Benefit of Doubts

 A play in 6 acts. My latest.

it’s laughable for Nana and her minions all to agree that no man has a right to resist their solicitations. I don’t share her fears nor her appeal to the jealousy of the men folk against ultimate sanction of morality. Besides men and women have perennially had difficulty getting on with one another, and this difficulty have been compounded by women’s movement. So that the only thing we can do to keep our sanity is to imagine playful solutions to this eternal problem.

A play dealing with temptation and importunities of women, opening the grosser side of a woman’s passion. A comedy of propriety woven with threads of studies of prudery. A tyranny of conventional propriety looking into the flaws of both the moral and judicial system in the so-called high society. A play of morality and integrity, carnal love and true love, honour and dignity.

Solicitations of Abbou, a young servant by a married woman, Nana her master’s wife. He’s tempted but all the more striking is his consciousness of the ultimate sanction of morality. He does not falter; he rejects her innuendoes and solicitations willy-nilly.

But she takes her revenge-doesn’t take his rejection lying down. The covetous wife turns the tables on him and makes a covert appeal to the jealousy of the men, servants against the hated Abbou, and to the fears of the society women, whom she represents as unsafe from insults. The women all agree that no man has a right to resist their solicitations. Beauty is spurned. Her distorted account of facts has the desired effect on her husband. And there is the threat of prison for Abbou, and the company of the vilest of men, instead of the caresses of beauty in high places.

But the Judge, her husband, can read through their solicitations, and have been busy all along with a similar strange death-row case, a perfect parallel to the false accusation by his Wife to his own servant. Where two brothers living together and the wife of the Elder Brother, accuses the Younger Brother falsely. The Elder seeks to murder the Younger. But being at last convinced of his innocence, he slays his Wife instead.

All these happens against a background of the domineering presence of Big Mama, the Judge’s mother, and who is not only in bad books with Nana, but also is soliciting lobbying, and helping a covetous lass, Minnie, to get married to her son.

Excerpts from the play Benefits of Doubts


A2S4—The Native Return


[Minnie spreads a dark duvet in her king-sized bed which lies strategically in the middle of a room that’s devoid of modern convenience. Draperies and Swahili kangas hang precariously on racks. Smoke from jasmine incense fills the room. An old African mat, faded carpet, etc are adorned by unpacked pastries, snacks, drinks, etc. Minnie’s beaming smile splashes in approval. Enter Big Brother]


  Big Brother: [Holding the drinks] Jameson? Amarula? What a sumptuous waste! Who are you indulging this time? [Teasing] One of your classy gigolos?

Minnie: No. I’m not Minnie-coddling anyone tonight. It’s just the justice…

Big Brother: [Anxiously] Say what?

Minnie: What now, are you deaf? I said Justice the just. I’ve prepared for him tilapia stew and marinated chicken tikka-mous-tikka. Feel free and invite yourself to celebrate and share in this auspicious occasion.

Big Brother: [Nonplussed] Excuse you? Who asked you to? Is this the latest overcooked Soap-Opera tactic to snatch the husband of Nana?

Minnie: Stop being ridiculous! You sound so surprised. Well, I don’t see anything about it that goes beyond the bounds of the ordinary.

Big Brother: Then remind me, what would a married man want in our house?

Minnie: [Nodding] Mmh! Indeed! Want or desire; you catch up real quick, bro. real quick. What if his wife can no longer satisfy this need; or want; or desire. But stop judging me now! Tonight I host the Judge. Next, it is the minister himself! [Gyrating her waist] And you say-say Minnie-Minnie Mo has small means! Is it shocking?

Big Brother: [Correcting] Not shocking or even impossible a feat for someone with a bottom like two stale buns! But I’m warning you sister and your itchy groin; to think harder than shaking it to make Nana share her husband…

Minnie: [Teasing] Are you serious right now…

Big Brother: [Firmly] Listen to me you silly goose…

Minnie: Why should I listen?

Big Brother: This is no time for more childish gibberish.

Minnie: Seriously? Only when you want me to listen, it’s THAT serious…

Big Brother: [Sternly] I’m very, very serious, sister-girl. Who says he can just come here and amuse himself? Don’t you realise this is only trouble if you are just his side dish of marinated ‘tikka-mous-tika ?’ Besides, this scheming escapade can only compromise our court case and cause a scandal.

