Value and Service

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Value

Writing she feels is value and service

Myriad ways of value

She judges writing by its value or by its service

You can condense research then write a poem

Take the key points in a letter to condense it

Proverb teaches power

Program the buttons in poem

Think over them

A poem like a nuclear bomb

A consolidation of programs

Hire the picketers

An on page revolution

The main protagonist hangs a poster

Condense it, stage it, serve

Ultimate power

Excerpt From “Sago Palm”

The Acquisition of Devotion

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Swami so and so has moved to California.  He has a dark coffee brown, shoulder length, wavy, fluffy hair, parted in the middle and warm, thoughtful, and caring brown eyes that sparkle, as if a tear were imminent. The Swami has set up a spiritual center in the middle of town, including yoga instruction and within a few years has acquired many disciples. 

The context for devotion is said to develop from three things:  1) when one gives good advice, 2) the quality of one’s teachings and or 3) one’s ideas, research, or writings. There may be other cases where one acquires Beatle-like mania, or Rockstar status or immense fame and acquires a great many fans, but this story speaks exclusively to the acquisition of devotion.

There are multicolored fast-paced changing traffic signals that run the tempo of New York City. With great desperation for peace, New York City could be the Yoga capital of the world.  There existed a popular small yoga center on the upper east side, where one teacher emerged as superior.  His ascension could be documented. Each student that arrived one of his yoga classes, ended as one of his disciples.  So much so, that when he moved to a new nearby yoga center, a few blocks north, his students as they heard of his departure and relocation, like a wave followed their teacher. 

What he had that was so special for students that made him so insanely popular in the city, he gave precise advice, his descriptions were precise and connected, he gives you exactly what you need in a moment.  You ask, he answers.  He had minimal work for maximum result. He had a style where the students held their poses for a specific amount of time to maximize the impact of the pose.  Even after some time, one realized that he had reshaped and sculpted their bodies, he had lifted their buttocks, he had aligned their spines.  In the new yoga center where the yoga teacher taught his students, they left drenched in sweat, feeling elated, limber and purified.  It became an ecstatic yoga feeling of elation, even one associated to him.  He came to have many followers of his teachings and their subsequent devotion.  Even other teachers fond of his style, became his disciples.   

He often wore a simple divine looking handkerchief or scarf tied to his balding head.  It came to spiritualize the way a turban or headwrap would.  Perhaps it placed emphasis on his head, and in some strange way on God, it may have comforted him or placed him within the spiritual context.  He looked like a gypsy or a pirate. Souls waited for his words. He was energetic and magnetic. 

Some students say, “the whole class had reached a plateau.”  He struggled to make sure everyone of his students graduated to an advanced level.  What could be deduced from this description is that devotion is not necessarily given to preachers or ministers casually, but is actually a thing of “teachers.”  Most often, one comes to “worship” when someone has touched their soul or imparted a great teaching, one may then be their master.  It is for masters, or for teachers-devotion.

Down is the Tightrope

Down is the tightrope my friend

Down is the tightrope!

Oh fortunate one,

You left me on the side of the road

Down is the tightrope my friend

Down is the tightrope!

Oh fortunate one,

The storm has kept me from work

Down is the tightrope my friend

Down is the tightrope!

Oh fortunate one,

The rain has come inside

Down is the tightrope my friend

Down is the tightrope!

Oh fortunate one,

My back has gone out again

Down is the tightrope my friend

Down is the tightrope!

Oh fortunate one,

The doctor has not called me back

Down is the tightrope my friend

Down is the tightrope!

Oh fortunate one,

I slept off my pain today

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Excerpt from upcoming book, “Value to Man” collected poems due out in November 2020

“Long Marriage” Excerpt from Sago Palm

Long Marriage

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

 

He planned the conversation

That one needs to have at the start of their marriage

To have a long marriage

He planned to hold it together

To keep it fresh

To even rehearse intimacy

To maintain respect and nonviolence

He made a deal with his wife

He asked himself and his partner, “Are we a forever marriage?”

If you do not say it, “Are we a forever marriage?”  Perhaps it is not.

