Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Normalcy Prohibition

We'd gathered after the cosmopolitan professor's lecture
At the round table, there was a little wine and conversation
In the Green Room at the Headliners Club, idle chat about its architecture
Members only, the joint was swank, believe me, you couldn't beat the location

Breathtaking views, it felt like floating, there, on the top floor of the Chase Tower
We were enjoying this dinner in honor of the renowned philosopher
Prime cuts of steak with all the trimmings, not your standard buffet
And for those otherwise minded, dinner options included a vegan entrée

The ethicist speaks of identity was the stated title of the talk
Typically lucid, he was promoting his latest book, he'd kept it short
A Cambridge man, he deftly navigated the day's fraught politics
No pointed commentary about the mogul-turned-President's antics

One of the participants at the round table was an august professor
You know the type, long praised for his robust, classical philosophy
He started to expound on the quality of rage throughout Western history
The uses of wrath and its unfortunate modern suppression despite its validity

From my seat at the table, I could see all too clearly where this was going
Emeritus, the man had a lifetime of captive audiences he was used to lecturing
He could build up a full head of steam and, at length, carry on pontificating
All the while pretending to never notice the slack mouths of those listening

A frisson of danger would carry his argument to its preordained conclusion
He brought up the droit de seigneur or some such grandeur and delusion
The lack of care for conventional wisdom and liberal pieties
He was used to pushing people's buttons and defying boundaries

I pondered the question, perhaps there was a subtlety I was missing
With an audience of academics who speak in code it pays to listen
In any case, I was there as a plus one, The Wife had Prof as her mentor
Which made me not a deep thinker but a mere spousal contributor

My own work, I'd offered earlier, explored the issue of neutrality in technology
And how recommendation systems could be brought to bear on society
Whether social platforms, and those who control them, could act out of spite
And how to design networks with transparency in mind to be forthright

By the time I mentioned the work on self driving vehicles
That was the recent part of my software practice
I rather feared I'd lost the audience with talk of miracles
And that they would pigeonhole me as an afrofuturist

Still, I don't know what possessed me, in the moment, to forgo quiescence
My usual strategy is to remain silent when confronted with arrant nonsense
Perhaps it was the fine wine on hand that loosened my normal reticence
I prepared to fortify my tongue to address the implied violence

With a smile as I sipped my red wine, I decided to engage in light criticism
I find it to be the strategy of choice in the face of misguided contrarianism
I have long experience dealing with those should have known better
My recommended action is to disarm with a choice proverbial zinger

It is a real privilege, I noted, to be able to afford rage
Not everyone in our societies is granted the honor of escaping the cage
Indeed, some people get quickly branded as uppity at the slightest umbrage
In my field, the concept is akin to the principle of least privilege

The least of us, it seems to me, deserve consideration now and again
The freedom of action, by definition, is granted to free men
But at the outset of the road to freedom, there was a touch of dismay
The constitutional settlement for slaves was to be counted as three-fifths
Partial personhood implies partial freedoms that come into play
When you are wrongly accosted on Texas streets by the sheriff

Our host had earlier quoted Publius Terentius Afer, better known as Terence,
That Afro-Roman Senator of yore, a paragon of uncommon wit and sense
And his enduring aphorism and motto

Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto
I am human, and I think nothing human is alien to me
I left it there, there was no need to go further, you see

The old professor, finally silent, simply seethed
Daggers in his furious eyes were pointed at me
It was a wonder, given his discourse, that he could repress his rage
Thankfully, those norms of politeness came into play at this stage

I worried that there would be a response, and had prepared my rejoinder
Forgiveness and love was my own take, forbearance in social behavior
I held my fire, if he was to continue with his noxious agenda item,
As a software engineer, I've frequently solved the dining philosophers problem

The guest of honor was more practiced at these matters and promptly
Changed the topic, and brought up further examples in history
Honor codes were an example he'd covered in one of his books
Those duels and other misguided traditions that we now forsook

He conceded my point, but had nicely recovered the tenor of the dinner
With characteristic wit, he'd brought things down from a boil to a simmer
Whereas the lies that bind was his preferred framing of matters of identity
I favored truth and reconciliation, poetry as cultural memory

The notion is clear for those who have long borne masks of civility
Of the fool's paradise of considering philosophy detached from equity
Albeit internal displacement is my tribe's underlying condition
I'd like to one day escape from the state of normalcy prohibition