Minnie: I know that, but you too should appreciate the countless times I’ve argued, holding deep debates within my mind but losing all arguments. I’ve told my heart; but it won’t listen—not one bit! What can a damsel in distress do when blissful fortune fastens as a magnet his muscular spirit to her heart? Such a resolve is only a pawn for hopes and a means to her desire…

Big Brother: [Adamantly] You must stop these solicitations. Honour demands it. How shall I to save my face, as his close friend, if he Minnie-coddled and then booted you? This shall be a gross transgression…

Minnie: Objection overruled, my lord! Talking of honour, what’s more nobly honourable than a judge embodying an ideal union? For once in my bosom lies the only man worthy of my virginity, honourably guarded for the white bed sheet on our nuptial night, [longingly] for the ululations of the old maids exulting the honourable stain the morning after…

Big Brother: Virgin? [Laughing] You? Then why do you broadcast yourself on the market as ‘single-and-ready-to-mingle’?

Minnie: My marital status is just a scheme to sample my suitors and test how suitable my caprice is in my amorous adventures. I may only be a little boat looking for a harbour but until today, I have sailed cruising past the assailing sea of desire. And now, as a respite, after anchoring in the apogee of my journey, providing proof of my honour, no one, not even Big Brother can delay my romantic voyager any longer.

Big Brother: Unbelievable! Will you keep too your local gigolos as playthings?

Minnie: I’ve summoned them too, to share in my banquet—all the homeboys—already the maids are in the kitchen.

Big Brother: No doubt to deliver a press statement to your gigolo billy-goats sniffing round you.

Minnie: You and your foul mouth! Is this about your Kiki that I turned down?

Big Brother: I’m just saying little sister. If you indulge the judge and instead of elevating you into a pedestal, degrades you as his footstool, our family will be an object of disgrace, and you will put me in a very awkward situation!

 Minnie: I am a woman gifted in untying knotty love chords of any man, seducing him long enough to share in my dream. So stop patronising me with lectures about virtue and respect. [Snapping] Why should I even worry about your honour or your cherished friendship when love spread ahead of me in endless dreams of ecstasy? I’m shrewd; I’ll lay all my cards, not just my little cleavage! The sages say ‘blessed is the hand that gives’ but today I declare, hallowed be the hand that gives a lot… [Noise from without, ululation] and there comes my prince. [To Big Brother] Don’t just stand! Can you usher him. [Bustle outside, offstage voices] Welcome our son! Our loving son!

Big Brother: Why would I welcome him when you no longer listen to me?

Minne: [Desperately] Don’t stand here! I don’t want him to know we are arguing about him. Get out! Get busy, pleee-ase! [Both laugh knowingly as he exits].

Old Woman: [The compound stirs] Welcome my son. They are excited because they have never seen such a big car!

Minnie: That’s what I’m talking about.

Old Man: Park the car near the umbrella tree!

Big Brother: Let me park it for you, my brother!

Old Man: You are most welcome, my son.

Young Man: There you are! A new shining banknote for me!

Judge: And for you, mama, an island Kitenge, my wife wears a similar fabric.

Old Woman: Ooh! Thank you, my son. I will always pray for you to have everything you desire. [With emphasis] Everything, my son!

Judge: And this papa, is all for you. Rolex watch, see? Exactly like mine, we are now a family. [With emphasis] One big family!

Young Girl: Ooh my! All these wads and bundles! What a full-size briefcase!

 Old Man: Hallowed be the hand that gives a lot! [Laughing] You always gave a listening ear to the needs of your mama! Mother is supreme. [Laughter and general mirth as the judge comes into the room]

Judge: Oh my dear [Hugging Minnie] Look at you? Like the queen of Sheba!

Minnie: Is why a gracious reception to welcome my kingly Solomon.

Judge: The spiralling incense is already making me feel at home [Sitting on the bed, trying it] and my throne is floating with the whirling uud!

Old Woman: [Aside] Did you see that? Sinking into her bed with no invitation?