Some cultures have real steady men that mate for life

Some are circulators, vacillate, some grow tired, some do not, some marry more than one

Some have tested ways for maintaining relationships

For taking care of their match, preserving them, educating and teaching them, beautifying them, grooming them, making them happy, pleasing them, romancing them

Some develop ways for coasting holiday to holiday

Some want social matches, even socialites, prepared for culinary and a lifestyle of entertaining

Some want many, many friends, some want a homemaker and a home

Some want a premium wife or a sophisticated housewife

Some want a match with good taste and good tastes home

Some want a head of household

Some want a mother, some want a father

Some want a parent that is a teacher for their children

Some will build a children’s schoolhouse

Some will garden

Some will fill the house with flowers

Some will collect recipes and fill binders and plan

Some spend summer here and winters there

Some plan family trusts, philanthropy, community building and children’s trust funds

 

Excerpt from upcoming poetry book “Sago Palm” by Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

 

 

 

Between two cones

Between two cones

She measured the distance between two cones

Then calculated how many times back and forth to achieve a mile

She walked a mile

Between two cones

How fast can she walk a mile between two cones?

In this small space, a distance

Between two stones

She walked a mile

How far, how fast?

How can she create peace with her steps?

On the way to the right stone

She thought blue

On the way to the left stone

She thought green

Blue she thought can be water

Green she thought can be trees

She purified herself with simple meditation in this way- water and tree

The small steps that make up a great distance

How to create a context of peace within oneself

Excerpt from upcoming book, “Sago Palm,” by Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

That Poor Old Girl

That poor old girl

Strips the buttons from the discarded dresses

She strips the zips

She strips the cuffs

She strips the collar and hem

She strips the sleeves

She strips a nice yoke

 

That poor old girl

 From the old dresses

She pieces a quilt

 

That poor old girl

Grows a big piece of cloth out of scraps

That poor old girl is braiding the selvage

That poor old girl coils and stitches the braids to make a hat

That poor old girl saves for tomorrow

That poor old girl saves for tomorrow, today

 

Excerpt from upcoming collection of poems “Sago Palm” by Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Happy & Existential Birthday to Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu May 28, 2019

Happy & Existential Birthday to Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu May 28, 2019

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

This year I was planful about my journey forward which is one of my favorite pastimes.

I thought I would craft an original career as a scholar, artist, international teacher, diplomat and author.

I envisioned teaching parts of the year abroad.  I imagined myself either starting a school, running a department, or teaching a semester here and a semester maybe in Ghana or Mexico.

I adopted the new vision to be an “international teacher.”

The other thought I had was how an artist succeeds.  I think there are plucking grounds for ripe and primed artists via artist residencies.  I was at the Studio Museum in Harlem and The Saatchi Gallery showed up to see artists in residence.  In Europe, there are residencies like the Rijksakademie that also connect artists to European galleries.  Artists in art residencies have completed BFA and MFA, have a body of graduate and professional work, professional studio-they are vetted artists and ripe for the picking.  Also their associates within these programs are other artists that become colleagues and make introductions and form their creative circle.  You get mentorship at residencies that polish the artist.  Perhaps that is something someone like me should do, both go to residencies or perhaps run one in Michigan or in Ghana.

What I think galleries do or should do is keep databases of their groups or pools of artists and keep building on these artist profiles and send them briefs for appropriate shows.  So artists are revolving in different shows.

We need in America more residencies for artists where artists are connected to galleries.  There are new emerging markets for online art sales like with the Saatchi Gallery that are pursuing high and low strategies and price points with print and original sales-where everyone walks out with something.

One thing that many art departments failed to recognize is the need for art writing to bring art to life where the viewer has more information and ability to engage.  The Sotheby’s Institute has an online certificate course in art writing.

I am still having many thoughts about giving and philanthropy.  There need to be backbones in communities.  You have to know when not to be poor but to find a way to make yourself rich because you’re the backbone.  When you need to provide jobs and shouldn’t stop thinking until you have achieved appropriate wealth and vision strategy.  When you have not occasional monies, but regular monies and look to models like the Salvation Army that runs big thrift stores to power shelters etc.

I am thinking about successful systems.  I am thinking about when art provides  “ideas and inspiration” and when art is “functional” and provides a viable solution to a problem or then, is it no longer art?

An existential birthday for me has been buying spiritual books every year around my birthday.  I got: “Ceremony,” by Leslie Marmon Silko, “The Masters and The Spiritual Path, Climb the Highest Mountain Series,” By Mark Prophet, “Foundations of the Path,” Mark. L. Prophet, “The Path to Attainment,” By Mark L. Prophet.

This year I gave myself a ton of gifts which was a thrill.  They are still on the way to me.  I got myself a “birthday shirt” which is light blue with daisy embroidery.  I ordered a bicycle pump and will start cycling again this season when it arrives.  I got a picture of the ocean. I got a risograph print from artist Ryan Molloy.  I got a piano theory book.  I played “Happy Birthday” on the piano several times.  I am attempting to memorize the notes.   I ordered three pairs of shoes, 2 summer sandals and a pair of green New Balance.  I got tart pans.  I baked and baked:  Brownies a la mode, peanut butter cookies, poppy seed muffins and lemon bars.  I got serving trays and a large bowl good enough for paella.  I imagined my future dinner parties.  I got a pink sheet.  I got a house cleaning house dress that is pastel/ carnation/ frosting colors.  I got a nightgown.  The nightgown reminded me of dogs and fireplaces.