I am human I think nothing human alien to me

Normalcy Prohibition, a playlist


A soundtrack for this note. Timing is everything
Observers are worried

See previously: Internally Displaced

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Writing log: March 10, 2021

Thursday, October 14, 2021

What Paradise Have We Lost? (Song and Dance Edition)

I woke up to music just the other morning and I can safely
Say that the most exhilarating nine minutes of recent memory
Was when The Seven Year Old and I took out our white handkerchief
And comfort blanket respectively and got down to our song and dance circle
Call it the musical antidote to the previous day's zoom funeral
Even as I was paying penance in this ongoing season of grief
Borborbor dances and other Abutia clan traditions soothe as remedies
Then I recalled the moment after we had lost Da, when my Auntie
Briefly sublimated her pain and sorrow and lost herself in the dance
A few seconds of pleasure in fond remembrance of her mother
In a covidious time we live with the fear of the superspreader
The web gave a glimpse of African ceremonies of yore
This was the music of the Gods, what paradise have we lost?

...

Gee kindly Doctor Fauci
As a boy, I used to enjoy choir practice
That is, until my voice cracked
And hormones made my intentions mixed
These days, however, the danger is stacked
Singing in mixed choirs has been decidedly nixed
Until this pandemic's ended, we are well and truly stuck

dance by wiz

A Debt Foretold, a playlist


See previously:

This grace note is part of a series: In a covidious time.


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Writing log: March 20, 2021

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Internally Displaced

Internally displaced is a phrase I find myself drawn to
This modern traveler bears the deadweight of an exiled soul
The phrase carries with it a burden of dislocation
The succinct expression of the taint of alienation

Conventionally, it's the removal from one's home and native land
That is, a physical distancing, that can leave one unmanned
But there's also the worrying spectre of a psychic affliction
Unbalanced, the separation can present as a mental eviction

A matter of scale, it belies an embedded contradiction
For how can displacement be internal after all?
Perhaps it is a matter of perspective, this reduction
With the narrowing of horizons, the sufferer's prospects appall

Tantalus must be the patron saint of the internally displaced
Always on the verge, so close as they are to a comfort suite
Their song: the nearness of you, an ode to their erstwhile paradise replaced
A life of the unfamiliar, and the attendant sense of wist

Presumably the internally displaced haven't crossed any external borders
That are seen to matter in the eyes of international lawyers
Yet the clear implication is that boundaries have been transgressed
However, by being personal, not legal, these last count for less

In this reckoning, the internally displaced
At first glance, must still be within the vicinity
Of their former homes and abodes they left in haste
A surely maddening circumstance, this notional proximity

This points to the distinction that ostensibly exists
Albeit the same deprivation persists
Between the internally displaced and the refugee
Still, you can't say that either cohort have it easy

Mankind, when they departed Eden, were seen as refugees - up to no good
Thus it was written in those early chapters of what we know as the good book
But their postmodern predicament, call it their bereft outlook
Is that of the internally displaced, forever off the hook

The immediate problem is a practical one when rendered homeless
Previous certainties are upended, the essence of being dispossessed
Even if it's merely psychological, the trauma affects one's identity
The internally displaced quickly become aficionados of precarity

Unwillingly itinerant, internal displacement is forced movement
The road of distressed fellow travelers in a season of discontent
Fundamental freedoms denied to those now subject to the great longing
An intimation of futility and the sense that no one is coming

Uneasy lies the head that wears the frayed hat of the internally displaced
Resigned in contemplation, each meal unsatisfactory with that sour aftertaste
Holding fast to mementos grasped in a rush in the instants before leaving
The few trinkets, the salvaged memories, those prized belongings

From your own nest, you find yourself summarily chased
A stillness is time amid fevered attempts to locate a new home base
Off kilter, the internally displaced are favored scions of unease
They roam maladjusted, as if infected with a deficiency disease

Repatriation is not an option, not with your personal history
As the days progress you realize that this state is not temporary
You collected your bags and stamps - sadly the latter were revoked abruptly
Thus you joined the ranks of the sans papier, branded as men of no country

Many in America bear the trait as an underlying condition
The balm the internally displaced seek is leave for homesteading
Pride of place in this endeavor goes to those of my skintone
Our migration was to a perpetual life in the torrid zone

masks of civility

Home, a playlist


A soundtrack for the great longing
The sense of wist can be all consuming
Music therefore to settle the soul
Aural pointers to the comforts of home
Timing is everything
Observers are worried

This internal displacement is part of a series: In a covidious time.


