couldn’t he just be positive, isn’t that who he was? He felt new and improved yet something old lingered about him like eggs and musk. He got up and stumbled not used his new stumpy legs, trying to adjust far flung eyes on tendrils going this way and that way. He tried to steady himself on the wall with his fingers but couldn’t, he didn’t have any, he had these God damn useless penguin wing things with scales and looked down at where his pecker used to be and brushed his scaled wing against feeling his favorite instrument reduced to a single ball and flabby curved muscle hidden under ruffled speckled feathers. He was unnaturally hot used to have naked skin feeling an extra thick set of white feathers around his neck, he tried to scream but croaked a wretched bleep attempting a squeak.

            Christine saw the creature once called “Blake” put it’s scaled wings in front of itself , in a defensive position more suited to digging and burrowing than assisting in a fight. The creature’s unprotected absurdly large eyes dangled haphazardly, unable to gain a stable position. She had the advantage in form and thought as the creature now half the size than it used to be tried forming humans words with its beak. It jumped up and down squawking and flapping in a desperate last stand meant to illicit sympathy and mercy rather induce fright and project an unparalleled savagery as intended. She grasped the creature which would have fertilized her original form regardless of consequence and discarded her, cracking it’s beak while doing so. Her mandibles spread open as something new formed there from her original self, a remnant of the husk but a fine new characteristic of who she was now. A smile spread across her lips as she opened wide.

            Pick a color, Christine, any color. Her brain seemed to say. Her golden moment to shine with her chosen hue. Red and purple with gold colored the room but before she consumed the convulsing, spasming creature, she found the blinds open…perhaps Christine had hoped someone through an act of voyeurism would learn a lesson she should have learned long ago or perhaps some stranger would rescue her but they didn’t, sickness and trauma had evolved her to natural form and she wondered being safe in this room of hers would she ever be able to exist outside of it among the realm of the remaining husks?

Christine optics nerves tingled to view on a bench, munching on a corndog and looking up in the window the infected man from earlier in the evening in a hooded sweat shirt. He wasn’t sick but in chrysalis form, he’ll get there eventually maybe that’s just his point…Christine thought as he finished his dog and she took her first bite.  He got up, waved and threw his hood up as it started to rain.

Christine knew there was no sickness after all.

Poetry from Henry Bladon

Paper Portent
When the poet from Porto
lost his treasured notebook
his head started to feel
like a blood-filled bath.
 
It wasn’t the loss of shopping list
or the plot for his next novel
that most preoccupied the mind,
 
just the writerly thought about the
paper-based metaphor for death. 


Asparagus Dreams
In my dream
I was attempting to
eat asparagus
without cutlery
or a full set of teeth;

a futile exercise, as it turns out.

Bio: Henry is a writer, poet and mental health essayist based in Somerset in the UK. He has a PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of Birmingham. His latest poetry collection, Psychobabble and Snake Oil, is a collaboration about mental health with Dutch artist Marcel Herms and is available from Egalitarian Publishing.

Poetry from Mark Young

a less frantic piano

We were unable to save
the boy. The variability
is caused by differences
between individuals,

cannot be represented
exactly as a decimal. The
easiest measure is its
range — take ten if you

did not check any of the
squares. May not be
copied, scanned, or dupli-
cated, in whole or in part.

My orchid is dying

Leave the spike intact. You’ll
hear a hissing sound & see
air bubbles rise. The windward
pile driver may damage the
stems & leaves of nearby
buildings but will probably

leave the teppanyaki bar
unscathed. Don’t wear white
unless you’re either part of the
entertainment, or a well-equipped
games room with a bowling
alley & countless televisions.

Online exercise classes have boomed in recent weeks

I trace the outline of strings

which have different characters.

Set & sorted by length & letters

no matter what the language.

It’s really a subjective thing. Pro-

fessing your love is the domain

of a polyglot. Is my bum doing

the right thing in these jeans?

abacus virility

These strange coincidences

of tongue & toenail bring

great calming & soothing

benefits as they sit sensibly

on the newfashioned dash-

board alongside a romantically

themed pressure cooker &

a sesame oil infused sponge

traditionally applied as an

economical but hygienic toner.

Poetry from J.D. DeHart

Pearls & Swine

We sold our precious goods
and refined our gold with dross
to make power moves.

We took a word that used to mean
something beautiful, mixed it with flavors
of hatred and hubris –

so that, now, the word does not
mean what it used to anymore. To destroy
an idea, you don’t have to hold the opposite
view,

just mix it with contraries, wait
a bit, and soon you will forget what
you meant in the first place.