My mother sent me some money.  Another friend in Chicago sent a blender for some margaritas.

I got Bruce Lee Video’s, Willy Wonka, vintage Disney, I got Chinese Music, some musicals and foreign language tapes.  I have been loving both cassette tape and videotape.  I got some plastic containers to organize my school work station.  I got a new curling iron.  I got some “Aveda Stress-Fix” oil perfume that smells divine.  I got rose water spray.

I applied to a writing program and researched another writing program and both filled me with the joy of anticipation.  I got a “Pocket Style Manual” by Diana Hacker (writing) that covers clarity, grammar, punctuation and mechanics, MLA/APA/Chicago/CSE, usage and grammatical terms.

I got an “Intermediate Algebra” book by D. Franklin Wright/Bill D. New.  I am a big fan of the highly useful algebra.  I thought about books, informational books, culturally defining books like “Castaneda” or “Wild Irish Rose” or “Arabian Nights.”  I thought about Creative Non-Fiction and Poetry.  I thought about placement within knowledge.  I am working on a book about Interdisciplinary Studies.  I thought about learning.  I thought about auditory then recognition in early learning and throughout life and in advertising, this strange link, how one comes to know, how one comes to have.  I thought about analysis and how it makes you way smarter.  There’s tacit knowledge, but there’s graduated and developed thought.  Becoming a thinker.

I started a book log this year.  Our local Ypsilanti library is recommending that children read about 1000 books a year.  I am aiming for longer books maybe 388 books this year.

Those are some of my main thoughts on this 2019 birthday.  I am really happy to be so peaceful and serene.  I spray rose water on my hair to catch the beauty of the rose to it.

The Commonality Conjurers in Art

The Commonality Conjurers in Art

By Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

 

Gather all your red things

Measure each of their statistics

To ascertain who are the commonality conjurers in art

Red things, apple you are a #1 commonality conjurer

Menstruation and blood you are #2 commonality conjurers

They wished to know if they saw a red object

What thoughts would they conjure?

 

 

Up to Snuff #50: Winter Reading List 2018 with emphasis on African Writers

Up to Snuff #50:  Winter Reading List 2018 with emphasis on African Writers

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Put together a box of books, cover your coffee table with books,  light a fire or head to a cottage or good “reading city” and read, read, read and maybe practice piano, throw in a few page turners, some classics and what I call “kb” or knowledge based books, stash articles, research a nice PHD read, check for Nobel Laureates in Literature and don’t forget to take your child to the library once a week to satisfy a young readers consumption, maybe 2 books a night, maybe even take a book run vacation and collect foreign language books to build a linguistics profile, buy or build some book shelves and build your families library, read, read, read.   A good hobby to have is researching books or getting good classes with good book lists or go to a school with a good library or asking colleagues for a book list, read, read, read.

 

Sommerset Maugham –all books

Tolstoy

Nikolai Gogol

D.H. Lawrence

Daphne Du Maurier

Jane Eyre

Nathanial Hawthorne

Alice Walker

Euripides

Bulwark

Falun Gong

Find some good Latin books

Spanish novels or newspapers or little pamphlets

Try to read/earn a few skills

Read across an area all you can get your hands on or a writers complete collection

Carlos Casteneda

T.S. Elliot

Aga Kahn

Prentice Hall books (Publisher)

Gandhi

James Baldwin

Jose Saramago

Breton

Satre

E.O. Wilson

Oscar Wilde

Read Recipes

Fareed Zakaria

Pablo Neruda

Octavio Paz

Rosario Castellanos

Paul Ricoeur

Confucius

Aleksandr Dugin

Jurgen Habermas

Nick Land Alt Right

Bill Gates

Complete Guide to Sewing, Readers Digest 1995

Designing Apparel Through Flat Pattern Fifth Edition, Fairchild Publications

How to Draft Basic Flat Patterns, Fairchild Publications

Ross, B.H., This is Like That:  The Use of Earlier Problems and the Separation of Similarity Effects.  Journal of Experimental Psychology:  Learning, Memory and Cognition

Schank, R.C., Tell Me a Story:  Narrative and Intelligence, Evanston, Ill, Northwestern University Press

Schank, R.C., & Abelson R., Scripts, Plans, Goals and Understanding:  An Inquiry into Human Knowledge Structures, Hillsdale, NJ, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates