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Writing log: December 2, 2017, March 24, 2021

Friday, October 01, 2021

Sirens

Last summer's soundtrack, the ambulance sirens courtesy of the plague
Was repeated around the New Year, they called it the Second Wave
Those purists - branded as epidemiologists, were ignored as naysayers
And now those darned ambulance sirens are topping the charts this September

The early lessons learned in those streets in Wuhan and Lombardy
Were repeated last April in the streets of New York City
I daresay the current situation in my home in Austin, Texas is not so dire
But it is only a fool who does not worry when his neighbour's house is on fire

Long experience shows that humanity gets accustomed to anything
Survival is the imperative, the mind is accomodating
I hold on to the thought that the system still functions and is not woebegone
Beyond a point, the ambulance drivers will simply not bother turning the sirens on

the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2

Soundtrack for the Note


...

Timing is everything
Observers are worried

This note is part of a series: In a covidious time


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Writing log: September 5, 2021

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Shelter

This traveler hews to the joy of small things
The comfort suites of everyday routines
The invention of tradition and sundry rituals
I'm one who delights in whimsy and the ephemeral

This is a reaction to our fraught and fractured modernity
And the reversals of fortune that come with the territory
In the torrid zone, where the wages are paid in blood and sin
Hard won experience teaches that protection comes from within

For violence, in all its forms, can be disarmed by laughter
As to oppression, the absurd will surely be its master
Contra greed and the arbitrary, I seek out levity
Wounds can always be salved by an aphorism's brevity

The forms are many, for even when the situation is dire
There is no end to the uses of irony and deft satire
What remains then, is facing down injustice and despair
When all else fails sadly, our only weapon is the stare

village huts by K. Baka

Soundtrack for this note


...


Timing is everything
Observers are worried

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Writing log: March 21, 2021

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The Toli Theme

My Things Fall Apart series has taken on a life of its own
Sprawling, the variations continue to surprise me, plays and even poems
This is as it should be, and I am determined to carry on the journey
To map out the tributaries no matter where they lead me

Sometimes, though, they plunge me towards dark matters
And I share personal tales of these close encounters
While I often highlight whimsy, and aim to keep things cheerful
I cannot deny those determined to make the road fearful

Strange bedfellows - observe the gremlins and parasites
Caution, take heed of their insatiable appetites
There are only people behaving, and sometimes behaving badly
The tale of the lost stories describes the human bestiary

The hope is that the bite-sized victories can overcome despair
To stay the course against these reversals is my duty of care
Good trouble, I hold fast to the strength of my conviction
That modern travelers can achieve a quiet revolution

But it was always my intent to to weave the strands and bring them home
And talk about how things come together, for no one stands alone
To cite the lyric I often quote: social living is the best
So goes the antidote: Things Fall Apart beats Heart of Darkness

Determined as I am to have a seat at the table,
I continue to write my folktales and fables
For want of a bolt, contra this season of isolation
It behooves me to enjoin in the global conversation

I turn these thoughts over with no fear of repetition
The code of the streets does confer some protection
I'm comforted there will be better days ahead if I resist nostalgia
Finding the joy in small things as I narrate these lost chapters

Even so, this scribe keeps adding to the catalog of unanswered questions
In the torrid zone, we learn humanity's curriculum of painful lessons
While I'm starting to see the outline of my soul's accommodation
For now, I can only acknowledge that my theme is dislocation

empty shell

Discerning a Theme, a playlist


The Theme punctuated the performances of Miles Davis's first great quintet, they would return to the riff time and again to relieve the tension in their playing. They never played it the same way, a testament to their inventiveness.
I nominate this note for The Things Fall Apart Series where things come together.

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Writing log: March 11, 2021

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Pandemic Garden

For want of a bolt, I now have a pandemic garden
It was quite a surprise but it survived the Texas Freeze
When ninety percent of the palm trees in Austin
Died after a week of sub-zero degrees

I must say, it's been causing quite the commotion
Dogs and their walkers appreciate the distraction
From the stultifying sameness of the urban jungle
I wonder if I could even grow a pineapple

The thing is I really don't know what I'm doing
Gee only trained me as an unpaid laborer in her garden
An able body and willing mind to be put to work digging and weeding
There was never any hope of green thumbs, call it low (or realistic) expectations

But something must have rubbed off it seems
Perhaps it was tacit knowledge or beginner's luck
For when I happened to throw down some seeds,
Things started to grow and, with water, they stuck

