Photo By Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu
Photo By Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu
Afua Osei-Bonsu Photo Styling Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu, Original Photo Credit: Lynda Giulu
Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu Photo Credit: Portrait Innovations Studio
Thoughts for the birthday of Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu on May 28, 1971 include what is the quality of one’s advice as an indicator or measurement of wisdom. Knowledge it appears may be divided into 3 key groups that are 1)enablers, 2)scaffolding and 3)fillers.
What is fascinating is the way a writer eventually has introspection-how the writer looks at writing itself. Also how the scholar looks at knowledge itself.
On this birthday in 2018 Afua Serwah is looking at her most immediate remedies, job goals, legal infractions, business plans, franchising, foreign service and diplomatic service, house goals and child goals.
Things paramount in her mind are many natural designs like climbing roses and trellises, boats and lake houses, building a child’s world with a library, swing sets, sand box and swimming pool, vegetable garden or perhaps miniature furnishings.
Thoughts about art are geared towards “artech” and how to make a historical art work or things like Liberato and dematerialization or rematerialization in art.
Ms. Osei-Bonsu likes the art of the deal or pitch and enjoys numerous creative ventures design.
2018 she expects will be critical for laying the foundation for her legacy and building her family clan. She is concerned with achieving “vehicles to genius.” Jobs like book reviewer or even intellectualization in art or journalism, or incubating books can lead to the richer intelligence she pursues. She is aiming for mastership, scholarship, becoming a teacher, author and mother. She would like a title that is both regal, intellectual, formal and natural. Something like Diplomat, Poet, Artist, Designer, Scholar, Naturalist.
She is enchanted with some of her earlier ethereal writings about mathematics and logic or probability. She is drawn to subjects like statistics and geometry and is a long time lover of the utility of algebra and formulaic designs.
Most of her finest thoughts have been encapsulated in creative writings or poems. She is a feminist, activist and leader. She is a socialite that enjoys dinner parties with friends, writing letters and close relationships. She can also be reclusive and solitary buried in her library and enjoying the peace and solitude of writing. She is serene, not quiet, but socialized and a conversationalist. She can speak at length on many subjects and books and culinary delights.
She hopes to collaborate with playwrights, film makers, singers and even the local government this year and throughout her life.
Today, she is not the the waif of her younger days. She is plump, a little jolly looking, like a mother and older woman. Gone are her hipster days with literally hip huggers, t-shirts and velvet jackets with needlepoint collars and vintage tennis shoes or pearlescent cowgirl boots. Today writes a woman, an older woman, who is preparing for motherhood.
She longs for a “sunset life” and a life with nature or in the countryside.
She collects recipes, books and art, which to her are the stuff of happiness. She is richest in poems. She would like to invite leaders, chefs, thinkers, poets, artists, scholars to celebrate her birthday with her.
What makes a wonderful gift for the season are books by author/poet Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu.
To order “The Pearl Reader” and “Magic 8 and The Bone Marrow Sucker,” two delightful collections of poems by Ghanaian-American poet, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu, see below links. Available from the website, or the publisher on trafford.com or from Amazon.com or Chapters in Indigo in Canada and on Barnes and Noble online. Enter your contact information at www.magic8book.com to receive future notices about upcoming book releases.
Magic 8 & the Bone Marrow Sucker:
The Pearl Reader:
Coming in August 2018 is a collection of poetry titled “Value to Man.”
Ms. Vielchenblau’s After Life
At 837 North River Street, across from the Highland Cemetery in Ypsilanti,
Michigan, Ms. Vielchenblau began to plan her life, after death, while living
her life with death, or rather with the dead. A close friend from China,
had said to her, “you lived your life strongly, you will live after death, strongly
as well.” The comment created in Ms. Vielchenblau a longing for a beautiful
afterlife. She thought deeply about how she would die, planned her life,
and her dead life or her life after death. She wondered if she would die in the
foreign service oversea’s or from an illness? She wondered how she was likely
She aimed to coordinate her life with her death and her porch overlooking
the cemetery kept her dreaming. Shortly after she purchased her house at
837 N. River Street, across from the Highland Cemetery she bought a plot in the
cemetery and so did her father and sister. There is a turn off from River
Street, where her complex lays.