Spiro, R.J., Coulson, R.L., Feltvich, P.J., & Anderson, D.K (1988) Cognitive Flexibility Theory:  Advanced Knowledge Acquisition in Ill Structured Domains, Tech Report No 441, Champaign, Ill:  University of Illinois

Center for the Study of Reading, Sternberg, R. J., & French, P.A. (Eds.) (1991) Complex Problem Solving:  Principles and Mechanisms, Hillsdale, NJ, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates

Voss, J.F & Post, T. A. (1988), On solving of Ill Structured Problems, IN M. T.. H Chi, R, Glaser, & M.J. Farr (Eds.), The Nature of Expertise (PP. 261-185), Hillsdale, NJ:  Lawrence Erlbaum Associates

 

The Complete Greek Tragedies

MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing

Writing Your Dissertation In Fifteen Minutes a Day:  A Guide to Starting, revising and finishing your doctoral thesis/Joan Bolker

Sicily by Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi

The Italian Baker by Melissa Forti and Danny Bernardini

Mozza at Home by Nancy Silverton and Carolyn CArreno

Henry and June

Tropic of Cancer

Cities of The Interior, Anais Nin

Balzac

The Rhinoceros  by, Ionesco

A good almanac

Collect Maps and study them

 

 

Some African Writers

Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Peter Abrahams, Mine boy, This Island Now, A Wreath for Udomo ( South Africa)

Chinua Achebe (Nigeria)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Jose Eduardo Agualusa

Mohamed Naseehu Ali (Ghana)

Germano Almeida

Elechi Amadi

Ayi Kwei Armah (Ghana)

Sefi Atta

Ayesha Harruna Attah

Mariama BA

Nadifa Mohamed

Chris Barnard

Mongo Beti

Andre Brink

J.M Coetzee

Mia Couto

Tsitsi Dangarembga

Mohammed Dib

E.K.M. dido

Assia Djebar

  1. Sello Duiker

Daphne Williams

Buchi Emecheta

Daniel Olorunfemi Fagunwa

Nuruddin Farah

Athol Fugard

Nadine Gordimer

Alex La Guma

Bessie Head

Moses Isegawa

Rayda Jacobs

Tahar Ben Jellouon

Cheikh Hamidou Kane

Yasmina Khadra

Camara Laye

Naguib Mahfouz

Charles Mangua

Sarah Ladipo Manyika

Dambudzo  Marechera

Darlene mattee

Zakes Mda

Thomas Mofolo

Bai Tamia Moore

Meja Mwangi

Ngugi wa Thiong’o

Lewis Nkosi

Flora Nwapa

Nnedi Okorafor

Ben Okri

Deon Opperman

Yambo Ouologuem

Alan Paton

Pepetela

Sol Plaatje

Nawal El Saadawi

Tayeb Salih

Wilton Sankawulo

Karel Schoeman

Olive Schreiner

Benjamin Sehene

Ousmane Sembene

Wole, Soyinka

Amos Tutuola

Marlene van Niekirk

Yvonnne Vera

Jose Luandino Vieira

Joseph Jeffrey Walters

Birhanu Zerihun

Ama Ata Aidoo

Georges Andriamanantena

Jared Angira

Kofi Anyidoho

Kofi Awooner

Sahesillasse Birhanemariam

Breyten Breytenbach

Dennis Brutus

Glynn Burridge

Abena Busia

John Pepper Clark

Jose Craveirinha

Viriato Clemenete da Cruz

Getinet Eniyew

Tsegaye Gebremedhin

Abbe Gubenga

Hadraawi

Ingrid Jonker

Jonathan Kariara

Joseph Kariuki

Susan Kiguli

Ahmadou Kourouma

Antjie Krog

Jack Mapanje

Eugene Mapanje

Eugene Marais

Don Mattera

Bai Tamia Moore

Togara Muzanenhamo

  1. Moses Nagbe

Arthur Nortje

Gabriel Okara

Nii Parkes

Chrisotpher Okigbo

Okot P’Bitek

Lenrie Peters

Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo

Jacques Rabemananjara

Elie Rajaonarison

Ny Avana Ramanantoanina

Pierre Randrianarisoa

Jean Verdi Saloman Razakandraina

David Rubadiri

Tijan Sallah

Leopold Sedar Senghor

Debede Seyfu

Bewketu Seyoum

Warsan Shire

Adam Small

Veronique Tadjo

Dagnachew WERku

Armenio Vieira

Patricia Jabbeh Wesley

 

 

Credit:  Wikipedia African Writers List (see for more detailed list)