Old Man: [Aside] Audacious gesture! Signal his meaning better than words…

Old Woman: [Aside] Spelling his intention… Continue reading

The Parable of Bruce Almighty and How the Cookie Crumbles


AND IN THE BEGINNING was Bruce Almighty, perched in the roof of the world, seeing the land of Cush, Punt and Ham. Lo! And behold, it was good. It was very good. But then, the Sower of Tares and Weed, a chaotic consultant whose function is to assign the keenest devil details to human virtue and vice, came too to be counted amongst the sons of Bruce Almighty. Thus spake Bruce to he; ‘in thine roaming up and down land of Ham, seest thou my servant Punt?’ And the Roaming Weed Sower said: ‘didst thou not covereth her with veil and hedge her borders with thy rod. Remove thy hedge and her peace shall disappear.’ And Bruce scratched his long beard, musing, ‘doth the removal of the veil mean the withering of the bloom?’


But doth Bruce lift off the protective hand for bandits to tear this land with reckless abandon? Smiling as a Joker, he scat; roaming back as data bundles with dirty ideas.


And it came to pass that the tempest broke. Baffling Blakean worms withered the rose of Punt. War and warlords, brigands and terrorists, drought and desert storms swept across, depriving Punt of all bliss. Her borders no longer fortified, an evil bug bearing an ancient signature bit her. O sick Rose! Nothing more than crimson dark and dismal could least be expected. Amidst gun and roses, and years of power struggle, a lifetime of togetherness crumbled; once judged by the colour of her skin, now punished by the colour of her qabiil! The sinister tempest floated on, steered with test of sufficient severity, uncovering the real Punt, theorizing a case study that every camel had a price on its humpback.


But with all the sands of suffering blowing away the children, the windswept Punt could still in resilience say the words of hope in the river of death – ‘I feel the bottom and it is good.’ Yet no metaphor can feel the influence of death, and for the love of her nation, off to the house of exile she fled; living in the alien garbage piles outside the local Trashopolis. There, smeared with Diaspora dung, he warmed his cold skin by burning discarded cartons of food aid, that he had prayed for with bowl in hand—now looking like a hand extension. There, mangy mongrels played new map-games tricks; There, they preyed for carcasses often thrown. There, he kissed frogs lest the street ruffian, always eager to snatch everything unwanted by others, called a terrorist hotline. There, the Sower of Smoky Weed roamed with prowl-brigades with a tooth for tramedy, scouting the empty streets, sniffing as hyenas, marauding to steal something or rape somebody!


There, in remote-controlled stage of useless things, dwells the owner of a land once the greatest of all lands of the Horn, that scrambled as omelettes in the frying pans of Modern Berlin. There, sits Punt, in the land lithely slithering through in a so slowly a pace; so lowly a place and deeply buried in darkness, the nervous centre of all explosive tapestries, there sits Punt, wading to grasp at the straws of resilience, if he’ll still be alive and can swim at all, counter attacking the storm and speaking to the universal need – the human condition exhausted by the misery and countless calamities that flesh is heir to.





Ode to a Creative Pregnancy

For Kofi



O fly away, breath. In a strewn wreath,

In mourning ballads, in inconsolable sighs.

O come away, death. In deep-delved earth
This Earth My Brother; The Breast of the Earth
The fingers that mingled my blood and coffee

Trigger-happy hands of Suicide Vest Almighty

Chewing grammar of terror like cowardly cud

Now scatter at the force of my Pen Al-Mightier

Nay, sharper, a thousand deaths times more

In exploding and eviscerating them in fiction.


Forbear I hear; but know this you must
Of my war escapades with easeful Death,
Wrestled with, in the Night of my Blood

Smack’d his cheek in many a-mused rhyme,

Played Hyde and seek, o my, Mortal Me

Preyed on him so he comes not as thief

But a breezy calm old man of the sea

Haloed in golden aura of Mami Wata

Charioted by Ashanti stories, Anansi
And flawless riders on wings of Poesy.


Adieu! The very word echoes as Pavlov’s bell
Clatters cataleptic scythe of Caliphate cackles

Adieu! So sudden are these dewy days

And madness of a morning’s ending

How else could he not come like this?

When I, a griot adorned in abatakari sang

Once of a loss in my old age—not an idiot—

But as olden oracle in dreams, humming:

‘I have something to say. And I will say it

Before Death comes. And if I don’t say it,

Let no one say it for me.

I will be the one who will say it.’