We used to say love your neighbor,
now we say make your money. We used
to say care for each other. Now we say
to hell with you, the world must go on,

but what we accomplish in this
numbing march, who can say.


Words

evaporate into the air
on our breath, in fog,
carrying identity and universe
on whispered syllables.

Some are made of chalk, and this
is how I think of hate. Curls of anger
to wipe away, a stream of positional
phrases to wash away.

But words, they also move,
chameleonic, into the architecture
of print,

ink quill, blinking
screen, ideas made more
permanent.

And this is why we practice.

An anchor of sound that takes root
in the soil of an open page,
implanted firmly in the mind,
a notion that builds.

I move words, I love them,
sometimes
I erase them and regret it.

I have learned not to throw
them away, as one would old
junk mail or harvested detritus.

The way a word can
turn the world — spoken,
written, sang,

offered in praise or
in slicing critique,

resonates an unmeasured
sense of power, speaks again
to the strength
of a reading and writing community.



Figments
 
What started as a fingernail
was formed into a half-sliver
of moon
by the tellers of tales.
 
From a leg bone
grew a fearsome giant,
an entire mythological system.

It was a tree trunk
the whole time.
 
This is how it always begins.

Someone who seems soft as gossamer,
revealing rows and rows of gossip.

A simple event in the day is retold
until it grows legs, wings, horns –
attacks a small village.
 
The story is stowed around
until it no longer resembles the original,
the narrative unwinds.
 
A lie becomes a cage, but
who’s confined, it’s hard to make
out for sure.

Heron
 
I wish you could have
been there to see the large bird
go flapping through the trees.
 
I think it was a heron, but it might
have been a stork or any number
of oversized creatures with wings.
 
It was not a bat. Your father would
probably know.
In any case, I watched as it caught the air,
 
first a circle back, and then angling into
a nearby hiding place, perching beyond sight,
masterfully dodging forest.

I suppose a direct path of flight was
not possible, but you came out the door
seconds after it was gone, leaving only

butterflies to behold.
 
The heron, as it turns out, is an image
of persistence and wisdom, as we arrive
in this new stage of the journey.
 
There is Summer

in my soul today.
Tomorrow is May. Grief
will not hide long.

Even as numbers rise, and
leaders storm away, clouded,
I find a world in pausing.

A gentle unthawing
of months of freezing,
a tundra in my mind
warming slowly.

The earth revolves
and resolves, a lingering pain
from months of loss, unknowing
yet to come.

Some move on, some linger,
some haunt, some cling to the numbers,
while others do not believe a word
of it.

I begin to bud, but also take stock
of my growing thorns.

Poetry from Michael Robinson

Middle aged Black man wearing a tee shirt hugging an older White woman, fellow contributor Joan Beebe, to his left. They're standing on concrete in front of some bushes.
Michael Robinson (right) and fellow contributor Joan Beebe.
 
Legacy of a Poet
 
Standing on a street corner in mid-July.
The noon day sun was beating down upon me.
After the riots of 1968, the city had burned to ashes,
Before the winter of 1969 there was a feeling.
 
Deep within me a desire to put pen to paper,
Like Langston Hughes in the Harlem Renaissance.
There is a comparison to the suffering of a black man.
It was the spirit of being black in a white America in 1968.
 
It all was familiar the racism and the struggle to be a black man,
Standing on the corner where the hookers picked up their Johns.
The sounds of music of James Brown singing “I’m Black and I’m proud.”
Proud to be an American believing in justice and freedom.
 
It was a sunny day that my skin turned a shade darker,
And my troubles would increase ten-fold.
In 1968, when blacks read Langston Hughes,
The Harlem Renaissance made a difference in my life.
 
 
It made a Difference.
 
The riots of 68, made a difference in America,
As the ashes collected in the air in Chocolate city.
No longer was the city sweet with the sounds of music,
It was the sounds of fire trucks and people yelling.
 
“Burn this motherfucker down!”
And they did burn down my neighborhood.
People disappeared from my life in the ashes,
Of my memories of them in my mind there were ashes.
 
In my sleep there was the sounds of the crowds,
While the police shot tear gas canisters at them.
Running with hands full of clothes and melted televisions.
No electricity or water to bathe in for days on end.
 
It made a difference to a ten-year-old little black boy,
When he walked through what was left of his neighborhood.
Where national guards stood with rifles at the ready,
It made a difference in the life of a little black boy.
 
As the years passed by and the memories faded,
Into ashes like those nights of a city on fire.
Thoughts about life and death from that night,
Come to mind and smoke fills my thoughts.
 