The house she designed was full of life. The house was a complex set, at an
inexpensive price, due to its location, across from the Highland
Cemetery. The stairs going up leading to the three bedrooms, were extra
high, as if to heaven.
The complex, was laid out in several studios that would come to embody
areas, where she would have mastership eventually. A music rehearsal
studio, was in the front room, with an upright piano, an old bi-level organ, an
upright bass, a violin, a guitar, a trumpet, drums, bandeer and of course she
studied voice. There were lots and lots of sheet music, for the variety
of instruments, as well as her own compositions and songbooks.
Along the left wall, behind the rehearsal studio, were shelves lined with
books. The first shelf was organized into several library sections, followed by
a collection of cookbooks, in the hundreds, followed by shelves with numerous
fine and eclectic dish collections, including Italian printed plates, French
plates and wooden dishes, fine teacups with saucers, like her Prince Charles
and Lady Diana set from Harrods in London. Across from the shelves she
built a small room, by adding three walls to the far wall and lined the walls
with a fragrant cedar to make a screening room.
The room she built, compartmentalized the rest of the adjoining space, into
areas and nooks. The dining area was behind it, with a long ovular table
that had tall candlesticks and a blown glass sculptural object on top and the
walls were full of gold-framed paintings, her own. She had the vision to
value the house and create what would become a historic house, with a placard
on the front, as did many Victorian homes in Ypsilanti.
On the side of the table, were two buffet tables for serving dinner parties
and drinks. The paintings along with fine art illustrations represented
some of her finest works and were numerous. The paintings had a variety
of themes including drawings of her daughter, historical references to her
house and photographs of staged and vintage scenes. Across from the
dining table is the kitchen, where many culinary fantasies were manifested from
her cookbooks and culinary research. She keeps one shelf of binders that
are filled with recipes, broken down into areas that include diverse cultures
and holidays, plus the largest binder that is her treasure, “The Vielchenblau
Behind the dining area and kitchen is a small nook that she made into an
exercise and spa area. The exercise and spa area has a recumbent bicycle
and a variety of hand-held weights, plus mats and a TV for exercising with
Falun Gong videos or Gaia exercise channels, that sometimes include dance
lessons or belly dancing. There is a long massage table, that she
performed exercises on, as was done, while having physical therapy, after a
knee injury using velcro weights and straps. There are also some stacked
blocks for stepping and stretching exercises and a half foam roll to stretch
particular regions of the leg and knee. At nearly 46 years, she had begun
briefly to walk with a cane, after a knee injury while working in a culinary
Directly perpendicular to the kitchen, a little on the side, is a door
leading to the back of the house, where there is her outdoor sanctuary. Nuzzled
between, the 4 bay garages that house cars and dry and wet art studios
including sculpture studios, with the main house in the complex.
The sanctuary area has trellises on both sides with shrubs and greenery to
create atmosphere and privacy from the road. There is seating around an
outdoor fireplace, a stone rectangular table, with stone benches. There
are two grills, potted plants, sculptures and a shrine. The area is both
sociable and spiritual.
Behind the four-bay garages with art studios above and below is the carriage
house in the complex. The carriage house is used as an office and for
writing. The carriage house is a few feet away from the last bay of the
garage and in front of a beautiful cream and red-tiled fenced-in outdoor area,
where there are a pool and clubhouse. What looks strange about the
exterior of the house is the common complex color of cream, which unites the
whole property except for the main house, which has an older antique colored
wood siding, a shade browner than watermelon.