Ride Me, Memory, on thy light wings, to flight

To rhythm, to ancient mariners whose medium

Was the voice; and theatre and village markets

Let me lament because my muse moves me

Let me long to rest one day, a mournful morn

Alas! A morning tired with whys and what-ifs.



Forever etched and gnawing our minds is

You, we invited freely, as fate did Oedipus

In you we read words of Golden-Coast Beauty

In them we saw garlands of glistening heavens

Teaching us to march on the literary paradise

Your poetry glittering like stars in our sky

A dreamer you were. You, whose love for

Ewe dirges decorated our poetry. In your

Borderless Pax Africana of Akan Sonnets,

No barrier existed even within your existence.

While asserting a free will in wild supremacy,

You, died outlining a temple of truth, whistling

To us, restless loyalists, the words of wizardry.


We wonder how to celebrate your demise

As solemn odes, in tom-tom drum beats?

Joyous bells, 21-Gun Salutes, in Lit Fests?

Or observe a minute’s silence, a stillness

Louder than AKs, to resound 78 eternities

To echo all silence of the lambs in the Mall

Led to a sadist slaughter by the evil artists?

Oh how? Silence is eloquent enough because

When, after you left a dance, the music cease

You, who were heart and soul of every event


O alas, the Atlantic tides aboard our Indian Ocean’s shore

Teary raindrops springing a dirge on that sorrowful floor

Tears that ran away to rain sadness down a joyful face

Siamese rivers of fluid dreams flooding our pavement

Flooding us with words without space-time meaning

O to feel the sister seas run down cheerless cheeks

O sad sighs, o thundering clasps to deepen looks

O Neptune oceans, explosions of eternal enmity

O to our sunrises and sunset, lights and night

O come Blood Moon, a truce we call, eclipse

Cease plucking unripe literary garden fruit

Here in precious blood and crimson line

Of irregular, of pindaric and horation

We write in libations of hot coffee

To appease what we used to be

As praise poems for Prof. Kofi

O adieu! His tree has fallen

Alas, thus it lies therein

Kwa kheri ya kuonana

Na tutaonana tena.




  1. Prof. Kofi Awoonor, 78 year-old Ghanaian writer, teacher and diplomat, died on 21 September 2013 during the siege in The Westgate Mall, was part of a writers’ entourage invited to take part in the Storymoja Hay Festival, a celebration of writing and storytelling and was due to perform on that fateful Saturday evening as part of a pan-African poetry showcase. His poetry is rooted in the oral poetry encountered during his upbringing, and kept close to the vernacular rhythms of African speech and poetry.
  2. This Earth my Brother, The Breast of the Earth, Night of My Blood, and Ride Me, Memory are some of his books rich in African oral literature.
  3. ‘Kwa kheri…tena.’ Kiswahili, lit. fare thee well; till we meet again.



White Widow Web


Sun set one sad September 21st morning

On lonely basements of The Westgate Mall

To a restive Gold-Coast intellectual octopus

Who like a cheeky child in our Candy Land

Grabbed many a goody; pocketing poems

Into his regal and striped abatakari tunic

A Charlie chewing with a chock-full cheek.


Prowling as well were Winkies of Wonker

In red Arafats along heartbeats of karma

Sudden as his hideous faces of madness

Facing bonkers, not Makkah al-Mukarrama

Crawling, as unseen as the devil at prayer.

None noticed an ill-fitting bidding requiem

Lurking in depths of torments, of shadows

So sad a farewell in the Sabbath of sorrows.



An inconstant open sore of our continent

That preached a Synoptic Hadith of horror

Filled the mall with bloodstains of despair

In a symphony with a distorted harmony

Spreading terror-ism rehearsing ‘La ilaha, …’

With dry husky voices at its forced recital,

Mouthed in metred threats invoking Amina

And coughed up as al-Kafiroun Surat ul-Error



Kofi’s a Kaffir in Qur’anic question marks

As AK 47s cock; Kofi’s like ‘La il…’ comma,

Couldn’t recite 786 Sword Verses of Qur’an

Nor knew the length of the Prophet’s beard

Rat-a-tat! White Widow shot him a full stop

‘Burn in hell with sulphuric smell. Period!’

Missed periods put into point-blank ranges

Painful period for un-periodic mocking poets

‘A Prof? Who knows not Grand Ummi bint Wahb!’