It all was just a dream that would disappear fifty years later.

God and I at Midnight
 
Before my last confession on the altar of life,
Life will not fade before my last prayer.
 
Always a prayer to save a soul,
My soul in the midnight hour.
 
As the crescent moon reveals the light of evening,
And the glistering stars parade by in the sky.
 
It is the rotation fan that brings a breeze of relief,
To my soul before the sun returns in the morning.
 
Captive are the sounds of my beating heart,
Listening to each beat with reverence.
 
God always listens at midnight,
I always pray at midnight.
 

 
It is Time to Pray
 
Kneeling at the foot of my bed praying,
In my childhood it was natural to pray.
 
No thought for what to say nor wishes,
Just a prayer before sleep to bring peace.
 
As the years past the prayers became difficult,
Turmoil came to life and the prayers stopped.
 
Passing of the hours in adolescence,
Kneeling at the foot of the bed.
 
No signs that words would flow like in childhood,
No breeze from an angel’s wings only the rotation fan.
 
Old age came and suddenly my prayers returned,
Just before laying down for the last time.
 
 
 

 
No Tears for Me
 
There is no need for tears of a life lived,
Fully lived with each season there was joy.
 
No need for tears for a life that started in spring,
Traveled the summer heat and fall showers of leaves.
 
Winter winds as snowflakes gathered on the porch,
Old washing machine rusted from years of use.
 
Gray skies and cold fingers waiting springs return,
Blooming lilies with colored with the season.
 
Waiting for spring in the middle of winter,
When my tears are frozen under the gray skies.
 
 
Being Black II
 
A brown skinned man looks int the mirror,
His reflection shows a man in turmoil.
Knowing that it is a crime to be black.
Strangers stir at him with hate in their eyes,
He is being watched by a white officer.
 
Walking slowly his heart begins to race,
Fearing that this is the day he will die.
Black men have been killed by white officers,
He realizes today is his final day of life.
 
He is stopped by the white officer,
Police cruisers surround him.
He remembers his mother’s kiss,
As the bullets hit him, he prays.
  
7-11-2020
 
No Reason to Cry
 
My mother cried when I was born,
Being black is no reason to cry.
Tears will not erase my black skin.
 
It has always been a curse for me
There is no escaping being black.
No reason to cry when the call come.
 
Knowing one day the call would come.
It was on that night when the phone rang.
Holding herself screaming, “My baby my baby!”

 
An Empty Soul
 
My skin is black?
As fear surrounds me.
A heart void of joy.
 
A soul always in unrest,
My soul reaches for you.
Each night tears seek you.
 
My pleas go unanswered.
Such emptiness within me.
No one hears my cries of blackness.
 
 
 

Essay from Michael Robinson

Joan Beebe and fellow contributor Michael Robinson
Joan Beebe (left) and fellow contributor Michael Robinson

Familiar with a Past Life

The ringing of the church bells brings to life a freshness that only comes in fall. Ringing in the noon hour while the park is full of people wearing mask. Single people all afraid to be in a crowd. No more gathering at the Station of the Cross. The tower doors of the Old Catholic church were closed. The bell continues to ring as the noon hour passes us by. It remains empty a shadow amongst those no longer sitting in the pews. Alone the priest stands at the altar praying while reciting the last rites of life that has died among the congregation. No one comes any longer as the noon bells summons them. There is an atmosphere of delusion a cloud of doubt for the salvation of the perish. No passing of communion nor drinking from the chalice the remains empty.

No more confession of sins as the confessional before the ringing of the bells. Empty except the priest listing to his own confession. He only hears the bells ringing at noon. No one listens but God to his prayers. The murals have all been painted over many years ago. No more statues of the Holy Family. One a few candles now burn in an empty church. Dust collects on the stain glass windows where the sun would bring to life the liveliness of colors. No one remember a vibrant church which had died long before the virus.  

Perhaps it was not the virus but rather a sense of loss of the congregation. The burning of candles on the altar and the votive candles which gave solace. One member sitting in front of the rows of candles burning. One person looking at the Stations of the Cross-seeking redemption for his sins after his confession. It all was removed decades ago. It was just a matter of time that as each reminder of the Holy Family was slowly stripped down that it was inevitable that no one would remain in the pews.

The wave of television cameras streaming the mass to a congregation on a Sunday morning. Televangelist asking for donations proclaiming salvation for those with money. There is no hint of Jesus and his teachings as the preachers now only ask for contributions. It all changed when the church services went live. Before the people was isolated from God in the Maga Churches. It is a show a form of entertainment. Now it too has felt the impact of those no longer able to attend their Maga Churches.