The main house blended with the Highland Cemetery and was left nearly “as
is,” to leave it in keeping with both the Highland Neighborhood and The
Highland Cemetery. Her favorite place in the house was the front porch
that had both walls and ceiling, the front door and a view of the Highland
Cemetery. On either side of the steps, leading to the front porch, were
small stone gargoyles, the type one might find in an old Spanish city, such as
Valencia. On the porch, Ms. Vielchenblau read poetry, drank tea’s, such
as Macha Green Tea with lemon, that she learned how to prepare from the last
restaurant she worked at, where she hurt her knee. She sometimes read
poetry with her daughter and they came out with a stack of print outs and
exchanged each other’s poems or read their own. She read with writer
friends on the porch and by herself. The view of the cemetery weighted
the emotion of the porch and dramatized all that she read. The porch had
4 outdoor chairs, with outdoor cushions, with little rod iron side tables next
to each. The tables she bought large enough, to fit a tray with drinks
and a stack of writing. There was barely grass around the house, except
for a small patch in the front that she barely had to mow to keep the house
up. The lack of grass, was even a selling point, as Ms. Vielchenblau had
planned for frequent travel in the foreign service and as a Diplomat and didn’t
wish to be encumbered by a high maintenance lawn while travelling.
Ms. Vielchenblau staged literary weddings to a poetry character Little
Jinn. The wedding napkins were embossed in 14 karat gold: “a Chinese
lamb, a blue rose.” The guests stashed the napkins in purses and pockets
for later valuation.
From every area in the River Street house, Ms. Vielchenblau felt a
manufacturer. She wished to value both the house with history and design,
plus all of her work within it. She wished for after her death, the house
to remain intact, in the hands of her daughter and left as her daughter’s
inheritance and a museum. The quality of the museum would be that of a
local social outcast, eccentric, born with royal ties, died while in Diplomatic
service and as a fine artist, composer, poet and even chef. She leaves
behind many publications. All of her artwork was made into catalogues and
left in print. Her music was also published. Strangely the entire
house was published and the quality was high. The house was intended to
be a museum, book store, spiritual refuge and place frequented by those
visiting the dead. All those who visited Highland Cemetery would make a
stop in the future, to her house in her afterlife.
She couldn’t decide whether to establish the house and move and build it as
a business from the afterlife-an afterlife business plan emerged- for her and
her daughter. Her dead life took over her living life. Death
becomes her life.
By Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu
By Afua Osei-Bonsu (2009)
25 Barbosa Esquina Recreo, Catano, Puerto Rico
They Flew in quietly, through the window and circled gracefully around the light, luceros. I turned out the light in my bedroom and turned on the light in my office and the luceros followed the light, dancing in circles around it. I turned off the light in my office and turned on the light in my kitchen and the luceros followed the light. I turned out all the lights and the luceros disappeared through the window.
I lived in a 4 room house, mint green on the exterior. In my bedroom I slept on an air mattress and there were two suitcases. One suitcase was filled with my work, a portable office, my writing, sole prints, a book about New York, collages, books and journals. I had with me to read Camus’s The Myth of Sisyphus, Oludummare, Jose Saramago’s El Elephante, Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God is Within You, Oscar Wilde, Bessie Head, Ionesco’s The Rhinoceros, Indian Holidays, Essays on the Divine, Mahabarata by William Buck ,The Prisoner of Zenda, The Kama Sutra unexpurgated version, and a Spanish dictionary. In the other suitcase I had my dress collection, flower dresses, one turquoise with bright red flowers, another like a field of butterfly attracting flowers. I packed my electric blue lace ups of soft leather from John Fluevog and my sock collection.
I listened to music on my clock radio. I had no refrigerator or stove. My diet consisted of fresh fruit and nuts, “The Light.” I ate foods that absorbed a lot of light. I ate with my hands with no need for silverware or plates or pots or pans. Everything I ate was fresh and raw. My food I kept in a small cooler, to prevent the sweet ants from eating it.