Priestess-queen spat to her drones of Shabaab

Who as scared baby jihads had hung on her hijaab

Hid under jihadi skirts, breastfed on time bombs

Licking wounds, from bullets fired by fathers’ lips


Now Jihadist Johns harbour erotized hatred

Fixated in infantile form of infamous honour

Silently, had witnessed their mothers’ abuse

Her scars, now living in them as an extension

Regressing to revenge her dishonour, and yet

After battering our maids into earthly widows

Carnally crave for 72 fecund eternal virgins

So as to re-live immortal dramas, even when

The satanic stage is their final halaal hellhole



Woe unto our Annan of tolerant hope

Radical but in rational borough of belief

While random users of terror gospels—

Nay, abusers, miscreant mis-users—

Against innocence, stinging as bees

Hurriedly read the religion of peace

From upside down, and left to right,

Use it as weapon, as full stop to reason.



“What desires did you wish to posses?

That you already did not have?”

Was it black coffee? Was it a book?

Perhaps researching another novel?

A dramatic episode in life’s chapter

Riddled with 4-Seven fatwa bullets

Immortalized as a latter day Hamlet

With cosmic ironies beyond us all

Wordplay won’t cheapen this puzzle

Adieu master wordsmith. All is well

Past pastures over the still stream

Is Parnasius, a sweet beau-la land

In that centre, a centre that hold

Is poetry of how well you lived.



‘Twas a very meticulous vetting process

To separate the sheep from the goats

Taking orders barked on mobile phones

Bowing down in prayer between attacks

To cite Thuaiba and her blessed nipples

Motherly domes off your phallic minaret

Searching hope in barren face of lunacy

To seek force of the sickle and scythe

To export a violence into our sunrises

To have your evil ways in our sunsets



The Closing Chords of Jibriil you crow

As phony muezzin who doesn’t know

That poet Kofi rides Firdowsa Chariot

On wings of his poetry as every griot

Via labyrinths of sunset, Westgate

Flies he, into sunrise, Heaven gate

And woven into the Almighty’s Cloth

An Immortal Bard, not born for death



Holy Hitlers of dehumanised factories

Fuhrers and poisoned misanthropists

May maim unarmed men, butcher boys

Assault pregnant women and kidnap girls

Explode (in) buildings, burn piles of books

Issue edicts, erase history, strip streets

Pave it with dead dreams, littered bodies

Raze civilizations, spit on to our cultures…


But can they decapitate and put to death

The memory of Professor Kofi Awoonor?





1. ‘La ilaha, ill-Allahu’ is a Shahada, i.e. a confession, ‘There’s no god except Allah.’
2. Amina bint Wahb, the mother of the Prophet. Invoking her name, to extremists, carries a similar connotation as what some Christians deem Mariolatry, invoking Mary, the mother of Christ.
3. ‘Grand…queen…drones…bees’, a (counter)extremist psychoanalytic theory of maternal infatuation with the ummi (mother), the matriarch in the hive, who birth the umma (the Muslim populace) with workers and soldiers, guarding her colony.
4. ‘786 Sword Verses,’ terrorists highlight these verses, yet in the Holy Qur’an, the word ‘peace’ is mentioned twice as many as the word ‘war,’ and unequivocally condemns war.
5. White Widow, aka Samantha Lewthwaite, the widow of the London 7/7 bomber, and suspected as the Westgate Mall mastermind. Irony for a ‘White Woman’ to bark orders (and from a cell phone) to the caliphates who have reservations with the female gender.
6. Annan i.e. Kofi Annan, a peace mediator, former UN Sec. Gen. and Nobel of Peace laureate, it’s interesting to note that the Westgate siege took place while the world was celebrating International Day of Peace. Further, Prof. Kofi served successful terms, like his namesake compatriot, as an envoy to many countries including as Ghana’s ambassador to the UN, where he chaired the UN Committee Against Apartheid in the critical years of 1990 to 1994 during South Africa’s transition to democracy, and ‘one of the few people on earth who knew firsthand how utter desperation sometimes made people into terrorists.’
7.Parnasius .i.e. the mythical mountain home of the muse
8. Thuaiba, the Prophet’s first wet nurse, after his mother died. A nourishing symbol i.e. a nursing figure, her significance is radicalized by extremist paternal clan culture.
9. Jibriil i.e. Angel Gabriel, said to make the final call before the Last Trumpet.
10. Firdowsa i.e. paradise.