It all changed when the candles stopped burning. It stopped when no longer when the church became a show. Individualism was going by way of a network broadcast. The bell still rings as the one priest stands alone. A time when the priest would visit the sick and shut ins before the healing via way of the television. Salvation was personal. A relationship with God was personal and the prayers was said after the confession at the altar. Before the camera rolled and the bell rung at noon salvation was free. 

On the Road with Ghanaian artist Ike Boat: travel diary

Young black man with a green patterned shirt speaking into a microphone in a gathering of people indoors.
Poet Ike Boat

Article Title – AT: A Month Away – AMA (Takoradi Travel Journal -TTJ)

This article unfolds some of the happenings whilst away from the perching-point at the Estate Top area of Kasoa, Central Region of Ghana in West Africa.

Indeed, the Title tells it all A Month Away – AMA as its acronym has nothing to do with Accra Metropolitan Assembly not even the common Saturday-born female Ghanaian daughter named as Ama.

On 10th June, 2020 – It’s around 4am, thus a day before the annual birthday remembrance period being on 11th June. Of course as a matter of fact, it’s one particular urgent phone-call which ignited such an unplanned journey to embark on to the West-Side’s city of Takoradi where I was born and bred in the Western Region locale of Ghana. Well, information or message on the other side of the phone indicated that 2018 – National Spoken – Word Award -NSWA won in the category International Poet Of The Year – 2018 arrived so long a time and they intended to send it back to the United States of America – USA. Thus, by so doing I’ll lose the grab and pleasantry of its winning euphoria. Without mincing words, this really brought about the move to embark on a critical trip to Takoradi at the South-Western part of Ghana in West Africa.

Just by the way, for the purpose of those who did not know the location or where-about in terms of locale, Takoradi. Known in short as Ta’adi . Then, I hereby bring to you the city situated at the heart of Western Region in Ghana. Its a sister city with common features and other characteristics with Sekondi in the same region. Having awaked around 3am, the ears felt the sound of dawn-time cock-crowing by the hood cocks. Well, seemingly noisy but it’s worthwhile as time-awakening machine to ensure rapid move. Indeed, I later headed to the roadside to catch commercial mini-bus which departed from Kasoa overhead area. We set off at 5:40am but due to traffic situation on the road coupled with passenger-related purposes there’s stoppages which delayed us in reaching the destination of Takoradi at 9am, fo which some passengers alighted at different places on the way. Upon arrival, I straightway went to the Taxi rank and boarded a Taxi-cab en-route the main Harbour Post Office in the city of Takoradi, where after several paper procedures and processes. Pleansantly, the long-awaited parcel which contained the Trophy-Award was blissfully given by the postal personnel in charge.

Well upon opening, the inscription on the gold plated part of the trophy was “National Spoken-Word Awards – NSWA, International Poet Of The Year – 2018 – Ike Boat, Ghana – West Africa – Votes: 776”.

Obviously, there’s some series of ‘ups and downs’, ‘to and fro’, ‘out and about’ in this metropolitan city of Takoradi. Unknown to many virtual and actual friends prior to this Westside trip. I had a harsh and terrible malaria attack which nearly took me to the grave. But God indeed rescued me, as I was rushed to the Holy Family Hospital at Kasoa, off the Nyanyano road where I was put on three different kinds of life-saving drips. A Testimony of His healing! It’s quite professional in the caring hands of Nurse Miss Victoria Swanson as she took me through series of healthy counselling sessions after my discharged. Of course, back in the city of birth there’s opportune moment as I had several invitations to be on some notable radio stations. For instance at the Twin-City 94.7 / 88.1  FM, specifically on the Super Sunday ShowSSS’ It’s rather nice surprise visitation to the popular host Sir Philip K. Dadson with several years of experience in the broadcasting industry of the Western Region, Ghana. The following Monday morning, I had another incredible opportunity to be hosted by Sir Philip K Ampofo also one of the influential broadcasters in the Western Region, thus courtesy Radio Maxx 105.1 FM  being the first ever radio station I spoke on-air during live in-studio broadcast about Fifteen (15) years ago. In fact, the kind of positive connection with the leadership and management of the Orange Broadcasting Brand – OBB remains unforgettable with deep journalistic know-how and exposure. Special sincere gratitude from my grateful heart to Mr. Maxwell Okyere Ahenkorah (CEO/Owner – Radio Maxx 105.1 FM) and Prime Programs Manager Rev. Alexander Nii Sackey , popularly known on the airwaves as Mantse being charge of Maxx Morning Bells – MMB as Host of such dawn-devotional program which I’ve had opportunity to witness and contribute to it broadcasting studio transmission, so many times whilst residing in Takoradi. It’s last memorable period in studio with Sir Gabi Ampiah, Producer.