The houses and businesses are painted bright colors and they keep their windows open, casi afuera. All along the edge of the island there are docks, rocks, boats and people fishing. Umbrella tables filled with lovers line the playa. Barcardi Rum makes its home in Catano.
The mosquitoes in my room flew in a “W” formation. The cockroaches ran in an “S” formation. Since then I have found sharks swimming in circles “O” and birds flying in “V”. I combined all my sacred letters to form VOWS. I have another “O” from the birds which circled slowly over the playa like vultures looking for prey. I have an “S” from the snake.
The streets are tropical, lined with palm trees and coconuts can be found lying around. I saw two rainbows in Puerto Rico. While listening to karaoke, I ate chicken and platanos-mashed and fried plantains at El Faro. El faro had an alligator; I’m not sure now if it was real or pretend. I met Ray at El Faro and Rana danced like a slippery frog hopping across the floor.
One day the sweet ants crawled into my purse sending me a message. There were also four tarantulas. The first tarantula the biggest and hairiest talked to me and left peacefully. The second tarantula was young, quick and aggressive. The second tarantula ran into a room and hid frightened behind a door. That one was killed by Monchi with a sandal and swept out the front door. The third tarantula tried to attack me and was killed with a broom swiftly. The fourth tarantula was very small and quick; on it I put down a sacred book and sent it to the ancestors. When I lifted the book nothing could be found.
I planned to redesign my house and paint it pink, carve my bed, desk and shelves. I designed a pool area covered in a mosaic tile pattern. My desk chair with tricycle wheels and feathers, “la serpiente enplumada.” I wanted my furniture filled with water and sand. In my journals I wrote Billionario and thought about high frequency conversation with talking parrots. I created the ideas around social companies and Profit Sharing Foundation, PSF. I thought of social companies called Air, Water and Bici. Bici was inspired by the cyclists I saw in New York from Puerto Rico with streamers and radios and all kinds of things attached to their bikes and also a man who rode around Catano with a bicycle that had a roof top. I researched the numbers from million to centillion. I researched perennial flowers and came up with a formula for perennial league schools. I assumed a perennial name, Babiana Nana Vielchenblau. I decided all of my children will be named after perennial flowers. I painted sea houses, like Atlantis living below sea level in glass structures with sea life all around. I finished editing my book New York 2005-2009. I wrote Dos Caminos, Infinito, Blainwashed and Proverbs in Puerto Rico. Hasta Mourir, until death was written as a poem and later developed as a law firm and organization.
The tickets on La lancha boat between Catano and El Viejo San Juan across the ocean were dos por uno. I took la lancha across the water to El Viejo San Juan and ate chicken curry, mint tea and baklava at a Turkish restaurant. Another day, I ate Mofongo, soul food, and I also ate at a restaurant named after breast nipples, “Aereola.” I went thrift shopping and found a beautiful vintage tan printed dress that I imagined myself wearing getting off a steamer with a trunk in tow, and a birdcage. The tan dress had spots, so I had sewn by a tailor doily patches -in a chaos theory fashion- over the random stains on the entire dress. I bought from the same store a wooden origami necklace and a sleek, powerful red dress, I wore to call attorneys.
En El Viejo San Juan there was a café I frequented for Chinese milky black tea with maple syrup. Another café I went to for fresh squeezed orange juice and fruit salad. Often if I ate heavy meals I was prone to pass out. My body became accustomed to my diet of “The Light.” I ran around El Viejo San Juan with my little push cart of things. I bought a fan from the hardware store to cool my room and keep the mosquitoes from biting me. Mosquitoes do not like cold or strong winds. In Mexico, they hang bags of water to show the mosquito their enlarged reflection. The mosquitoes become scared of themselves and fly away.
I desperately wanted to learn the sacred art of fishing. I imagined the design of a fish restaurant where you spend the day fishing in Catano and show up to the restaurant and they prepare your fish for you. Besides fishing, people lined the plaza playing dominos. At the gymnasio they were belly dancing-everything is like the ocean in Catano-people belly dance making themselves like waves, and they drink a lot filling themselves with waves.