So now there's a profusion of flowers in the front yard
Monarch butterflies and bees flit around unconcernedly
Every day a new variant blooms, flourishing like a wild card
One never knows what today's delight will be, for nature works mysteriously

The only constant appears to be change - and delight, that is
I'm not quite reconciled to have become a naturalist
It's been quite the covidious dividend, much less than 100 dollars I've spent
The rest is my time and labor. Luck be the lady, I love this pandemic garden

pandemic garden starting to bloom 013

20210502_103049

pandemic garden starting to bloom 018

pandemic garden starting to bloom 7

See also: Pandemic Garden (The Second Wave)

This note is part of a series: In a covidious time

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Writing log: May 6, 2021

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

What Paradise Have We Lost? (Real Talk Edition)

Think about it, would we have Dickens without child labour?
What a world when the youth of Bangladesh, or say, Ghana
Are no longer doing graveyard shifts in the textile factory
Or planting yams and pineapples in the hills of Aburi
Call me a contrarian Scrooge or a prematurely old codger
Our modern day Oliver Twists, Little Annies and Artful Dodgers
Coddled as they are with this modernity, no longer have the hard knock life
My own childhood, despite my parents' challenges, was blissfully free from strife
Kids these days have school, not farms and, get this, activities for enrichment
Moreover they now constantly demand fondleslabs of mobile entertainment
What about the old toys: stick, ball, string, dirt and box?
Is it nostalgia to ask, what paradise have we lost?

...

Gee kindly Doctor Fauci
Food banks can hardly be the response
To this covidious misery
Starving children don't cry
Tears waste too many calories
No, the kids are not alright
Parking lot wifi out of sight
True, man cannot live on bread alone
But surely you can find some crumbs to loan

danso wood structures boggy creek greenbelt 2

Children, a Playlist


A soundtrack for his note
See previously: What Paradise Have We Lost? and The Dishwasher Situation

This rumination on kids these days is part of a series: In a covidious time.


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Writing log: March 15, 2021

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Dislocation

If irony is the key register of African life
The uneasy remedy is the splinter of ice
We are modern travelers who wear masks of civility
Still, we are forever accused of disturbing tranquility

Internal displacement gives rise to a fraught sense of normalcy
Heads down and at a remove, we write a new script for this modernity
Above all, we share the great longing for truth and reconciliation
The underlying condition of the exiled soul is dislocation

Aburi mask - strange days

Dislocation, a Playlist


A soundtrack for this internal displacement. I nominate this piece for The Things Fall Apart Series.

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Writing log: March 16, 2021

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The Writing's on the Wall

The writing's on the wall, it's not likely to get any better
No one is coming, this is the heart of the matter
You saw the warning signs long ago, face up to the reality
Wishful thinking does not lead to any kind of certainty
Ignoring home truths might well be a pleasant distraction
But you're apt to find yourself thoroughly unprepared for decisive action
And consequently suffer intolerable losses, more than can be borne
The fault is entirely yours, and wounds cut deeper when they are self inflicted
You dithered and suffered the cost, as measured in excess mortality,
A debased reputation, legacy, and a questionable economy
Human life should be precious and not just yours
The golden rule applies to the lives of others
Your track record is an award-winning advertisement for buyer's remorse
You'll have to deal with things now, there's no delaying the decision
Be pragmatic, a wise man once told me, heed the words of the proverb:
When the snake is in the house, one need not discuss the matter at length
The writing's on the wall, it's not going to get any better
No one is coming, this is your prisoner's dilemma


nigeria stamps tb patient being x-rayed 75th anniversary of scouting baden powell 45k



The writing's on the wall, it's not likely to get any better
The meat that you stocked in the freezer
Came quite unstuck, became twice a victim
'Twas the Texas Freeze's collateral damage
Promptly thawed, and then refrozen - power outage
Was it manslaughter, that bit about poor planning?
Or the rapacious pursuit of black gold?
Witness: the bill of goods that you were sold
Out of the living wages of a failed state
Was paid out in the currency of cash grabs
Denominated in a bunch of mistakes
It's up to you now, entirely in your hands
Whether to throw it away and thereby cut your losses
Or weigh the risk to your stomach of eating dodgy pork
The writing's on the wall, it's not likely to taste any better
What paradise have we lost? And some say meat is murder