Ararat is Fallen

Until yesterday

morality was a monument,

A noble massive mountain

An unshakable rock of ages

created by tectonic entities

And boulders like ethics

rising to a concordant peak,

Consonant all the way up

And down to its firm base,


Until yesterday

This moral institution

reinforced by solid rocks

Kept the structure standing:

a kind of a marking scheme

that weighed and measured

and gauged our performance.


Today atop our molehill,

the moral mountain is flat

An Olympus lain in ruin.

No longer does it state

We honour our father,

‘that thy days may be

long upon the land the Lord

thy God giveth thee’,

But upon a much lower

and a lesser Sinai law


Today upon our molehill

Shall children of the land

Obey laws of our fathers

Who lost and dully forgot

Moral fatherhood vestiges

These beasts that feast

And feed upon their blood

As hyenas who scavenge

The gangsters of nature!



For the Reign IS Falling


Grand mufti of Tehran’s terror

Hajj Errorist Al-Goatee Imam

Imagineers an opium podium

Of guiless mass sloganeers

To rehearse his Mahdi reign

And pray for latter-day rain


He counts golden beads

From a majestic minaret

But obscure his azure skies

With the colossal contempt

Of Ilyaas to the rainmakers

Until an entombed Isis

Stirs up in cold coitus

For virgin fertility figures


Lo! A messiah he behold

In the shape of a crescent

Of a salaam-saluting cloud

Floating into a dry terrain

‘O this nimbus so pregnant

Seeds a peace sovereign!’

His racing spirit thirst


Alas! It’s not.


Rain brewed in hell

Dropped as Hades hail

Drone in as a dead Godot!

Continue reading

Mechanics of Mathematics


Poor Anna an Austrian mummy

Heavy again with an Aryan baby

Not an Immaculate Conception

This seed; this ejaculated tare—

From the loins of the devil himself

Unlike cousin Mary found with child

— Assaulting her frail female form

In death-defying morning sickness

Wears her womb as an ill-fitting gown

Her belly struggling to bring to term

And free this sinister spirit within

Kicking in there like the sea sprite

In a bottle found by the fisherman


Poor Anna not Karenina of Tolstoy

Her spouse pushes for pro-choice

Conjures up a jagged Joseph of yore

Forced to marry a pregnant virgin

Her parish priest turns a left cheek

Her doctor is Jekyll and Hyde embodied

Playing hide and seek with morality

Squander sacred eyes—Oedipus eyes

So when her Gabriel makes visitation

Would see him as a blurred parousia


Onward Kristina Anna soldiers on

Marching as to her trimester wars

Bears a planted time bomb in her belly

That kept ticking quietly in eternity

Deaf to phony talks of right to life

Poor Anna not Jokasta of Thebes

Unto her manger Der Fuhrer is born

Named of course Adolf Schickelgraber

Later undersigned a surname Hitler

No wise men grace this king of terrors

Only plague; the first born of death

A motley offspring of kings is this infant

Continue reading

Bangui; a Poetic Coup ~ VIII. History not Our-Story

A man’s monster is another’s hero

A loud tolling from a historical echo


All life is worthless: all that matter is history

Cynic verse of fallen heroes with invincibility


Tragic truths trailing annals of history

Its biggest lies; its record credibility


History being depraved knows monsters

Are heroes most compelling as characters


In real-life a monster myth rises to power

Loudly hailed as a cuddly revolution father


Yet in frenzied zealotry the monsters contend

To take no prisoners but to eat their wounded


Confirming a regurgitation of historical adages

Vomiting vile bile into their bloody Fruitcakes


Exposing horrors stirring up the African bowels

Enjoying stabbed whitewash in Ubangi’s navels


Morally tolerable to wipe a minority enemy

A justified sacrifice as routine part of policy


Easily to dismiss the soaring eagles as insane

Simply to excuse their depraved deeds to a hen


Still today’s history is a little more than the record

Of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind


Our-story is a creative play of truth with fifth estate

Teetering in tattered pages of a Wikipedia footnote