Factually, whist in the city of Takoradi, behind closed doors I lodged at Mexico Hotel, off Mexico Road and close to John Sarbah road, where my primary Alma-Mater Bishop Essuah Memorial Complex School is closely located at the premises of Star of the Sea Cathedral. It’s time of deep in-door meditational writing as well as monitoring some of the newly established radio stations in the city of Takoradi, some of which include Connect FM, Gold FM, Big FM etc. The thought to commence on what I called Vlog 233 become crystal clear as I did phone video recording of the Alma- Mater, and how CoViD-19 has affected school boys and girls in their academic studies. Thus, one day whilst on a visit to I-CODE Hub across the road in the magnificent newly-built Takoradi Library in the city. It’s followed with another phone video recording of the Takoradi Mall, KFC Kenturky Fried Chicken sole branch in  Takoradi, then afterwards some days later House -Top caption of the gigantic Market Circle and lastly the Beach and its related aquatic environs as well as admiring-visitors. Fortunately, all videoing as in Vlogging help became possible by some Good Samaritan strangers along the way when ideas popped up. Side by side, I was entangled in the daily medication routines coupled with dawn time road-side and park moment prayers as well as meditations. Factually, there’s program with regard to event performance made possible by the I-CODE Management.

Needless to state, its uneasy coping with the financial ordeal at the Mexico Hotel as a hospitality place, hence subsequently I was dislodged from there due to unpaid bills accumulation. One of the unfortunate circumstances which propelled me to stay at the Mexico Hotel was largely by virtue of congestion and flood condition which affected the parental abode of Amanful West suburb, the hood of up-bringing in the city of Takoradi. At a point, it’s like biblical view of the Son of man, with no place to lay his head, besides moments of being stranded and on tenterhooks. However, I was supported and hosted a bit in-room by the former Assemblyman of Amanful West, popularly known as 1k whom I also assisted during his tenure of Assemblyman-ship in the Amanful West Electoral Area as online PA whilst in this suburban-hood of Takoradi, Western Region of Ghana. Without being ungrateful but with a heart full of gratitude and much appreciation, I was fed by an old woman, who’s also my personal life counselor almost on daily basis, realistically in the personality of Madam Agnes Barnie. #MamaAB

Beloved Reader, this Article-Blog Arti-Blog remains incomplete without stating a special virtual and actual thankful shout-out to the following supportive and caring personalities who gave a helping hands of generous gesture as fund to uplift me when I was terribly hard-up and really down in Takoradi. Precisely, it’s worthwhile to remedy the conditions in relation to medication and feeding whilst I was away in Takoradi. Please in no particular Order – Special Thanks and God’s Blessing to the following VIPs in various respective countries of the world:

Minstrel Julie Estrada and Minister Andy Estrada, Founder + Co-Founder + Treasurer of Building Foundations 1×1 USA, Madam Cristina Deptula Owner + Prime Editor + Manageress of Synchronized Chaos MagazineUSA www.synchchaos.com , Minister Titus Glenn, Pastor+ FounderTitus Glenn MinistriesUSA, Sir Jerry AmponsahMedia Personality and Political AnalystUSA, Sir Sonny AchibaSoni-Achi ProductionsSAPUK, Sir Abdul ShabbazIconic Music & Poetry Fellow & Veteran USArmy Personnel USA, Sir Stephen MillsActor + DirectorT aadi Stars Productions, Takoradi , Sir Prince Bonney – Founder & CEO I-CODE Hub, Takoradi , Sir Frank Nii Okanta AnkrahOrigintor + Founder + CEO of Clicx-Ads #CryptoAdvertisingNetworkwww.clicxads.com and not forgetting the Founder + President +  CEO Sir De’Andre Hawthorne #BlaqIce of P.O.E.T People Of Extraordinary Talentwww.iampoet.orgUSA, being the Ambassador + Representative + Promoter in Ghana and Africa in general.

 Kindly, PM or Email me via: ikeboatofficial@gmail.com  to remind in case you supported me during A Month AwayAMA with respect to this Anti-Blog centered on the trip to Takoradi, Western Region of Ghana. Surely Editing can be done to feature your name and organization respectively. Thank You Very Much.