nigeria stamp 75th anniversary of scouting baden powell 1982 45k



The writing's on the wall, it's not likely to get any better
Be prepared was the motto of the Boy Scouts
First we heard some of the unguarded notions
Of Baron Baden-Powell, founding father
And the sexual, and other depredations
Of bad seeds, generations of troop leaders
Now in this overdue spring of reckoning
Legal liabilities, a barrage of bitter pills and payments due
The threats are of renaming streets and tearing down statues.
Original sin tends to end with this kind of scandal
I guess the cool kids these days might call it being canceled
Everything is written in sand, there are no certainties
Whatever you think of the man, or the organization's legacy,
Scout's honor, they're now beset with rather perilous public relations
While the rest of us are now left to ponder truth and reconciliation
About the only saving grace in this mountain of when,
Tarnished reputations make the best collector's items
If Rhodes must fall and they pull down the statues
All my prized stamps will only increase in value
The writing's on the wall, it's not likely to trend any better
The news forecast: a dire prognosis for the Boy Scouts
Be prepared, after-school enrollment rates face quite the market rout


stamp dubai 11th jamboree athens 1963

The Writing's on the Wall, a playlist


A soundtrack for this note.


baden-powell must fall

...

Timing is everything
Observers are worried

This fit of buyer's remorse is part of a series: In a covidious time.


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Writing log: March 14, 2021

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Never Never Man

Never Never Man, portrait of the naysayer
Altogether satisfied with his station, atop his perch, call it his fiefdom
He laid out the usual corruption, "How about a donation, young man?"
Frustrated, for all that was required was a signature or a stamp
How hard was it for him to do his job? It was hard to understand
Blaming bureaucracy was beside the point, the obstacle was clearly this man
Stalling, and then declaiming action, "It's out of my hands"

Never Never Man, you know, you're really a trial
When it comes to getting things done, your only response is denial
Nevermind that some of us have wider ambitions
Now we've run headlong into your mounting obstruction
Gnomic. "It can't be done", and other pronouncements with no explanation
And, when confronted, a torrent of lies, misdirection, and evasion
A bright remark, a non-sequitur, and you simply change the subject
Then you act like you don't understand things, "with all due respect"

Never Never Man, what kind of life is this?
For weeks now, I’ve been trekking early to the head office
Camping out, waiting for the appointment I’ve been promised
The labyrinth of corridors and offices that I roam
It feels as if the waiting room is now my second home
Trapped as I am, internally displaced in the torrid zone
I've learned that home truth: no one is coming, you're on your own

Never Never Man, being around you has turned into a kind of quagmire
The roadblock was this man, with his easy, expectant smile, and baleful laughter
Who had no conscience, no compunction, treating me as if my name was Kafka
I'd never given bribes before, this would be new territory
But then I'd never encountered such a brazen adversary
Finally, I gave up on my scruples because I really had to go
The moral of the story: it takes two to do the corruption tango

Never Never Man we can't pin you down, you're inscrutable
Nay, your fortress of ineptitude is impenetrable
The original Doctor No, a real life Bond villain
Messing things up for my wife and children
Try as I can (and I've tried) to make my point understood
Never Never Man, simply put, you're no good

Containers: side-by-side

This folktale is dedicated to my mother's favorite insult and, sadly, our perennial foil, Never Never Man, the patron saint of the stall and runaround.

Never Never Man, a playlist


A soundtrack to relieve my frustration.

Postcript


When I shared this note with The Wife, she read into it another Never Never Man that was the bane of our existence some years ago. I had completely excised his face, his name, and indeed the eighteen month ordeal we suffered at his expense, from my memory, which is how I deal with post-traumatic stress, I suppose. The Wife couldn't see any humour in things, she still bears him a grudge for what he put us through. I pray you have the good fortune to run away at the first chance when you encounter your own Never Never Man. As I can attest, it's much safer in the long run.

...

Timing is everything
Observers are worried

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Writing log: March 16, 2021

Friday, August 20, 2021

Scramble for Africa

Remembering the collective whiff of apprehension in the Harvard administration back in 1994 at the mere prospect of Winnie Mandela speaking at our African students conference. She tended to concentrate the mind.

Preparing for the 21st Century

Approaches were made, alternatives were immediately suggested, right thinking Harvard got into gear. I was sounded out by someone in the US State Department about our invitation. Unlike her husband, there was no good reason to deny her a visa but it was certainly being considered.

Recall that the ANC, per Ronald Reagan and George Bush, was officially designated a terrorist organization. Winnie's husband would need waivers, even post Nobel Prize, to visit the US and address the UN.