There’s a congero family. The father taught all his children to play congas and they play out together. Cotilla run around on the street. One Cotilla came walking in my front door. Cotilla’s look for mosquitoes, while mosquitoes are looking for human blood.
En el Viejo San Juan, gigantic tourist ships arrive to the port. All of a sudden tourists run about the place having their picture taken with parrots on their shoulder. There was a butterfly store and in the plaza lots of pigeon. Someone walked by and put money in a sleeping homeless person’s hand. There’s a castle way up on the hill with dungeons where people were tortured. I found a large grass field perfect for picnics. El Viejo San Juan was lined with rainbow colored houses and patterned mosaic tiles. There is not a lot of grass. Streets are narrow. Up a hill, you can find a little shop frequented by revolutionaries that serves 3 Medalla beers for $5.
People sing out frog sounds-Coqui- in Puerto Rico. The coqui are sacred and they live in the rainforest. The Indians in Puerto Rico were subject to colonial brutality. Many Indians were buried squatting in a birth position. In Puerto Rico- rich port- where did all the gems go? There are caverns where colonial powers dug and removed the riches. When I was there, there was still modern colonization, high taxes, stolen resources and a military base in Vieques.
En el Viejo San Juan I found an antique store that had a lot of interesting vintage maps of different countries. I collected them and planned to travel across, up and down countries to measure them. I found a lot of inconsistencies in the sizes of countries on maps. I called this project Mapas del Mundo. I wanted to piece together the countries as they were before platetechtonics as one Gondwana. Gondwana was my organization that gave out round world tickets so that people study and share their gifts. In that same antique store I bought a round shakira Masaai necklace and a woven hat. Later I photographed myself in a mirror wearing the necklace, my dresses and my woven magenta reboso from Pano wrapped around my head like a queen.
I bathed in the shower with bottles of purified water, after my water supply had been contaminated. Outside, I sweat in the heat profusely, sometimes my hair and clothes drenched. I sweat so much I went to the hospital to ask if I was okay.
I purchased a broken fan and horrible polyester sheets from the discount store. I also bought three pillows. I had a difficult time getting everything home and one pillow was dropped in the street that I never recovered. I went to the dollar store where they sold bath mats, butterflies and fish. I picked out one butterfly bath mat for my bathroom.
Music could be heard everywhere. Houses were decorated with baby dolls, ornaments and miscellaneous paraphernalia. I ate star fruit, oranges they called china and banana. I bought from the Salvation Army, a popcorn air popper, but could not find popcorn to pop in it. I eventually ate popcorn sitting next to Catano’s mayor at Lucha Libre in the gym.
I tried to open a bank account and no bank in El Viejo San Juan would open one for me. In Puerto Rico they spoke fast and they cut their words-Tres was tre and gracias was gracia, boyfriends were “mi macho.”
Autobiography Queenie Serwah 5/28/1971
Queenie Serwah was the child bride of a manufacturer, film producer and MIT Scientist. He became her poetry love Little Jinn and he assumed the name Li Jinn after the title of her poetry book. Li Jinn is also associated to the King “Ken Ing” of the Ing Dynasty. Li Jinn gave Queenie Serwah her title and the family sir name of Vielchenblau and on their bridal napkins it was engraved, a Chinese lamb and a blue rose in 14 Karat Gold. Queenie Serwah was a hostage of the Jinn Royal family for years, held under dire circumstances by a voyeur and apart from her wealth. Little Jinn and Queenie Serwah via Haptic Technology, during this time wrote several books of poetry as well as music, including symphonic orchestrations. The love of Little Jinn and Queenie Serwah endures within their diverse artistic creations. Queenie Serwah has a dance that she does where she places her hands on the shoulders and waist of Little Jinn, an imaginary dancer, she sways and in his absence says, “I am dancing with Little Jinn.”