Hysteria to the left of us, amnesia to the right. (De Klerk would be feted years later at the Kennedy school). In any case, the pressure was on. The College Republicans had a new target. This was the first time I heard of Jack Abramoff.

Soundtrack: The Pressure by Sounds of Blackness

Some of us had a very different reading of Ronald Reagan's Forward for Freedom speech. It is an article of faith for me. It was written in Angola

In the event, Winnie had bigger fish to fry (the mother of all elections for one) and we went with less controversial speakers.

I wanted truth and reconciliation, and an end to apartheid and all I got out of it was a lousy t-shirt.

South Africa 1994, The mother of all elections

Still, I remember some administrator wondering aloud why we needed to bring all these "mid-level" African professionals (Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Djibril Diallo etc.) to the conference [to speak to African students] when an expert like Samuel Huntington was available (and local)

There was a silver lining, I applied for my first credit card in order to finance the conference, and got some whimsical toli out of it

Call it A Debt Foretold

My enduring theme is cultural memory, the legacies of men and woman, what we choose to remember and, crucially, what we choose to forget. I hew to the skeptic's credo and am determined to bear witness.

How else could they laugh
Like they do when they should weep;
Remembering the voiceless days of the past.

Kwesi Brew, African Panorama
The antidote to the scramble for Africa is Truth and Reconciliation:

Recall that well before Winnie's husband had assumed the mantle,
Long before the ink was dry on South Africa's new constitution
Their spokesmen were already calling apartheid ancient history
And, well, de Klerk would later join Kissinger in the rogues' gallery
Call it, of cold blooded murderers that have won the Nobel Peace Prize
The three musketeers of fate: irony, infamy and goddamn lies

A Temporary Inconvenience, a playlist


Let's have a minor soundtrack to celebrate my time as a temporary inconvenience to Harvard. Some South African music, sadly many of these great musicians are no longer with us. ...

Timing is everything
Observers are worried

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Writing log: March 20, 2021

Monday, August 16, 2021

Domedo

You have to wait a while for domedo. Those who think of it as just street food know only the adulterated sort, the one that bypasses the wait. Part of the appeal of good domedo is that you have to wait a while. Even when you get a tip about a good supplier, you kind of resign yourself to a kind of food serfdom, the tsar being the domedo guy.

Case in point, I remember one Christmas back home in Ghana, I happened to mention that I hadn't had domedo in a year - a kind of idle hint that I thought might hasten things to the benefit of this exiled soul. The parental unit were enjoying having a full house and fully indulging their brood. But no, I had quite forgotten that this wasn't a routine thing. Domedo is very far from routine, you see. As it was, Mum promptly called her domedo guy and placed the order. It didn't matter that she had built up a relationship with the man over the past 16 years, that she had brought him repeat business, and had referred him many faithful customers over the years, we simply had to wait. There was no indication about when the domedo would come, no estimated timeframe etc. The order was merely acknowledged; further there was no negotiation on price, he knew that whatever he demanded would be promptly paid, no matter how usurious. If we had the good grace to get some domedo on my birthday or even before our return to Austin that would be a fringe benefit, I knew my place.

domedo

And when it did come, the fight began. These two children of ours who had been turning their nose up at the fare in the house all of a sudden were fighting with their grandfather and I - I started reconsidering this whole business about putting food on the table for the family. Said grandfather who had began waxing eloquent about the special occasions growing up when domedo was served, noticed the alarming speed with which those two were digging in and reverted to that jungle imperative - every man for himself. The golden rule was was suspended, the other cheek was stuffed not turned. There was no more small talk, we were simians who'd happened onto the prodigal son's feast - to mix my parables. We dug in and ate it all. It was worth the wait.

To say that domedo is spicy pork doesn't capture anything about its essence. It has to be experienced.

I do know this. When this pandemic is over and vaccines and all have been procured. The very first thing I will do when I land on Ghanaian soil is put in an order for domedo. I'm not sure when it will come, but it will be worth the wait.

food spread 2

For the completists or curious: domedo is pronounced something like dough-may-dough.

Note: I have no dietary restrictions albeit my palate was fixed by the time I left Ghana as a child. I am otherwise indifferent to pork - goat and guinea fowl are my favorite meats, but I always stand to attention at the prospect of some good domedo.

Pork, a playlist


A soundtrack to this tasty dish File under: , , , , , , , ,

Writing log: March 21, 2016; Playlist March 16, 2021